Monday, April 01, 2019

I think I made a terrible mistake

In order to unwind during my campaigning in the 2015 General Election I started binge watching The Walking Dead. There was something raw and existential about a zombie apocalypse where rebuilding communities again was a constant struggle.

Like many things I did that year, I think I made a wrong choice.

I should have got stuck into Game of Thrones instead.

The Walking Dead has got stuck in a loop of ridiculous bad characters (The Governor, various roadside baddies, Negan, even Rick Grimes stopped making sense) and all played out in the same dull predictable location, despite supposedly having crossed two states. I said at the end of Season 7, here, that the structure had got dreadfully predictable, only the breaks, the premieres and the finale episodes had anything significant happen in them. It got to the point that after three pretty ropey seasons, I was on the brink of giving up for good. However, much as I've been transfixed by a huge leap in quality in season 9, almost everything new, terrifying and surprising about The Walking Dead owes a debt to Game of Thrones. In the season 9 finale, we were pretty much teased that Winter is Coming. Even the walkers in GoT are better than the Walking Dead, and that's meant to be the actual point.

While both series have drawn heavily from original source material, Game of Thrones is clearer a far superior show. The cast, the locations, the scripts, the tension, the high politics and even the moments of humour.

However, I know this now because the second stage of this terrible telly mistake is that I decided to catch up and so watched a 90 minute Game of Thrones summary and the very last episode of the last season. Partly it was after meeting Maisie Williams at an event I hosted earlier this year, but it was also after some fairly aggressive peer pressure at home.

About five minutes in to that final episode of Game of Thrones Season 7 and I realised that the whole package is better in every way and I have to say I am truly hooked. But, because I know what happens with the interweaving and over arching plots, I can’t correct my error by starting at the beginning because the surprise has gone. I'll enjoy season 8, the last one, no question. Bring it on. But I’ll literally never get that time back when I watched those lost episodes where nothing much happened between Rick Grimes and Negan and the Hilltop and the Kingdom. Never. But at least I never got into Lost.

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