We’re just a couple of days away from the premiere of Game of Thrones, HBO’s ambitious TV adapation of the first novel in George RR Martin’s seven-novel Song of Ice and Fire series. The reviews have been mainly ecstatic, and HBO is pushing it hard - the show will air on every single HBO when it premieres, and the network is repeating the shit out of it over the next week. And if the show does well, HBO is all but ready to commit to a second season.
Entertainment Weekly has an article about HBO’s optimism for the future of the show, and they mention the show’s huge cost - 50 million bucks for the first season, making it possibly the most expensive TV series ever - as an incentive for season two. Having spent so much money starting the series up, it makes no sense for HBO to drop it after just ten episodes. The cost makes a second season all but guaranteed.
One thing that the article doesn’t mention, though, is the home video life of this show. There is an army of Martin fans out there, and they will shell out HBO’s usually too-high prices for a box set of Game of Thrones. I imagine that has to be a part of HBO’s profit-making scheme on the show - if the series works at all the box sets will be evergreen sellers. And then you trot out the ‘Complete Series’ box with figures or a sword replica or copies of all the books…
I imagine that the second season could remain fairly faithful to the book, but it’s season three where things might get interesting. I’m halfway through A Storm of Swords and I’m on page 600. It’s a fucking long book, although it is stuffed with filler. But even the show runners trim that book down to fit a ten or eleven episode series, they’re going to run into real trouble at book four, A Feast For Crows. That book tells only half the story, with the yet-to-be-released fifth book, A Dance With Dragons, covering the exact same time period from the POV of other characters. How do you work that out on TV?
You might as well settle in this week and start watching Game of Thrones, because it’s not going away after just one season. And look for my review to be up here very quickly Sunday night.