House of the Dragon (HBO)

Yeah, kudos to Matt Smith for pulling this off. He’s somehow vaguely sympathetic even though he’s clearly power hungry, ruthless, amoral, impetuous, seduced his teenage niece, and murdered his wife because she was… ugly?

Emma D’Arcy is a revelation. They’re able to express a very wide range of clearly suppressed emotions. What’s really impressive to me is that you can see the evolution of the character as played by Milly Alcock. Emma’s portrayal is definitely a mature version of that younger character, with the same drive and ambition repressed by a sense of duty, but also tempered by experience and motherhood. Watching Emma’s face as they convey a subtle range of emotion is amazing. My favorite scene of this last episode was the one where everyone else kneels and Rhaenys stays standing in her battle armor, not having declared her allegiance yet and the look shared by the two women says more than any conversation could.

The showdown in Storm’s End between Lucerys and Aemon was dynamite. Aemon is a bully, but it’s hard to remember that Luke and Jace mercilessly bullied Aemon when they were younger, and Luke did actually slash his face and take his eye. There’s not entirely unjustified bad blood there. And Rhaenyra sent Luke to Storm’s End woefully unprepared; Otto told them that the greens were also sending out emissaries and Rhaenyra had been very savvy up to that point about negotiating with betrothals, titles, and land to secure her allies.

What’s really great here too is how the writers were able to sum up the political situation in the discussions around the painted table in a way that makes it clear for the audience who the players and stakes are (it helps that the family names are all familiar from GoT), but without overburdening the scenes with extra exposition: here’s how the dragons stand; here’s who we need for our alliance; here is where command of the seas might be useful.

I really like this show. I haven’t read the book, so have no idea how this is supposed to play out. I hope we get to see some parallels with the cold war–dragons are the equivalent of nuclear weapons, making small-scale proxy conflict preferable to hot war because of their destructive potential. Can’t wait for next season.

To be fair, that’s only what he said about her to those whom she’d never met; there was an intentional disconnect between his bad-mouthing and reality.

This is a few months old, and the panel itself is whatever, but it’s fun to hear all of the actors’ natural accents, from Olivia Cooke’s thick northern accent to Paddy Considine’s midlands drawl to Milly Alcock’s broad Australian.

So far it’s looking like the end of the year critic lists of best tv shows are leaving this show off, after showering GoT with unearned placements in its later seasons, and that’s a real shame IMO. This was one of the best shows of the year IMO. I went in with no expectations, b/c of the burn of the ending of GoT. In fact I didn’t even sign up for HBO to start watching until after the first two episodes were out and well reviewed. It was the feedback that convinced this was worth a look, and the show itself delivered.

I guess TV awards are always somewhat legacy dependent. GoT kept getting accolades years after it had gone off the rails, and now the belated hangover appears to be hitting this show.

It’s pretty annoying. I’m losing respect for tv reviewers that don’t include this show on their best of lists, especially if they included the later seasons of GoT on their lists.

As many good shows are out there, I think it may be one of those things where everyone tries to be ‘different’ and not pick an obvious choice. So that obvious choice ends up being left out altogether. And I agree, that it was one of the more enjoyable shows this year that had to do a lot of heavy lifting to get over the taint of the final seasons of GoT.

There were a LOT of great shows in 2022. As much as I enjoyed House of the Dragon, I can understand where it might have gotten crowded out of some of the lists, especially those that limit themselves to “Top 10”.

I’m actually seeing it get left off of top 30 and top 20 lists which is insane to me. Top 10 is pretty crowded, I admit, although I do think HotD makes the cut even there. But certainly with 20 or 30 choices, leaving it off doesn’t make sense. Especially when many of these same folks were still listing GoT season 7 and 8 a couple years back. I guess it’s one of those legacy/hangover things but I dislike it.

This show got off to an uneven start. It found its footing and regained my trust by the end, but I don’t think it’s the best show of the year. Just off the top of my head, Andor, Cobra Kai season 5(?), and Reservation Dogs season 2 were all more consistent shows. Stranger Things season 4 and Rings of Power probably overshadowed it for sheer big budget effects spectacle, which isn’t to say they were better shows, but they undermine House of the Dragon’s ability to stand out for the things money can buy.

Yeah, if it is being left off a list of the top 20 or 30 shows, then that’s almost certainly a snub.

But I could see a (shorter) list only having room for either HotD or LotR and it coming down to personal preference of how you like your fantasy cooked.

I think a House of the Dragon that focused on Old Valyria, instead of retreading old ground, often on the very same sets, would have had a clear case over Rings of Power. As it is, they both have strengths and weaknesses compared to each other. What’s worse, House of the Dragon’s biggest strength over Rings of Power, its characters, is the very thing it underdeveloped for some time. Even now, we know next to nothing of some of the royal daughters.

That said, I expect House of the Dragon to be obviously the better show in their 2nd seasons.

We’re living in the post-Game of Thrones TV world. GoT did a lot to rewrite the rules of television, particularly genre television. It also raised the bar for production values and budgets, and lots of other shows have upped their game.

There’s no question that Season 2 of HOTD will be substantially larger in scope. It’s no longer the long buildup between the Princess and the Queen. The war draws in almost all the major houses and their bannermen. And then, of course, the battles.

Wow, I watched both and can’t believe that it would even be a contest. Not trying to open a can of worms or tell people who enjoyed other shows that they are wrong, just want to add my voice to the chorus that are befuddled why this show hasn’t gotten more attention from critics.

I think part of my being flummoxed is that to me there’s no comparison at all between HotD and RoP. I started out hyped for RoP but found it to be a brutal disappointment of bad writing in actual practice. HotD on the other hand I had very little expectation given my vast disappointment with the end of GoT but the excellent writing and several very strong performances (especially Paddy Considine) convinced me otherwise. By the end of both shows there was IMO no comparison.

News from an HBO junket has that season 2 will air next summer (no specific date yet). A trailer was shown to journalists, all of which were sworn to secrecy.

— Alan

So two years to produce 10 more episodes of a show that (as far as I know from articles I saw) wasn’t even affected by the Hollywood writers or actors strikes because the scripts were already complete and the actors and production companies are European (different unions). I mean, I get that producing GoT shows is a very big task, but this is also HBO’s flagship series, and two full years between seasons doesn’t seem like it’s going to sell subscriptions they way they need to in order to survive in today’s streaming market.

They didn’t even get a renewal until very late in the broadcast run, and while they were lucky enough to not get affected by either strike, the ramp-up and filming was extensive. Given the scale of GoT and what happened on a yearly basis, you can argue that quality went down simply because it was on a yearly basis.

I get it though, it’s frustrating. I don’t want to wait 2 years for every season. And maybe they’ll get to a point where they alternate with Dunk and Egg.

Then again, I think HotD is only renewed for as second season so… we may go through the same cycle again.

— Alan

Maybe they learned their lesson that expecting tv shows this grandiose to churn out seasons every year leads to poor content which leads to poor subscriptions.

I personally don’t mind them taking their time, assuming it took this long for that reason and not because of mismanagement or lack of interest/resources by HBO.

Good points all. I suppose I would rather wait two years and get quality content for my wait versus one year and mediocre stuff. As long as, like @Tim_N said, it’s for the content and not because of mismanagement or playing games with financials or the actors/writers. I thought I had read that the numbers on House of the Dragon were very good by HBO’s standards, with lots of carry-over interest from GoT fans. Not sure why HBO would wait to greenlight more, unless there were talks of mergers/acquisitions/sales at the time that might have put all large projects on hold.

I guess I’d rather see 3 seasons over 6 years for a good show versus the 1 season and done that seems to be increasingly common for decent shows on streaming these days.
{Old man rant}Why does TV have to be so complicated? {/Old man rant}

So it got renewed somewhere around the time the second episode aired, but they didn’t start filming season 2 until April of last year, which is a pretty big gap. Could be a seasonal thing, but tbh I feel like the new management is very hestitant on long-term commitments no matter what, and would rather do seasonal renewals.

— Alan

Filming was this year. HBO waited until they saw the ratings for the show, whether or not there was still interest in Game of Thrones.

Expect seasons 3 and 4 to be closer to a year apart, so long as season 2’s ratings stay good.