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DID YOU READ

“Game of Thrones” gets HBO greenlight, author does Peanuts song & dance.

“Game of Thrones” gets HBO greenlight, author does Peanuts song & dance. (photo)

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HBO gave the greenlight to the highly anticipated “Game of Thrones” series, which will surely take its place next to “True Blood,” and “Rome” and “Deadwood” before it, as some of the best TV ever aired. Based on modern day J.R.R.Tolkien incarnation, author George R.R. Martin’s colossal A Song of Ice and Fire series, begun in 1996 it’s now four books and counting, with seven planned.

[Author George R.R. Martin (in front) with some soon to be famous cast of the forthcoming series. L-R: Ron Donachie, Alfie Allen, Kit Harrington, Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams, Richard Madden]

The series is an adult one, this isn’t J. K. Rowling territory. It’s more about intrigue and family, less about magic, and growing pains. It’s also extremely violent and hugely sexed up – including many maidens barely any older than the Harry Potter crew in their first installment – hey, it’s medieval.

The pilot and following nine episodes concern the first book in the series, with the near identical title, “A Game of Thrones.” I presume following seasons will be based on the successive books, which was originally a trilogy, but since expanded into a full blown franchise with supplementary works, novellas and graphic novels, when Martin returned to it in 2005 releasing a fourth book and announcing three more.

The world of “Game of Thrones” is a somewhat familiar medieval one, set mainly on the continent of Westeros. There, great houses struggle for power and survival in a time when magic and dragons are extinct, forgotten by most. It is a place where a decade long summer threatens to give way to a winter that will last a lifetime. A great wall (reminiscent of Hadrian’s wall in northern England) cuts off the frozen, northern wilderness from the “civilized” world and an old brotherhood, The Night’s Watch, keep vigil there against the gathering gloom. While an ancient menace stirs with the coming winter, war finally breaks out among the houses of Westeros, after a lot of cloak and dagger, largely centered around the Stark family of Winterfell.

I await the line, “When you play a game of thrones you win or you die. There is no middle ground” threatens the beautiful Lady Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey, “300,” “The Brothers Grimm”) to Lord Eddard Stark (Sean Bean, LOTR trilogy) before a series of stunning edge-of-your-seat betrayals.

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[A brother of the Night’s Watch (played by Bronson Webb as Will) in “Game of Thrones” pilot. Shot on location in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Photo Credit: Helen Sloan/HBO]

The cast looks to be superbly done, having some intimate knowledge of the characters. Most notable, aside from the obvious Sean Bean, will be Peter Dinklage (“Nip/Tuck,” “The Station Agent”) as the dwarf, Tyrion Lannister – probably one of the most entertaining fantasy characters ever written. Also quite complex, like many of the characters, I trust HBO will give them the treatment they deserve in the long form, one of the many benefits of a series rather than a feature film. Hopefully someone with a good flair for menace scores this piece. Jeff Beal did a decent job on “Rome.” I’d shoot for some Phillip Glass contributions. Frequent Tarantino collaborator, Mary Ramos, music supes.

More on the cast at THR.

The bearded and bespectacled, George R.R. Martin’s blog response to the happy greenlight news was simply:

From the author’s blog .
And more from the LA Times blog.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at IFC.com

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

Uncle-Buck

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…