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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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. 

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number! 

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time. 

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by. 

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo. 

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim. 

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t? 

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?” 

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud. 

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.

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Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.

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Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!

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Inter-not

Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.

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Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.

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If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.