DID YOU READ

HBO Brings Fantasy to Adults With “Game of Thrones”

HBO Brings Fantasy to Adults With “Game of Thrones”  (photo)

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If you watched the “True Blood” season finale you may have caught the cryptic teaser, prominently featuring a raven, for HBO’s upcoming series “Game of Thrones.” I didn’t find it to be particularly impressive, but the show itself looks like it will be the next completely out of control fan-berserk series taking it’s place next to the likes of “True Blood” and “Deadwood” before it.

The casting so far is almost impeccable. I know this because, aside from being addicted to IMDB, I’ve read two of the books in George R.R. Martin’s colossal fantasy novel series on which the show is based. Sean Bean is everyone’s first choice for Ned Stark. You couldn’t dream of a better Tyrion Lannister than Peter Dinklage. Jason Momoa may suck as “Conan” but he’ll be the perfect Khal Drogo. There are four books already, with seven planned, and “Game of Thrones” covers only the first book. So, if this first effort is a success, we could be in for quite a few seasons.

Best of all, this isn’t your daughter’s fantasy series, this is grimy adult fare with tons of sex, grim family intrigues, terrible violence and more sex. HBO already backed off a little bit from the more risque aspects of the novel, casting some actors and actresses much older than they are in the book. The FCC would probably have taken issue with the deflowering of so many maidens. Indeed, George R.R. Martin is no J. K. Rowling, and as successful as “Harry Potter” is there seems to be a growing hunger for more adult oriented fantasy works. Just take a look at “The Pillars of the Earth” or “True Blood.” Certainly Potter fans have aged, and now years on from the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy more people are interested in fantasy then ever thanks in part to these two franchises giving the genre some respectability (to say nothing of contributions by geniuses like Guillermo del Toro). And then there are those, not normally inclined to watch a fantasy show, who may be drawn in simply by the fact that it’s airing on HBO, and have come to expect a high level of quality entertainment from the channel.

I’m encouraged too not just by the content of the original works and casting, but by the series creators, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. These guys are well schooled in their fiction, and dedicated to bringing it to the screen properly — one reason why this one book is stretched across an entire season (though that still may barely be enough time). These guys didn’t just read “The Lord of the Rings,” they read “The Silmarillion.” They played Dungeons and Dragons for Tolkien’s sake, noting on their production blog, “As Dungeon Masters, we both ran very strict games. (Sorry, buddy. No ‘do overs.’ A saving throw is a saving throw.) Little did we know that someday we would encounter the most merciless Dungeon Master of them all…[George R.R. Martin].”

Benioff and Weiss speak clearly to their purpose and to the real appeal of “Game of Thrones.” “It’s not a bloodless, sexless, PG-13 tale of the eternal conflict between Good and Evil. No, ser. This tale is bloody, it’s sexy, and few of the characters can be neatly labeled…. This stuff isn’t for kids, and the story won’t fit neatly into a two-minute trailer.”

Check out this production featurette showing some behind the scenes action with a bit of commentary by all the major players.

In Production

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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.