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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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Give Back

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…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.


Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…


IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.


IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).


IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.


IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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