Five years later, revisiting where it all started is strange. In a way, it seems like yesterday when, in 2011, I sat down to watch "Winter Is Coming". Every year since has dominated fans with when the new season will start.
In retrospect, the first season of Game of Thrones is like a wine that is yet to be fine wine. This is one of the most realistic fantasies in terms of storytelling and making a fictional world seem real. Unlike most fantasies where you know the protagonist will pull through, Thrones has at least five major protagonists in Season 1 and nobody is safe. Anyone could die at any moment as it is in real war, although the Seven Kingdoms and the Baratheon Dynasty are ruling in peace at the start.
What flaws Season 1 has is mostly in pacing. Yes, the first half of the season can come off as slow, I will admit that. You wonder how Eddard Stark will fulfill his role as the Hand of the King, what threat really has The Night's Watch in controlled turmoil, and how Viserys and Daenerys Targaryen can possibly hope to reclaim Westeros and restore House Targaryen when the Usurper rules in relative peace. However, this peace it thrown out the window, never to fully return when a poorly judged suspect captured for an attempted Stark murder sets the Westerlands and the Riverlands at each-others throats, and a rash, poorly thought out coup leads to total and irreversible war due to an execution which should never have been.
Game of Thrones Season 1 is in truth a mixed blessing. Yes, it doesn't really hold up well in terms of pacing compared to the rest of the series, and yes the first six episodes are slow. But a redemption does come in episode 7 onwards when a lot of the Game of Thrones traditional qualities the show possesses blossom into formation as the Iron Throne becomes highly sought after.
If one has even a casual liking for fantasy and can sit through the first seven episodes without getting entirely bored, this show will suit you well. A true and faithful adaption of A Song Of Ice And Fire.
Season 5 of Seinfeld is very much the second and final transitional season of the show's run after Season 3. By the Fall of 1993, Seinfeld was one of the top-rated shows in America, and after a season-wide story arc, Jerry Seinfeld and Co. had a huge mountain to eclipse and in a way they did but also didn't.
Whereas Season 4 had fantastic episodes with recurring characters such as the NBC execs, Crazy Joe Davola, and "The Drake", it always had the overall arc of Jerry and George working on the NBC Pilot hanging over it, and driving the season forward. With Season 5, the show goes back to fully being a "show about nothing" with the episodes themselves returning to individual entities. Likewise, Larry David is able to try stories which weren't able to be done before, and the result is complete hilarity. Aside from "The Mango" and "The Glasses" there is not a single weak episode which is something that is more difficult than many realize.
Seinfeld's fifth season is not only the midway point of the series, but where the series itself shifts into the dynamic present for the rest of the show's run. As a lifelong Seinfeld fan, I can cite a few favourites of mine being "The Raincoats," "The Hamptons," "The Bris," The Fire," & of course, "The Barber."
It's quite simple really: for anyone who likes 90s sitcoms, seasons 4 through 9 of Seinfeld are must-sees. Season 5 is simply the start of the show's golden era which would end up lasting until the show's finale.
2008 was a strange year in terms of sitcoms. Ever since Seinfeld and Friends wrapped in 1998 and 2004 respectively, there has been a power vacuum in terms of sitcoms in general. I remember watching the Pilot episode of The Big Bang Theory in September 2007 and realizing that it was one of the first since Seinfeld and Friends (the former of which greatly exceeds the latter in my opinion, but that's another whole article on it's own) to stray from the "Everybody Loves..." scenario. I didn't think it would have reached such high levels but I was intrigued enough to sit through the entire first season.
What will surprise most people who are fans of The Big Bang Theory who have chosen to go back and watch Season 1 is how much of the show's trademark aspects were absent in the beginning, as it is in most cases. Up until "The Loobenfeld Decay" Sheldon doesn't knock in a fixed set (and even there it's in fours, not the standard threes). Penny lacks most of her slightly more promiscuous qualities and seems more like the typical girl-next-door type. Sheldon's OCD-like qualities trickle in slowly over the first six episodes and Howard and Raj are seen as more supporting characters to the Sheldon-Leonard-Penny triad.
Nevertheless, Season 1 has a lot of memorable moments which I remember doubling over in laughter when I first saw them. The sarcasm sign, Wolowitz's impression of Raj to try and fix an impending arranged date with Lalita Gupta, Sheldon singing "To Life" while drunk off of not-so-virgin cuba libres, and his flawed learning of mandarin.
First seasons are usually spent by the show trying to find itself, and the first season of The Big Bang Theory is no exception. But beneath, between and behind the flaws laid a show which was very aware of it's potential.
What I love about Sherlock is how it's so smartly written and how perfect it is in most areas. Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch have a natural chemistry which shines throughout the episodes as Sherlock Holmes and John Watson are shown to be more like brothers than just two friends solving murder cases for Lestrade. Freeman has an smarter-than-average everyman nature which befits John Watson spectacularly well while Cumberbatch's portrayal of Sherlock is proof that he is likely the best actor of his generation to come out of England, portraying Sherlock perfectly as a "high-functioning sociopath" while still retaining a human side which shines through in certain moments of need.
I was skeptical when I first heard of Sherlock. I wasn't the biggest fan (more of a casual observer) of the Robert Downey Jr. adaption, and the thought of it being a modernized adaption set in modern day London gave me an uneasy feeling. In many cases it could have been a bigger disaster than Chernobyl, but it succeeds due to the modernity suiting Sherlock in ways many didn't expect it to.
Although the season is only three episodes in length (albeit 1 hour and 30 minute episodes if that), the series is firmly established throughout season one in a way most shows take two seasons to do. We go from John and Sherlock having their first encounter and solving the Study in Pink to confronting Jim Moriarty played to absolute perfection by Andrew Scott while writer and actor Mark Gatiss' portrayal of Mycroft Holmes allows the show to exploit an adult sibling rivalry which is both humorous and reminiscent of a far more intelligent version of the Gallagher brother's rivalry in the 90s, only without Sherlock or Mycroft getting thrown off ferries or acting like football hooligans.
The series in itself is a splendid masterpiece which will likely go down in television history as one of the best series' of all time in terms of quality and in the many fields which go into a production such as this. It's impeccably smart but also hooks the viewer from the get-go. It has the highest possible recommendation I can possibly give it.
Let there be light! After three seasons which can only hope to be described as mediocre at best, Seinfeld rips into full form with a 24-episode season in which the legend is born and blossoms over a year full of Junior Mints, Airports, Virgins, Crazy Joe Davola sightings, and of course a Contest to end all contests. This is the season where the "show about nothing" became the "sitcom to end all sitcoms."
Season 3 of Seinfeld is absolutely the transitional year in the show's history where it went from a sort of cult hit to being ready to become one of the biggest television shows (if not the biggest) of the 1990s. When you take into consideration that the amount of memorable episodes in contrast to Seasons 1 and 2 are exponentially up, and Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer make gigantic leaps in terms of coming into their own as main characters, Season 3 really can be seen as the game-changing season it was.
After a slower third season which focuses mostly on the beginning of Frank Underwood's presidency, season four begins and brings back all of the illustrious wonders absent in the third season. Frank gets a new rival in the form of charismatic, and social media-savvy New York governor Tim Conway who is everything Frank is not; young, a father, and fiercely passionate about both his Presidential campaign and his wife Hannah (Their bathroom counter knows all about the latter). Frank is both in a fight for the Democratic nomination, and in a fight to salvage his tattered marriage to Claire who truly comes into her own form in this season. And in a real-world twist, a kidnapping on American soil by fanatical extremists brings everything to halt as we wait for the resolution of the season to come.
Easily the best season of the show yet alongside Season 2. Anyone who has even casually glanced as Kevin Spacey's acting and liked what they've seen will love House of Cards despite hitting a few slow-points. But like Tom Yates says, don't go into it expecting anything.