Thursday, July 7, 2011

"Camelot" vs. "Game of Thrones" - Part 2

The following contains spoilers.

The most blog hits I have ever received for a single post was my Camelot/Game of Thrones review (250 and counting), which I wrote early in both series. Now that I’ve seen all episodes of both (with the exception of the 9th episode of Camelot, which for some reason isn’t On Demand) I’ll give my final verdict.

So if you are reading this and are not my facebook friend…please comment! I mean, you can comment if you are my friend, but this is the only time that random people come to my blog and it’s kind of awesome.

In Summary (from previous post)
Camelot (Cam) is loosely based on the rise of King Arthur and is historically accurate for the period and geography, regardless of whether Arthur himself is fact or fiction. On the other hand, both Merlin and Morgan practice sorcery. So in that regard, it is still of the "fantasy" genre.

Game of Thrones (GoT) is based on a fictional world which looks almost identical to medieval times but seems to have a large variety of cultures (though mostly British accents) within an unfathomably limited square mile area and some zombie like creatures on the attack.

Gore Factor
Besides the fact that Sir Ector/King Lot was the best death scene ever, there never was the same amount of gory blood in Cam as Spartacus, which I was thankful for. Then they went and decapitated a nun. So now I have the same criticism from GoT that decapitation just can’t be made to look realistic for me.

Closely rivaling Cam for the best death scene ever would be Khal Drogo’s men pouring hot molten gold over Viserys head to give him his “crown” that he begged for – but that wasn’t really gory. I personally love that some of the best bloodiness was at the teeth of the Stark children’s direwolves. And even though I knew it was coming (yes, I read spoilers) they really had me sucked in to Ned Stark’s treason trial…right up until they decapitated him. Ugh.

Winner: It’s actually a tie. With one much-mentioned exception, all the violence effects were very well done in both of them.

Incest Themes
I said it all before…GoT is way heavy on the incest themes for reasons I can’t quite fathom. Cam did finally seal the deal with Morgan shifting into the shape of Guinevere to make a baby with Arthur (her half-brother) so she could “give birth to a king”. But since that’s the closest they have ever come to the actual Arthurian legend, I can’t fault them for it.

Winner: Camelot.

Cam did finally catch up to GoT on this one. And I’d say they even surpassed by the mere fact that all of the main female characters got naked. (It is possible that Claire Forlani had a body double from the way they edited that scene together.) GoT on the other hand (with the exception of that first episode with Daenerys), left it to the whores, which I thought was sweet.

Winner: Another tie. It all washed out in the end.

Cam had some really good moments. Some were great re-imaginings of the legend - pulling the sword from the stone, the lady of the lake, and the beginnings of the round table. Some were completely new concepts that fell right into place. But some just went too much against my pre-conceived notions – Arthur stealing Guinevere from his champion. And then there were places where I could tell the plot was trying to be good, but the dialogue was so horrible it couldn’t quite get there. The storyline rallied in the final episode (And it looked like it may have in episode 9, too. Did I mention that On Demand sucks?), but like Scott says, anyone can write a premiere and a finale, it’s the in between stuff that’s the real measure.

I just downloaded GoT to my nook, but I heard that they really didn’t stray too far from that first book (of course True Blood didn’t stray far either and now it’s a cluster fuck). I thought episodes 3 and 4 were incredibly boring. And yes, I get that they were needed for character development – doesn’t make them any less boring. That being said…wow. In the end, there were no less than five essential plots occurring simultaneously and I was sucked into every one of them (another note to True Blood). Still love Daenerys and Arya the best, but John Snow’s moments at The Wall have been right up there.

Winner: Game of Thrones

So, my favorite actor of the Cam series (Leontes) sacrifices himself for the king in the final episode (presumably so he can go do his own show on Cinemax called Strike Back, which was apparently stolen from the UK). I still do not like Arthur, but he did become pretty bad ass in the finale, so when he’s not actually speaking, he’s okay. Or maybe it was because he had his horribly nasty hair pulled back in a pony tail. Gawain and Kay did a great job, but otherwise they might as well have brought in a whole new batch of knights. Honestly, the writing is so poor in parts that I can’t really tell whose fault it is.

If you’re not into SciFi and Fantasy you might not know who Sean Bean is, but to the rest of us, he is a god. Rest in peace, Ned Stark. I will definitely miss you. Again, it always helps to have good writing and I hear that most of the dialogue was taken directly from the book. But all these actors are amazing, even the children. If I had to pick the best out of the cast, not counting Sean Bean, just based on whose screen time I enjoy the most…Peter Dinklage as Tyrion (no shocker there), Maisie Williams as Arya, Rory McCann as Sandor Clegane, and – wait for it - Iain Glen as Ser Jorah in by far the best supporting role.

Winner: Game of Thrones

Naturally, the overall winner is GoT. HBO rarely disappoints me in the first season. And their second seasons are almost always better, because they don’t have to deal with that pesky character development. But that leaves GoT in a bind. With the death of Ned Stark, King Robert, Viserys, and Khal Drogo, there are new characters that are going to come into play. They are going to need some slick skillz to introduce them without derailing the momentum.

As for Cam…it’s been cancelled. Apparently, everyone hated Arthur as much as I did.

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