The Goggle Box – Thrones Finds Its Footing


Full spoilers for Game Of Thrones and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt below

Game Of Thrones S05 E04 – “Sons Of The Harpy”

As someone who binged Seasons 1 – 3 of GoT I won’t profess to have the most patient mind when it comes to watching episodes week on week. I also have a bit of a mental block when it comes to the fantasy genre, this being my main exception due to the more grounded elements of the show thematically. All of that said, I have found Season 5 to date a little slow and bordering on boring. That is until “Sons Of The Harpy”. I hate to be that viewer who is only watching in anticipation of the next big wow factor moment but the finale of this week’s episode, along with some meaty moments preceding it, served for some great television and it now feels like Season 5 has kicked off in earnest.

So Margaery and Cersei has finally come to a head with the former being none too pleased at Cersei ordering the arrest of her brother via the Faith Militant. Jamie and Bronn have arrived in Dorne and we get a fun little bit of swordplay to go with it. Meanwhile Ellaria is still not exactly delighted at the lack of revenge for Oberyn’s death and has rallied his three oldest bastards, the Sand Snakes, together to intervene in Jamie and Bronn’s rescue mission. Meanwhile Tyrion is being brought to Dany by Jorah in his fickle hopes that she will take him back in at her side with this offering. Which she might because…Ser Barristan has popped his clogs. I’ll be honest, it may have just been my nonplussed attitude to this season so far let me get caught off guard but the bloody ending to this episode that saw Ser Barristan slip away at the hand of the Sons and Grey Worm left somewhat worse for wear was well out of the blue for me and perfectly effective for this season catalyst.

I will agree with most who are a little perplexed that The Unsullied are getting picked off a little too easily for the supposedly best warriors the lands have to offer but ignoring that, the last five minutes of action this week were well needed and gratefully accepted. Now we have Meereen ticking over nicely with some massive repercussions surely to come from Dany, all the more dangerous if she goes about them without a level headed advisor, and in King’s Landing the face off between Margaery and Cersei should be suitably entertaining. At the Wall Jon Snow is being propositioned by Stannis and Melisandre and resisting both and I have to say that a position of leadership and power is exactly what this character has been in need of, allowing Kit Harrington to bring a more assured air to his performances. In Dorne Jamie and Bronn are likely in for a nasty surprise when they meet the Sand Snakes and back at Winterfell Sansa is still moving along as an intricate cog in Littlefingers latest plot. Things are happening and next Monday can’t come quick enough.

Game Of Thrones airs Mondays at 9pm on Sky Atlantic

Did you like 30 Rock? Scrubs? If you answered yes to either or both of those then this is the show for you. Like both of the aforementioned shows, particularly the prior Tina Fey creation 30 Rock, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is a show that asks very little of you in order to enjoy it whilst also containing some excellently layered humour that begs you to return and discover a whole new level of funny on a second viewing. One particular quick gag, Logan’s iPhone disintegrating in his hand, has warranted nearly a dozen re-watches from myself so far yet it is probably one of the most basic jokes in the show.

Originally presented to NBC, everything seemed in place for UKS to become the hallmark network’s latest comedy premiere. Things happened however and it found its way onto Netflix. I say things happened because it doesn’t seem all that clear if NBC simply said no thanks or if they were approached for a deal by Netflix (NBC still hold a financial investment in the show). Whatever happened, Netflix is certainly the best home for this. The subject matter, Kimmy Schmidt spends 15 years in an underground bunker under false pretences of an apocalypse, is ridiculed repeatedly throughout this pilot season and though most of the writing would have been done with network television in mind, there are clearly some further slippings of the envelope lashed in after the move was finalised and with a second season confirmed it will be interesting what else Fey and Robert Carlock can do with no restraint.

I do have to make two things very clear. Firstly, I am a massive fan of Ellie Kemper, who plays the titular Kimmy and this role was well and truly written for her and her alone. Secondly, I firmly believe Tina Fey is the second coming of Christ or whatever the equivalent is. 30 Rock is one of the few shows I was absolutely hooked on from the first minute I watched and that was mostly due to the writing and performances of Fey. Hers is a style of comedy at once unique but firmly rooted in the hey day of Saturday Night Live at the same time. If you want proper context on your humour or have a particular desire for plot then off you tot to Peep Show or Parks And Recreation because this show will drive you demented in that case. This is a sounding board for Fey and Carlock to just throw everything funny they can think of at the wall and see what sticks. When you are given an entire season to binge this leads to an endless stream of humour that will leave your jaw and stomach sore. Sometimes it’s just good to have a show that wants to make you laugh for the sake of it.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Season 1 is available on Netflix in its entirety

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Bachelors Degree in Arts from NUI Maynooth. Double Honours English & Philosophy.

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