Game of Thrones on many Best Of TV Lists for 2014

2014 is on its way out the door, which means the entertainment industry is inundating the Internet with their “Best Of” lists and articles.  And no surprise, Game of Thrones is featured in a lot of them. So here’s a little something GoT-related whilst we twiddle away the months waiting for something official from the folks at HBO (For Seven’s Sake, anything! We’d be happy for anything original at this point…ahem…sorry got carried away).

Update: Add to your reading list Andy Greenwald’s Top Ten over at Grantland (ht to Jared for the link).

Across the pond in the U.K. Metro gives us six good reasons why GoT was the best TV show in 2014.  IndieWire nominates “The Children” as one of the 15 best episodes of the year with an honorable mention for “Watchers on the Wall”.  Salon surveyed a bevvy of critics to create their list and ultimately they disagreed with IndieWire saying that “Watchers on the Wall” deserved the top spot for GoT episodes.

The Hollywood Reporter decided to get crazy and list the top 31 TV shows of year with GoT coming in at #9.  Their biggest complaint?  10 episodes is simply not enough for the most “engrossing and epic” show on Television.  Digital Spy  had a similar complaint in their multi-part list with Game of Thrones coming in at #7.

The Village Voice thought highly enough to include GoT in its top ten calling it “the most gaspingly suspenseful series on the air”.  And TV Critic Mary McNamara over at the LA Times has a quick and dirty list that is divided into categories (drama v comedy) which is further split by the number of episodes (don’t ask me why).

If show and episode rankings are not specific enough for you, then Variety has a list of the 10 Best TV Moments and I’m betting you can guess which moment they chose.

Newsweek acknowledged the continuing “hemorrhaging” of characters in GoT this year in what they called “An epic worthy of a Cecil B. DeMille production”.  A.V. Club started with 90 nominees and whittled that down to the Top 35 with GoT came in at #20.  Finally, to sum it all up MetaCritic has been keeping a running tally of the number of mentions by other TV Critics in Top Ten lists.  GoT has the most mentions out of the 23 shows listed.

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    1. Deserving kudos: B&W have done a good job not simply of adapting Martin’s stories to the very different medium, but also of doing so in a way that grabs the attentions of people who enjoy good stories regardless of the settings, costumes or number of dragons in them. Fantasy will probably always be an “F” word for critics of TV and film, but clearly exceptions can be made.

      On a side note, that shot from the Mountain and the Viper captures wonderfully Tyrion’s POV in the books where he sees Oberyn “fly” at the Mountain at the end.

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    2. So all they needed to win more awards(Emmys) was up the Episode count to 12 with Season 2?

      Damn that would have satisfied all of my Iron Islands needs. I need SOMEBODY to say “There is no wine so sweet as wine taken from a foe. One day I shall drink your wine, and take from you all that you hold dear.”

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    3. Thanks for complying all of these lists, Dame Pasty! If I may, I’d like to cite one more Game of Thrones Top 10 from Andy Greenwald of Grantland who, at least in my opinion, is one of the most thoughtful enthusiastic, and entertaining critics out there. (As it happens, he’s Unsullied). I linked to this in the previous Best of 2014 article a couple of weeks ago, but it was several days after it had originally been posted.

      http://grantland.com/hollywood-prospectus/the-10-best-tv-shows-of-2014/

      Here’s what he had to say about Game of Thrones’s fourth season (it came in 7th on his list).

      The fourth season of this low-key family drama was its best for all sorts of wonky reasons: The way its constant character shuffling ultimately settled on the best possible pairings; the way it learned to hide heavy exposition inside of transcendent action, like slipping poison into a chalice of wine; the way the expansive world map finally began to fold in on itself, transforming an entertaining, digressive epic into a single, thrilling story. But what matters to me most about Game of Thrones isn’t that it’s one of TV’s best shows. It’s that it’s unquestionably the most fun. For 10 weeks every spring, a certain kind of madness spreads among fans like wildfire on Blackwater Bay. It’s a dizzying, exhilarating streak of breathless recaps, crazy theories, bad puns, and worse Dothraki. (And I haven’t even mentioned the cat!) If this is what the Mad King felt, I wish he had reigned for 1,000 years.

      Amen to every word of that.

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    4. What was it about the 2nd season of ‘The Americans’ that everybody seemed to love so much? I like the show, but if the two main leads aren’t the main focus of a scene, then it is Dana from ‘Homeland’ bad.

      I don’t watch a ton of TV shows, so I can rank the seasons of all of the shows I did watch in 2014:

      1. ‘Game Of Thrones’ season 4
      2. ‘Mad Men’ season 7
      3. ‘True Detective’ season 1
      4. ‘Outlander’ season 1
      5. ‘Boardwalk Empire’ season 5
      6. ‘Justified’ season 5
      7. ‘Silicon Valley’ season 1
      8. ‘It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia’ season 9(or 10?)
      9. ‘The Americans’ season 2
      10. ‘Workaholics’ season 4
      11. ‘Orange Is The New Black’ season 2
      12. ‘Parks And Recreation’ season 6
      13. ‘Archer’ season 5

      Worst. ‘True Blood’ season 8

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    5. Was there ever any doubt? GoT rocks. Gimme S5.

      Prediction: Nymeria assumes the role of LS. Gonna eat some Freys!

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    6. Hodor’s Bastard,

      heh, that probably would be a good adaptation! (I do like the idea of Pleistocene megafauna eating the Westerosian equivalent of trailer-trash….)

      Firefly Season 1 is on my Top 10 this year, just like it is every year.

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    7. Ranking of Game of Thrones each year for TV Critics Top 10 Lists :
      Season 1 : 5th
      Season 2 : 8th
      Season 3 : 3rd
      Season 4 : 7th (so far)
      So for them Season 3 was the best of Thrones.

      And for the Breaking Bad fans :
      Season 1 : No ranking
      Season 2 : No ranking
      Season 3: 2nd behind Mad Men
      Season 4 : 1st
      Season 5 : 1st and 1st
      Do you think GoT will ever be 1st like Breaking Bad? Maybe with the final Season if done right……

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    8. Just listened to Boiled Leather’s season 4 review podcast and I’ve made a decision to actively try to watch the show without trying to compare it to the books all the time. I was very impressed by Sean T Collins take on the Tysha omission and why D&D decided not to include her. Being that season 5 will have the most changes yet I think this is a change for the better me.

      Quite disappointed in myself that I was unable to enjoy the Viper vs The Mountain on first view because it was different from the book. I had this vision in my head of how it should play out and criticized it after it failed to meet my minds expectations. After rewatching the fight it was damned good.

      After reading the some essays on Dany’s Meereen arc I can honestly say that I will be more of a Dany fan now too going forward. There were still things that I believe were dumb in season 4 (Yara’s fight against Ramsay) but the season had way more positives than negatives.

      I’m very much looking forward to season 5. And now to take my separate the books from the show oaths

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    9. Turncloak:
      After reading the some essays on Dany’s Meereen arc I can honestly say that I will be more of a Dany fan now too going forward.

      The Meereenese Blot is one heck of a good read. I would like to buy that gent a round of Fire and Blood Ale someday.

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    10. Jared,
      Wholeheartedly agree! Love Andy G’s perspective. Also agree with his take on Banshee and his opinion of Transparent has piqued my interest so at least I’ll have something else to watch while we wait for the GoT frenzy to begin anew.

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    11. Turncloak,

      You will be the happier for doing that! Alternatively, look at it from the perspective of how You would do this if you were trying to present it on TV. I play that game all the time: and I usually find that B&W top what I would have.

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    12. I can 100% acknowledge the fact the show is groundbreaking….and this season was spectacular television. But I do find it amusing when reading criticisms from people who have read the books. The criticisms sound like the show is terrible. And I know the book-reading critics are just voicing their opinion about the scenes that differ from source material when in fact the source material is obviously superior. But I find that ridiculous. Because the show sucks regardless of the source material. Dave and Dan are butchers. Worse than serial killers the way they killed this serial.

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    13. Tyrion Pimpslap,

      For me it’s more like this:

      1. ‘Game Of Thrones’ season 4 – I really do think D&D and the other writers have it figured out now, how to weave in the book material with the need to tell a television story.
      2. ‘Orange Is the New Black’ Season 2 – So great this year on so many levels.
      3. ‘True Detective’ season 1 – I’m down.
      4. ‘Fargo’ season 1 – the last episode bugged me, but I thought they did a fine job on this.
      5. ‘Penny Dreadful’ season 1 – wow, Eva Green. Holy tamoly.
      6. ‘Orphan Black’ season 2 – It was uneven in parts, but Tatiana Maslany just blows me away.
      7. ‘Mad Men’ season 7 – Still very good.
      8. ‘The Bridge’ season 2 – Shame it was canceled. Woolly in spots but overall a satisfying show to watch.
      9. ‘The Affair’ season 1 – This was very good. I mean, not perfect, but certainly very good and interesting.
      10. ‘Homeland’ season 4 – I feel like this show turned itself around this year. Some of it was still ridiculous on a lot of levels, but it came out better than the awful third season.
      11. ‘Masters of Sex’ season 2 – Uneven. Still interesting.
      12. ‘Justified’ season 5 – The first disappointing season of Justified. I think they’ll come roaring back and turn in a great last season, though.
      13. ‘Boardwalk Empire’ season 5 – This coda wasn’t really necessary. It wasn’t bad, but I prefer the great, heart-breaking fourth season.

      WORST:
      ‘American Horror Story’ season 4 – I’m done. I gave up. It spends its weeks running in circles and expecting people to care.

      If a show on your list isn’t on mine, it’s probably because I don’t watchi t.

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    14. Wimsey,

      By the way Wimsey, you argued with me in another thread that Maisie Williams will be looking for more “feminine” roles so she won’t be type cast.

      Low and behold I accidentally stumble into this Maisie Williams quote in her interview with The Huffington Post a few months ago
      “I’m never going to be the romantic lead because that’s just not really who I am. … I hope I’d be playing these badass, strong female characters for a long time because that’s what I enjoy.”

      Just thought I’d point that out.

      Source: http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/5565153

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    15. Turncloak,

      My strategy is this: Watch it on first airing all alone and notice every change and get distracted from the story being told. Watch it again by myself after work on Monday before the rest of the fam returns home, getting the story as D&D wanted to tell it. Then watch with the Unsullied fam after dinner to enjoy their reactions and the visual brilliance that is this television show! I’ll pray for you as well. Good luck!

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    16. Turncloak:
      Wimsey,

      By the way Wimsey, you argued with me in another thread that Maisie Williams will be looking for more “feminine” roles so she won’t be type cast.

      Low and behold I accidentally stumble into this Maisie Williams quote in her interview with The Huffington Post a few months ago
      “I’m never going to be the romantic lead because that’s just not really who I am. … I hope I’d be playing these badass, strong female characters for a long time because that’s what I enjoy.”

      Just thought I’d point that out.

      Source: http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/5565153

      Lol. Burn to Wimsey and his/her Pavlov’s Dogs.

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    17. romeo barbosa,

      Marco Polo suffered from being all plot and no story: like all of history! That is why dramatizing history is so tough. That written, I found it engaging enough to watch a 2nd season.

      Turncloak,

      She has changed her mind since a year or so ago, then! Of course, who one is at 17 and who one is at 25 often are quite different, so we’ll see what tune she sings in the not-too-distant future.

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    18. Rygar: Lol.Burn to Wimsey and his/her Pavlov’s Dogs.

      Classy. Happy new year to you too.

      Since I like reading Wimsey‘s posts, call me a dog. Woof, woof.

      The Season 5 trailer can’t come fast enough. Good grief.

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    19. It’s still a good show but for me season 4 was the worst so far. The further D & D stray from the material the more I begin to dislike the show, their ideas just aren’t as engrossing or interesting as George’s work. I fear S5 may put me off the show altogether, especially with no Greyjoy’s to keep me enticed.

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    20. Rygar: Lol. Burn to Wimsey and his/her Pavlov’s Dogs.

      His. Or it would be “his” would be if the dogs were mine. (Or if the dogs were guns, and if they were my guns: as I’m not a dog person, and as I am very pro gun-control, neither “my dogs” nor “my guns” are phrases I write or say very often!)

      On reading this, I don’t think that Maise necessarily has changed her mind. A year or so ago, she was talking about how much she envied and even coveted Clarke’s role as Daeny for a variety of reasons (including the fact that Daeny is a strong bad-assed woman). Maise then expressed hope that Arya would start showing a more feminine side as well. Clothing came up: in addition to stating how she envied Clarke’s costumes, that was the first time I read that Williams wanted to ditch Arya’s outfit! Maise 2013 wasn’t stating that she wanted to play “girly” roles: she seemed to be saying that she wanted to both play a strong role AND be feminine simultaneously.

      (Williams might have pointed to Headey’s performance Cersei, too, but I don’t remember for certain: the conversation started from Williams’ comments on last year’s HBO “preview” that Daeny was the role she’d like to play if she couldn’t play Arya; amusingly, Charles Dance said the same thing, albeit in a completely different context!)

      Williams seems to be making a distinction in her head between “romantic leads” and “strong female leads.” However, they are not mutually exclusive: a strong female lead usually also is a romantic lead simply because lead roles usually have some romantic angle to them. Daeny is (among other things) a “romantic lead”: Daeny’s love interests have been an important angle in the stories. However, that is just one facet of the character. (Ditto that for Jon, Tyrion, Jaime, Cersei, etc.)

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    21. Turncloak,

      We’ll see! I expect that Arya is going to be a bit older at the end of the story than she is now in the books, and they seem to be letting a lot more time elapse on TV than paralleled in the books (if only because they cannot hide how much the Stark kid actors have aged). I still think that Martin intended his Thrones lines (“you have a daughter, I have a son”) to foreshadow this: but what he intended to do in 1995 and what he finally does in 2025 (when Dream finally comes out!) will not be the same for a lot of things.

      (If it does happen, then it’s going to be backwards: Arya will be the knight in shining armor and Gendry will be the dude in distress! And I suspect that is the sort of romantic arc that Williams would like to portray if given the chance.)

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    22. Wimsey,

      “Arya will be the knight in shining armor and Gendry will be the dude in distress!”

      Your scenario probably works better for Brienne and Jaime as

      she breaks her vows to save him and slays the wicked Stoneheart.

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    23. Ah, but I do not see such a happy ending for

      Brienne and Jaime: I think that Jaime will die snuffing Cersei.

      And it’s a bit unfair to call

      LS “wicked”! For one thing, what little we know of her behavior is completely in keeping with prevailing Westerosian moralities. (Some things that we call “genocide,” they call “justice.”) For another, although I have very little inkling as to how Martin is going to use LS, or for which protagonist she is going to be an important plot element, I suspect that she will become some important “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” decision for one of them. That wouldn’t be there. Of course, I suppose that this could be done along the way before Jaime’s end and LS’s end: so maybe our ideas are not actually exclusive. (I guess that I am unclear about which vows Brienne might be breaking to kill LS: yes, she swore vows to Catelyn, but that’s not quite the same thing anymore: but perhaps that is for Brienne to puzzle out herself.)

      Besides, this is the sort of thing that can be done in different ways for different pairs: so, both could happen! (I’m wondering if Sansa isn’t going to wind up playing a more active role in her upcoming love-life: I can envision her getting what she always wanted, but getting it in a completely different way that she originally envisioned, and in some manner foreshadowed by what we’ve read before.)

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    24. Turncloak,

      You probably won’t read this, Turncloak, but thanks to your comment I listened to that podcast and… oh my god… completely rational analysis from avid book readers! People who love the source material AND understand how the TV medium works! It was a godsend, thank you.

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    25. Luka Nieto:
      Turncloak,

      You probably won’t read this, Turncloak, but thanks to your comment I listened to that podcast and… oh my god… completely rational analysis from avid book readers! People who love the source material AND understand how the TV medium works! It was a godsend, thank you.

      Don’t worry I did read your comment! and no problem! Glad I was able to help out =]

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    26. I’m not sure what my top 10 of 2014 would be, but I do know that my top 3 is:
      1 – Vikings season 2 (Easily the most underrated show on television right now. Season 1 was great, but S2 absolutely blew me away)
      2 – True Detective
      3 – Secrets and Lies (AU)

      Rectify, Halt and Catch Fire, Black Sails and Fargo would all be strong contenders for the list. Game of Thrones, of course, would also be in the top 10 (maybe not the top 5, though).

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    27. Ser Tahu,

      Hey, great to read you again, Ser T! Have you revised your S5 predictions?

      I must say I am not as well-versed as others regarding all the TV show options, but I would include TD (innovative cinematography, riveting storytelling and philosophy), Good Wife (can’t go wrong with Margulies and Panjabi), Leftovers and GoT as the finest of the bunch that I watch.

      Orphan Black, The Bridge, and AHS had great prior season(s) but dropped significantly in quality this past year, imho.

      Greatjon of Slumber,

      Regarding Penny Dreadful…after watching “The Dreamers” the other year, I can’t watch Eva Green in anything anymore and expect to focus on plot. Everything else simply fades away….

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    28. I have a six year old, so Dinosaur Train, Pochemon, Dragon Riders of Berk, etc. all vie for my top 10.

      Penny Dreadful was amusing. Dexter’s last season sort of fizzled. How I Met Your Mother went out on a very creative and poignant note. Peter Capaldi’s first season of Doctor Who was largely awful: easily the worst Doctor Who season since Colin Baker’s one full year nearly 30 years ago. Downtown Abbey was pointless fun (as always). True Blood was silly (as always). Marco Polo did a great job of illustrating the difference between plot and story. Glee needs to be put into a time lock or sent to the Wall or something. Mad Men was a powerful reminder that “good old days” only ever existed for WASP males in the US. Happily Ever After was just silly, albeit in an entertaining way.

      And Firefly was still awesome…..

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    29. Hodor’s Bastard,

      I kind of gave up on that. Season 5 is going to have so many differences from the books that there really isn’t any point in trying to predict it.

      And I would agree with TGW and The Leftovers, both are also strong contenders. I wasn’t particularly fond of TGW, but S5 was absolutely brilliant. Da Vinci’s Demons is also another one that might make my shortlist (Starz was on a roll this year).

        Quote  Reply

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