‘Game of Thrones’ final season already creating buzz
The eighth and final season of “Game of Thrones” isn’t set to air until April 14, but already there’s speculation about what the last scheduled episodes might hold and a lot of anticipation about this popular series.
HBO has released photos and trailers, though no substantial footage, from Season 8, and producers have been leaving hints.
A couple of things strike me as I see characters walking together – Sansa Stark and Jon Snow, with Daenerys ominously in the background – or embracing in those trailers. Some of my impressions have less to do with “Game of Thrones,” a show I followed more professionally than as a fan, than with some trends in television, especially as regards major shows that go out of production.
In talking with Dom Giordano on his 9-to-noon WPHT (1210 AM) talk show Friday, I figured one family or faction might finally unite the kingdoms depicted on “Thrones” but not so absolutely as to preclude sequels, prequels, and other offshoots.
George R.R. Martin is a prolific fantasist who have all of fiction and a favored genre at his command. The public likes the “Game of Thrones” characters and Martin has others, unseen on the current series he can bring out for their own series while including some figures from “Game of Thrones.”
J.K. Rowling, another fantasist has woven around the Harry Potter stories so that episodes from before Harry was born and possible new tales as Harry ages can be created. Harry is already a major figure on Broadway and on London’s West End where a two-part play about him is winning awards and attracting audiences.
Martin has the same momentum at disposal. David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are shrewd producers. They don’t seem the type to let a franchise fade. Just as London offers a slew of “Potter” tours, starting usually at King’s Cross Station, where the phantom platform to Hogwarts is situated, there are already tours of “Games of Thrones” locations in Ireland. A new castle is said to have been built in Belfast for Season 8.
Most importantly, television is not the only medium. Hit shows are finding their way to feature film, something “Star Trek” and “Mission: Impossible” have done with a lot of success.
Right now, commercial movie versions of “Breaking Bad” and “The Sopranos” are in the works. These are meant to do more than extend their franchises. They tell stories that weren’t included in the series despite years to tell the stories. ‘Breaking Bad” looks ahead. “The Sopranos” movie, “The Many Saints of Newark,” looks to the future. Think of the wealth of fodder Benioff and Weiss have if they choose to expand “Game of Thrones,” which is far-reaching to begin with.
I’d look for some surprises, especially in terms of alliances, during “Thrones’s” last season. I’d expect some kind of offshoot to emerge, a la “Better Call Saul” from “Breaking Bad,” I would be surprised if at some point during the next decade, there is not a “Game of Thrones” movie, whether it continues where the series leaves off or takes some characters and explores them in more focal depth.
Those who have never gotten into “Game of Thrones” and are beyond or removed from what fans feel have a great chance to catch up with the series before Season 8 debuts in April.
Most “Game of Thrones” seasons have 10 episodes. Season 8 has six. So the homework to understand it will take longer than the season itself.
No matter. Xfinity has made it easy for its subscribers to become quick experts in all things “Thrones.”
During February, the cable provider is offering the first season for free via its Xfinity Stream app.
Buscemi takes on a big role
When you think of casting calls for God, Steve Buscemi is not the actor who comes to mind.
Yet, tonight on TBS, Buscemi stars in a new series, “Miracle Workers,” a comedy which depict heaven as a business office. The angel in charge of sifting through prayers and investigating the interesting ones is played by Daniel Radcliffe. High-powered casting, huh? It includes Tituss Burgess, Margaret Cho, and Tim Meadows.
Other shows debuting this week are “Lorena,” a four-part take on Lorena Bobbitt’s severing of her husband’s penis, as explored by Jordan Peele on Netflix on Friday; “The Umbrella Academy,” also Friday on Netflix, about a family of superheroes played by Ellen Page, Mary J. Blige, and Tom Hopper among others; and “Proven Innocent,” also on Friday, but this time on Fox (Channel 29) about a law firm that specializes in exonerating the unjustly convicted. Kelsey Grammer stars in a cast that also features ‘
“Mad Men’s” Vincent Kartheiser and “Book of Mormon’s” Nikki M. James.
‘Doogie’ co-star on stage in Philly
“Doogie Howser” fans might be interested to know one of the featured actors on that program, Lawrence Pressman, is currently in the region doing a stage turn at Philadelphia’s Quintessence Theatre.
Pressman, who played Dr. Canfield, teenage Doogie’s supervisor at the hospital, is doing a far different role in Quintessence’s engrossing production of “Awake and Sing,” by Philadelphian Clifford Odets and running through Sunday, Feb. 24.
He’s the grandfather of the focal character, Ralphie, and an ardent Socialist who brought his ideas from Europe and works to inspire his grandson, an early twentysomething, with them.
Pressman’s performance is one of several gems in director Max Shulman’s illuminating staging of a well-made play that doesn’t just announce his themes but depicts a slice of life and has subplots that keep one interested in every member of the Depressionera family beset with dilemmas even as it strikes one as everyday.
His decades of experience show as Pressman exudes warmth and the disappointment of not being heeded in the family he, by age, heads. Politics are part of his character, but it isn’t the aged firebrand, talking to the one person who listens to him and seems to revere him that gets your attention. It’s the completeness of his portrayal. Pressman shows you the scholarship and lifelong dedication the grandfather has to a cause he, like Odets, thinks can improve the world. History will prove him wrong, and his daughter and family friends, are skeptical. Yet, grandfather persists while suffering the slings and arrows or those who regard him as just a noisy old man.
“Awake and Sing” is a special production. It demonstrates the value of the well-made play, the enjoyment found in broad-range storytelling, an ear for language of a time and place, and a style of playwriting that isn’t in vogue but is superior to all that is. One doesn’t have to agree with all Odets says, Pressman’s grandfather being his voice, but the way he puts the Berger family on stage rings with reality only artistry can muster and shows the ups and downs an ordinary family endures as it strives for peaceful survival and a measure of happiness.
Pressman shares the stage with other excellent actors, particularly Sabrina Profitt, who gives a tough, moving, intricately defined performance as a mother working to keep a household together; Buzz Roddy, another national television veteran who is so real he barely shows signs of acting as Ralphie’s successful uncle; and Lee Cortopassi as a neighborhood sharpie and petty criminal who does well and has strong feelings for Ralphie’s sister.
Emilia Clarke plays Daenerys Targaryen in Season 6 of ‘Game of Thrones.’