Game of Thrones : Season 1

  • Network: HBO
  • Series Premiere Date: Apr 17, 2011
Season #: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Metascore
80

Generally favorable reviews - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 28
  2. Negative: 0 out of 28

Where To Watch

Stream On

Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: David Hinckley
    Apr 18, 2011
    60
    For the nongeeks among us, watching HBO's sprawling new fantasy drama Game of Thrones is the epic TV version of trying to sort out the Middle East. That doesn't make it a bad show, and certain elements like the production can be savored by all.
  2. Reviewed by: Mark A. Perigard
    Apr 18, 2011
    58
    Those who love the books will probably geek out on the series. The rest of us may have a harder time sitting through Game of Thrones.
  3. Reviewed by: Ed Bark
    Apr 14, 2011
    58
    But oh the machinations. And diversions. And overly long, leisurely scenes that keep sinking Game of Thrones into a quicksand of its own making.
  4. Reviewed by: Hal Boedeker
    Apr 25, 2011
    40
    The epic fantasy series is lavish, violent and often quite nasty. Most crucially, this adaptation of George R.R. Martin's "Song of Ice and Fire" book series is unnecessarily difficult to follow.
  5. Reviewed by: Ginia Bellafante
    Apr 14, 2011
    40
    If you are not averse to the Dungeons & Dragons aesthetic, the series might be worth the effort. If you are nearly anyone else, you will hunger for HBO to get back to the business of languages for which we already have a dictionary.
  6. Reviewed by: Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Apr 8, 2011
    40
    The production has a satisfyingly brooding, ominous look and it's possible to see the basic appeal for role-players and other fans of a realm that provides a limitless playing field for their own imaginations. Thrones also has wolf pups, which is always cool. But then we're back to the familiar favorites of the infantile.
User Score
9.2

Universal acclaim- based on 3663 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 12 out of 453
  1. Apr 21, 2011
    10
    Having not read the books, I was thoroughly surprised by the series and found myself enjoying it so far immensely. The show is good becauseHaving not read the books, I was thoroughly surprised by the series and found myself enjoying it so far immensely. The show is good because the original author retains control, a "realistic" element runs strong and the backgrounds and extras are adequately fleshed out. Can't wait for more. Full Review »
  2. Apr 18, 2011
    4
    Coming from the perspective of someone who hasn't read George R. R. Martin's novels, but who is a massive fan of high-quality TV drama, I haveComing from the perspective of someone who hasn't read George R. R. Martin's novels, but who is a massive fan of high-quality TV drama, I have to confess that, for me, Game of Thrones started in an underwhelming way. Not only that, it shows many worrying signs of being a bit of a stinker, in spite of the effort put into its undoubtedly fancy production design.

    Having read my fair share of fantasy series in years gone by, in the run-up to the Game of Thrones debut I found myself deeply curious as to what it was that made this series sufficiently distinct as to be worthy of a big-budget TV adaptation. So far, I'm not sure. Cliché abounds in the first episode, from unfunny jokes about fat kings to the awkward acquisition of symbolic familiars, from steroidally-enhanced, woad-daubed barbarians (wearing mascara) to rumblings of trouble 'brewing in the north', there's little to set the subject matter apart from the legion of other fantasy universes out there which readers swear blind to be 'brilliant' but that, to many outsiders of the genre, typically seem a little bit silly.

    Clearly a great deal of money has been lavished on the series however, with lots of candles, beautiful haircuts, distinctly cut leather armour and fur-trimmed cloaks aplenty. I do have to query why all this pageantry been assembled though - beyond providing a sort of Hercules: The Legendary Adventures for grown ups. And certainly the pilot boasts symbols of maturity - topless ladies appear every fifteen minutes or so, and brooding men with swords frequently use naughty words - but the whole thing, to me, seemed overbearingly camp and, unfortunately, riddled with adolescent preoccupations. Admittedly, there is serious subject matter here, with baddies engaged in incest and hints at the severe duties involved in courtly life, but I ultimately couldn't believe in the universe that the series-makers had fashioned for me, and as a result felt rather like I was watching people play dress-up rather than an exploration of the genuine issues to which the characters were party. So far then, the next big thing in the current Golden Age of TV this ain't.

    I'm not suggesting that fans of the swords and sorcery genre won't enjoy Game of Thrones - I imagine that many will - but I would suggest that few viewers who don't will be won over by this pilots' limited charms. It is refreshing to see Peter Dinklage given a central role in a series, and it's also great to see Joseph Mawle receiving some prime-time exposure, but the cast are hard-pressed to convince while discussing such clangingly unreal topics as orphaned dire wolf pups or their eagerness to sell family members into sex slavery. And on that topic, the pilot's eagerness to see women sexually exploited is, to me, a little worrying, and risks alienating many potential viewers before it's even got going.

    Undeniably, creating 'grown up' fantasy series' is a tough business, and Game of Thrones' pilot does seem to hint that there will be more depth to proceedings as things develop, but to put Game of Thrones on a level with other top-tier HBO or AMC output is unthinkable. Even The Walking Dead, the subject matter of which many might have thought beyond the interest of the average viewer, managed to fashion itself into a series that was, for the most part, mature and intriguing. Likewise, Mad Men's debut introduced us to a sexist culture in ways that left viewers reeling, and The Soprano's spent time exploring how counterproductive its characters' regressive views were, encouraging us to look at its characters as incredibly dangerous buffoons, and anything but stereotypes.

    In its own pilot however, Game of Thrones fails to show any of this promise, or that, in this post-Gladiator, post-Lord of the Rings world, that 'fantasy' has grown up. Although fans of Sean Bean's work in The Black Death, or such similar efforts as Nicholas Cage's recent The Season of the Witch or Michael J. Bassett's Solomon Kane, might lap up Game of Thrones as a big step forward for the genre, those of us looking for nuance, tension, believability - or even plausibility - in a drama set in an imaginary world full of axes, horses and mud... well, it looks like we're destined to be disappointed by this one.
    Full Review »
  3. Apr 17, 2011
    10
    Through one episode this is a wonderful adaptation. The writers thought thru each line of dialogue giving us the viewer insight into the worldThrough one episode this is a wonderful adaptation. The writers thought thru each line of dialogue giving us the viewer insight into the world of Westeros. The art direction and the production of the show is stellar. Sean Bean as Eddard Stark is amazing in his understated reserve but the true praise goes to Peter Dinklage. If the powers that be were to open their eyes to fantasy shows they will see this piece of truly grand workmanship. Us geeks envisioned Peter as Tyrion and he truly brought the character to life. Granted he only has a couple of scenes and those scenes run for a mere seconds but they were doozies. Especially the scene with Jon Snow. Of course Ghost was to have tried to take a piece of him but hey you have to lose a few items during the adaption. If you have read the books then this is a winner. Full Review »