Raked TV Madness! Who’s #1?

Well, ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner! Who won Raked TV Madness?

As a reminder, here’s the bracket as we saw it last:

After battles in each division, we were left with a fanbase faceoff: Awake versus Fringe. After the previous rounds, it was no surprise that Awake made it into the final. They knocked out defender after defender, including the procedural favorite Castle and best comedy Community because they gathered and conquered by collecting votes here and on Twitter.

On the other side was Fringe, who had a comfortable but less obvious lead in the Supernatural/Fantasy shows. It wasn’t until facing award-winning Mad Men that the fans really rallied — and rally they did. In a competition where the most votes a show got in the first round was eight, by the Final Four competition, Fringe got 120.

But who won the Championship?

Fringe wins!

After seasons of rallying to make sure their show gets renewed, it should be no surprise that Fringe won the Championship, gathering a whopping 75% of the vote. Awake made a solid effort, taking to Twitter to spread the word (and vote), but the multiple dimensions and timelines knocked out the dual realities in the end. But hey, a show that’s been on for just a month made it all the way to the final, almost taking out a cult favorite. Not too shabby.

Thanks to all who voted, and congratulations to Fringe! Now, I suppose you should turn your attention to some other Madness Championship? Nah… Toss in a DVD or check out on demand. Let’s celebrate all of our TV Madness contenders!

Game of Thrones: “The North Remembers”

GAME OF THRONES: 2.01 “The North Remembers”

Game of Thrones is finally back. I still can barely believe that one of my favorite series of novels was adapted into a big budget HBO series, let alone one that’s received such critical success. Sure, the New York Times still doesn’t get it, but I wouldn’t call the Old Gray Lady much of a font of pop culture relevance.

Anyway, the first episode of the season opens with a knight falling to his death and ends with some baby murder, with plenty of other stuff squeezed in between. It went by so fast that I had to watch the episode twice. I’d be impressed if any new viewers or non-book readers could get through the hour without their head spinning. So many plotlines and characters are introduced, but I thought the episode did a good job of loosely stringing them all together by panning back and forth to the big red comet in the sky. Despite everything going on in this episode, though, it didn’t feel too rushed. I’m hoping that’s something that can carry forward in the remaining nine episodes, because there’s a lot of ground that needs to be covered if this season is going to try to stay somewhat faithful to book two.

Some thoughts:

  • I know that some book fans aren’t huge fans of some of the original scenes in the series, but I really enjoy them. Yes, in the books Littlefinger is a bit too subtle to reveal as much has he did to Cersei, but I don’t care. The scene where she tells her guardsmen to kill him, then orders them to back off just to assert her point that “power is power” was great. On a similar note, I loved the scene in the throne room when Cersei slapped Joffrey. He looked shocked for a moment, then embarrassed that someone else may have seen it, then finally he puffed up with sociopathic rage.
  • Speaking of Joffrey, he plays such a convincing young monster. The fact that he’s a bit older in the series makes him even more terrifying. He was evil in the books for sure, though to me he felt more childishly capricious than anything else. The TV version carries much more implicit menace and malice.
  • Tyrion is just awesome. I’m looking forward to him throwing his intellect around the capitol and matching wits with the other schemers. While he’s not perfect, at least he has some moral conscience, so we can root for him and know that he’ll fare better than Ned since he understands how the game is played.
  • Because he wasn’t a point of view character in the books, Robb always seemed a little nebulous to me. He’s portrayed wonderfully here, though, with enough charisma to make him convincing as a young hero, but enough vulnerability to make him sometimes look like an anxious young man who feels lost and alone.
  • While we didn’t get to see too much of them in this episode, I liked both Davos and Stannis. Stannis is just as prickly and unpleasant as conversations from last season. He’s quite the copyeditor too.

I hope to see a little more of Jon, Dany, and Arya next week. This was a good opening though, and lays out where we’ll be going from here. I wish there were more that nine episodes left. I’d better enjoy them while I can.