We're launching a new column here at Movies.com that's all about TV. Sure it seems a bit contradictory on the surface, but we're now entering a time when the line between movies and television is becoming increasingly blurred. Plenty of heavy hitting talent from the former are entering the fray of the latter, and when you've got a longtime television veteran like Joss Whedon directing one of the biggest films of all time, and you've got high profile feature filmmakers directing TV episodes for the first time, it's time movie lovers who have discounted TV put away any 'small screen' prejudice.
Case in point, HBO's Game of Thrones, one of the most impressive stories being told these days in any medium. Its scale and deft navigation of such a complex, sprawling hybrid of fantasy, politics and war is compelling week in and week out. The show, an adaptation of George R.R. Martin's long-running A Song of Ice and Fire series of novels, was conceived in part by David Benioff, who hit the big screen with a high note (25th Hour) before being involved with a chain of mediocre films that included Troy, Stay, and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The other mind responsible for shepherding it along at HBO is D.B. Weiss, who has been involved with screenplays for Halo, Ender's Game, a remake of They Live and a prequel to I Am Legend, though those have yet to find their green lights.
The show has had a few feature filmmakers direct episodes - Daniel Minahan (Series 7: The Contenders) directed a trio in Season 1; Alan Taylor, who directed a half-dozen of the series' finer episodes, is directing Thor 2 - so far, but it has cherry picked one of its biggest episodes for a director used to guiding big screen carnage: Neil Marshall. He of Dog Soldiers, The Descent, Doomsday and Centurion directed the penultimate episode of Season 2, premiering this Sunday. It's all about the Battle of Blackwater, by far the most intense war set piece in the story so far, and if you're familiar with Marshall's work, you can know why Benioff and Weiss set the episode aside for him. Centurion, in particular, might as well have been his audition tape.
Check out the preview for "Blackwater" below. And if you're not up to speed on the show, don't worry, there are no spoilers in it, just a penetrating sense of foreboding that gives fantasy battle geeks like me goosebumps.
If you haven't seen Centurion, we recommend it. It's got Michael Fassbender leading a mean men-on-a-mission story that's soaked in blood and marrow. It'll make a fantastic double bill (it's streaming on Netflix) with this weekend's Thrones episode, we guarantee it.
Reel TV will return next week with a look at all the new shows networks recently announced and their ties to movies.
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