(The ten best dramas of 2012 will be revealed on Hulu’s homepage each weekday of this week. To view the rest of the list, click here.)
5 – Game of Thrones
No one warned me that when you begin to watch this series, that it would be much like starting a love affair with a wild, cunning, erratic, and irresistible paramour who would leave me with nothing but a cheese wheel and inexplicably faded polaroid pictures scattered about my bedroom. If you think that last sentence was graphic, then Game of Thrones is not for you. In fact, this Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated series is not for the faint of heart, the weak of mind, the queasy of stomach, or the flighty of character: No, this series requires commitment – or more appropriately, it evokes commitment from its unsuspecting audience. And we’re not talking about just any run-of-the-mill haphazard attachment, but rather the kind of dedication that can be likened to a gymnast training for the Olympics, or a hipster training himself to publicly shun convention while sanctimoniously building his blogging career by dogmatically glorifying sub-prime pop culture digital mash-up musicians.
To be frank, when the first season ended and I found out that the second season wasn’t returning until Spring of 2012, I nearly checked myself into Betty Ford for treatment of a level 3 addiction. And I won’t even brush upon the soul-sucking abyss that became my media-consuming life after the end of the second season. I wore black and lit a candle every night for two weeks to properly mourn. To put it in short: Game of Thrones is one of, if not the best-written drama series on television. And it’s not because I adore fantasy/Sci-Fi content (even though I do), nor is it because I want to marry Peter Dinklage (even though I do), nor is it because Game of Thrones is the third-most watched series in the history of HBO, and it’s not even because the series has won over 17 awards – from Emmy’s to Golden Globes to SAGs.
It’s because I can’t remember getting this excited about the return of a series since I found out that Family Guy was getting picked up again by Fox. It’s because I’ve unconsciously and inappropriately started speaking in a botched British accent at work meetings and awkward social gatherings. It’s because Lord Eddard Stark has begun showing up in my dreams, all headless and vengeful and seething for King Geoffrey’s head.
The creators of Game of Thrones have boldly managed to emblazon this multi-pronged plotline and these provocatively unpredictable characters into my shamelessly impressionable, fantasy-obsessed mind. They’ve got me. This kind of crazed captivation also amply explains why HBO is scornfully able to end one season with a cliff-hanger episode, only to return no less than half a year later to find that not only have they eluded audience erosion, but, in fact, their audience has amplified two-fold. Not many series can achieve this kind of oligarchical, suspended success amidst a six-month dark period.
To put it simply: This series has gravitas. The story-line is fun, the setting is fantastical, the characters are dark, interesting, and complex. Love, war, and magic. Childhood imagination and wonder meets the darker, more insidious longings of adult currencies like power, greed and sex. Wherever this series goes I shall follow – and it’s no wonder that about 10 million weekly viewers feel the same way. Let the countdown to Season 3 begin, and the countdown to best series end, because, if it’s just my decision, Game of Thrones has taken the gold. Um, crown, that is.—Brooke Citron