I’ve been reading a lot about Mad Men and Game of Thrones lately. Here’s an incomplete list of some of my favorite writing on those shows from recent weeks.
* Mad Men: The Mindless Ones on nearly everything about “Tea Leaves.” Hob on subtletly and its discontents. Deborah Lipp on sexualized violence in “Mystery Date.” Matt Zoller Seitz’s synthesis of the latter two topics.
* Game of Thrones: Ryan McGee and Maureen Ryan’s podcast on the premiere, featuring insightful commentary on what you lose when every scene you show is “necessary,” a salient point of comparison between Game of Thrones and the Lord of the Rings films, and a grand unified theory of fandom. Bob Temuka on a pair of strong moments from the first season’s soundtrack, by way of a fine description of what it’s like to give yourself over to ASoIaF fandom. Josh Wigler rounding up responses to certain taboo acts of violence in the premiere. Westeros.org’s strong words on the second episode’s perceived weak spots. Rowan Kaiser on honor as a means to understanding one’s relationship to power. Alyssa Rosenberg, unique among critics, on lying in the premiere and the treatment of religion. And some further thoughts from me on the role and value of “extreme” material in the show.
* Finally, neither fish nor fowl: Willa Paskin on the Fauxpranos, i.e. middling melodramas with delusions of great-TV grandeur. I’d swap out Boardwalk Empire, which was never less than entertaining and got genuinely weird and great by the back half of the second season, for The Walking Dead, which was sold as a zombie analog for AMC’s other great shows but, to put it mildly, isn’t.