In this division-riven age, thank God there’s finally something we can all agree on: That the concluding season of “Game of Thrones” sucked. The consensus seems to be that the only thing that could have possibly made it worse was if Madonna turned up to sing a new theme song.
In what must surely be the most futile act since since Howard Schultz mulled a presidential bid over coffee, more than 1 million people signed a petition last week calling on HBO to remake season eight of “GOT” with “competent writers.”
Explaining his move, the petition originator — a Texan called Dylan D. — stated: “There is so much awful crap going on in the world, people like me need to escape into things like ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Game of Thrones.’ I didn’t make this petition to be an entitled, whiny fan. I made it because I was immensely disappointed and needed to vent.”
He didn’t suggest exactly how the final season could have been improved (“You don’t need to be a mechanic to know your car is broken,” ran his logic), but I’m guessing it probably involved the Starks organizing a petition to remove Cersei Lannister from office in search of “competent” leaders.
Of course, the world’s first thoughts upon reading this were: “What an entitled, whiny fan.” Mine was that the makers of the “Seinfeld” and “Lost” finales were lucky to live in a simpler age where TV trials were conducted around water coolers and not on Twitter or Change.org.
Sadly for Dylan D. and his backers, much like a certain person’s plans for kingdom domination, this will — spoiler alert, petition signers — all end in failure.
There is more chance of HBO commissioning a second season of “Vinyl” than revisiting the final season of “GOT” (for starters, I hear the dragon is Hollywood-bound and no longer considering small-screen roles). And while it’s one thing to bring a show like “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” back from the dead, Night King-style, it is inconceivable that HBO would even consider such a crazy suggestion (still, it’s safe to assume that the actor playing Bran Stark, Isaac Hempstead Wright, didn’t see this particular twist coming).
Instead, “GOT” fans will have to console themselves with the thought that author George R.R. Martin will/may eventually finish the final two books in the series and that HBO is not exactly packing its “GOT” props away. A prequel called “The Long Night,” starring Naomi Watts and John Simm, is rushing ahead with all the speed of a gray direwolf, while several other prequels are reportedly in the works for those unwilling to leave Westeros.
Still, for those “GOT” fans willing to move on, here are five offering hope that there is life beyond [SPOILER] one molten iron throne…
‘His Dark Materials’
The good news for “GOT” fans is that author Philip Pullman concluded his beloved “Dark Materials” trilogy nearly 20 years ago. The bad news is that a previous screen version fell at the first hurdle when the initial installment, “The Golden Compass,” flopped in 2007.
This HBO-BBC co-production looks the part and is star-studded — the cast includes James McAvoy, “The Affair” star Ruth Wilson and “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda — and, based on the recently released trailer, does a nice line in armored polar bears (and frankly, who can blame them after we melted their homes?).
The inclusion of two former “GOT” cast members, James Cosmo (Jeor Mormont) and Lucian Msamati (Salladhor Saan), should make fans of the George R.R. Martin epic feel at home, with “Materials” set to debut later this year.
Cast of hundreds? Check. Beloved source material? Check. HBO production? Check. Sure, Damon Lindelof’s upcoming adaptation of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ graphic novel is more superhero movie than fantasy epic, but this still looks like a world that angry petition writers could get swept into.
As if keen to head off any suspicious “Watchmen” fans, Lindelof already posted a five-page letter on Instagram, assuring them that the original is “sacred ground” and that his 10-part series — due this fall — will be a remix.
Stars include Jeremy Irons (who was one of the few Brits who failed to appear in “GOT”), Don Johnson, Regina King and Tim Blake Nelson. The trailer recalls Lindelof’s previous show, “The Leftovers,” which, in case you’re wondering, is A Very Good Thing.
‘The Lord of the Rings’
Tired of picking up awards but few viewers with shows like “Transparent,” Amazon is changing tack and going all-in on high profile big hitters like this planned five-season adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Rings” trilogy.
If you’re wondering whether the world really needs another trip to Middle Earth less than two decades after Peter Jackson’s epic movie series, you’re not alone. Still, it’s not hard to see the attraction of what for many is the ultimate fantasy tale — even if Tolkien wasn’t exactly big on sexposition.
One thought: Is it sizeist to wonder whether there might be a role for Peter Dinklage when Frodo and his pals head off to Mount Doom?
While fans will have to wait a long time for “TLOTR” to reach the small screen (no cast or directors announced, just a couple of hot-shot young writers behind the upcoming “Flash Gordon” remake), this adaptation of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s oh-so-British 1990 comic novel “Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch” debuts on Amazon at the end of May.
Featuring nothing less than a battle to bring about the End of Days (or as evangelical Christians like to call it, the ultimate feel-good story), “Good Omens” boasts a couple of great British actors — Michael Sheen and David Tennant — as an angel and demon trying to prevent the end of the world, with Jon Hamm as Archangel Gabriel and Brian Cox as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Looks like fun for anyone still mourning the fate of King’s Landing.
Not wanting to be left out of the fantasy genre, Netflix has been flexing its financial muscles in recent times with some splashy rights deals. Top of the list is its purchase of C.S. Lewis’ “Narnia Chronicles” series, which definitely includes a lion, a witch and a wardrobe, but my memory gets a bit hazy after that.
Lest this prove too childish for “GOT” fans, there is also “Cursed” from “Sin City” creator Frank Miller and writer Tim Wheeler, offering a new take on the Arthurian legend, and “The Witcher,” based on a series of books by Polish fantasy writer Andrzej Sapkowski.
In the latter, Henry Cavill (the world’s blandest Superman) will play Geralt of Rivia, a mercenary monster hunter who crosses paths with a powerful sorceress and a mysterious young princess. The 10-part series drops on Netflix this fall, and Cavill’s Lucius Malfoy-esque white wig has, as you would expect, elicited not a single derogatory comment on Twitter.
Finally, one more piece of bad news for Dylan D., whose two favorite worlds are set to collide in 2022 when those “incompetent writers” David Benioff and D.B. Weiss will premiere their as-yet-untitled “Star Wars” project. Still, at least this gives Dylan plenty of time to either start his next petition or learn how to fix cars.
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