Was 'Game of Thrones' as Bad as Its Early Reviews?

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The early reviews weren't kind to Game of Thrones, HBO's $60 million adaptation of fantasy author's George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire novels. Slate's Troy Patterson's called it "quasi-medieval, dragon-ridden fantasy crap" in his review last week, while Ginia Bellafante of The New York Times questioned why a network known best for showbiz comedies and urban dramas would even bother with fantasy. Fans of the genre will be pleased to learn last night's premiere is playing better with critics today than those early notices would indicate.

  • The opening sequence, which features a violent encounter with the 'White Walker' monsters, in particular has drawn praise. Time's James Poniewozik said the set piece "[scared] the bejesus out of me." Entertainment Weekly's Ken Tucker agreed, writing "ominousness was established immediately" with the sequence.
  • The impressive opening credit sequence, which integrates a map of the show's kingdom of Westeros, is also being hailed as a triumph."The animated map opening title sequence is up to the standards of some of the best HBO has used," sais Hit Fix's Alan Sepinwall. The design was certainly a "clever gesture," agreed Douglas Wolk of the Los Angeles Times, though it hardly helped him keep the show's "flabbergasting number of characters, relationships and settings straight" for the first episode
  • The lack of prominent female characters was of concern to USA Today's Whitney Matheson after she watched the premiere. "As a female viewer, I found little to love about G0T," wrote Matheson. She cited "the pointless, sexualized female nudity...[and] the way most female characters were shown either standing by their men or, frankly, servicing them" as areas of concern. Jennifer Armstrong of Entertainment Weekly saw things differently. The premiere, in Armstrong's estimation, left "no doubt that among the seemingly infinite cast there are women — and memorable ones, at that."

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