Game of Thrones Season 2 Blu-ray Review
March 6, 2013
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It could easily be argued that currently, television is leagues ahead of film as far as consistent quality is concerned. We’re in a golden age of television, where cable programs dominate during awards shows and take over water cooler discussions. Programs such as “The Walking Dead,” “Homeland” and “Game of Thrones” are among the most popular series in years.
While the second season of “Game of Thrones” is strong, it’s not able to maintain that exact quality that was special about its first season. Rather than move at the somewhat frenetic pace set during its freshman effort, its second season moves more slowly. However, as irritating as this might be, it’s actually quite normal for a show of this size.
There are only two shows on TV that have casts of this size and that use them on a regular basis; “Downton Abbey” and “Game of Thrones.” The odd thing is, both shows have problems with how they deal with time as a character. “Game of Thrones,” at times, moves too slowly. “Downton Abbey,” on the other hand (particularly during season two), moves too quickly.
This causes problems for some of the story lines in “Game of Thrones,” specifically for one of the most interesting characters, Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke).
When you finish season two and look back on what her character did, it’s almost laughable. She had some of the most interesting plot points in season one, and for the most part, season two just saw her spinning her wheels until the very end.
The same can’t be said for many of the others. Arya Stark’s (Maisie Williams) story is enjoyable and it moves at a strong pace that lends itself well to the overall plot. Peter Dinklage continues to be the series’ strongest piece, and watching him maneuver around the areas where Ned Stark (Sean Bean) failed during season one is a joy.
With a show as dense and populated as “Game of Thrones,” it’s bound to have some stories that misfire, but it stings when it comes from a character that proved to be immensely entertaining, such as Daenerys.
As far as Blu-ray extras go, there’s the mainstay behind the scenes, but also included are some strong features that were present on the season one set. Character profiles play like promotional material that was released right before the season began. They’re compiled on the disc in an easy “play all” function that runs about 15 minutes and highlights many of the main characters.
There’s also “Histories & Lore,” which acts as a great information drop for people who want more in depth information on characters and houses that aren’t as high profile as others, including House Tyrell. This information comes from actors (as their characters) doing voice-over, which is played with beautiful drawings that look more like storyboards than anything else.
Much of the information provided might seem a bit repetitive to readers of the book, but the “Religions of Westeros” piece is wonderfully compiled and extremely compelling. Author George R.R. Martin provides brief synopses of each of the main religions in the show while explaining the main beliefs surrounding them.
Also included in the supplemental materials is a conversation with many of the actors on the show, as well as a comprehensive look at the creation of one of season two’s most compelling set pieces, the Battle of Blackwater Bay.
While the show looked great when it was broadcast last year, it was only in 1080i. Now on Blu-ray it’s presented in full 1080p HD, and it looks spectacular. The video is about on par with the season one release, and represents the overall look of the show brilliantly. With so many different locations and sets where the series shoots, the Blu-ray showcases it about as perfectly as it could possibly be.
There are commentaries on every episode, in comparison to the seven that were featured on the season one set. Each commentary pairs different groups of actors and crew members, such as Alfie Allen (Theon Grejoy) and Gemma Whelan (Yara Grejoy), who play siblings on the show.
Their banter is entertaining, and like many commentaries they allow the audience to listen in on some key points, while providing bits and pieces of information whenever they feel necessary.
Some of the best bits from Allen and Whelan’s commentary on episode two, “The Night Lands,” are their hilarious observations during the sex scenes. What makes this even better is the fact that Allen has a sex scene in the episode, and the two end up getting to talk over it.
It’s difficult to top one of the best first seasons of any show ever, and while “Game of Thrones” falters a bit in its second season effort, it’s still one of the most compelling and visually stunning series on television.
HBO and the team behind the show have put together a gorgeous season two Blu-ray that won’t disappoint fans.