Press

Televisionary: “blown away” by pilot

The writer of the popular TV blog Televisionary recently had a chance to watch the pilot of Game of Thrones. In a recent post, he mentions the Dany recasting news and drops in his thoughts on the pilot.

The Chicago Tribune‘s Maureen Ryan is reporting that British actress Emilia Clarke (Doctors) has stepped into the role of Daenerys on HBO’s upcoming fantastic series Game of Thrones, replacing Tamzin Merchant, who left the project. Production will begin in July with reshoots scheduled for the pilot episode, which featured several actors who have since left the project, including Merchant and Jennifer Ehle. [Editor: I watched the original Game of Thrones pilot last week and was blown away. HBO has knocked it out of the park with this one.]

Winter Is Coming: Ok, first off, I am now extremely jealous of Jace, who runs Televisionary. As far as I know, he is the first member of the press to see the pilot. If HBO ever feels like they need another blogger to screen the pilot, I’d be happy to oblige …

But seriously, the fact that Jace was “blown away” and that he is saying HBO “knocked it out of the park” is a very good sign. Jace is a well-respected blogger that has watched a ton of shows so for him to heap such superlative praise on a rough cut of a pilot is a good sign.

As to the “several” parts that have been recast, I’m hoping it was just awkward phrasing and he means that only the two roles we already know about have been recast. Would hate to have to hear of another recasting. I will try to clarify what he meant with that statement.

UPDATE: Televisionary tweeted that as far as he knows only those two roles have been recast and that his awkward phrasing was due to a lack of sleep. Whew! Crisis averted.

UPDATE (05/30/10): The Rabbit asked Televisionary, “I know it would be pretty subjective, but can you say who was the most impressive among the cast?” Televisionary replied: Lena Headey, Sean Bean, Harry Lloyd, Peter Dinklage all great. Kit Harington very strong as Jon Snow. A great cast overall.

Good to hear! Thanks, Wabbit!

[Thanks to The_Rabbit for the link!]

108 Comments

  • Cool news, and a nice post to feel the void before the next piece of casting news. I read the tweets about his reaction, but was not able to put it into context as I wasn't familiar with the blog's (and the writer's) reach.

        • Let's hope it meant for small, non-speaking roles like Septa Mordane or Myrcella, who after they're cast for season 1 are replace by the new actors.

          • This was what I thought he meant by several. We already knew that they were thinking of recasting pilot non-speaking parts when the show got picked up.

      • I'm hoping that it was just awkwardly phrased and what he meant was "there were several recastings, which include the Merchant recasting that I already mentioned, the other being Jennifer Ehle."

        I'm going to try and clarify with him what he meant.

    • I agree. The three most important roles right now are filled by Peter, Sean and Lena. Just my opinion of course.

      • I must disagree, the most important roles are Jon, Dany and Tirion, the show will rise or fall on them.

    • Agreed. I'm going to be really upset if it's Dinklage. To me it seems most likely that it's either Lena Headey, because of the new baby or Sean Bean because of other roles.

      More waiting, I guess. Why does it feel Iike every time we have good news there is some bad news too?

    • Oops meant to edit and canceled. Oh well Dinklage is the only one I'd be majorly disappointed if he 'walked away' was the jist of it.

  • I am so jealous right now. Anyway I'm filled with hope for the show! Good response is always awesome :-)

    And since this is my first post here: Thanks for keeping us updated WiC, HmR and FaB ;-) I check this site for news everyday!!

  • Totally jealous too. In fact, its a little surreal to know that there is a near-complete version of the pilot in existence. It needs some re-shooting and probably a music score and SFX-work… but is still awesome that it exists and has had such positive reactions. Too bad we have to wait so long to see it. It is fun though.

  • I already read the tweet via The_Rabbit en WiC, but I didn't knew who the guy was. It still gave me goosebumps though, and when i just read this post it gave me even more goosebumps. "Knocked it out off the park," what more can you wish for. I read his blog a bit more (trying to avoid Lost-spoilers) and then saw that his new favourite comedy was Community! Now I can have faith in his opinion, it's by far the best new comedyshow in years.

      • Watched ep1 of community the other day. It was okay and even if the pilot didnt knock my socks of it still have potentiol.

        But if you are a fan of shows like The Shield, Sons of Anarchy and the Wire I do recommend Justified on FX

        • Hah, love all the shows you recommend here. And Justified is the best new one-hour show of the year. You should watch a few more episodes of community though, the chemistry between the cast really picks up from episode 3, the first two episodes are a bit below average.

          • I will.

            Do you know that poor Lem ( Kenny Johnson) will show up in SoA season 3? ;-)
            And in Justified we have Shane (Walton Goggins)
            Vic (Michael Chiklis) has probarly drawn the shortest straw with the new series No Ordinary Family

  • This is such awesome news, this series seems to be living up to my expectations nicely! I'm so impatient for it to air right now, but I know they need to get it done right and to build hype for ratings.

  • Wow, yeah. In my experience “several” usually means more than three, but definitely more than two. Like others have said before me, Dinklage would be the main loss.

    If I had to guess, of course, I’d say a new mom would be a candidate.

  • he was blown away by the pilot … which now has had two of it's main actors (at least) replaced … i am not sure that is entirely a good thing. if it was so great why the need to recast them? hmmmm. still overall a good thing to hear from a respected and experienced tv blogger but i still have to wonder if he was so blown away if the changes are really upgrades.

    • We know that the Ehle replacement was not HBO's decision. Meaning Ehle bowed out, likely due to family reasons. Hopefully Fairley can fill Ehle's shoes. I'm pretty confident she will do a good job.

      As for the Merchant recasting, I'm thinking it may have been performance based. Only because everyone has remained so silent about the reason for the recast, where with the Ehle recast HBO was quick to point out it was not her performance that necessitated the change. If that is the case, than it is a good thing they are making a change there.

      I'm sure the pilot could still blow you away even if Merchant gave an uneven performance. I mean the child actors could have really impressed him, or the sets or costumes. Or Dinklage, Headey, Bean, etc. Point is, D&D apparently knocked it out of the park on their first go, imagine what they can do this time around.

    • Of course no good television series in history has ever gone through such a mind-numbingly drastic development as re-casting a couple of roles…

  • No, please, just not Lena Headey! Her Cersei is the role I'm most looking forward to see … She's such an awesome actress … The other one (besides Peter Dinklage, of course, whose loss I'd mourne for months) I'd hate to lose is Sean Bean, obviously (and I already dislike the replacement of Jeniffer Ehle, though that is based solely on my admiration of her, I have nothing against Michelle Fairley).
    But am convined HBO doesn't have any more unpleasant surprises in store for us ( … please?).

    After seeing Ridley Scott's Robin Hood I am not so sure about Mark Addy anymore, I hope they don't just make him a decadent fatty (with all due respect) but also show the other side of his character. And I hope his able to bring that to the screen (I haven't seen much of him before).

    Apart from that – the whole news souds awesome – can't believe some lucky bastards have the privilege to see the pilot in this early stage and his praise does sound encouraging. Oh, when will they finally start filming and more importantly, when will we finally be able to see it? (rhetorical questions, obviously)

    • Have you seen Mark Addy in other roles? I have, and I think he's a solid performer. I haven't seen Robin Hood, but it's been pretty roundly panned by every major critic. Especially for more supporting roles, sometimes there's nothing an actor can do with bad material. (And the script was apparently a super butcher job – in the original iteration of the script, the Sheriff of Nottingham was the hero/protagonist!)

      • I'm curious. Are you reading American or British reviews? The American reviews I've seen have been tepid at worst (C+ average on yahoo). If it's the Brits you see who are panning it I have to wonder what their take would have been if Ridley Scott had just treated it as an original alternate history/fictional kingdom story with different character names instead of trying to retcon the Robin Hood mythology? Personally I enjoyed the movie once I got past that aspect of it. Aside from King John, that is. Blech.

    • My take on Robert has always been that he mostly was a decadent fatty and a complete failure as a king. Of course nothing is ever that cut and dried in ASOIAF and you have to include the fact that he KNOWS he's a failure as a king.

      Personally I liked Addy's portrayal of Friar Tuck. I could see him doing justice to Robert.

    • whats this…intensedebate is letting me comment…wow its been a while. luckily enough i still no how this typing thing works ;D

      just wanted to say, i thought addy did a great job as Tuck, and hopefully can play the once great yet now diminished warrior well.

      and am i the only one that loved robin hood? yes it has its flaws, but some critics just like a good piss and moan. i for one enjoyed it alot.

      also finished steel and snow – i. love.these. books

      • You're not alone on the Robin Hood fnabase, Gaz. I found it much better than the critics say.

        And Cate Blanchett… how talented and beautiful this woman can get?

        Let's not start talking on the old Mark Strong= Stannis thread, for fear of not being able to accept whomever gets the role.

        • I DID like his performance as Tuck, it's just miles away from what I expect Robert to be. Saying that, I am of course aware that his acting skills alow him to portray two completely different characters but I was just concerned that they may go for just one of Robert's faces. After all, the same Robert that defeated the dragon blood is still somewhere there underneath it all …

          And as for Robin Hood – I'm a fan of Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven (more or less) and had big expectations and was disappointed. That's all.

        • cate was incredible – when i heard she was marion, i (shamefully) thought hmmmm would mind a young piece of eye candy, but she was outstanding in the role and stunningly beautiful.

          im a big scott fan and (the extended version of) Kingdom of heaven is one of my all time favourites, and robin hood didnt disappoint. but thats all a different topic.

          my personal shouts are

          Mark Strong – stannis
          David Thewlis – Roose Bolton
          Damian Lewis – Lightning Lord

  • Rabbit is doing so much work I think he should be brought in offically WIC…let him have his own house…it’s well deserved…I curious Rabbit…what house are you ?0

  • I’m thinking Mr.Gude might be correct…I gotta a real bad feeling Ms.Lannister has also been recast ….this Televisonary guy isn’t some rookie….he sure gave the impression with his words that there’s been much cast changes …God…we need clarification right now….I don’t think I’ll be able to sleep tonight lol…thanks Mr.Gude !

  • After doing some investigating (er, firing off a couple of emails) I discovered that the writer on the blog is a former TV insider, and is certainly reliable. He also appears to be the only journalist who has a copy of the pilot so far.

    My take on his comment was that it was also including those 'extra' actors, like Myrcella, Rickon and Tommen, who may need to be replaced for the series itself. The only two prominent actors out appear to be Ehle and Merchant.

  • Lol…I didn’t know that …lol…a girl ?….WOW…your a serious nerd Rabbit…cool your a chick…that’s wicked….ok…then give HER, her own house lol

  • I think we need to chill down on the Heady-recasting. This is some heavy speculation of the highest order. First we speculate that there are more recastings (that I can understand), and on top of that we're speculating that it might be Heady. It's pretty much based on nothing, so let's stop scaring people.

    • I agree. The Televisionary may have worded that post poorly OR could be mistaken. And Lena Headey knew she was pregnant when the pilot was filmed (if NCW's interview is any indication). It's possible and even understandable that she might drop out, but let's not freak out over nothing.

  • If there were any more big characters being recast I think we would know about it by now. Either due to the auditions that would have been taking place (as with Dany) or an announcement (as with Catelyn).

  • I'm insanely jealous of this blogger who got to see the pilot. It's a little embarrassing, actually.

  • I agree with not freaking out, and sorry for any undue alarm. It was just speculation, and I hope is being taken as such.

  • Thankyou Fire and Blood …heart rate slowing down now
    @Emily…I like those words…

  • Jace needs to write a full on review, with details. Why else would they have given him the pilot to watch, if not to review it?

      • I seriously doubt that is going to happen, for the primary reason that the pilot Jace saw includes footage of Jennifer Ehle and Tamzin Merchant that HBO will want to keep buried. Not as a slight to the two actresses … but if their replacements fail (in any way) to live up to the originals' performances, internet rage, on this site and others, will be hot and heavy. And there's no way HBO would throw Fairley and Clarke under the bus like that.

    • Yeah, I doubt a full-blown review is coming, but I did send Jace an email when I made the post asking for clarification on his recasting statement and if he would be able to give us a bit more detail about his thoughts on the pilot. Thankfully, he cleared up the recasting statement in his tweet to Westeros but I'm still hoping he emails back with some more thoughts.

      • Yeah, I'm 100% agreeing he should review it, but I'm 99% sure he won't do it for the obvious reasons you guys state. Besides, he already gave the best review there is! Still, how insanely awesome would it be to have a little more details..

        Also, I'm afraid that if they're going to show it to more people (still wondering if HBO already showed it to more press) they won't be showing it to you Winter. They'll show it to people with kind of a blank slate (is that an english term?), because if it would be you they probably don't know what kind of reaction they'll get from the core fanbase. Will expectations rise too high, will they be nitpicking all over the place or will your review scare off the core fanbase. It's too many unbalanced factors that don't weigh in to your favour. It's probably best for HBO to get all the subscriptions in and let the fans review it for themselves instead of one of the biggest fans (WiC) review it for them.

        This doesn't mean I sincerely hope (and wish) you'll get to see the pilot sooner today than tomorrow.

      • I'm glad that the "several" was clarified. I've never been extremely sure of the definition. The definition I'm used to is "more than two or three but less than many" but the dictionary points out that the phrase, "made several pleas" could used even if there was simply more than one.

        Anyway, good news.

  • @Mr.Gude…I don’t think apology is needed…I for one panic easily when it concerns this show…it’s all good

    • I don't want to bust your balls by playing a fake-moderator here, but there is a reply-button on each post so you don't have to do the @ like in the good old days.

  • My biggest fear is for Sean Bean. He's my favourite actor in the show, and losing him would hurt. Dinklage and even Headey, would be very unfortunate as well. I really hope they're still on board.

  • Also, someone in one of the recent threads had posted a link, to a quote from someone who had just recently seen the pilot. If I recall, the quote was "fantastic stuff!". I don't know if it was someone from the media, but there was definitely a recent quote from someone else who had just seen the pilot (unless it's another quote from the same source).

    • Same source as the quote. Also don't worry about more recastings, the blogger that wrote the word 'including' had a long night after the Lost-finale. There aren't any more recastings.

    • Greetings, Lex!
      Four days ago I commented on the 'Mo Ryan scoops new Dany'-threat after the Televisionary mentioned his (very enviable) experience for the first time: http://tinyurl.com/34rod4t
      It must have been great to watch a series pilot that so much people are speculating about… :)

  • Knurk…I like the tip …only problem is the ‘reply ‘ option isn’t coming up on my iPhone the last few days….thanks though…oh and I meant ..@Knurk :)

  • BTW, I find it kind of strange they showed him the pilot just last week. What's the point in that? Feeding the buzz a bit more?

    It would have been more logical if they did before or just after the greenlight to get a reviewers kind of view on the pilot. But now the pilot needs a lot of reshooting and the more obvious thing to do would be screening it to the press after these reshootings.

    You guys think the pilot was shown to more press last week? Can somebody on the Twitter ask him that?

    • I have no knowledge of these things, but maybe they have a select handful of people who they ask for private reviews? Meaning they view the pilot and let HBO know what they like and don't like, but it's nothing that the public will ever hear about. They may like having feedback from people who's opinions they trust to get a fresh view on their project.

      Who knows…?

    • I would like to know how he came about it, in fact. My hunch is it was nothing official (i.e. HBO is not showing it to the select pres), and he got to see it through one of his contacts.

  • Hate to be a downer, but… is there any chance he may have actually revealed more than he was supposed to, and if so, wouldn't he HAVE to say "as far as I know, just the two," rather than give away unannounced HBO news?

    • Hadn't thought about that. Good point, but I really do believe him. If any major roles were to be recast, we would have heard of it by now like mormegil said. Also I think this blogger is too much of a pro to spill the beans like that (HBO would probably never send him anything no more, like ever).

      • Hate to be an enabler, but there's one thing that bugs me about what Lex said. I was just remembering the "several" when I read "as far as I know, just the two." I forgot about the "including."

        The only other explanation for the inclusion of BOTH "several" and "including" in his statement is if he didn't have time to research if there were many other people who were recast (as Winter said, extras, etc.) and cast a wide net to catch any recasts other than the two he knew. If that sounds complicated, it's because it is.

        Again, this is complete speculation, but generally as a writer you try to communicate as clearly as possible, and we've established that the writer is a good writer. "A pro," as you mention. If he was trying to communicate that ONLY Merchant and Ehle left the project, there were much simpler ways to phrase it.

        The suggestion I give above is the only way I can get the phrasing to work while giving him the benefit of the doubt.

        If he REALLY used that sentence to simply communicate that both Merchant and Ehle left the project, it's kind of sloppy, which means he either wasn't sure what the words meant (which I highly doubt) or he was dashing the note off in an extreme hurry and didn't care about readability. Again, that's possible, but it's not exactly the fastest way to write that phrase, either.

        Now, Lex has a point. If he knows about other recasts but then rethought his statement after Winter asked him about it, then it works, too. To me, 'Production will begin in July with reshoots scheduled for the pilot episode, which featured several actors who have since left the project, including Merchant and Jennifer Ehle," gives us the following information:

        1) Production begins in July.
        2) The first part of the production will be reshoots of the pilot episode.
        3) The pilot episode featured several actors who have since left the project.
        4) Merchant and Ehle are two of the "several actors" who have since left the project

        At its most basic reading, at least one more actor than Merchant and Ehle left the project. If you read it any other way, you have to work pretty hard.

        Still, at this point, I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt, and imagining that he truly only knows about Merchant and Ehle, and used the words "several" and "including" to cover anyone he might not know about.

        I'm still not sure if it reads quite right, but anything else at this point is speculation. Again, I'm a paranoid guy, so take all this as you will.

    • I wouldn't read into things man. He's a blogger that stays up all night thinking about Lost (whos ending was a damn cop out IMO). He's not a follower of the developments of the show that we are. It's great that he's now excited about it though. The more buzz the better.

    • If he had any specific inside information as far as other actors being recast, he would have scooped it. He's a blogger. That's what they live and breathe for.

  • Further investigation has revealed that the Televisionary writer received the pilot 'through channels' and was not specifically given a copy by HBO, who do not want anyone (particularly journlists) seeing the 'old pilot' prior to the reshoots. That said, HBO are probably happy that the comments are building positively towards word-of-mouth about the show, but may be re-checking their security arrangements to see how the pilot got out.

  • Blogger uses lazy turn of phrase, causes hilarious over-reaction in rabid fanbase. Details at 11.

    • We're a rabid fanbase. If there's something to hilariously overreact to, we'll overreact to it. That's what we live and breathe for.

      • Im still waiting for someone to have that "oh I will just logon for a quickie after a night out and too much beer blowout"

    • I think he sleeps with it under his pillow. If it would get too public things might get legally……out of hand.

      • One way I could see it getting out to the Internet at large is if someone had it on a laptop that then got stolen, or someone held an unauthorized screening and one of the attendees snuck a camera in. Basically, there'd have to be a break in the chain between the person who got it from HBO and the person who posted it. It'd have to be posted by someone who wasn't afraid of burning any bridges between them and whomever got it from HBO.

        Also, the "unauthorized screening" scenario isn't something that I pulled out of thin air. Even in a relatively small "big city" like Seattle, there are times when someone's gotten an unauthorized copy of something and had an invite-only viewing where "donations" are encouraged to support one of the organizers' businesses. While there is moderate amount of self-policing at these things, I think it's entirely possible that a friend-of-a-friend with no special love for the organizers could walk out with a shaky hand-held copy.

        Of course this is, as every other thing I ever post on here seems to be, pure speculation. Maybe someone will actually post the full thing on a torrent somewhere because they don't care what HBO does to them, but I doubt it.

        As with cellphone footage of an unreleased song being performed in a concert, a leaked copy of the pilot won't hold up to the quality of the produced show, but would cause an instant fan frenzy.

    • I doubt it. My guess is that every version of the pilot that exists has a unique identifier somewhere in the video that would identify its source. Something gets leaked to the public, HBO gets a hold of it, and they can trace it back to the leak, at which point the firings and the lawsuits commence. It sounds clandestine but AFAIK it's pretty commonplace in corporate security these days. Most video game companies will do that sort of thing with closed alpha tests, too.

      If this is the case, my guess is that this particular blogger would not risk the blowback to his source were the video made public.

      It's kinda like how Tyrion sniffed out Cersei's informant in Clash of Kings, actually.

      • I'd agree with this. The scenarios I describe above both require one person who makes what I'd consider to be an error in judgement and a second who doesn't care that someone is going to catch hell for what they did.

        The "lost iPhone" thing with Gizmodo that Winter alluded to a couple of posts pack is pretty much the exact circumstance needed for the pilot to go public.

      • They make you believe that, but it's not true….utlimately they are too lazy, and it costs extra money anyways. Not to mention those movies get encoded so most hidden definition is lost.

    • I kinda hope that not happens, for once there are all good vibes between producers and the fan base, and all that wuold gonna go down the sewer if the pilot is leaked.
      I'm ready to wait until next spring when the show goes on air, but I know I'd be unable to restrain myself from downloading it if I know is there somewhere.

      And, after all the fuss and debate over one (ONE!!) public photo, several production shots and the portraits of half the cast members, the hell will loose if we get our fangs on this not-so-tweaked material. Just imagine what could be said on Ms. Merchant knowing she's not in the show anymore.

  • While this is good news, I have a question. If HBO "knocked it out of the park", then why are Jennifer Ehle and Tamzin Merchant no longer with the project? Re-casts are a normal part of pre and even post production, but still, if this blogger (never heard of him) says that HBO did such a good job (according to him), then wouldn't it stand to reason that perhaps toying and tinkering too much with the pilot might have an adverse effect, i.e. recasting two of the main characters, having to re-shoot parts of the pilot?

    It would be such a shame for this project to suck donkey balls out of the starting gate and drown before it even gets a proper chance to establish itself! I do not mean to sound like an a**hole, just airing some concerns…