Friday, March 29, 2013

Game of Zombies: What Are You Watching on Sunday?

Sunday night will host two of this year's most exciting television events: the finale of The Walking Dead's amazing third season and the return of the hotly anticipated Game of Thrones. Unfortunately for people like yours truly, those two episodes are premiering at the exact same time. Short of praying to the programming gods for forgiveness, there's little that can be done to change this, so it's time to decide which you'll be watching live. It was a difficult decision for me, but I've finally come down on the side of The Walking Dead. Here's why (and yes, here be spoilers):

The Walking Dead

1. Closure! Really, months have been leading up to this season's finale. After a slow and painful second season, The Walking Dead really brought things back into place with more action, deeper characterization, and some soul-crushing death scenes. Following last week's brilliantly depicted death of Merle, the show has a lot of momentum going into its final episode of the season. It's hard to say no to a show that rips out your heart, stomps on it, then eats it.

On the other side of the coin, Game of Thrones characters are constantly in a state of flux. Because they're fighting (often to the death) for the iron throne, action and death are frequently less shocking than the deaths of The Walking Dead's small group members. For me, it's easier to see through a conclusion and then commit to something new.

Game of Thrones

2. Group viewing. Have you ever watched Game of Thrones with more than 2 people? It's an emotionally taxing experience. Everyone has to rant about their favorite characters, and for some odd reason, nobody seems to care about Davos Seaworth half as much as I do. It can be difficult work keeping track of the characters if anybody talks or gets up to get another drink. Since HBO has no commercials, there are no breaks to discuss the show while it's happening. The Walking Dead allows a little more breathing room with its brief breaks, so you're less likely to kill the person watching with you. Also, many local bars will play The Walking Dead, making for an awesome communal experience. (This humble blogger will be watching on Sunday at her local watering hole.) I've yet to see a bar playing Game of Thrones, but maybe they just don't want to pay the HBO fee.

3. Stuff, Lori. Things. Is it an understatement to say that Game of Thrones is dense? Each book runs around 1,000 pages, and its third installment, Storm of Swords, is widely considered to be the best and craziest. Multiple main characters die in shocking, gruesome manners. However, not a lot happens until roughly 750 pages into the book -- that's a lot of set up! I think that if I put off watching the first episode by a few hours, I won't be missing too terribly much -- yet.

Now, this is just my thought process. Game of Thrones could very well prove me wrong and murder lots of people in the first five minutes. However, I feel confident that watching it a few hours later in lieu of The Walking Dead is the right decision for me. Either way, I'm stupidly excited for Sunday, and I'd love to hear what you plan on watching -- it's a rare example of a win/win situation.