Easily one of the greatest cable television shows of all time, Game of Thrones is a prime example of a fantasy series done right. Sprung from the mind of George R.R. Martin and his novel series, A Song of Ice and Fire, Game of Thrones is a true tour de force, with its incredible cast, lavish production design and its deft writing. Season Two continues in the same tradition as the first season and widens the scope. The cast finds themselves in a very different place, after the dramatic events that have taken place and new world and characters are introduced in this season. Wars are waged, lines are crossed and alliances are both forged and broken in this season, which spans across five Blu-Ray discs. With an abundance of special features, flawless video and audio presentation, there’s no reason that Game of Thrones: Season Two shouldn’t be a part of your collection.
The brilliance of Game of Thrones is no doubt the level of writing that exists within the hour long drama. There’s no doubt about it, the cast brings the series to life, but its the level of writing the makes the series soar higher than any other television series on cable. Characters that you loathed in Season One, you grow to understand and vice versa. This is no doubt a herculean task, but series show runners and head writers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, translate Martin’s rich fantasy series into an unbelievable tapestry.
Production Designer, Gemma Jackson and Art Director, Ashleigh Jeffers are another group of major contributors, that lend a brilliant hand at helping Game of Thrones tell its story, visually. With the series taking place on a few different continents, these two manage to draw on all kinds of sources to showcase each of the different lands, cultures and overall aesthetic that make every bit of Game of Thrones feel like eye candy. While I praise the writing and the production design, just about every single facet of this series makes it worth watching and proof of how television has turned the tide in media consumption in the last few years.
HBO has never skimped on its Blu-Ray sets before and Game of Thrones: Season Two boxed set is proof of that, with its excellent presentation in its video, audio and extras. On the video side, Game of Thrones: Season Two is presented in a 1080p, AVC encoded track, with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. Perfection is the first word that comes to mind when speaking of the visual presentation on these Blu-Rays. Shot on the Arri Alexa, the HD video is displayed in crisp detail, the colors are well balanced and the black levels are really rich and show no signs of fading or muting. There’s an abundance of audio tracks to choose from in the set, but my focus will be on the English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. Whether its an intimate conversation between two characters, or a giant battle that is being waged, the 5.1 surround track is a rich and immersive experience. The surround channels are used to showcase directionality or present a rich ambience and the LFE track is booming with energy, when it is fully needed. Ramin Djawadi’s score is beautiful to listen to in this presentation and brings the entire series to life, no matter how big or small the music piece is.
The extras on this set are just as amazing as Season One, with plenty of behind the scenes footage, history of the world of Game of Thrones and multiple commentary tracks that round out the set. There are In-Episode Guides, that come along with each episode, that highlight different characters, lands and histories that elaborate, while you’re watching. The Character Profiles, show a majority of new characters introduced in this season, as well as existing characters and how their world has changed, from season to season. Histories and Lore, are animated segments, that are narrated by different characters, that explore the various lands, characters and religions, from a historical perspective. The War of the Five Kings, is an interactive map, that explores all of the different key players in their war for the throne, by highlighting different key points and battles. Creating the Battle of Blackwater Bay is an inside look at creating one of the best episodes in the season, “Blackwater”. The Inner Circle, is a roundtable discussion with David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, Lena Headey, Kit Harrington, Michelle Fairley, Liam Cunningham and Emilia Clarke, that explore their characters, situations and their overall thoughts on this second season. There’s also Easter Eggs throughout the entire set, titled Dragon Eggs that contain even more content.
There’s a reason why Game of Thrones has been a pop culture phenomenon and this boxed set is proof of it. With its excellent execution of realistic drama, in a fantasy setting, wonderful presentation and an endless amount of extras, Game of Thrones: Season Two is something that everyone should own and is easily one of the best Blu-Ray boxed sets to come out this year. Highly Recommended!