Our favorite shows feel perfect for their respective networks: The nude-friendly Game of Thrones is a tried-and-true HBO series, the tortoise-slow Mad Men fits AMC’s intelligent and patient viewers, and The Big Bang Theory never met a laugh track CBS didn’t like. But what if those series appeared on different networks? How would the show change? We’re exploring just that in our Network Swap series. Next up: What if Game of Thrones aired on MTV?
Series: Game of Thrones
TV Rating: TV-14 for drama, faux-graphic situations and illicit activities.
Theme Song: “Some Nights” by fun.
Logline: From the creators of Skins and the producers of The Real World and The Hills comes a new kind of docu-reality to MTV: alternative medieval reality! Enter: Game of Thrones. Set in the universe known as Westeros, seven strangers (Osha, Petyr Baelish, Sansa Stark, Cersei Lannister, Daenerys Targaryen, Tyrion Lannister, Joffrey Baratheon) are plucked from obscurity and 2012 to time-travel to the land of the seven kingdoms to see what real life is like in a magical land at war.
Integrated into the Westeros reality, they'll live and eat with their respective family houses (Baratheon, Greyjoy, Lannister, Stark, Targaryen, Arryn), live in pre-selected kingdoms, and have their lives taped to find out what happens when people stop being polite and start being king. Game of Thrones tells the thrilling is-it-or-isn't-it unscripted reality of life in a time far different from our own. Here, magic still lives and your allies and your enemies are vital to the survival... of your social status! Pick the wrong side, and you'll end up with your head on a stake at King's Landing, which is totally uncool.
The show bends the limits of what is real and what isn't: are they really battling to the death to take over the throne? Are you serious right now with these zombies White Walkers? Did that teenager really just birth some dragons? Dealing with the limits of their own perception of reality coupled with the reality of their old lives from 2012, one can never be too sure. Rife with exposing confessionals, gritty real-life drama and dudes that can change their faces without a trip to the plastic surgeon's office (or did they?), MTV's Game of Thrones is one game that can't be missed.
Demographics: Tweens and twentysomethings that find a certain hilarity in the unscripted television of poor life decisions. Fans of magical realism.
Cast: Jon Snow as the hunky outsider, Daenerys Targaryen as the misunderstood girl with a drive to succeed, Theon Greyjoy as the explosive one, and Tyrion Lannister as the imp.
Breakout Star: Scrappy tween wunderkind Arya Stark.
Soundbite: "Yo, where the f**k my dragons at?!" - Daenerys Targaryen, 16-year-old teen mother of dragons, former high school dropout, aspiring queen of Westeros.
Sweeps Twist: Taking part in MTV's Musical May-hem, Game of Thrones transports your favorite artists to the fun in Westeros: Justin Bieber guest stars as King Joffrey's illest best friend. They drink hella mead and throw grapes at commoners through the castle windows. While searching for a way back to The Wall, Jon Snow stumbles upon a raging party deep in the woods, with Linkin Park performing for a group of young and ambitious White Walkers who just want to rock and are maybe anarchists. Katy Perry joins Daenerys Targaryen for a raucous and girly good time in Qarth, while Taylor Swift sings one of her signature break-up songs for the lovelorn Robb Stark because, OMG, lady drama!
Reason People Watch: Game of Thrones presents the real dog-eat-dog world of medieval politics in a universe flipped upside-down by warring young adults hell-bent on ruling their known world. Plus people are dying to know: Is it real, or isn't it?! Fans tune in weekly to dissect the possibilities.
What the Critics Say: "I don't know what to do with this." - Everyone
Spin-Off Possibilities: Cersei Lannister's late-night, no-holds-barred talk show called Wait, Cersei? will ruffle feathers for several seasons. Petyr Baelish becomes a Made coach, and MTV writes a scripted comedy based on the life of the house Stark called (you guessed it!) Stark: Raving Mad.
[Photo Credit: HBO]
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT?
Connor Mead is a womanizing commitment-phobic bachelor whose carefree antics nearly destroy his brother’s wedding weekend when his constant mockery of the sacred institution throws cold water on the event. But then straight out of the afterlife comes Connor’s philandering late Uncle Wayne (whose legendary cocksmanship inspired his current lifestyle) to lead him through a spooky Dickensian tour of the ghosts of all his many female conquests from the past present and future. As he realizes what a sorry state he’s in and how he blew his relationship with Jenny the one girl he truly loved and lost Connor will find out if there’s really a second chance in life.
WHO’S IN IT?
Matthew McConaughey plays Connor with little distinction from the myriad of other skirt-chasing cads he’s played in a string of unmemorable chick flicks like How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days Failure to Launch and Fool’s Gold. His immature chauvinist act is getting a little old and poor Jennifer Garner his latest leading lady can’t do much to save him. There’s little chemistry between the two and in fact both stars don’t seem to have their heart in this lame lustful takeoff on Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Instead of Scrooge it’s Screwed — and the crude tone doesn’t make for the merriest of romantic comedies. For some inexplicable reason Michael Douglas took the thankless role of the late Uncle who mostly just throws out lots of double entendres. Breckin Meyer is OK as the hapless groom while Lacey Chabert is just plain annoying as his shrill bride-to-be. Acting vets Robert Forster and Anne Archer do what they can to maintain their dignity in smaller supporting roles.
The trailer for Ghosts of Girlfriends Past was much better than the actual film and showed the premise had great promise. Unfortunately they had to release the rest of the movie and the jig was up.
The screenplay just doesn’t deliver. There are few laughs in Ghosts of Girlfriends Past and most of them are forced as in an endless slapstick kitchen scene where McConaughey tries desperately to keep a wedding cake from completely collapsing. He proves physical comedy is not his forte. Where’s Lucy when you need her? The overall tone is just crass and sleazy and the fantasy sequences involving the ghostly visits are flat and uninspired.
MOST PROPHETIC LINE:
At one point McConaughey utters “Wake me when there’s an action sequence will you?” We would have but there aren’t any.
NETFLIX OR MULTIPLEX?
Read a book instead. How about A Christmas Carol?
Set in a world inhabited only by motor vehicles Cars is sort of a cross between Michael J. Fox's Doc Hollywood and NASCAR. The main hero is a hotshot rookie race car named Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson)--an obvious homage to the late fast-driving Steve McQueen--whose one goal in life is to win the Piston Cup and bask in fame and glory. Yet on his cross-country trip to the Piston Cup Championship in California to compete against two seasoned pros (real-life legendary racer Richard Petty voices the reigning champion The King) Lightning finds himself unexpectedly detoured in the sleepy--and forgotten--Route 66 town of Radiator Springs. There he meets its colorful denizens--including Sally (Bonnie Hunt) a snazzy 2002 Porsche who owns the local “rest” stop; Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) the town’s rusty but trusty tow truck; and Doc Hudson (Paul Newman) a 1951 Hudson Hornet who rules the town with a steady hand er wheel. Together they all help the cocksure Lightning realize that there are more important things than trophies fame and sponsorship. If Pixar calls you come running so it isn’t at all surprising how impressive the Cars vocal line-up is starting with legendary screen icon Newman as the Doc. Come on being the race car driving nut that he is you think the 81-year-old actor would say no to voicing a 1951 Hudson Hornet who has his own mysterious past in the racing world? Hell no. The rest of the cast also seem to have a good time channeling their inner car from Wilson’s snarky speedster to Hunt’s cute and sexy Porsche a big-city lawyer who decides to get out of the fast lane. Supporting voices include Cheech Marin and Tony Shalhoub as Radiator Springs’ low-riding body shop and Italian Fiat tire shop owners respectively. Even George Carlin gets into the act as a groovy ‘60s VW wagon who sells “organic” fuel. Good stuff. Of course what Pixar flick would be complete without its comic relief? Although he’s no Ellen DeGeneres as a short-term memory impaired fish Larry the Cable Guy fills in nicely as the dim but sweet Mater the ultimate hick tow truck. Having been out of the directing loop since his 1999 sequel Toy Story 2 Cars marks Pixar’s golden boy John Lasseter return--and this is his big love letter to the splendor that is the automobile. Of course his demand for perfection took its toll. The animators had to come up with a new technique called “ray tracing ” which allows the car stars--that are metallic and heavily contoured--to credibly reflect their environments. Even with a sophisticated network of 3 000 computers and state-of-the-art lightning-fast processors that operate up to four times faster than they did on The Incredibles the average time to render a single frame of film was 17 hours. Still all that time spent pays off. Cars is a real visual treat with another firm grasp in storytelling. Sure it’s a bit of a vanity project and may shoot way over the kiddies’ heads making them squirm a little during the “slow” parts. But as one of the recently appointed top guns at Disney Lasseter can do just about anything he wants these days--and we are going to love it dammit.