While not placing it in the pantheon of truly great television, I’ve been a fan of Game of Thrones since the show debuted in 2011. I normally like my drama pessimistic, with a hard edge, and even downright cruel on occasion. I like even more that a show in the fantasy realm cares as much about its tonal execution, as it does costumes and wacky names.
And yet, I’ve never been able to relax in the presence of the programme, never allowed myself to be fully swept up in the world of Westeros. The reason why? This is best encapsulated by the conclusion of Season 3 – which Sky were so helpful to remind us of during their promotion for the upcoming Season 4.
The character of Daenerys Targaryen is emblematic of “Game of Thrones” continuous problem with race. Beyond the emetic “white saviour“ scene to close Season 3, we are first introduced to her during a forced marriage to Khal Drogo of the Dothraki people (who are non-white). At the wedding, the Dothraki are painted as little more than savages, with the men literally killing each other to force themselves on the women; hypersexual and hyperviolent, two big racist boxes are ticked.
– From “Daenerys Targaryen Is Back To ‘Save The Coloureds’ Tour De #GameOfThrones 2014,” by Shane Thomas
By Kendra James
Upfronts are done, premiere schedules are set; Stefon and Seth ran off into the sunset; and, even though it’s only May, it feels like we’re already halfway through the summer blockbuster set list…so what’s a pop culture junkie to do? I humbly suggest using this hiatus season to catch up on a few British shows you may have missed while our gladiators were white-hatting.
At no more than six episodes per season, I promise you’ll be done before Olivia Pope’s return. Just give us a moment to close our eyes and turn around, so we don’t have to witness whatever it is you have to do to get your hands on the four shows underneath the cut.
By Arturo R. García
In a better world for Idris Elba, we’d be writing about the return of Luther, the cops-and-robbers drama he produced for the BBC, in more glowing terms: the rising film star (thanks to Thor) coming back as a producer and lead for his relatively-little project that could. But given that the show’s ratings actually decreased during its’ first season despite Elba netting an NAACP Image Award and a Golden Globe nomination for his work in the title role, let’s just be glad it’s back at all.
Especially since the show ended that first season on a suitably squirmy cliffhanger: when we last left the despondent Detective Inspector, he was in the absolute wrong place at the wrong time – standing near his friend’s bloody corpse with his co-workers, convinced he was involved in another murder, closing in. His last question before we hit the credits – “Now what?” – would surely be the first one answered this year, right? Especially since showrunner Neil Cross only had four hours to wrap the case this year?
The show returned to British airwaves Tuesday, though no word yet on if and when it will air on BBC America. So far, though, the answers are few, while the problems for Luther are new. Be aware, spoilers are under the cut.
By Arturo R. García
Formulaic? Sure. But in a year of feel-good network pap like Hawaii Five-O and Undercovers, Luther at least provides a taut, nasty little respite, and a place where Idris Elba can stretch his character-building muscles a bit.
As I said in previewing the show, Elba’s title character is something relatively rare in the realm of POC tv gumshoes: he’s not the Cool Guy. In fact, the show wastes little time in establishing him as a latter-day pulp figure: he may be smart, but he’s far from smooth.
By Arturo R. García
TV Guide lists 28 “must-watch” new shoes in its’ fall preview section. Of those, six are police procedurals. None of them has a POC protagonist.
Not listed in that summary, and not made in this country, is Luther, a BBC production starring The Wire’s Idris Elba. The show starts airing on BBC America Oct. 17, but from what I’ve seen, Elba, who also served as an executive producer on the show, has helped craft something occasionally creepy, sometimes unnerving, but not bad at all.
No spoilers here, but the show does follow the Law & Order storytelling style: the crimes are presented “realistically” enough to warrant a trigger warning and the baddies are true bastards, indeed. But the show’s less about whodunit than what DCI John Luther is going to do next.