Is HBO Doing It Right? (A Song Of Ice And Fire)

Today, HBO has announced that they will be bringing George R.R. Martin’s A Song Of Ice And Fire series to the small screen. Now, before you go off, thinking “How the hell can they do that? It’ll take a bazillion movies.”, notice that they will be making this a series. With each book one season.

Think about that. Each book gets its own season to tell the story. That, my friends, is the way it should be done. A season gives you roughly 18 – 20 hours of time, which should be plenty to jam in each 1000 page book. Sure, you’ll have to trim stuff, but the sheer amount of time available works in your favor.

Plus, Martin will supposedly be working as co-producer on the show. Let’s hope that doesn’t take away form his time to actually, you know, finish the series. I’m also hoping that the SFX used don’t turn out to be cheesy. At least this isn’t on SciFi, where cheese isn’t just for movies anymore…

22 thoughts on “Is HBO Doing It Right? (A Song Of Ice And Fire)”

  1. I am a huge fan of this series and cant believe this news is actually true! If you have seen Deadwood, Rome, the Wire or any of the other HBO series’ they really do a great job in terms of writing and production. Typically a season on HBO is 13 one hour episodes, I’m not sure that will cut it for ASoIaF though.

    Still, I have confidence that they’ll do this justice, esp since Martin has a long history with Hollywood (Beauty & the Beast, Twilight Zone) and has said he wouldn’t option his stuff out to movies or a medium where they would just turn it into more drivel.

    I’m hoping his executive producer title translates into creative license that translates into actual veto-power input.

    ./D

  2. I question whether HBO is doing “it” at all with their apparent Puritanic values.

    While I do find this to be excellent news as well since I love those books but I find I am constantly irritated with HBO.

    If HBO could just dump their chauvinistic scruples I might actually like them. I sent them an email recently because they would not air the Lela Ali (Muhammad Ali’s daughter!) fight because they think girls boxing is not “appropriate” for TV. They aired all the Mens boxing on the same card that night, they only cut the womens boxing that night. This was THE womens boxing event for the decade (title fight!) and HBO let their scruples get in the way. It’s a frigging PAY channel that air’s constant PORN in the late night hours. Why be selective with your scruples, especially when womens boxing history was being made that night.

    Unbelievable.

    Here is to hoping that HBO’s scruples don’t get in the way of these George R.R. Martin series. I can think of 3 specific parts of these books HBO is going to get “cold feet” on.

  3. One note is that HBO does not run full seasons such as the networks do — shows are limited to anywhere from 10 to about 13 episodes. According to Variety, the plan seems to be 12 episodes a season, so approximately 12 hours per book. I still think this is still quite doable without having to cut it down out of all recognition.

    This is, of course, an option and development deal rather than a greenlight for production. It’s not in pre-production, and it’s entirely possible that HBO will lose interest during development. But it’s a good start, and it’s not impossible we’ll see it on the screen in the next couple of years, which is a really exciting prospect. :)

  4. That’s interesting about the Women’s boxing stuff and sorta surprising. Personally, I havent seen much “Puritanic values” on HBO in Rome, Sex in the City, Deadwood or others.

    If they give that gritty feeling that you saw in Deadwood/Carnival with the historical feel of Rome it could be awesome. The only thing I keep thinking about is who is going to be the dwarf :).

  5. Interest in A Song of Ice and Fire seems to be at an all-time high, and when this thing airs it could get even bigger.

    I don’t subscribe to HBO so I’ll have wait for the DVD’s, but I think HBO should be able to do a good job with this. They have a strong record of doing gripping shows. Hopefully they budget enough money for the large quantity of fantasy special effects needed, large location shoots with massive sets, hoards of extras for all the armies, and the strong cinematic feel this story will require.

  6. In all, I find this to be great news. It’s a mature, intelligent series with a compelling plot. I bet it will play darn well on TV with the action sequences, intrigue, sex, and more.

    The only issue might be the huge number of characters – that and the lack of a consistent protaganist.

  7. The rule of thumb for screenplays is that one page equals about one minute of screen time. (Oddly, this holds whether it’s dialog, description, action, or a combination.) Thus 1000 pages means about 16.7 hours. However, screenplay pages have fewer words than even paperback novel pages. Correcting for that probably makes it 20-24 hours. So if HBO does 12 hours per book, they’d have to make cuts, but not nearly as much as most adaptations.

  8. The best TV news I have heard in a long time!!!!! THey do period pieces very well! Check out Rome and Deadwood. Since the series is more period then “Fantasy” they should be alright!

    FANTASTIC!!!!!:D

  9. how can HBO be both “puritanic” and a porn-channel? that’s nonsense. and they don’t show porn, maybe you’re thinking of cinemax, which does show skin-flicks latenight (still not porn). there is no channel out there other than HBO that could actually pull off something like this without compromising the integrity of the actual books. although i agree that there are several things in these books that will not end up onscreen no matter who’s producing the show.

  10. dre: “how can HBO be both “puritanic” and a porn-channel?”

    I agree. That was my point. They are hypocritical with their programming selections. And yes you can still find soft porn every now and then on HBO. It’s not the same as their sister channel “skinamax” but what they show is still more racy than girls boxing.

    Sorry but I just can’t stand it when something important is stifled for no good reason other than someones hypocritical morals.

    ….now where IS that soapbox? oh right, I’m standing on it…. :O

  11. Actually I love the way that female characters are portrayed on HBO series – particularly Deadwood, which I consider the greatest television show of all time. Most networks have separate departments for sports, film, and produced shows, so it is unlikely that the creative elements working on the show side and the programmers on the sports side have much if anything to do with each other.

    And, as sport tends to be a more conservative enviroment, the whole boxing thing doesn’t surprise me much.

  12. trent: I agree with your position re: stifling things “for no good reason other than someones hypocritical morals.” and this might be a weird topic for an SF-site, but are you sure that the Leila Ali fight not making a pay-per-view card on HBO was a decision by the channel, or was there some (typical for boxing) contractual BS behind the scenes that kept it off the air? i’ve see plenty of fights where one of the first matches on the undercard was women. and yes, I work for HBO. just kidding…

  13. Well I guess I deleted my email response from HBO regarding this topic but there are so many articles about how upset Laila Ali was that it wasn’t too hard to find an article about it:

    http://www.saddoboxing.com/wladimir-klitschko-calvin-brock/

    SNIP from the article:

    “Ali was not shy about putting HBO on the spot about her bout not being televised, “I think you should know I am the co-main event of this fight but if you are not at the Garden you will NOT see my fight on HBO, so I just want to make that clear so that everybody knows that. They are not going to see me on HBO. HBO does not show women’s boxing… yet. But, hopefully they are going to change that.””

  14. BTW, I apologize for the thread jack on this HBO chauvinistic scruples issue.

    I just get really irked at “two-faced” companies. …cough…Sony.

  15. This is glorious news. As I read the books, I remember thinking: the ONLY way this can be done visually is with HBO committing to a series. Let’s hope the deal moves forward and doesn’t get clogged in Hollywood’s arteries.

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