4K ULTRA HD REVIEW / HDR FRAME SHOTS
Season One - Episode Nine: The close-up shots are excellent with fine detail even though the series was mastered in 2K. The HDR toning is striking from start to finish. Sean Bean stars as Eddard ‘Ned’ Stark - Lord of Winterfell.
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“GAME OF THRONES: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION”
4K Ultra HD, Digital; 2011-19, MA-TV for violence, sexuality, and language; Streaming Amazon Prime Video, Apple, FandangoNOW, Google Play, Vudu, YouTube
Best extra: The two-part “Cast and Crew Reunion” recorded in the summer of 2019
73 EPISODES. EIGHT SEASONS.
161 Emmy nominations. 59 wins.
30 4K Ultra HD discs & 15 hours of bonus features.
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has released the highly acclaimed and most-watched HBO series, “Game of Thrones: The Complete Collection,” exclusively on 4K Ultra HD disc (no 4K digital planned at this point).
The results are quite striking, far surpassing any broadcast version or Blu-ray collection. “Loyal fans and collectors will be able to enjoy every extraordinary moment of this iconic show in eye-popping 4K with HDR10 and Dolby Vision HDR toning,” says Rosemary Markson, senior VP for TV Marketing at WBHE.
“GOT” was the first HBO series captured on digital cameras (1.78:1 aspect ratio) with varying levels of resolution (10-bit 1080p, 3.2K, and 6K). Its technological advances improved over the eight seasons. Onscreen you’ll notice how the HDR toning gives the series a much needed shot in the arm of expanded contrast levels, from deeper blacks in the shadows, to controlled highlights. Facial toning is natural, as well, and with the color palette, from its desaturated winter sequences to the warm tones filmed on the island of Malta, Spain and North Africa, the 4K is slighter richer in saturation. The resolution upgrade is not a night to day, but still a nice uptick over the HD presentation – since the series was mastered and rendered in 2K with the abundance of VFX shots.
Season One - Episode One
On the audio front, every episode has been upgraded to the eight-channel Dolby Atmos soundtrack for an active and nicely balanced experience, with music cues from Ramin Djawadi’s iconic score and sound effects for your height speakers. Strangely, the Dolby Digital six-channel is the default track from the menu, so keep the remote handy for each episode. The bass response is deep and powerful, especially during the battle sequences, and when the dragons flap their wings overhead.
For international fans, each episode includes French, Castilian Spanish, German, Russian, Italian, Portuguese, Czech, Hungarian, and Polish dubs. Two dozen-plus subtitles are provided for most European and Asian languages.
Author George R.R. Martin spent nearly five decades developing the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, but after eight seasons, HBO and creator/producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss decided to conclude their adaptation of the fantasy saga “Game of Thrones.”
The series was thoughtful and slow, telling Martin’s tale. He was consulted on the final scripts, but the producers wanted massive and spectacular battles. Many critics and fans remain divided by the ending, but “Thrones” rewrote the playbook of TV epics, while featuring a brilliant cast and sizzling storylines.
Season One - Episode One
Several months after the last episode aired on HBO, with its record 19.3 million viewers and an average of 44.2 million (accounts for delay watching) viewers per episode – the “Cast and Crew Reunion” was filmed in a Belfast theater for a special night of reflections of the eight years spent filming mostly in Northern Ireland for the continents of Westeros and Essos.
American comedian/talk show host Conan O’Brien hosted the festivities, divided into the three Houses of Lannister, Stark & Targaryen. The biggest surprise was the appearance of departed favorite Sean Bean. Most of the cast hadn’t seen the English actor since his character Eddard ‘Ned’ Stark, the head of House Stark and Lord of Winterfell, was executed during Episode Nine in 2011.
O’Brien says, “When he died, there was a seismic wave, a shock. And people thought, if they can kill him, they can kill anybody.” Bean remembers how fans reacted on the streets. “They were upset. Some of them were really upset,” he said. O’Brien mentioned how his character was the “moral center of the show.” “He was passionate and strong, and a normal guy compared to all the rest of them,” says Bean. During the taping, HBO gave Bean a gift: His severed head used during episode 10. The young actors who play Stark’s children join him on stage with Kit Harington, who plays Jon Snow, the bastard son. Maisie Williams is the younger daughter Arya, Sophie Turner is daughter Sansa, and Isaac Hempstead Wright is son Brad.
Season One - Episode Nine
Season One - Episode Ten
Williams recalls how her aunt, uncle, grandmother, and neighbors would come over every Monday night to watch the show. “My family was so proud of me and it was really lovely,” she says. But, the first season was “really raunchy and very embarrassing. My mom would just keep filling up my nan’s glass with more and more gin as it got raunchier and raunchier.”
Peter Dinklage, who won four Emmys for his role as Tyrion Lannister, remembers his first meeting with the producers and how they revealed his character’s storyline up to the end of season four and the killing of his father, Tywin. “And, I thought from where I started to doing that [killing his father] was enough for me to sign on,” says Dinklage. “That’s a brilliant character arc.” Dinklage admits he got the reputation of being “the diva” on the set. “I think it’s just because I’m an American, honestly,” he says.
Irish actor Conleth Hill, who plays Lord Varys the eunuch Master of Whisperers, remembers his time as a young actor in New York watching “The Sopranos,” and saying, “I’d love to do a show for HBO. That white noise at the beginning and the logo and everything.” He always imagined he would need to work in the U.S. to get his HBO shot, but patience prevailed when HBO decided on Ireland to film “GOT.” “It’s like a travelogue for this place and how beautiful it is. And it just fills me with immense pride and it’s the closet to teary I get when I talk about it. We were just very lucky and eternally grateful,” says Hill.
Emilia Clarke who plays Daenerys Targaryen, “Mother of Dragons” the only daughter of King Aerys II and Queen Rhaella Targaryen, admits she called in sick to her job to go for the audition, just before doing a quick search on Wikipedia, to figure out what “GOT” was all about. After her first audition, she read the book cover to cover, three times, “Because I had no other job,” she said.
Season Two - Episode One
When actor Jason Momoa, who plays Khal Drogo, appears on stage with the members of the House Targaryen, he carries a bucket with ice-cold Irish beer for everyone. He notes, “There’s not too many Americans. Just us buddy,” as he points to Dinklage now seated at a table with others from the House of Lannister.
The 30 4K discs include 88 commentaries tracks for the 73 episodes, character profiles, deleted scenes, 41 featurettes, including “Last Watch” from filmmaker Jeanie Finley, as the behind the scenes cameras captures Kit Harington’s emotional final words to the cast and crew: “My heart is breaking. I love this show … and it’s never been a job for me. It’s been my life, and this will always be the greatest thing I’ll ever do.”
The three Blu-rays contain the “Reunion with the cast and crew”; a series of “Anatomy of a Scenes” from Seasons 4, 5, 6, and 7; Behind-the-scenes footage from Seasons 1, 2, 4, and 5; and Visual effects from Seasons 1-7, and “Conquest & Rebellion,” a 45-minute animated History of the Seven Kingdoms ruled by seven squabbling families. The House Targaryen was exiled on a dreary remote island and built Dragonstone; House Durrandon held the Stormlands; House Hoare of the Iron Islands conquered and enslaved the Riverlands; House Stark held the frozen wasteland of the North; House Lannister held the Westerlands, the wealthiest kingdom; House Gardener held the Reach and was the second wealthiest with expansive crops; House Arryn held the Vale, or Vale held them; and House Martell held the desert of Dorn. Together they made up Westeros.
For all those “GOT” fans who own a 4K setup, this is a no-brainer, or a perfect gift this holiday season for your special someone.
— Bill Kelley III, High-Def Watch producer
Season Two - Episode Ten
Season Three - Episode One
Season Three - Episode Ten
Season Four - Episode One
Season Four - Episode Ten
Season Five - Episode One
Season Five - Episode Ten
Season Six - Episode One
Season Six - Episode Ten
Season Seven - Episode One
Season Seven - Episode Seven
Season Eight - Episode Five