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'Game of Thrones' gets a 5th, 6th season pick-up from HBO

"Game Of Thrones" will be back for a

"Game of Thrones" - which may be the hottest show on television although in my humble opinion is indisputably the best one - just got a pickup from HBO for two more seasons, the fifth and sixth, according to a statement:

“GAME OF THRONES is a phenomenon like no other,” noted [HBO programming chief, Michael] Lombardo. “David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, along with their talented collaborators, continue to surpass themselves, and we look forward to more of their dazzling storytelling.”

  "GoT" - the fourth season of which just launched - was seen by 6.6 million viewers Sunday, the biggest number for HBO since "The Sopranos'" wrap (11.7 million.) I suspect most notable here is the fact that Sunday's opener was 52 percent higher than the third season opener.  

'Game of Thrones:' The four trailers

A scene from HBO's "Game of Thrones."

(Credit: HBO)

HBO has released a new season four trailer for "Game of Thrones," arriving April 6, which means...we have four trailers! Not to restate the obvious, but this is a full generous look at the much-anticipated new season, and therefore an opportunity to explore. Here are the four, in order, beginning with the first, and newest last. See if you can glean the fates and fortunes of our heroes and anti-heroes; and dragons too: 

 

'True Detective' finale: Was it worth all the trouble? (Answer: Of course)

Woody Harrelson, left, and Matthew McConaughey in HBO's

(Credit: HBO / Jim Bridges)

As "True Detective" ends -- "True Detective," quite possibly the most buzzy, buzzable and buzzed-about HBO drama series since "The Wire"-- did last night's wrap not, at the very minimum, raise the possibility of (if not flat out demand) a reprise?

Woody and Matt together again? The boys back on another case, because, after all, there are other cases.

Do not read on if you are averse to spoilers.


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But seriously, at the end of this ride, and an enjoyable one it was, there were really only two reasons that drew us or most of us -- OK, me -- through eight episodes: That unexpected McConaughey/Harrelson chemistry which essentially was a bromance and an effective one as that.

The story was good if hardly surprising; the conclusion foretold even if everyone in the viewing audience spun too much nonsense out of a few red (or green, or yellow) herrings.

Yes, Ed Gein -- Leatherface himself who has inspired a hundred horror flicks, from "Halloween" to "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" -- inspired yet another. Even "daddy," Errol's father tied down in the shed, his lips sewn together like shoe to heel, invoked Leatherface's brother, Drayton; Errol's suitably deranged sister certainly invoked him.

Did "True Detective" or Nic Pizzolatto really need eight episodes to tell us that the guy with crazy eyes, serious acne scarring, an Oxford accent, and pretty much unlimited access to children as the extremely creepy looking school janitor that nobody at school ever suspected might just be a little bit insane ... was the bad guy? Or "the Yellow King?"

As crime fiction, "True Detective" was one long tease, predicated on a story or compilation of them, that has been told over and over. But, it was good and fun and the wrap was satisfying and that final bro moment under the stars was priceless.

Rust musing about the meaning of it all ... "It's just one story, the oldest. Light versus dark..."

It would have been a laugh out loud moment, the final pricking of the balloon with all the air coming out in a noisy flatulent rush ... except the camera then went to Marty's (Harrelson) face, where the slightest breeze of a smile blew by.

Then this: "Well, I know we ain't in Alaska, but it appears to me the dark has a lot more territory."

Perfect!

The best parts of this series were the moments in the car -- those long drives across a wet drab green landscape where one man tried to understand the other, neither particularly succeeding. Harrelson and McConaughey pulled off the wariness, that sense of non-understanding, which bled out into the rest of the story -- if we can't really see what's in our own hearts, how can we possibly solve a terrible crime that has no meaning or context?

This series in the end wasn't about the plot -- which was merely OK, and as mentioned, Leatherface redux -- but about these two: This churning, fraught relationship between two guys who essentially completed one another by the very end. That was what made this all worthwhile, what made it all so satisfying: Two excellent actors who transcended the material.

Should they return -- maybe in New Orleans next time, or Baton Rouge? Hell, they need a fresh start: Why not bring the boys to New York where so many fresh starts begin? Fun to see Rust and Marty here.

(Pizzolatto said at the recent TV critics' tour that the next installment will most likely be in a place not normally associated with TV series; McConaughey seemed to rule out a reprisal: “It was also finite. It didn't mean we had to come back this year, next year if we were under contract. It was finite. So in that way it was exactly a 450-page film script.”)

See, this is the problem with anthologies: You love the first installment so much that you just can't imagine another one without the same constituent parts.

Or should maybe Pizzolatto and HBO -- and McConaughey and Harrelson -- leave well enough alone? You can't bottle this kind of magic twice.

Or can you?

'Game of Thrones,' season four: Just the facts

A scene from HBO's "Game of Thrones."

(Credit: HBO)

"Game of Thrones" arrives April 6. That much we know. But what we do not know are details: key storylines, episode titles, throughlines. HBO has gone some of the way toward sating our thirst and offering some information, too, with the following. From the network, to you:

Encouraged by the Red Wedding slaughter in the Riverlands that wiped out many of their Stark nemeses, the Lannisters’ hold on the Iron Throne remains intact…but can they survive their own egos, as well as new and ongoing threats from the south, north and east? While an unbowed Stannis Baratheon continues to rebuild his army in Dragonstone, a more immediate danger comes from the south, as Oberyn Martell, the Lannister-loathing “Red Viper of Dorne,” arrives at King’s Landing to attend Joffrey’s wedding to Margaery Tyrell, and perhaps act on an ulterior agenda. In the north, a depleted Night’s Watch seems overmatched against the inexorable Wall advances of Mance Rayder’s army of wildlings, which in turn is being trailed by an even more formidable foe: the undead White Walkers. As if that weren’t enough, Daenerys Targaryen, accompanied by her menacing trio of dragons and army of Unsullied, is poised to liberate Meereen, the largest city in Slaver’s Bay, which could ultimately provide her with enough ships to sail to Westeros and reclaim the Iron Throne.

Episode #31: “Two Swords” Debut: SUNDAY, APRIL 6 (9-10 p.m. ET/PT) Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) welcomes a guest to King’s Landing. At Castle Black, Jon Snow (Kit Harington) finds himself unwelcome. Dany (Emilia Clarke) is pointed to Meereen, the mother of all slave cities. Arya (Maisie Williams) runs into an old friend. Written by David Benioff & D. B. Weiss; directed by D. B. Weiss.

Episode #32: “The Lion and the Rose” Debut: SUNDAY, APRIL 13 (9-10 p.m.) Tyrion lends Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) a hand. Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) and Margaery (Natalie Dormer) host a breakfast. At Dragonstone, Stannis (Stephen Dillane) loses patience with Davos (Liam Cunningham). Ramsay (Iwan Rheon) finds a purpose for his pet. North of the Wall, Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) sees where they must go. Written by George R.R. Martin; directed by Alex Graves.

Episode #33: “Breaker of Chains” Debut: SUNDAY, APRIL 20 (9-10 p.m.) Tyrion ponders his options. Tywin (Charles Dance) extends an olive branch. Sam (John Bradley) realizes Castle Black isn’t safe, and Jon proposes a bold plan. The Hound (Rory McCann) teaches Arya the way things are. Dany chooses her champion. Written by David Benioff & D. B. Weiss; directed by Alex Graves.

Episode #34: “Oathkeeper” Debut: SUNDAY, APRIL 27 (9-10 p.m.) Dany balances justice and mercy. Jaime tasks Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) with his honor. Jon secures volunteers while Bran, Jojen (Thomas Brodie-Sangster), Meera (Ellie Kendrick) and Hodor (Kristian Nairn) stumble on shelter. Written by Bryan Cogman; directed by Michelle MacLaren.

'True Detective's' Yellow King mystery solved (via College Humor)

Woody Harrelson, left, and Matthew McConaughey in HBO's

(Credit: HBO / Jim Bridges)

Have you been watching HBO's "True Detective," which wraps Sunday? Of course you have - everyone else on the planet has been. But here's the thing - what the heck is the Yellow  King? The whole series seems to revolve around resolution of this urgent question, and lots of clues, some puckishly, are strewn throughout. (There's even a character named LaRue; at least his first name isn't "Jaune.") 

 College  Humor, the website, has a theory. It may be the correct one. Take a look, but be warned - a naughty word at the end  you wouldn't want your grandmother to hear. And thanks to  Hitfix's TVTattle for locating this amusing theory.

HBO releases 'Game of Thrones' 14-minute 4th season preview

A scene from HBO's "Game of Thrones."

(Credit: HBO)

And on this fine frigid morning, something to thaw out with: HBO Sunday delivered this gift to "Game of Thrones'" fans, an extended preview that offers what seems to be a fast-cut of the fourth season. It's not, but there is that illusion. Certainly worth the time, for "Thrones" is TV's best series, and that's a fact.

Newsday app readers, please go to newsday.com/tvzone to watch.

 

Billy Crystal's '700 Sundays' coming to HBO

Billy Crystal returns to Broadway with his touching

(Credit: Carol Rosegg)

Billy Crystal's one-man play, "700 Sundays," is coming to the big stage - a really big one. HBO just confirmed an April 19 airdate at 9 The throughline: "The exclusive presentation is an original two-act play in which Crystal plays numerous characters who have influenced who he is today, dealing with his youth, growing up in the jazz world of Manhattan, his teenage years and, finally, adulthood."

 This is of course of significant interest to Long Islanders because so much of it covers with his youth in Long Beach... 

HBO's 'Looking' - good performances, story not so much: Review

Broadway actor and former "Glee" guest star Jonathan

(Credit: Getty Images)

And this Sunday, Jonathan Groff's return to the small screen in HBO's "Looking."  This eight-parter is intriguing, certainly, and part of HBO's on-going effort to build up its "comedy space" or more specifically, perhaps, its "half hour" one, as some of these shows aren't so conveniently or easily categorized..."Getting On,"  "Ja'mie Private...

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'The Newsroom' to end next season; former 'Office' producer joins

Jeff Daniels, winner of the award for outstanding

(Credit: EPA)

"The Newsroom" -- HBO's much-loved and/or much-derided TV news drama -- will end next season but perhaps the more significant news would be this: Paul Lieberstein is joining as executive producer, probably to spell Aaron Sorkin (who remains onboard) some relief on the writing chores.

The network said the third and final season will begin production in the spring, and air in the fall.

Connecticut...

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'Boardwalk Empire' to wrap next season

Steve Buscemi in "Boardwalk Empire."

(Credit: HBO)

"Boardwalk Empire," one of TV's true-blue joys of the past four years, will end after its fifth on the air, HBO just announced.

“We’re thrilled to get the go-ahead for a fifth season,” said showrunner and creator Terence Winter in a statement. “After much discussion with my creative team and HBO, we’ve decided to wrap up the series after such a great run and look forward to bringing...

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