Why we need TV with 'too much talking'

Reported by: James Eppler
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Updated: 4/02/2013 11:00 am

On Twitter: @JamesEppler

After watching the season three premiere of HBO's tremendous fantasy drama "Game of Thrones" Sunday night, I got on Twitter to see what some of the immediate reaction was. Most of the comments were positive, excited that this wonderfully imaginative and dense series had finally returned, but then I saw a comment that nearly made my head explode. The Tweeter was upset that the episode had "#toomuchtalking."


Nevermind there was plenty of action in the episode including a giant at work, a disappearing child, dragons cooking themselves lunch, nipple slicing, and a pretty freaky-looking insect ready to attack before it was killed. I suppose this Twitter troll and others who joined in his disdain was disappointed because no one got their heads lopped off or guts ripped out. Maybe that's why they watch "Game of Thrones" in the first place.

But they shouldn't.

What makes "Thrones" and other dialogue-heavy dramas like it so rich is the war of words are often more brutal and dramatic than anything you'd see on a battlefield. Consider the scene between father and son Tywin and Tyrion Lannister this week, in which the elder shames the son, disowning him, and promising to hang his whore girlfriend.

"Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad" are also shows with #toomuchtalking. It's how the writers draw us into the characters so that when something kinetic does happen, it has all that more impact.

To me, the opposite of this is "The Walking Dead," which ironically aired its season finale against the season premiere of "Thrones." I enjoy "Dead," but its show-runners feel a persistent need to make sure we see zombie heads get blown or smashed apart in every episode. Perhaps they're afraid if they have #toomuchtalking they'll lose viewers. They're probably right, actually. Season three has been much more action-packed, and ratings are through the roof.

It works for "Walking Dead." And I enjoy action and zombie splatter as much as the next dude. But I don't care one bit in the least about any of the show's characters, and their deaths on screen are usually met by me with a shrug of the shoulders.

If that show cared to develop its characters and take its time as much as "Game of Thrones," perhaps it would feel like a much more vital series.

But then #WalkingDeadTooMuchTalking might start trending. Maybe that's a fate worse than a zombie bite.
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