David Benioff & D. B. Weiss’ popular adaptation of George R. R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” takes the top spot, previously occupied by The Sopranos.
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HBO’s fantasy series “Game of Thrones” has become the most popular series in the history of the premium cable outlet’s history, with the current season averaging a gross audience of 18.4 million total viewers. The top rank spot was held by the mobster drama series “The Sopranos” up until now, with an average of 18.2 million viewers during its peak season in 2002.
The show, based on George R. R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” fantasy novels, was adapted to television in 2011 by long-time friends and collaborators David Benioff and D. B. Weiss – who also serve as the series’ showrunners. Since its premiere, “Game of Thrones” was met with widespread acclaim by critics, and has obtained an exceptionally broad and active international fan base. In addition, the show has been besting its own ratings record with each new episode that airs, and has already locked in a fifth and sixth season.
Despite its incredible success and its renewal for two more seasons – or maybe because of it – showrunner Benioff has revealed in a recent interview to Vanity Fair that he believes the show should come to its end while it’s still at its peak, no later than its seventh or eighth season.
“If you look at the shows that we love, it’s so rare for a series to go beyond that length and maintain quality.”, He told the magazine. “And, you know, looking at ‘Breaking Bad’, which is probably the most consistently great show in history, and I think the fact that they decided relatively early, it’s going to be five seasons and that’s it, I think that was an incredibly smart choice.”
But much more urgently than setting up a finale date, Benioff and Weiss would have to decide where to take their successful series, story-wise, once it catches up with its novel series counterpart – which is bound to happen as early as next season.
“We have the five books, but then we don’t have anything beyond that, because [George R. R. Martin] is still working”, Benioff says. “It’s sort of an unusual position in terms of adaptation because, you know, we’re catching up.”
As for the reasons for the incredibly broad – and now record-breaking – appeal of “Game of Thrones”, as far as Benioff is concerned, it’s not just the obvious, more apparent ones – the dragons, the sword fights, the sex or the epic-feel. It’s largely due to the show’s blurring of the boundaries between the traditional “good vs. evil” – a tactic that has become a staple of high standard, groundbreaking and uncompromising television shows of recent years.
“All of those great HBO shows, whether it’s ‘The Wire’ or ‘Deadwood’, and shows not on HBO, like the whole saga of Walter White—the fact that you can care so much about the fate of the world’s best meth cook is kind of a phenomenal achievement.”, he says. “It’s been a great thing. It’s great working in TV right now, just having the liberty to pursue these stories that studios have been rejecting for years and years.”
The show’s fourth season’s finale will air on Sunday, June 15, on HBO.
David Benioff was born in 1970 to a family of German Jewish and Russian Jewish descent.
While working as a high school English teacher, he wrote a book called “The 25th Hour”, which he later adapted into a screenplay that was filmed by director Spike Lee.
Among his work, Benioff drafted a screenplay of 2004’s mythological epic “Troy” and wrote the script for 2005’s psychological thriller “Stay”. In 2008, his second novel, “City of Thieves” was published.
Benioff is the co-creator, executive producer, showrunner and a writer on “Game of Thrones”, HBO’s adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” series of novels.