What2Watch: HBO Aims To Reign With ‘Thrones’

Have you noticed the fanboy in your life grinning weirdly for no apparent reason? It may have something to do with Sunday’s impending premiere of Game of Thrones (HBO, 9 p.m.), based on the fantasy novels of George R.R. Martin. There may have been a HBO series that arrived with more ahead-of-time hype, but none come immediately to mind. Early notices from critics have used up every positive adjective in the book, promising that even if one does not usually go for fantasy (I’m very much in that group), the storylines and overall look of this series will keep you hooked. I suppose we’ll see.

Game of Thrones isn’t based on Norse or Celtic mythology, but follows in the same general vein. It concerns the kingdoms of Westeros, and specifically one of the kingdom’s noble clans. As events proceed, we’ll see children misbehaving, schemes to regain power, civil wars erupting, and bodices being ripped. And because this is fantasy, various mythological beasts put in appearances also. Some of the semi-familiar names in the cast include Mark Addy, Nicolaj Coster-Waldau, Sean Bean, and Lena Headey. Martin has written four very thick books in this series thus far, and a few more are still on the way – so this one could last for a while.

Also this week:

Monday: How I Met Your Mother (CBS, 8 p.m.): Zoey’s mother status is looking iffier than ever, as her fights with Ted over the Arcadia continue to simmer. And Marshall continues his soul searching, quitting white collar life in order to work for an environmental group.

Tuesday: Deadliest Catch (Discovery, 9 p.m.): A seventh season of seasickness begins with a two-hour episode covering the start of king crab season, and two new boats attempting to fill the massive void left by the death of Capt. Phil Harris. Elliott Neese is at the helm of the Seabrooke, and Scott Campbell Jr. runs things on the Rambling Rose.

Wednesday: Happy Endings (ABC, 9:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.): No, this new sitcom is not set in a massage parlor – it’s about a group of friends wondering how to behave after one of them (Elisha Cuthbert) leaves another member of the gang (Zachary Knighton) at the altar. Will they get back together? That depends on if you viewers give them a second year.

Thursday: American Idol (Fox, 8 p.m.): Tune in to see which woman gets voted off this week! Seriously, no one has been a bigger critic of the hour-long Idol results shows than me, but between the surprise eliminations and the often nutty performances, they’ve done a good job this season keeping the show consistently watchable.

Friday: Friday Night Lights (NBC, 8 p.m.): The series run ended on DirecTV a few months ago, and the final season is even out on DVD already, but for NBC-only types, this marks the beginning of the end.  After a season making something out of nothing, Coach Taylor (Kyle Chandler) suddenly finds himself heading up a team expected to contend. Is one more trip to the state playoffs coming?

Saturday: Beverly Lewis’ The Shunning (Hallmark, 9 p.m.): Not to be confused with Stephen King’s The Shining, this is the story of a young Amish woman (Danielle Panabaker) who reevaluates things after learning that she was born to a non-Amish mother and given up for adoption. Too bad she didn’t find this out in time for spring break.