TV directors have a long history of being overlooked. But as television becomes more and more cinematic and more and more popular as a platform for large-scale storytelling, more attention has to be paid to what TV directors are accomplishing.
No show in the history of TV has had better directors than Game of Thrones. The writing (at least in the earlier seasons) and the acting are frequently praised, but the behind-the-camera work doesn't get the recognition it deserves.
Here are six of the best directors on Game of Thrones, people who were able to achieve a scope and scale that some of Hollywood's most recognized directors struggle to do with a budget that is 10 times that of Thrones.
6. Alex Graves
Key Episodes Directed: And Now His Watch Is Ended, Kissed By Fire, The Lion and the Rose, The Mountain and the Viper, The Children.
Many fans consider seasons 3 and 4 of Thrones to be the show’s strongest stretch of storytelling, and while the writing during this stretch is often praised, the direction tends to go unnoticed. Graves is a filmmaker who excels at directing complex interpersonal dynamics, whether it be the huge wedding set piece in The Lion and the Rose, the intimate bathroom scene between Jamie and Brienne in Kissed by Fire, or the tense interchange between Tyrion and Tywin just before the Imp kills his abusive father in The Children.
That’s not to say he can’t also handle larger, action-driven set pieces with confidence and clarity. The “Dracarys” scene in And Now His Watch Is Ended remains one of Daenerys’s strongest and most badass moments of the entire series, the fight between Oberyn and the Mountain is filmed with beautiful wide angle shots that show off Oberyn’s impressive prowess as a warrior, and the hand-to-hand combat between Brienne and the Hound in the season 4 finale is only rivalled in brutality by Battle of the Bastards.
Alex Graves played an integral part in the success of the show’s most acclaimed stretch, and deserves more recognition for it.