In the eyes of George R.R. Martin, HBO’s “Six Feet Under” sits atop the Iron Throne of television finales.
After Vanity Fair published an article titled “25 Perfect TV Episodes From the Last 25 Years,” which included the Martin-written “Blackwater” from “Game of Thrones,” the “Song of Ice and Fire” author took to his Not a Blog website to weigh in on some of his favorite episodes of television.
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“If I had to pick one episode that was even more perfect than all the others on the list… it would have to be the final episode of ‘Six Feet Under,'” Martin wrote on his blog. “I liked that series well enough, though I cannot say I loved it as much as I loved ‘Rome’ or ‘Deadwood’ or ‘Fargo’ or a few other shows missing from the list, but that last episode was far and away the best finale in the entire history of television, and I cannot imagine how anyone could possibly do better.”
The HBO drama, which ended Aug. 21, 2005, centered on the Fisher family, who ran a funeral home in Los Angeles. The final episode, written and directed by series creator Alan Ball, is widely considered one of the greatest television finales ever made.
Martin also called out his favorite episodes from Vanity Fair’s list, including “The Suitcase” from “Mad Men” and “the heart-wrenching ‘Ozymandias'” from “Breaking Bad.”
“‘The Sopranos’ had lots of great episodes, but ‘The Pine Barrens’ was special, and for the entire rest of the series I kept waiting for that Russian to turn up again when we least expected,” Martin added. He said he couldn’t argue with VF’s choice to include “Middle Ground” from “The Wire,” but added that another episode which featured a major character death “hit me maybe a tiny bit harder.”
“The show was so good, it came close to perfection pretty frequently,” Martin wrote of the Baltimore-set HBO crime drama. He added of Netflix’s sci-fi anthology series: “‘Black Mirror’ is an extraordinary series in so many ways, but ‘San Junipero’ is the episode I love to watch over and over, and tell my friends to watch.”
Martin wrapped up his blog post writing, “I feel very pleased and flattered to be in such great company. No work of art is ever truly perfect, of course… but it is very gratifying to hear that maybe you achieved it, or at least came close… for some of your readers (or viewers)… once in a very great while. There is always a next time, though… and regardless of how well (or poorly) one of my tales is received, I always want to do better the next time I sit down in front of the computer.”
Martin, who wrote the “Song of Ice and Fire” novels that inspired HBO’s biggest series of all time, has been vocal about his past advocation that “Game of Thrones” extend beyond just eight seasons.
“I was saying it needs to be 10 seasons at least and maybe 12, 13. I lost that one,” he told Wall Street Journal.
Martin was an executive producer on the fantasy juggernaut, and wrote four of its episodes, but he became less involved as the series went on. Co-creators David Benioff and D. B. Weiss decided to end “Game of Thrones” after eight seasons. While the first five seasons were largely based on Martin’s novels, the TV series quickly outpaced the author, allowing Benioff and Weiss to take more creative liberties in the show’s final three seasons.
While “Game of Thrones” was adored by both critics and audiences for nearly a decade, its finale received loads of backlash. “It was as though the show, burdened with a story near-impossible to carry across the finish line, lost its nerve,” wrote Variety‘s Daniel D’Addario in his 2019 review.
Martin has since distanced himself from the controversial final episode, telling The New York Times last year, “By Season 5 and 6, and certainly 7 and 8, I was pretty much out of the loop.”
Now, Martin serves as co-creator and executive producer on “House of the Dragon,” HBO’s Westeros-set prequel series.
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