'House of the Dragon' Episode 1 Review: Matt Smith With Blond Hair and #MemeWatch

Courtesy of HBO
Courtesy of HBO /

HBO premiered House of the Dragon on Sunday night. The first Game of Thrones spin-off show arrived with great fanfare and the first episode was viewed with much scrutiny. Liam McKeone and Stephen Douglas both begrudgingly watched it and got together to talk about the foundation laid in the series premiere, the return of classic GoT violence, seeing Matt Smith with shocking blonde hair, how measuring memes is a good indicator of audience engagement, and whether the show will ever be able to stand on its own two (four?) legs without constant comparisons to its predecessor.

0:30--3:00: Intro and the trepidation that comes with diving into the GoT universe once more.
3:00--6:30: Examining the main cast of characters in this new setting displayed in Episode 1. A quicker pace in this show.
6:30--10:00: Seeing Matt Smith with blond hair is weird. More decorated cast overall for House of the Dragon. The struggle the show will deal with as a prequel where we all know what it's building towards.
10:00--13:45: Dragons! The CGI is top-tier once again, and the production overall was up to par. The unenviable task of trying to separate this show from the negative reception of the final season of GoT.
13:45-19:45: Looking at the main players in the Westeros power struggle and the pivotal events of Episode 1.
19:45--26:30: Will it get anywhere near the cultural relevance GoT did and can that be measured through memes? How will the show establish sympathy for its main characters when the audience knows what happens and that there aren't really any "good guys"?
26:30--29:50: Final thoughts and rating the first episode.