I don’t think anyone would refute the point that even the most established and dramatically formidable of TV shows is highly dependent on the skills of its directors. We’ve seen how talented helmers can elevate even lesser episodes of programs, from Rian Johnson’s work on AMC’s Breaking Bad to Patty Jenkins’ absorbing atmosphere-building on the same channel’s The Killing. And HBO’s Game of Thrones, which has now received two Emmy nominations for Outstanding Directing (for Tim Van Patten’s series premiere and Neil Marshall’s epic season 4 episode “The Watchers on the Wall”), with its sweeping scale and battle sequences, is more dependent on exceptional direction than most.
That’s why I’m happy to report that the recently revealed roster of directors that the HBO high fantasy hit has lined up for its upcoming fifth season looks as terrific as ever. There are five directors, and each will direct two episodes of Game of Thrones‘ fifth season.
Returning to sit behind the camera is David Nutter, who previously directed pivotal season three episode “The Rains of Castamere” (aka The Red Wedding episode). He’ll handle directorial duties on the sure-to-be jaw-dropping ninth episode (this show has a habit of pulling out all the stops on every penultimate installment) and the season 5 finale.
Absent this year are Alex Graves (who did four episodes of season 4), Marshall, and showrunners/directors David Benioff and Dan Weiss. Other than Nutter, it’s a fresh crew of directors. The first and second episodes will be directed by Michael Slovis, who previously directed episodes of Breaking Bad, AMC’s Hell on Wheels and AMC’s Rubicon. On Breaking Bad, Slovis sat behind the camera on season 3’s “Kafkaesque,” season 4’s “Cornered,” and season 5’s “Live Free or Die” and “Confessions,” all impressive episodes. He also served as the series’ cinematographer on 50 episodes.
The third and fourth episodes will be handled by Mark Mylod, who previously directed episodes of Showtime’s Shameless and HBO’s Entourage. He also helmed the pilot of ABC’s Once Upon A Time.
The fifth and sixth episodes will be directed by Jeremy Podeswa, who has been bouncing between premium channels for years. He’s directed episodes of Starz’s Camelot, HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, Showtime’s The Tudors and The Borgias, and FX’s American Horror Story. He has also helmed one episode of FX’s Tyrant and Nip/Tuck, Showtime’s Dexter and Ray Donovan, FX’s Nip/Tuck, HBO’s True Blood and Homeland, and AMC’s The Walking Dead.
Next, Miguel Sapochnik will direct the seventh and eighth episodes. Sapochnik has also had one-episode stints on a number of impressive shows, including TNT’s Falling Skies, CBS’s Under the Dome and NBC’s Revolution. Other programs he’s worked on include Fox’s House and Fringe, Cinemax’s Banshee and ABC’s short-lived Mind Games.
And as before mentioned, Nutter will return for the season’s final two episodes. All in all, it’s a great lineup of proven talents, and I’m looking forward to seeing how each of them contribute to Game of Thrones‘ sure-to-be ambitious fifth season, which HBO will air in 2015.