Macall B. Polay/HBO
6. Game of Thrones
Providing the year’s most resonant cliffhanger—seriously, Jon Snow?—which left even book readers in the lurch (because that’s exactly where the most recent volume left off), HBO’s dark fantasy for the first time actually began to improve on its source material, though not without controversy. (RIP, Shireen. We’ll never forgive Stannis for that fiery call.) Streamlining and tightening the sprawling epic’s dramatic focus in adapting the fourth and fifth novels in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire
maintains its magnificent ability to conjure devastating set pieces, not all involving dragons. Who’d have believed we’d feel for a fiend like Cersei (Lena Headey), whose naked walk of shame through King’s Landing was a series high point? Now that the show has caught up to the books, has anticipation ever been higher?
Plus: See Where Matt Ranked Game of Thrones Last Year