In a couple of hours Season 7 of Game of Thrones will debut and we'll start getting some inkling into the fate of Westeros as, after seven years of foretelling, Winter arrives with a vengeance. We'll also get to see some of the best VFX work this side of a major cinema blockbuster.
In more than a few decades of watching television, it's hard to remember anything which has had the sustained impact of Game of Thrones. This is event TV par excellence; water cooler gossip in an era when On Demand and Netflix were meant to have put such things behind us.
When it pulls out the stops nothing can match it, both in terms of narrative swoops and, more relevant here, in terms of craft skills. Simply put, it looks gorgeous thanks to its long-standing combination of ARRI Alexa and Cooke S4/1 primes. Each episode has a budget of over $10m and it shows. Aided and abetted by some excellent location choices - Northern Ireland is assuming the same sort of status with Game of Thrones that Lord of the Rings accorded New Zealand - a geographically diverse set of VFX houses have brought Westeros to stunning, and often blood-soaked life.
The showreel below, from Australia's Rising Sun Pictures, is a case in point, detailing its work on the tumultuous final episode of the last series. Needless to say, there are spoilers ahead if you haven't been following events.
So, if you've not been watching, you have just under two hours now to catch up with 60 episodes of some of the best TV ever made, not to mention a ringside seat into the argument that says that high-end television is now firmly the new cinema. Winter is not only coming, it's here (though do please keep any spoiler material out of the comments below.)
How do you top that? Guess we'll find out soon enough.