Every time HBO Home Video releases the latest season of Game Of Thrones on Blu-ray and DVD, I get a thrill rewatching the episodes as they were meant to be seen, enjoy the special features, and then lament that some of the latter aren’t set up correctly or aren’t where they should be, and why are some are left off the DVD version? Not surprisingly, that’s exactly how I feel about Game Of Thrones The Complete Sixth Season (Blu-ray, DVD). Well, except for that one other huge mistake they made this time around.
For those who missed this season, the ten episodes in Game Of Thrones The Complete Sixth Season mark the first time that this show isn’t entirely based on George R.R. Martin’s original novels. Granted, this show has often diverged from those sacred texts, but with the sixth book, The Winds Of Winter, still not out, the show does explore some uncharted waters. That said, Martin is still involved in the show, and has not only told the writers what happens in that unpublished novel, but they’re also still pulling some material from the fourth and fifth books, A Feast For Crows and A Dance With Dragons.
As for what happens in these episodes, Game Of Thrones The Complete Sixth Season starts with Sansa arriving at The Wall, only to learn that Jon Snow is dead; Cersei dealing with The High Sparrow and her followers in that most Cersei of ways; Arya coming to grip with her blindness; Tyrion and Varys trying to run Mereen without Daenerys; Daenerys trying to make her way back to Mereen; and Ramsey Bolton continuing to run his castle like a tyrant. Along the way, there are some shocking moments, some explosive ones, and a lot of characters learning how their stories end. Which is usually not well.
Visually and aurally, the episodes included in the Game Of Thrones The Complete Sixth Season look and sound great, especially on Blu-ray. Plus, you don’t have to deal with any stuttering or other problems because someone in your house is trying to stream the new Metallica album or is playing Call Of Duty: Infinite Warfare. They even include HBO’s previews for the episodes, as well as the recaps of previous episodes, for those who, I guess, really want to recreate the experience of watching this show live.
Along with the ten episodes, Game Of Thrones The Complete Sixth Season has the same kind of extras they included in the Game Of Thrones The Complete Fifth Season, Game Of Thrones The Complete Fourth Season, and so on. Well, mostly.
For starters, Game Of Thrones The Complete Sixth Season has thirteen commentary tracks, including two each on the episodes “The Door” (which is the fifth), “Battle Of The Bastards” (the ninth), and “The Winds Of Winter” (the tenth). As always, these conversations mostly fun and informative, thanks to them pairing crew members with such actors as Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister), Natalie Dormer (Margaery Tyrell), and Ian McShane (who guested this season as Brother Ray), something that always keeps commentaries from turning into Film Theory 101. The exception to this being the aforementioned secondary commentaries on episodes five, nine, and ten, since they just have crew people, no cast.
Game Of Thrones The Complete Sixth Season also has three making-of featurettes for those who want to see how the sausage was made. In “The Battle Of The Bastards: An In-Depth Look,” the cast and crew spend half-an-hour talking about the climactic battle at the end of this season; “18 Hours At The Paint Hall” is a twenty-eight minute look at when all three filming units were working at the show’s studios, something that usually doesn’t happen given how much is shot on location; while the twenty-minute-long “Recreating The Dothraki World” discusses how they rebuilt Dothraki society. As always, all three are informative and entertaining, though without becoming too academic.
The Blu-ray and DVD editions of Game Of Thrones The Complete Sixth Season also have three deleted scenes. None of which change anything, mind you — it’s not like one has the camera pulling out to reveal that Westeros is actually part of Westworld — but they are more than just little snippets of cut, inconsequential dialog. That said, I’m glad they excised the last one, “The Play,” which shows a longer version of, well, the play. What was in the episode was quite enough.
While all of those special features are included in both the Blu-ray and DVD versions of Game Of Thrones The Complete Sixth Season, the former also has two extras not included in the latter. The “In-Episode Guide,” which runs concurrent with whatever episode you’re watching, shows relevant pop-up factoids about whatever is happening in that specific scene. Though unlike watching an episode of that show Pop-Up Video, or any show where they insist on interacting live with Twitter, you decide when you’d like to learn something, and when you wouldn’t.
The Game Of Thrones The Complete Sixth Season Blu-ray also has “Histories And Lore,” in which such actors as Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister), Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark), and Jonathan Pryce (The High Sparrow) explain, in character, the mythology of Westeros and Essos. Which sure as hell beats looking it up on Wikipedia.
While the extras included on the Game Of Thrones The Complete Sixth Season Blu-ray are good — and the DVD slightly less so — they’re far from what they should be. For starters, the deleted scenes are all lumped together on the last disc, as opposed to in the section for the episode from which it came. There’s also nothing to indicate from which episode they were cut, where in that episode they were excised from, and why they were deleted from the final version.
Similarly, the “Recreating The Dothraki World” featurette is on the second disc, not the last, even though it’s something you shouldn’t watch until you’ve seen all of the episodes.
The Game Of Thrones The Complete Sixth Season also could’ve benefitted from an extra along the lines of “The Fallen: A Roundtable,” a featurette on Game Of Thrones The Complete Fourth Season in which most of the actors whose characters died that season got together to talk about their time on the show…and to pretend they weren’t pissed that their character had been killed off.
But the most annoying thing about the special features on Game Of Thrones The Complete Sixth Season Blu-ray and DVD is that both are missing extras that are included in the Digital HD version: “Bran’s Journey,” a nine-minute featurette on what Bran endured this season; the self-explanatory “Inside Game of Thrones: Prosthetics“; and “The Game Revealed,” which is identified in the press materials as being a, “Five-part series covering the creation of Season 6’s most epic set pieces and scenes.” Though as I don’t have the digital HD version, I can’t comment on their quality.
Though even if they’re dull, though, leaving these extras off the Blu-ray and DVD of Game Of Thrones The Complete Sixth Season is inexcusable and annoying, and not just because the word “Complete” is right there in this collection’s title. It’s also irritating because we all know that at some point there will be a version of Game Of Thrones The Complete Sixth Season or an all-inclusive Game Of Thrones The Complete Series collection that includes these extras.
Despite these shortcomings, thought, Game Of Thrones The Complete Sixth Season Blu-ray and DVD are still the best way to watch these episodes. Sure, the special features could be a bit more special, or at least complete, but if you’re just into this for the show itself, this will do quite nicely…for now.