Every so often, a TV show comes around that’s just too big for the small screen, no matter how loudly a person screams about how big and bodacious their TV is. HBO’s Game of Thrones proved that quite nicely this past weekend with a run of highly lucrative IMAX screenings that not only brought the exquisite Season 5 trailer to audiences, but allowed them to watch two of the series’ best episodes in a ridiculously high-quality format. And you can bet this won’t be the last time that happens.
While it probably isn’t the cheapest or least laborious way to give fans a new interaction with a beloved show, the IMAX experience is still the ultimate way for a visual medium to imprint itself on one’s eyeballs. So here are five series that we think would make for absolutely incredible IMAX viewings, and ones that wouldn’t make us grumble too much as we reached for our wallets in line at the theater. The three of you hoping to see Father Dowling Mysteries on here will walk away disappointed.
SpartacusA skimpier forefather of the wonder that was Starz’s Spartacus, Zack Snyder’s 300 (and its gorgeously flawed sequel) had a successful enough run on IMAX screens. So we know what could be. Now all we need is for IMAX to reach out to creator Stephen S. DeKnight and Starz to give audiences all the shirtless, blood-stained battles they can handle by putting Spartacus on the mega-screen. A series that makes the most of its budget at every turn, this historical action drama is filled with lush locations and outstanding sequences that would leave thrilled audiences dodging the larger-than-life blood spatter as it flies in their direction. And who doesn’t love giant boobs and dongs?
Best Episodes for IMAX: If we’re assuming it’s mostly fans going to see Spartacus in all its remastered glory, then let’s go ahead and bookend things, pairing the throat-slashing series premiere with the horrifyingly gory War of the Damned finale.
GothamI would honestly take any Batman-related media on an IMAX screen, from the 1960s series to the animated series, but the production design for Fox’s Gotham is consistently beautiful, despite often portraying things with a decade’s worth of soot and dirt covering them. Almost every shot in a Gotham episode is trying to infer the massiveness of whatever the scenes are focused on, from the monstrous Don Falcone to the maniacal Penguin, and every location is set up to look like the most important place in the city. It’s so very unfortunate that we won’t be seeing any caped crusaders gliding from one building to another across this magnificent skyline any time soon, but at least we have the skyline.
Best Episode for IMAX: Considering its first season has yet to be completed, I’ve an inkling the best of Gotham is yet to come, but I bet being able to watch the extended series premiere would do an even better job of covering up the overstuffed plot.
Lost“We have to get out of the IMAX.” “We have to get back to the IMAX.” All ill will aimed at the latter seasons aside, Lost remains one of the most ambitious TV series ever created, achieving both a visual scope and a narrative sweep that will be hard to top by anyone. Part of Lost’s winning formula involved making each location appear as important as the characters – more so when it comes to Paulo and Nikki – and seeing those iconic spots maxed out on such a big screen would be a good reminder of how exciting TV can be. Maybe “4, 8, 15, 16, 23, and 42” would make more sense to me if the numbers are taller than I am.
Best Episodes for IMAX: How can anything but that stellar pilot episode be the choice here? Our introduction to the Island remains engaging a decade later, and an IMAX screen might make the mysteries seem exciting again. Ooh, or the Season 3 finale “Through the Looking Glass.” Hell, I think seeing the Lighthouse and the Temple in IMAX would wash away some of the blahness that their initial reveals brought about.
The Walking DeadA series chock-full of barren landscapes, both within a major city and in its heavily wooded outskirts, The Walking Dead pits its main squad of survivors against an entire world gone mad with zombies, cannibalism and murder. And even when the series hones its focus in on the micro, the episodes are so well-produced that seeing them blown up on an IMAX screen would make the danger all the more intense. I believe none of us have really lived until we’ve seen a building-sized Michonne lop a walker’s head off.
Best Episodes for IMAX: As you might have guessed, my vote here once again goes for the series’ lavishly produced first episode, when audiences are initially introduced into a metropolitan city devastated by zombie attacks. As a follow-up, the Season 4 mid-finale “Too Far Gone,” in which a big fight leads to several big deaths, would be fantastic.
FireflyWhile this spot was almost held by Battlestar Galactica, I figured we needed a little more fun on this list. (B.G. is still welcome, however, if IMAX execs are reading this.) Another notch in Joss Whedon’s “reasons people love me” belt, Firefly was his shortlived tour de force, proving that network TV was capable of pulling off gorgeous space adventures with a modern pulp appeal. The scientifically sound silence of Firefly’s space sequences would be goddamned magical if IMAX’s giant speakers were the ones that the silence was coming out of. (Does that make sense?) What could be better than seeing Captain Mal and Zoe kicking ass and taking names again on the biggest display possible?
Best Episodes for IMAX: I could easily say “Out of Gas” or “Jaynestown,” because both of those would be awesome, but what I really want is to just watch this entire series, in sequence. It’s only 14 episodes, after all. Later this year will be the twelfth anniversary of the final episode. That’s as good a reason as any to get Firefly into IMAX, right?
Head to the next page for my honorable mention episode, featuring one Walter White.
Breaking Bad “Ozymandias”While I would have no problem rewatching the entirety of Breaking Bad on an IMAX screen, I can’t say with certainty that the nerve-jangling drama would gain a lot from the grand format. (Plus, I think Walt would very much want his story told in this magnificent way, and we just can’t let him win.) However, there are select episodes that seem tailor-made for massive projections, and the Season 5 masterpiece “Ozymandias” fits that bill. Much of it takes place in the picturesque New Mexico desert, where the beauty is contrasted wonderfully by the horror that Walt is experiencing. And while the size of the screen technically has nothing to do with the size of the drama within “Ozymandias,” I have a feeling I would have a fairy tale giant’s blood pressure after watching it.