The Patriots are Too Old, Too Beat Up, and Now the Vultures are Circling. Here. They. Come.

Theres just something about old, grizzled, veteran teams making a final stand that I love more than anything. It’s the reason why the 2011-12 Celtics are one of my favorite teams of all-time despite the nightmarish end to that season. That old, veteran team spawned the greatest rallying cry for fans of old ass teams everywhere.

And just like that Celtics team, this year’s New England Patriots and Tom Brady specifically are like the last Spartan in 300. Just fighting until the last man. Now I wouldn’t exactly qualify Ryan Tannehill and the Titans as the Persians in this situation, but not all analogies are perfect so work with me.

I refuse to believe the wide receiver turned Dolphins quarterback in Ryan Tannehill unseats the Patriots. Then again he’s been playing absolutely lights out as was former Dolphins runningback Kenyan Drake who went from afterthought to fantasy juggernaut in Arizona. So maybe its the Dolphins who are garbage more so than the players we’ve dragged for years. And maybe Tannehill and Mike Vrabel do have what it takes to come into Foxborough to knock the Pats out in potentially Tom Brady’s last game as a Patriot.

But, the Titans better hope so because Tom Brady and Bill Belichick have heard this song before and here. they. come.

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The 300s Staff NFL Bracket Update

Back before the season started, a handful of The 300s staff made bold predictions about how this NFL season was going to shakedown. With the first round of the playoffs coming up, it’s time to check in and see how everyone is doing.

As a refresher for how the scoring works, in this round you get: 10 points for each correct playoff team, 5 points for correct seed, and 5 points for correct division winner. A perfect score would get you 220 points.

Mattes:

The Chiefs should be in that empty spot…oops

Just like everyone else, Mattes placed a little too much stock in the Browns and Jaguars. Although not everyone saw the Panthers making the playoffs, I doubt anyone thought they’d be as bad as they turned out this season. Although the Patriots are looking like anything but Super Bowl favorites at the moment, they were in a similar position last year. As we all know, the Patriots aren’t out of it until the clock strikes 0:00. Green Bay was able to sneak in for a first round bye, so although Mattes isn’t off to a perfect start, he’s still in good shape.

Total points: 90

Big Z:

Cowboys in the Super Bowl? YUCK!

Big Z may be the only person to pick against the Pats, but his bracket is full of red. Steelers in the AFC title game, Colts and Browns in the playoffs, Dem Boyz in the SUPER BOWL?! Yuck! The only thing Big Z has going for him at this point is his Super Bowl winner. Hey, at least he picked the 49ers in the playoffs.

Total points: 95

Joey Ballgame:

The Bengals? Really?

Joey Ballgame wins worst pick of the challenge. The Bengals? In the playoffs? Now, everyone in the world had a hard time picking the AFC, but that doesn’t mean a team led by Andy Dalton was going anywhere. Most people were riding high on the Browns, and Joey fell into that trap as well. Surprisingly, Joey is in pretty good shape here, with both of his SB teams and 3/4 championship teams still in it. He also picked the seeding right on 4 teams, which is better than anyone else.

Total Points: 115

Dom:

You know you messed up when you’re NFC title prediction happens in the Wild Card Round.

Just because I invented this new way to gamble doesn’t mean I’m any good at it. Red and I were the only guys to pick the Ravens in the playoffs, albeit losing to a team that’s getting a top 10 pick at next years draft. Just like Joey, I’m riding high on a Brady-Brees matchup in the Super Bowl, but since the Pats need to go through KC to get to the AFC title game and the Vikings play the Saints in the Wild Card, I’m going to have a hard time accumulating points.

Total Points: 100

Red:

Red is in surprisingly good shape here.

Last but not least, we have Red. Which is ironic, because his bracket has the least red of all. Red not only had the Ravens in the playoffs, but also was the only one to have the Seahawks in there. Even though the Eagles take on the Seahawks this weekend, Red still has a chance to get 6/8 Divisional Round teams and all 4 championship teams. However, it seems highly unlikely that the Eagles and Texans make it past the second round.

Total Points: 110

As you can see, these brackets are a huge challenge, especially in the NFL. Nobody had the Ravens or 49ers getting past the first round of the playoffs. The Browns, Jaguars and Cowboys were all major disappointments, and all of us homers were riding a little too high on the Patriots. Over the course of a season, anything can happen. I’ll be checking back next week with another update. LFG PATRIOTS!

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The 300s Top 10 Movies of the Decade

It’s starting to feel a lot like the end of Majora’s Mask with the moon about to smash into the earth as we rapidly approach the end of the decade. With the 2010’s hitting the wrap it up box it’s a perfect time to rank the best of the best and today we’re picking the Top 10 Movies of the Decade. As always, we polled the staff on their top 15 movies awarding their favorite flick 15 points all the way down to 1 point for No. 15 and then we aggregated the total points to rank our Top 10.

Time to run it back!

10. Edge of Tomorrow

“One of the best action movies of all-time with a slick, coherent time travel plot that makes it a cross between Back to the Future and Groundhogs Day. Tom Cruise does what Tom Cruise does best in this one; action with a megawatt smile. However, this movie isn’t just a dumb popcorn flick, its actually a pretty thoughtful script that plays with the notion of time travel and using it like a reset button as Cruise, by dying many many times, meticulously levels up from being a joke to a super solider who is singlehandedly bringing an end to the war. Every time I see a mech suit in a movie I cringe because they never look as cool on screen as they sound on paper, but Edge of Tomorrow crushes the look and the actual physics of it. If you’re looking for this movie though you might have to search for the dumbed down title they slapped on it when it hit DVD: Live. Die. Repeat. Because ya know, time travel!” – Red

9. Inception

“Christopher Nolan followed up the wildly successful The Dark Knight just two years later with Inception in 2010, which absolutely blew my mind. A movie that in theory should be an absolute popsicle headache is a gripping heist flick all while messing with time and our perception of reality. I don’t know how Nolan made this into a coherent let alone incredible movie, but he also had the help of an A+, albeit distinctly Nolan, cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Marion Cotillard, and Michael Caine. You would think recycling the same handful of actors in all his movies would get tiresome, but it doesn’t, which is a testament to their work.” – Red

8. Sicario

“Sicario plays like an action film on the surface, but if you take a closer look it could be argued it borders on horror. The entire movie has this sense of impending doom that is masterfully brought to the screen by Denis Villeneuve. If I was a college professor, it would mandatory viewing in any film studies class I taught. I dare you to watch this without feeling anxious.” – Papa Giorgio 

7. La La Land

“La La Land was the best musical in decades. La La Land appealed to more than just fans of musicals thanks to brilliant performances from Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. Stone won an Oscar and Gosling was nominated for an Oscar for their performances as two artists pursuing their dreams and struggling to make it in Hollywood. Ambitious and poignant, La La Land is a toast to the fools who dream.” – Big Z

6. Hell or High Water

“Chris Pine stars in what is the closest thing we have to a modern day Western. This film flew completely under my radar until it hit the home video market and I gave it a chance on a whim. Turns out it’s a masterpiece of cinema.” – Papa Giorgio

5. Get Out

“One of the most inventive and terrifying movies I’ve ever seen coming from a rookie film director/writer, Jordan Peele. Despite coming from a background of sketch comedy, Peele wrote one of the best horror scripts of all time, boosted by its timing in history where racial tensions are rising in the United States. The movie itself works as an elaborate analogy for being trapped in a society that wants to keep you down. I actually didn’t see this movie until a year after it came out and somehow didn’t have the plot or the twist spoiled for me, which was the best way to go into this anxiety inducing film.” – Red

4. Django Unchained

“I enjoyed this movie so much that I actually went out and bought the Steel Book Blu Ray, only for it to be released on Netflix the next day… This is one of Quentin Tarantino’s finest works led by superb acting from A-list actors in smaller supporting roles, which is where Tarantino’s writing shines. Jamie Foxx plays a freed slave turned bounty hunter alongside Christoph Waltz who in the last several years (Inglorious Basterds, Spectre, Muppets Most Wanted) has become the rare actor who I will literally see anything he’s in. Waltz is that good. Not to mention Leonardio DiCaprio’s gloriously unhinged super racist, Calvin Candie. Django is completely over the top violent, filled with cringeworthy racial epithets, and intelligent witty banter with a tight, stylistic script: everything you come to expect from Tarantino.” – Red

3. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

“Tarantino had quite the decade didn’t he? Forget the hot garbage that was The Hateful Eight, because with TWO movies in our top four of the decade Tarantino is on fire. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is a movie that I literally had no idea what to expect going into. I wasn’t particularly aware of the Sharon Tate story until hearing about this movie, and the trailers went to painstaking effort to not show anything of real substance. Luckily for Tarantino he is Quentin Tarantino so he could get away with that plus a few shots of Leo and Brad Pitt looking handsome AF, the brief shot of the Bruce Lee inspired character, as well as Margot Robbie and I was IN. This movie is the definition of a slow burn, which is not really what I’ve come to expect from Tarantino. His movies are usually violent from the get go and/or frantically paced, but Once Upon a Time in Hollywood takes you through the winding down careers of DiCaprio (legitimately might win an Oscar) and Pitt amidst one of the best bromances ever put on the big screen. After about 60 minutes I started to wonder where this was all going before of course we start getting introduced to the Manson clan and this impending sense of doom starts to creep. THEN the final 20 minutes of the movie happen and I am literally left in shock wondering what the hell I just watched yet unable to wipe the smile off my face.” – Red

2. The Wolf of Wall Street

“Its easy to see The Wolf of Wall Street simply as an ode to Bros everywhere, but that would be missing the point. The movie is done entirely tongue in cheek, albeit entertaining AF along the way, detailing the fast rise and the cataclysmic fall of Jordan Belfort. The Wolf of Wall Street is a fast talking, incredibly loud, and hypersexualized peek behind the curtain of absolute meat heads scamming people out of their money in the stock market. I think what makes it so entertaining is that this shit actually happened. Before the internet, before your reputation stuck to you like glue, a group of slick talking bros and bro-ettes were able to game the system and get rich off the backs of dummies looking to play the stock market.

A far less critically acclaimed (let alone seen) movie based on the same exact idea called Boiler Room came out in 2000 so its not exactly original source material, but the impeccable character acting is what rocketed this movie all the way up to No. 2 on our list. From Leonardo DiCaprio (this is his 4th time on our list btw) and Jonah Hill playing the ultimate archetype of toxic masculinity to Kyle Chandler’s no bullshit federal agent, Jon Bernthal’s small time drug dealer, Rob Reiner as the absolute lunatic father, and in a smaller self contained role Matthew McConaughey playing…well…Matthew McConaughey. Plus The Wolf of Wall Street also introduced us to Margot Robbie, which in of itself is enough to land this movie on the best of list.” – Red 

1. The Social Network

“Nearly ten years after its release, The Social Network still feels as fresh as it did the day it was released. As someone who was at one of the first schools (not Harvard) to get The Facebook (as it was called in 2004), this film accurately captures that moment in time. It’s the definitive account of the rise of Facebook in particular and social media in general, and is some of Aaron Sorkin’s best work. And nearly ten years later I still can’t forget this absolutely brutal takedown:

‘You’re going to go through life thinking that girls don’t like you because you’re a nerd. And I want you to know, from the bottom of my heart, that that won’t be true. It’ll be because you’re an asshole.'” – Big Z

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Fire Flames Jersey Alert: Springfield AHL Team to Wear Ice-O-Topes Simpsons Jerseys

NHL.com – The Ice-O-Topes are headed to Springfield. The Florida Panthers’ Massachusetts-based American Hockey League affiliate will become the Ice-O-Topes and wear spectacular uniforms for one week to celebrate the 30th anniversary of “The Simpsons.”

NEEEEED. Minor league teams love to run promotions based on the wacky jerseys they’re wearing and most of them are terrible, but some of them…some of them are special.

Just look at the attention to detail with the donut and nuclear symbol stripes!

If they auctions these off after the game like a lot of teams do then I may have to put this jersey on The 300s company card. It may also be the only reason I ever go to Springfield ever again. Now that the casino has opened up in Boston, just around the corner from my office, there really is no need to go west. Maybe if you want to take your kid to the Basketball Hall of Fame I suppose? Welp, the Panthers AHL team just put this on my list of places I would consider leaving my winter hibernation for.

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Drew Brees Becomes the All-Time Passing TD Leader. Until Tom Brady Passes Him Next Week and Round and Round We Go

Drew Brees broke Peyton Manning’s record for the most (regular season) Passing TDs in NFL history with No. 540 last night. However, Tom Brady is right behind him with 538 touchdowns of his own. These two guys might play until they’re both in wheel chairs just to outlast the other and hold onto the TD crown.

Luckily, Peyton already recorded his congratulatory video for Brees last year.

I’m just glad the Saints didn’t turn this milestone into another cringeworthy celebration like last year when they legit stopped an NFL game after Brees broke the Passing Yards record.

But in all seriousness congrats to Brees on standing alone atop the record book. For the next 5 days at least. Brady is just two TDs behind him so a good week from TB12 and we could be having this same conversation all over again next weekend. This is why it always seemed humorous to me that ESPN pushes these records so hard when they frequently are changing hands. Either way one of these two will finish as the all-time leader in TD throws when all is said and done.

Live look at Peyton Manning:

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The Falcons Murdered Degenerate Sports Gamblers Everywhere Sunday

Yahoo – The Falcons took a 23-22 lead with a frantic finish that saw a pair of throws into the end zone reviewed for touchdowns…Jones’ TD left two seconds remaining for the 49ers to attempt an unlikely comeback. The ensuing kickoff resulted in typical desperate shenanigans that saw multiple backward laterals on the return.

It did not end with a 49ers score. It did end with a Falcons touchdown when Atlanta special teamer Olamide Zaccheaus picked up a lateral that rolled into end zone.

That late score meant nothing in terms of the outcome of the game. But it meant everything for bettors who took the 49 1/2-point under set by MGM. The score pushed the total to 51 points and an unexpected win for over bettors.

If I had so much as my lunch money betting the under on this game I would have jumped off my roof. I know we are fond of hyperbole and recency bias in this day and age, but that was probably the most absurd, meaningless, and downright cruel bad beat I’ve ever seen. As an objective fan without any skin in the game (I don’t want to talk about my fantasy team) it was an awesome final few minutes to watch. Austin Hooper’ would be go ahead TD was erased after the refs overturned it, but with 2 seconds on the clock and no timeouts left Matt Ryan hit Julio Jones ON the goal line for the score.

This literally could not have been closer, if Jones gets tackled an inch or two further back then the clock runs out and the Niners hang on.

Normally I’d flip the channel with just 2 seconds to go, but after the Miami Miracle walkoff kick return last season I tend to stick around to witness some chaos. This game did not disappoint.

If you had money on this game I think its completely understandable to call out of work for a couple of days until you recover.

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The 300s Top 30 TV Shows of the Decade

With so many options to watch TV like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, HBO Go, Amazon Prime, YouTube TV, Apple TV+, ESPN+ and more coming, its no surprise that a huge chunk of the shows below are not on cable. As they say, the Streaming Wars have begun.

This list is comprised of picks from the staff where we ranked our Top 15 shows with No. 1 getting 15 points all the way down to No. 15 getting one point. Rankings are based on each show’s aggregate score, which seemed like the fairest way to do it. Apologies to all the shows forever in my queue, but I haven’t seen some of the more acclaimed shows like The Wire, The Leftovers or Atlanta so that hurt their overall scores. So sue me, theres a billion shows to watch and I spend approximately half my time scrolling through just trying to decide what to watch.

Also it was a Sophie’s choice of TV to pick from so I made the difficult decision of ruling that any show on this list had to have premiered in 2010 or later to truly make it a show of this decade. So no Breaking Bad, Mad Men or Lost.

Now lets get to the Top 30 shows of the decade!

No. 30 – The Missing/Rick and Morty/Making a Murderer/Trial and Error
No. 29 – Crashing
No. 28 – Narcos

“If Game of Thrones put him on the map this is the show that launched Pedro Pascal into the next stratosphere. Just an excellent Netflix original about two DEA agents taking down Medellin drug kingpin Pablo Escobar.” – Red

No. 27 – House of Cards

“It’s easy to forget about this show at this point, considering how far it went off the rails and Kevin Spacey’s cancellation, but this show was a game changer. When a two-time Academy Award winner got involved with an online streaming show, that was a sign that streaming television offerings would be worthy of our attention.” – Big Z

No. 26 – Big Mouth

“One of the funniest shows on Netflix, Big Mouth is unapologetically filthy and does a great job capturing a very specific time in all of our lives.” – Big Z

No. 25 – Homeland

“This show emerges from the ashes of the height of the Iraq/Afghanistan conflicts and follows CIA agent Carrie Mathieson as she tries to stop various terror threats before it’s too late, all while keeping a fairly substantial personal secret.” – Joey B

No. 24 – Master of None
No. 23 – Westworld
No. 22 – BoJack Horseman
No. 21 – Billions

“Think “Heat” but with a stock market genius that toes the line or complete disregards it and a US Attorney starving to nail him for it. All sorts of hijinx and side characters add quite the spice to this Showtime great.” – Joey B

No. 20 – The Leftovers
No. 19 – Vice Principles

No. 18 – Lovesick

“One review said Lovesick was “what How I Met Your Mother could have been” and I think that is deadly accurate. Basically a guy finds out he has the clap and needs to inform all previously partners. While he works through that list he simultaneously tries to decipher why love has evaded him so far.” – Joey B

No. 17 – Parks and Rec
No. 16 – Stranger Things
No. 15 – Shameless

“It has waxed and waned post-season 4 or 5ish but still delivers. The saga of the poverty-stricken but street smart Gallagher clan on the south side of Chicago will make you laugh and cry in the same episode.” – Joey B

No. 14 – Daredevil

“Hands down the best depiction of the Marvel Cinematic Universe ever put on TV. Now its worth noting a lot of those live action shows were hot garbage (couldn’t make it through the pilot of Iron Fist) and they all ultimately got cancelled, but I think that had more to do with the Streaming Wars than the quality of the shows. Daredevil is so good it will make you forget how much you hated that character after the disastrous Ben Affleck movie. Charlie Cox is the catholic with a conscience fighting crime facing off against Vincent D’Onofrio as the completely unhinged Wilson Fisk. Plus this show gave us the criminally underrated Jon Bernthal Punisher.” – Red 

No. 13 – Peaky Blinders

“I consider this the best show currently on TV. Cillian Murphy (the Scarecrow in “Batman Begins”) is a WWI vet who has returned home to Birmingham, England fairly recently and now runs his family crime syndicate using both brute force and his intimidating intellect.” – Joey B

No. 12 – Jack Ryan

“This Amazon Prime show only started in August of 2018 and already skyrocketed up to No. 12 on this list because its that good. Granted 13 Hours and The Quiet Place helped people forget about John Krasinki as Jim from The Office surprisingly quick, but Jack Ryan turned him into a bonafide action star.” – Red

No. 11 – Banshee

“The best kept secret (who the fuck watches Cinemax but not for softcore porn?) of the decade. Basically a Gomorrah of blood, gore, and nudity based around a master thief who gets out of prison and assumes the identity of a bordering-amish country small town sheriff.” – Joey B

No. 10 – Boardwalk Empire

“This is a show that for whatever reason never got the same hype as a lot of other titles on this list, but it had some of the best writing on TV with The Soprano’s Terence Winter leading the ship. It stars a perfectly cast Steve Buscemi as a corrupt politician/bootlegger turned full blown gangster. Not to mention A+ performances from Michael Shannon and Michael Kenneth Williams as flawed, morally ambiguous characters on both sides of the law.” – Red

No. 9 – Black Sails

“I wrote a whole blog about Black Sails and how I believe it got no love because people assumed it was trying to ride GOT’s coat tails with the English accents and old timey-ness (it started the same year). Either way this television precursor to Treasure Island involving pirates and colonialism was an honest to God achievement.” – Joey B

No. 8 – The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story

“Even in the age of DVR this miniseries was appointment viewing. What could have easily been an extended SNL sketch featured some superb storytelling and acting. Sterling K. Brown’s performance was a highlight for me, but is was also probably John Travolta’s best work in a long, long time.” – Big Z

No. 7 – Broad City

“Broad City was basically Girls without all the preachy millennial commentary. Where Girls oftentimes embarrassed you to be a millennial, Broad City reminded you how fun it could be to be broke in the city with your best friend just getting into weird shit.” – Red

No. 6 – Watchmen

“This HBO original hasn’t even finished its first season yet and thanks to Papa Giorgio and I, its already made it to No. 6 on our top shows of the decade. Its that good. I never read the comic book, but if the 2009 Zack Snyder movie even vaguely interested you, this show is 100x better and worth the 9 hours. The show is helmed by Damon Lindelof, who I have absolutely FLAYED over the years for how badly Lost went off the rails at the end, but he has come back strong with The Leftovers and now has hit a grandslam with Watchmen. Lindelof learned from all the mistakes he made along the way to create another complex, political, downright weird world while still leaving all the breadcrumbs to tell a completely engrossing story. The penultimate episode even accomplished the rare feat of nailing time travel as Lindelof tells a story across multiple timelines in a completely coherent way.” – Red

No. 5 – Nathan for You

“Nathan For You is my comedy of the decade. It’s premise is pretty simple: Nathan Fielder presents terrible ideas to businesses with a straight face to boost sales/revenue. Fielder tricks real people into following along with his schemes and hijinx ensue. Whether it be convincing a realtor to rebrand as a “ghost realtor,” hiring a Michael Richards lookalike to leave a large tip at a restaurant to get the restaurant publicity, or conning a Best Buy employee into divulging company secrets in order to help a mom and pop electronics store sell TVs, Nathan For You is the perfect reality show we never knew we needed.” – Papa Giorgio

No. 4 – Better Call Saul

“Possibly the greatest spin off in TV history. Bob Odenkirk is outstanding in this fascinating look at Jimmy McGill’s transformation into Saul Goodman. This show moves a little slower than Breaking Bad, which means it would be great to binge if you haven’t been on board since Day 1. A benefit of that slower pace is a more thorough look at much of what was going on in the background on Breaking Bad. So while it’s not a thrill ride every week, it is a very satisfying character study.” – Big Z  

No. 3 – Veep

“In a long history of comedy excellence at HBO, Veep might be its finest offering. Julia Louis-Dreyfus leads an outstanding cast and took home SIX straight Emmys for her portrayal of Selina Meyer. The show won three straight Emmys for best comedy and will be heavily featured when CNN gets around to the TV episode for it’s inevitable 2010’s miniseries in a few years. Veep also boasted some of the best insults in TV history.” – Big Z 

No. 2 – True Detective: Season 1

“If there is one show that defined appointment TV before streaming completely took over the world it is True Detective. The first season was incredibly acted, directed, and told a story across timelines seamlessly. This was a show that Papa Giorgio and I started watching on a borrowed HBO Go account, which meant we had to wait an hour after it originally aired. But we became so enthralled with the show we couldn’t risk Twitter ruining who the Yellow King was for us. So we legitimately bought HBO the day of the finale so we could watch it live. And because it was a self contained anthology series you knew it was all going to come to an end after one season leading to the most fun I’ve had watching TV this decade.

Not to mention, if you’ve so much as tried to film an IG Story you can appreciate the creativity and skill it takes to pull off a SIX minute tracking shot. Meaning they used one camera for this entire action packed scene in one, continuous shot, going in and out of rooms and even over a wall in the middle of a massive shootout.” – Red

No. 1 – Game of Thrones

“This was never in doubt and if you’ve even glanced at The 300s over the last few years you shouldn’t be surprised as I’ve written tens of thousands of words about this show. Game of Thrones literally changed TV and it was the last water cooler show we’ll probably ever get. It was the last TV show that completely dominated pop culture and was something you had to watch in real time or risk Twitter spoiling it because we all were watching it at the same time.

It had its ups and downs including the poorly paced final season and the bizarre finale, but GOT changed the preconceived limits of what a TV show could accomplish. At its core though GOT was a show about politics and getting what you wanted either through smarts and wit or by brute force, but it never got away from the pursuit of power and what everyone was willing to do for that power. It created an absolute murderer’s row of iconic characters from the headliners to secondary characters like Petyr Baelish, and Ramsay Bolton, and even short lived ones like Oberyn Martell all lit up the screen with some of the best acting ever seen on TV. Along the way it won a ridiculous 59 Emmys including FOUR by Peter Dinklage for his tour de force acting. A show about medieval knights, long monologues, dragons, and snow zombies sounds like something that should have been cancelled after a month, but Game of Thrones became bigger than pop culture to truly earn its ranking as the best show of the decade.” – Red 

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