Some big names (for TV directors, anyway) have tackled episodes of Game of Thrones the last four seasons, several of which are among the ten best television directors working today. Tim Van Patten (who was Emmy nominated), Neil Marshall (also Emmy nominated), Michelle McClaren, Alex Graves, Thor director Alan Taylor, and Emmy-winning cinematographer Alik Sakharov have all taken cracks at Game of Thrones episodes. None of those guys will be back in season six. David Benioff and Dan Weiss, who have also directed an episode apiece, won’t be directing in season five, either.
It’s not as though HBO recruited chumps for season five or anything. Here’s the breakdown (via Winteriscoming):
Episodes 501 and 502: Michael Slovis (episodes of AMC’s Breaking Bad, NBC’s Law & Order: SVU)
Episodes 503 and 504: Mark Mylod (episodes of Showtime’s Shameless and HBO’s Entourage)
Episodes 505 and 506: Jeremy Podeswa (episodes of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire and Showtime’s The Tudors)
Episodes 507 and 508: Miguel Sapochnik (episodes of Fox’s House and Fringe)
Episodes 509 and 510: David Nutter
It’s not uncommon for series to use directors on back-to-back episodes, but it’s never been as consistent as next season. Nutter and Slovis have directed Game of Thrones episodes in the past, but the rest are newbies to Westeros. They do not lack for experience, however. Podeswa has two Emmy nominations (including one he shared with Nutter for work on The Pacific). Mylod interestingly has more experience with comedy (what does that say about episodes three and four?), and Miguel Sapochnik directed the box-office dude, Repo Men, with Jude Law. Repo Men his first major project, also basically ended his career as a feature director. However, he’s gained a lot of experience in television since then with cracks at episodes of House, Under the Dome and Banshee, among others.