Sunday, HBO.

"I don't believe in saviors. I believe men of talent have a part to play in the war to come."

- Lord Varys (Conleth Hill) to Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage),

"Game of Thrones"

I BELIEVE in David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, whose sure hands on HBO's "Game of Thrones" are the closest thing we have to a guarantee that the TV version of George R.R. Martin's sprawling, still-unfinished saga won't end someday with a dark screen flashing "GAME OVER."

Fans of Martin's books know that his is an ever-expanding universe. Fans of TV know that only "The Simpsons" can go on forever.

Whether there are two more seasons after this or a little more (and whether or not the show passes Martin, who has two more books to go), Sunday's Season 5 premiere brings us closer to the end than to the beginning.

In "The Wars to Come," to be released simultaneously in more than 170 countries, our main characters remain scattered throughout, and beyond, the seven kingdoms of Westeros.

But some, at least, are on the move, and in directions that may eventually lead their paths to cross (and, more than ever, to diverge from the twistier trails laid down by Martin).

A few are missing altogether: We'll reportedly see nothing of Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) or the faithful Hodor (Kristian Nairn) this season.

Tyrion, fleeing King's Landing after killing his father, is being recruited to the cause of an aspirant to the Iron Throne his nephew now holds, and Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) finds her future in play yet again.

And thanks to Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), there be dragons still, bigger and badder than ever.

As always, there are scenes that are brutally hard to watch and a few that may be too easy. In "Game of Thrones," if a prostitute is told she doesn't need to disrobe, you can be certain it won't happen until after viewers have had a full-frontal eyeful.

Beyond noting that occasional tic of too-self-conscious nudity, though, it's hard to overpraise a show that's tamed Martin's tale just enough to make it filmable and matched extraordinary characters with extraordinary actors while finding things to say about justice, religion, governance and the power - and limits - of compassion.

Knowing it can't last forever only makes it more meaningful.

'Marvel's Daredevil'

It can be tough out there in the Marvel universe, where full citizenship is available only to those who've done their homework and can explain exactly how ABC's "Marvel's Agents of SHIELD" relates to every other Marvel storyline.

Marvel's new entry, "Daredevil," really only asks you to have Netflix, where all 13 episodes of its first season premiere today.

It wouldn't hurt to have seen the Battle of New York (the one in "The Avengers," not the American Revolution), but all you really need to know is that Hell's Kitchen took a beating and is still rebuilding.

Charlie Cox stars as Matt Murdock, a young lawyer who was blinded in a childhood accident that left him with heightened senses but not exactly superpowers. Which doesn't stop him from donning a makeshift outfit and spending his evenings fighting crime.

"Daredevil" is dark - both literally and figuratively - and dares to suggest vigilantism can create problems, not just solve them.

But while the show's big villain - a developer played by Vincent D'Onofrio - may turn out to be a bit of a romantic, there's nothing cartoonish about the violence for which he and his masked opponent are both responsible.

It's a comic-book origins tale, but a satisfyingly adult one.

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