HBO isn't one to shy away from ambitious projects, as evidenced by sprawling sagas such as The Sopranos, Deadwood, The Wire and Rome. And with its new fantasy drama, Game of Thrones (HBO; Sundays at 10pm), the channel has uncorked an epic worthy of comparison to The Lord of the Rings. The series of 10 hour-long episodes is based on the first volume of A Song of Fire and Ice, novelist George R.R. Martin's seven-tome tale of kings and queens, realms and dynasties. The producers have plenty of fodder for the adaptation - Martin weaves a dense, intricate world, with its own languages and dialects, into books of 1,000-plus pages. Adapted by D.B. Weiss and David Benioff and largely shot in the hills of Northern Ireland and Malta, the series focuses on four rival houses fighting for control over the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, a medieval world where seasons last for years, not months. As with sagas of this scale and complexity, it might take viewers several episodes to get their bearings. In the pilot alone, we are introduced to several locations and more than 20 characters. Of these, Lord Eddard Stark (Sean Bean; The Lord of the Rings) of the realm of Winterfeld plays the biggest part. Loyal to the reigning King Robert and a firm but loving father, Stark is heading for conflict with the wilier and worldlier Lannister clan, whose Queen Cersei (Lena Headey; The Brothers Grimm) and her brother/lover, Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau; Black Hawk Down), make for an intriguing double threat. Game of Thrones' treatment of sex and violence stands it apart from J.R.R. Tolkien's work. By the end of the first episode, we have seen two graphic beheadings, an incestuous sex scene and a dwarf frolicking with naked prostitutes - scenes perhaps designed more for shock value than to move the plot forward. These elements, and the handsomely crafted and convincing set and costume design, should keep even the most impatient viewer entertained until the action really gets going. A spin-off from long-running crime profiling drama Criminal Minds, Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior (Fox; Saturdays at 9.50pm) chronicles the adventures of another FBI 'red cell' - a Behavioral Analysis Unit that investigates unusual abductions and killings. With the exception of Kirsten Vangsness, who reprises her role as computer technician Penelope Garcia, the team features an entirely new cast. Forest Whitaker (above centre; The Last King of Scotland), playing unit chief Sam Cooper, and Janeane Garofalo (Mystery Men), as a senior agent, are the most notable additions. As it's based on the highly watchable Criminal Minds and has talented comedienne Garofalo on board, we had moderately high hopes for Suspect Behavior. Sadly, the show falls short. With unoriginal cases (the first is a double abduction with a poorly narrated twist), no chemistry between the agents and Garofalo woefully underused, all we have is the cringe-inducing intensity of Whitaker, which might have worked for his role as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin but doesn't in a flimsily written crime drama. Finally, the New Zealand-produced series What's Really in Our Food? (TVB Pearl; Wednesdays at 8pm) tries to separate fact from fiction regarding what we eat. Petra Bagust hosts this peppy, easily digestible investigative series, with each episode focused on one topic, such as eggs, spreads, beef and wine. Bagust speaks to local and international food experts - medical professionals, scientists and nutritionists - who explain how our food is produced. She also takes taste testing to the streets. Don't expect serious muck-raking a la Food, Inc., or sensationalism a la Super Size Me, and, since the show is geared for the New Zealand market, some of the statistics and conclusions will not apply to us in Hong Kong. But it does provide a framework for people who want to be more aware when they shop for food - and start asking their own questions.