Game of Thrones came along and set fire to what TV executives thought made a successful drama series. Right from the off it felt like it was going to be a big show, and it developed into one of the most memorable series in the history of television. This is how Game of Thrones changed television.
Just in time
Game of Thrones came along at the right time as Netflix was just about to start dominating TV content. The fantasy show debuted in 2011 and instantly became a hit thanks to its unpredictability and lack of fear in taking out its stars. Sean Bean was the iconic Ned Stark, and he seemed to be the guy that all hopes would rest on as the series progressed.
Viewers were shocked that their hero’s head was on the block before the end of the first seasons, and they understood that no one could be trusted. People were hooked on Game of Thrones, but they were going to have to wait a year for the next season. Over the next few years, the TV landscape would be completely changed as ‘Thrones grew into the most-watched show in the world.
Changing the game
Game of Thrones was big, but it wasn’t just a big budget TV show, there was more to it than that. As things stand no show has ever won more Emmy awards than Game of Thrones, and it might even add to its collection at the next ceremony. We are now living in the streaming era and ‘Thrones was perhaps the last great ‘network’ show, even though a large percentage of its viewers watch it online.
Netflix came along and tried to introduce their own big-budget TV series in Marco Polo, which actually failed. Amazon has recently spent $200 million on the rights to the Lord of the Rings and is planning on bringing that to our screens in a series. The point is; TV networks are all looking for their own version of Game of Thrones and are having to spend serious amounts of cash in trying.
Trying to find that success
There is a problem for TV networks that try to emulate what Game of Thrones has done by throwing money at great sounding stories. If they are actively searching for the ‘next Game of Thrones’ it could be counterproductive. There was a huge amount of fan backlash toward the end of ‘Thrones as viewers felt it was very much style over substance.
To some extent, Game of Thrones could get away with moving away from what made it popular because people were already hooked on the show. New shows trying to entice viewers cannot afford to go big too soon or else people just won’t jump on board, just like Netflix’s failed series, Marco Polo.
Bigger is better
What Game of Thrones has done for the TV world is change the budgets involved. The show began with episodes costing around $5 million each and ended toward the $15 million mark. Studios are having to put more cash into their TV shows to make them feel more like movies than ever. Fans aren’t accepting their TV shows feeling ‘cheap,’ and they want the full movie-going experience, but in their homes, and over ten episodes. Netflix is expected to spend $10 billion on its TV shows this year alone, but those numbers wouldn’t have risen so high if it weren’t for Game of Thrones.
Game of Thrones is now the TV show that other networks, and HBO, will have to measure their future projects against. It sucked everyone in, and thanks to its huge budget, all of TV might just be getting better.