Television has entered a new age - never before has the medium produced such a high volume of content. Not only has the output increased but so has the quality; the days when characters were killed off in one season and walked out of the shower in the next, retconned by a convenient dream, are mercifully over.
That episode of Dallas is now infamous for ripping off the audience with a deus ex machina worse than nuking Indy in the fridge but what about the televisual triumphs that ended up creating more narrative problems than they solved? Daring story arcs can leave shows directionless, the bravest of character culls cannot be reversed and occasionally there are the episodes that are just so creatively perfect that all else pale by comparison.
Twin Peaks revealed the killer too soon, Sherlock killed off Moriarty and never really recovered, and Game Of Thrones put all its eggs into one frosty basket, splitting the final season in half at a time when all the threads should've been pulled taught. These decisions produced some of the best television ever made but ultimately creatively doomed the remaining episodes - were they just too clever for their own good?
10. Game Of Thrones - The Long Night (S08E03)
When The Long Night brought the armies of Westeros and the Night King together at last, this was going to be a TV smackdown like no other. Game Of Thrones would end, just not exactly how fans had imagined.
Show runners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss set out to subvert expectations from the very first series - this was a show that thrillingly, and to great dramatic effect, killed off main characters without warning - The Long Night would be no different.
When Arya ninjas her way through the Night King and to victory, whilst making for utterly thrilling television, this twist effectively split the last season into two acts: the defeat of the armies of the dead and the shift to the war for the throne of Westeros. The story arcs were no longer intrinsic to one another and the narrative lost all tension in the last three episodes.
With one battle fought and won, relocating the drama to King's Landing left the fate of Cersei to Daenerys' increasing mania, turning the remaining episodes of the world's greatest, most epic and beautifully crafted TV show ever made, into a quickly tied up squabble.
The dramatic tension of GOT came from fighting the war on two fronts; while The Long Night was exciting, scary and unpredictable, the battle for King's Landing and the fate of the Iron Throne never had much of the drama that Benioff and Weiss had spent eight years carefully creating. Perhaps George RR Martin will have more success sticking the landing on paper.