10 Awesome TV Shows Whose Hype Totally Backfired!

These shows may be awesome, but too much hype can backfire hard.

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If there is any important lesson to be gleaned from our modern media landscape, it's this: corporate monopolies on media enterprises is a bad idea that drowns out creativity and healthy competition in pursuit of the bottom line. But only SLIGHTLY less important a lesson is this: nothing turns potential new viewers off from your product more effectively than too much hype.

You would think that the best way to get someone to watch something would be to tell them what makes it so damn great. But there comes a point, whether it's near constant word of mouth or advertising being crammed full of the thing 24/7 or both, when hype can in fact scare people off.

And sometimes if they do watch it, their expectations become so high that nothing could match it, and the little problems with the show that you didn't notice become IMMEDIATELY noticeable to them. After all, if this show is so awesome, why did it do this thing, or that thing, or this other thing?

But that doesn't detract from the quality of the shows themselves, it just proves that maybe we should all dial it back a notch. From advertising campaigns to constant public presence, the hype may be real, but it can definitely be too much.

10. Buffy The Vampire Slayer

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Joss Whedon has had an... interesting career, hasn't he? Starting out as a TV show-runner before moving on to big budget Hollywood movies like Serenity and The Avengers, Whedon has cemented his place in geek culture. But as geeks are one to do, his work can be built up just a bit too much.

Case in point, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, by far Whedon's most lasting work on television. Besides kicking off Sarah Michelle Gellar's career, it's also gained notoriety for its fun monster action, its progressive politics about sexual orientation and gender roles, while also being one of the best character dramas on the air in its day.

However, if you want people to see all that, then you might wanna start them off later in the show's life. For the first one and a half seasons, Buffy is a straightforward monster of the week show taking place in a high school. Granted, a really good monster of the week show, but a lot of it hasn't aged well, even in later seasons.

You can't really blame Buffy for not ageing great in this regard, but in this age of Rebecca Sugar, G Willow Wilson, Noelle Stevenson, and the Wachowski sisters, the feminist and sexual politics of Buffy that made it so acclaimed seem quaint at best, toothless at worst when viewed today. Not helped by Joss turning out to be nowhere near as enlightened as he portrayed himself.

Still a great show overall, but definitely one we've been selling too hard.


John Tibbetts is a novelist in theory, a Whatculture contributor in practice, and a nerd all around who loves talking about movies, TV, anime, and video games more than he loves breathing. Which might be a problem in the long term, but eh, who can think that far ahead?