The sheer number of moving parts that comprise even the simplest TV show are absolutely mind-boggling, and so it's little surprise that so many series end up falling short of their huge potential.
The creative push-and-pull between a showrunner, the network, and passionate fans can make or break a series. But even many good or great shows end up throwing some easy wins away by simply not giving the audience what they want.
Inspired by this recent Reddit thread, these 10 TV shows - among some of the most popular and acclaimed of all time - stumbled hard by failing to do justice to a golden opportunity staring them in the face.
Perhaps the showrunners fumbled a crucial character arc, skipped over something fans desperately wanted to see, or otherwise failed to exploit their blatantly obvious storytelling capital.
It's not always strictly the creatives' fault, of course: often they've got network executives breathing down their neck or are trying to desperately ward off overzealous fans.
But all the same, this ripe storytelling potential was promptly thrown out for no good reason, and the show was all the worse for it...
10. Daenerys' Botched Heel Turn - Game Of Thrones
Game of Thrones' eighth and final season is basically a comedy of errors - an avalanche of storytelling mistakes as showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss attempted to speed-run a full season's worth of story and character work in just six episodes.
There were many, many missed opportunities in the show's final stretch, but nothing more egregious than the botched presentation of Daenerys Targaryen's (Emilia Clarke) transition into the Mad Queen.
On paper, the idea of Dany's heel turn was perfectly fine, but it also needed to be built up and finessed over at least the course of a season, rather than feeling so suddenly thrown into the mix at the end as it did.
When Dany burned down King's Landing in the show's penultimate episode, it simply didn't feel earned - rather it came off as rushed, with Benioff and Weiss racing to tie up her arc in record time.
As character development it felt inauthentic to Dany up to that point, a fact made even worse by her abrupt death in the series finale.
Daenerys becoming a full-blown villain could've been incredible if given sufficient time to marinate, but it was painfully clear that those in charge just wanted to get it done as fast as possible and move onto other projects.