We live in an era of peak television, with every year seeing the debut of hundreds of new creations from the likes of HBO, the BBC, Netflix, Amazon and everyone in between. Given that audiences only have a finite amount of time and attention on their hands, only a small selection of series manage to stand out in this hugely crowded market and emerge as ‘must-see TV’.
Some of these had staying power and justified this label, building up huge amounts of buzz and momentum with each subsequent season until their finales become huge cultural (and almost always polarising) events. Game of Thrones is the most recent example of such a show, having become the most popular series in the world (surely cementing itself as a media and merchandising juggernaut for years to come in the vein of Star Wars and Harry Potter) during its now concluded eight-year run.
Others, such as Firefly, went largely unnoticed whilst on the air, but have developed cult followings on DVD or streaming services and established themselves as classics years after they would’ve otherwise been forgotten.
Some, however, eventually fell by the wayside, quickly becoming formulaic or repetitive and struggling to live up to the burden of expectation after beginnings that displayed incredible promise.