Why Television Shows Gradually Lose Their Appeal

The Crown photo by Ollie Upton/Ollie UptonNetflix – © Netflix 2020, Inc

Not too long ago all the rage was Game of Thrones (HBO) about nine families battling each other for power. You couldn’t get enough if it, with many people even binge-watching episodes. Now the current favourites are The Crown (Netflix), a series of fact mixed with fiction about the British royal family, which has gained even more popularity with the death of Queen Elizabeth II, and House of The Dragon (HBO) – a civil war prequel to Thrones.  No doubt, they too will pass, to be replaced by something regarded as even more exciting and suiting the moment.

Yet, no matter how good the programme, it is inevitable that the best television shows will lose their appeal soon enough for four main reasons:

First, it is difficult for producers and programme makers to sustain the originality and quality of a production due to a natural loss in creativity with prolonged demands. One can think up only so much material around a new theme. Soon, the programme becomes repetitive and lacking in new ideas. That is why so many good programmes do no survive more than two or three series because of the natural law of diminishing returns when too many storylines have to be found.

Paddy Considine and Nova Foueillis-Mosé in House of the Dragon (2022) -Credit IMDb

Second, every TV programme reflects the culture, nuances, ethics, beliefs and social protocol of the time. TV shows largely reflect how people think and behave, what they value and what they prioritise. For example, right now, music reality shows like the X-Factor are the rage. In a few years’ time, something else will take their place when the public gets tired of them. As our values change, and what we seek to entertain us also changes, those programmes will lose their appeal. So, as society changes, so will the programmes on TV, if they are not to appear old fashioned and outdated. They have to move with us and our development. They have to truly reflect our interests for us to want to watch them.

Third is due to natural human evolution. As we evolve, the programmes that were very appealing when we were younger cease to be appealing as we get older because maturity brings a desire for different experiences to match our new state. I used to watch the very popular Australian soap opera, Neighbours, for years when it first came to Britain. It resonated with me as a younger person and reflected life in an escapist way. Then suddenly I stopped watching it ten years ago, without knowing why and haven’t watched it since. Yet it has been updated to reflect current audiences, too, but I simply outgrew it, and it’s no longer there.

Finally, nothing lasts forever. For television to retain its appeal, it has to be innovative, fresh, creative and relevant. If any of those elements are missing, audiences won’t be impressed. No matter how great the programme, it will attract attention just for so long because, in time, it would cease to innovative, cease to be fresh and, above all, cease to be relevant to changing culture and public demands.


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