Making a TV show is not easy, and most shows take years to start production. The efforts of everyone involved in the project mean a lot of time, effort, and money being invested into making the pilot the best it can be so it can hopefully get picked up by a network. Erin from the Office smiling and crossing her fingers NBC Universal / Via giphy.com As a viewer, it's the bait that gets us hooked and wanting to see more of whatever hot new show has been marketed everywhere, so it can be a little disappointing when after episode one, you're wondering, "What the hell happened to the show I started watching?!" Johnny Rose from Schitts Creek turning to someone and saying What the hell CBC / Via giphy.com
In honor of those who watched a show way past its expiration date, here are ten shows that had a fantastic pilot episode but faded into mediocrity or worse, whether it be explained by a drop in viewership or heard by the voice of the people.
1. Lost Lost was a cult phenomenon when it first aired. The pilot was gripping, and the first few seasons were edge-of-the-seat thrilling. Every season we would get some answers paired with new questions, which at first was okay until there were until it seemed like some of the questions were never answered. Credit to Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse because it kept people glued to the TV throughout its series run. However, viewers eventually saw through the ruse and were frustrated by the bitter-sweet finale. I know that sometimes there are things meant to remain a mystery, but Lost had a mountain of mysteries unsolved, to the fans' disappointment. Disney / ABC Television 2. Obi-Wan Kenobi
Fans were losing their minds when this show was announced at D-23 in 2019. After
The Mandalorian's success and Ewan McGregor reprising his role, most fans, including myself, believed there was no way this show could miss, especially after episode one. Unfortunately, Star Wars fans seemed pretty split on the show. Half were excited to see Obi-Wan back and in action, while the other half were like Redditor u/Temutul describing the similarities to The Mandalorian with the adult/kid dynamic and what other fans felt was weak writing. I admittedly felt like the show and its characters fell flat, though I believe Ewan McGregor's and others acting was top-notch. Reva is a character I thought could've had a better arc than she was given, considering the caliber of actor Moses Ingram. The finale was exciting and frustrating as we got the rematch we'd been waiting for, but we also got some far-fetched investigating skills from Reva that made no sense. Ultimately, I believe this show was expected to be extraordinary instead of ordinary. Disney 3. The Following
The show had massive appeal initially, premiering with 10 million viewers. This psychological crime drama followed Kevin Bacon as Ryan Hardy, a former FBI agent tasked to help his former colleagues recapture serial killer Joe Carroll, played by James Purefoy. The show started with twists and turns that made viewers come back episode after episode, but after Season 1, it seemed the story didn't know where to go. After declining viewership, it was canceled after three seasons, and although there was an attempt to shop it around to different streaming platforms, it unfortunately never got picked up.
Warner Bros. Television 4. Game of Thrones
Initially, the pilot for
Game of Thrones was terrible, according to showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff. Still, after making some changes, it delivered and became one of the most-watched shows in television history. Though nothing lasts forever, and although the viewership stayed steadily climbing, the bad aftertaste of the last season still lingered in plenty of fans' mouths. Whether it was the too-dark-to-witness White Walker battle at Winterfell or the unexplained time jumps, or the never answered "prince that was promised" prophecy, it seemed to many that Weiss and Benioff were somehow ready to move on from the series and embark on new things to the detriment of the show. I was never fully on board that it was the worst ending in television history, personally, I think Lost was WAAAAYY worse. Still, it definitely fell flat to my and many others' expectations. Warner Bros. Television 5. FlashForward
Based on the novel, the show created a mystique based on the premise that people worldwide simultaneously lost consciousness for 137 seconds and had visions of their future six months ahead. This would lead to over 12 million viewers during its premiere, and with good reason, as everybody was ready to go down the journey with FBI agent Mark Benford (Joseph Fiennes) as he tried to figure out this mystery. Unfortunately, viewership declined episode after episode, leading to its cancellation after just one season. I guess if you wanted to know how it all worked out, you could just read the book.
Warner Bros. Television 6. Book of Boba Fett
This one hurt my heart. Seeing Boba Fett make his way back on
The Mandalorian was a sight to see, and then I got more excited when I saw that he would be getting his own show. Of course, the first episode was excellent and prepared me to see Boba Fett and Fennec Shand take over the galaxy's underworld. This was unfortunately not the case, and although we did get some fan service in the form of Cad Bane, there's something to be said about the fact that some of the best episodes of the series didn't have Boba Fett in it. Though an all-star cast of characters was woven into the show, it wasn't enough to distract people from how disappointing it was as a Boba Fett show. Disney 7. Dexter
Another show that not only had a great pilot but multiple strong seasons that eventually led to a disappointing final season which left audiences feeling unsatisfied. Whether it was the death of his sister, his son going off with his ex-girlfriend, who is also a serial killer, or maybe how he faked his death to be a lumberjack, there were just too many unfathomable things happening that just felt off. After seven years of airing, it felt like there was a better ending for Dexter and friends, and we never got to see it.
CBS 8. The Walking Dead
Based on the graphic novel, this show premiered with a six-episode first season under Frank Darabont that people were clamoring for after its first episode. Then, after Darabont got the boot in Season 2, lawsuits started coming, actors started picking sides according to
Sarah Wayne Callies, and although the seasons were still getting audiences onboard once Negan was introduced through some major character deaths, well, all that changed. At the height of it all, TWD was averaging 15 million viewers, by the last season it was averaging one million, showing a huge lack of disinterest and disappointment in character deaths and overall arcs in the show. AMC 9. She-Hulk
In my opinion, this was one of the MCU's biggest television flops to date. After the premiere, I thought we were getting an
Ally McBeal superhero show that would entertain, but by the end, it was an overly meta mess of a show that gave us glimpses of a great show. Although I do love Tatiana Maslany as the titular hero, most fans would agree that they wished the writing was better as it would've delivered a more entertaining superhero legal comedy. I hope to see her in Daredevil: Born Again because they had great onscreen chemistry, which could redeem her and give her show a second chance. Disney 10. Westworld
A show that took liberty with timelines,
Westworld was a fantastic science fiction drama that had everybody wondering, "Who is the man in black?" and "Who is and isn't a host?" The show made it clear it didn't play by the rules regarding conventional storytelling. That was fine in the first couple of seasons, but then came Season 3, which unfortunately took things outside the park and strayed away from the material that audiences loved. Though I think Season 4 brought things back where they needed to, it was a little too late, and viewership was too low HBO canceled the series and took it off HBO Max. Warner Bros. Television What did you think of my list? Do you agree or disagree? What shows do you think went downhill after the pilot episode? Let us know in the comments below.