How Game of Thrones Changed the TV Industry

Game of Thrones, at least for me, is one of the greatest shows that I have been able to experience.  The attitude that George R. R. Martin took when it came to make his critically acclaimed books into a TV series was second to none. He wanted HBO to spare no expense in order to bring the world of Game of Thrones to the TV screen. If this meant that he would have to spend a blockbuster movie budget in order to produce each episode, he was going to do it. This is why the partnership with HBO is key.

HBO is comfortable to produce shows that have large budgets. Maybe not to the extent of Game of Thrones, but they had changed the industry standards once before with the production of The Sopranos. At the time of the Production of the Sopranos it was unheard of to spend that kind of money on a show and to use the various production styles that they did. At the beginning of production of the Sopranos a single episode cost 2 million dollars  to produce a single episode. By the end of the 13 seasons it cost around 6.5 million dollars do to increased salaries for actors and staff. And yet HBO did it and it was extremely successful. This is one of the reasons why I think HBO was so willing to put Game of Thrones into production because they knew that sometimes you have to take a risk in order to succeed and be a game changer in the industry. To produce a single episode of Game of Thrones it costs around 10-15 million dollars to produce a single episode. Over a 10 episode season it costs about 100 million dollars to produce. That’s roughly half of what was spent to produce Star Wars Episode Seven. But still that is a exorbitant amount of money to be spent on a TV series.


No one before had used CGI to the extent that Game of Thrones does. For the most part, the use of CGI on TV series was relatively unheard of. In TV shows in the past there was less of a emphasis on the visual. The TV that we are used too was more 3 or 4 set locations or sets that we would see every episode and where the entire storyline of the episode will take place.There was no need for CGi in those kind of TV episodes. CGI was also unheard of in television just because of the cost involved with producing CGI. TV shows would take alternatives to producing the effects that didn’t include CGI.  With Game of Thrones it was a lot more of traveling to location to shoot various scenes in order to tell the story. Game of Thrones is setting the bar high for shows that will follow it in the future for production and overall viewing experience.


2 thoughts on “How Game of Thrones Changed the TV Industry

  1. Game of Thrones is a great example of how shows with a Hollywood type of budget can be highly successful. I totally agree that this is one of the greatest shows of this era but in the future there may be better shows that out do this show. In the 90s, I personally think The Sopranos was a the best show but with technology and larger budgets GOT has surpassed it as HBOs greatest show. The use of CGI and popular characters has been a big influence on the shows success. Some of these actresses and actors make $1million a show which is outrageous for TV.


  2. (Kenzie Hine) Like you, I am a huge fan of Game of Thrones, I also chose to write my first blog on it. I like that you focused on the massive feat that is Game of Thrones, TV has become a much larger form of media in the past 20 years, and like you mentioned, HBO has been at the forefront of that shift. With the huge binge-watching theme of today’s culture the final of season of Game of Thrones is likely to be the last show ever that can gather the entire country and even the entire world to stop what they are doing and watch, in anticipation, the new episode every Sunday night. That was what TV was in the past, however with all the streaming sites and releasing entire seasons at once, this concept of a show that can do that is almost gone, the last being Game of Thrones which will end in May.


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