Game of Thrones' success is undeniable — the HBO series' second season was nominated for 11 Emmy Awards, received high praise from critics, and made great ratings. We suggest a few other shows take a hint from Westeros and follow its well-paved lead.
Because GoT is on HBO, it's obviously filled with nudity — and fans are not complaining. Aside from eye candy and inspiring hilarious Saturday Night Live parodies, it also makes crazy characters seem that much more insane when they're stark naked and screaming about dragons and/or breastfeeding their toddlers.
Juggle Your Ensemble
Just because you have a big, talented cast, it doesn't mean that you need to check in with every single character during every episode — and that includes the fan favorites. Shocking, we know, but by spreading out the stories, the action seems less contrived, and the payoff for when everyone does meet up is significantly better... and it's simultaneously much less of a blow to the ensemble and more of a boost to the action and ethos when you kill off someone big.
Say Their Names
Be sure to have your characters tell us their full, complicated name (including their house, rank, and nickname) every single episode, so that we don't A) forget them or B) confuse them with the three other characters who have frustratingly similar designations. Bonus points if you make them hard-to-spell versions of common contemporary monikers.
Toughen Up Your Kids
If you have a TV series with children who haven't been at least indirectly responsible for killing someone, you're doing it wrong. There's a reason the world loves the Stark kids — not only are they pure of heart, good looking, and smart; they also know how to kick some serious ass.
Puppies and Kitties
Direwolves and dragons may not exactly be dogs and cats, but for all intents and purposes in this show, they're pretty much cuddly-wuddly lovable babies. (And aren't they, though? The dog connection is clear for direwolves, and cat lovers will understand that Daenerys's screechy, rambunctious, fire-breathing little tykes are essentially kitties.) If you're desperate to get people to make GIFs of your series, pair your attractive actors with animals, and you'll be Tumblr-famous in no time.
Start Out Super Slow
Of course, you're going to owe your audience a ton of payoff, but if you want to emotionally manipulate watchers who have been anxiously waiting for the return of your series, make the first one or two episodes totally boring — introducing a few new characters and basically giving recaps of what happened last season through lengthy exposition is the official GoT way to go. And don't worry that this may dissuade new viewers from jumping it; your loyal fans will be used to your antics and will convince their friends to just give it a few more episodes until something big happens.
Guest contribution from: Television Without Pity