POLL: Is Westworld HBO’s New Flagship Series?

Or is the mantle claimed by another show already?

Samwell Tarly crying in HBO's Game of Thrones

Yesterday, we spoke about Westworld’s first-season ratings, specifically comparing the night-of numbers with the cumulative totals (y’know, adding in such modern niceties as time-shifts and streaming). While together they paint a rather rosy picture for HBO’s newest drama, the clear discrepancy between the two sets of data points to a rather stark reality for the series: it’s nowhere near being the kind of appointment viewing that Game of Thrones has been for quite some time now.

With that said, it got us to thinking here at WestworldWatchers HQ: does this mean that all those many claims in the various media that Westworld has already stepped up to replace the departing Thrones as HBO’s new flagship show should be recanted? Or, maybe, is it still too early to definitively say?

There’s only one way to sort this out, of course – community poll time!

Be sure to leave the rationale for your vote below in the comments, and check out all our past polls here.

6 responses to “POLL: Is Westworld HBO’s New Flagship Series?”

  1. Until the final GoT credits roll, I don’t want to even begin to think about life post-Thrones, even with rumblings of a spinoff. However, for the purposes of this topic, given the amount of fan speculation and theorizing that arose during Westworld’s first season (similar to what GoT has experienced throughout it’s 6 seasons), I think it’s fair to say that it has a legitimate shot at EVENTUALLY taking over the flagship position at the network.

    That being said, I was also a fan of Vinyl and thought it had a lot of potential after it’s one and only season, so take my opinion with a grain of salt…

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  2. To the extent that the mantle of being a flagship show is a singular proposition, Game of Thrones will remain HBO’s flagship show for as long as it remains on the air. That’s no black mark on Westworld’s record – the standard Thrones has built to over the course of its six seasons to date is virtually impossible for any show to reach, let alone one coming of its (admittedly extremely strong) rookie season.

    As television viewers continue to fragment into smaller and smaller self-selecting groups, Game of Thrones is perhaps the last four-quadrant show remaining on the air. It attracts a large audience – with an average of nearly 8 million Live+SD viewers and 23 million viewers across all (legal) domestic platforms, it’s HBO’s most-watched program ever. It inspires a passionate and engaged fandom, both online and off (with WOTW being the standard-bearer among the former, of course 🙂 ). It retains a high level of critical acclaim and drives significant online discourse (as evidenced by its myriad appearances on critics’ Top 10s this year, and the large number of online pieces it continues to inspire, even in the offseason). And perhaps most importantly for a prestige network like HBO, it’s an entrenched award-magnet – the reigning two-time champion for Outstanding Drama Series at the Emmys, and the most awarded scripted program in the Television Academy’s history.

    Westworld, however, has established itself as the clear heir-apparent to the Iron Throne. HBO was absolutely desperate for a new drama hit in the wake of several critically beloved but underwatched niche shows and a few out-and-out failures, some of which never even made it to air. Westworld came along at the perfect time, and it exceeded all expectations. It had the most-watched debut season of any HBO drama across all platforms (eclipsing Thrones). It inspired a rabid online fandom that presumably extends offline as well (I expect it become a staple at various Cons over the next year). It’s inspired an impressive number of critical discussions and accolades. And as award season starts to kick in to full gear, Westworld is putting in a strong showing (particularly among its actors). I expect it to slide into Game of Thrones’ open slot at the Emmys in 2017, before they’ll presumably go head-to-head once Thrones is eligible again for the next cycle.

    Meanwhile, Westworld won’t return until 2018, at which point Season 2 will likely air in either the months immediately preceding or immediately following Game of Thrones’ eighth and final season (perhaps they’ll even be paired together, though I admit I think that’s less likely). If Westworld Season 2 can match the high level of quality and engagement that it inspired over the course of its extremely successful first season, the passing of the flagship torch (which is lit by dragonfire, of course) should be fairly seamless. 🙂

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    • Jared,

      Well said!
      GOT is the flagship show while it is still on the air. No other show will assume that role until sometime in 2018 when GOT has ended.

      Westworld is the clearly the heir apparent but S2 will be the critical factor. Hopefully Westworld will not experience a “sophomore slump” as many shows do. If it can live up to S1 (as GOT did), then the torch will have been passed successfully.

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