This era of Prestige TV establishes television as a true rival to the cinema. Characterized by its increased production values, notable movie directors and actors, as well as spin-offs of well-known franchises, this era of TV marks an age where quality television becomes indistinguishable from its movie counterparts.
TOP 10 Most Expensive Series Ever Made
1- The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power 2022 - $58 million per episode
A total budget of $465 million - Amazon Prime’s The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power has become the most expensive television series ever made and surpasses the combined $281 million budget of The Lord of the Rings film series.
2- Stranger Things 2016 - $30 million per episode
One of the most successful long-running series on Netflix, over its four-season run Stranger Things has gone from being a small town tale about a missing boy and '80s references to a much darker and action-packed horror sci-fi show involving secret government facilities, Russian conspiracies, and military involvement.
3- WandaVision 2021 - $25 million per episode
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has built one of the most popular film franchises of the 21st century. With a $400 million budget for Avengers: Endgame, Marvel’s venture into television after the epic conclusion to the Infinity Saga came with equally expensive budgets in order to continue expanding the MCU.
4- House of the Dragon 2022 - $20 million per episode
The prequel to Game of Thrones shattered viewership records for HBO with nearly 10 million people tuning in to watch the first episode of House of the Dragon. Building off the success of its predecessor, the series is set two centuries before the events of Game of Thrones and centers around the House of Targaryen and the civil war that led to the family’s downfall and the disappearance of dragons from Westeros.
5- The Pacific 2010 - $20 million per episode
At $20 million per episode, the HBO miniseries reached critical acclaim for its historical accuracy and depiction of epic World War II Pacific Ocean fight scenes. With big names like Spielberg and Tom Hanks behind the production and iconic film composer Hans Zimmer behind the war drama’s score, The Pacific truly feels like a TV show on a grand cinematic scale.
6- The Mandalorian 2019 - $15 million per episode
It's $15 million per episode budget is largely due to the inventive filming techniques used throughout production. While the green screen has traditionally been used to superimpose actors onto a digital environment, The Mandalorianinstead utilized StageCraft - a way of immersing the actor within the digital environment through large LED video screens that can be rendered in real-time.
7- See 2019 - $15 million per episode
Although the $15 million per episode budget may be attributed to the big names behind the show such as Jason Mamoa and director/producer Francis Lawrence, the series’ budget is largely due to its filming location in Vancouver. To assist with the creation of the dystopian world, the production team drained an actual lake in Vancouver, built a village, then filled the lake up after filming concluded.
8- Game of Thrones 2011-2019 - $15 million per episode
From the archipelago of the Iron Islands to the wintry North, Game of Thrones is known for its visually stunning filming locations shot all around the globe. The initial budget for season 1 was around $5-6 million per episode. By the final season, this rose to $15 million per episode, as the HBO series saw the cast and crew traveling between the United Kingdom, Croatia, Iceland, Spain, Malta, and Morocco.
9- The Crown 2016 - $13 million per episode
At $13 million per episode, the budget for The Crown shines in the show’s attention to detail. Having won countless awards for costuming alone, and with its cast praised for the accuracy in which they portray the mannerisms of their real-life counterparts, it’s easy to understand how a series about royalty requires an equally lavish budget.
10- Halo 2022 - $10 million per episode
As one of the most critically acclaimed and successful video game franchises, the Halo tv series could easily rely on its existing fanbase for support. However, many fans agree that considering the $10 million per episode budget, the CGI could have been better. Although season one's production was impacted by the pandemic, with big names attached like executive producer Steven Spielberg involved, fans eagerly await for season two to be bigger and better than ever.