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I Started Watching These 10 TV Shows Just To See What The Hype Was About

I Started Watching These 10 TV Shows Just To See What The Hype Was About

I’ve always felt an incredible need to keep up with popular TV shows, and my most hated feeling is being out of the loop about what’s happening in the world of media. This means always checking out the latest popular shows while consistently making a dent in the massive backlog of television classics from bygone eras. While this habit has extraordinary benefits when discovering amazing new series, it also leads to painfully sitting through lackluster television seasons that, when I’m truly honest with myself, just don’t live up to the hype.

But you’ve got to take the good with the bad, and part of being a TV fanatic means occasionally tuning in to shows that everybody seems to love that I thought were just okay or, in some circumstances, actively disliked. Many TV shows get incredible hype when they’re initially released, only to be quickly forgotten by viewers or canceled after just one season. However, there were other times when a show exceeded its hype and proved itself to be among the greatest series I’ve ever had the honor of watching.

Freaks and Geeks (1999 – 2000)

Freaks and Geeks was hyped up as an incredible cult classic

I was just a kid when Freaks and Geeks initially aired, and even if I was one of the lucky few who knew about this hidden gem during that time, growing up before the widespread use of the internet, I don’t think I could have watched it even if I wanted to due to its haphazard airing scheduling. But, despite its low ratings, the legacy of Freaks and Geeks grew over the years, and by the 2010s, hype around the show had built up to extraordinary levels, and it felt like a must-watch series.

As the launching point for the careers of acclaimed comedy actors like Seth Rogan, Jason Segal, and Linda Cardellini, I knew I had to see Freaks and Geeks once I’d learned about its existence as an underrated cult classic. It did not disappoint, and it was a prime example of a series that lived up to its hype. Not only did Freaks and Geeks exemplify the best of Judd Apatow’s comedy style that would dominate the 2000s, but it also played into my love of music, with incredible bands like The Grateful Dead, Joan Jett, and The Who among its soundtrack.

The Wire (2002 – 2008)

The Wire was hyped up as groundbreaking television

Growing up during the dawning of the Golden Age of Television meant there was never a shortage of great TV shows to check out, and I was always drawn to fantastic HBO series like The Sopranos and Deadwood. However, when discussing the greatest TV shows of all time, television aficionados consistently told me about one series, and I knew I had to check out The Wire to find out what all the hype was about. As a slow-moving series, The Wire took a while to click with me, but once I was invested, I was all in.

With incredible attention to detail due to the show’s creator, David Simon, being a former homicide detective, I was blown away by how The Wire presented the true realities of crime in America. With iconic characters like Jimmy McNulty and Stringer Bell, The Wire felt like nothing I had ever seen, as it demanded the viewer’s complete attention in its depiction of the social, political, and economic landscape of urban life in Baltimore. The Wire gave me a newfound appreciation for what could be accomplished through episodic television and truly lived up to the hype.

Breaking Bad (2008 – 2013)

Breaking Bad was hyped up as one of the best narratives out there

When I first heard there was a TV show where the dad from Malcolm in the Middle became a meth cook, I was expecting to see an out-and-out comedy. So you can imagine my shock when confronted with what would become one of my favorite shows. From its tense opening episode to its perfect finale, Breaking Bad was among my greatest television viewing experiences, made even better by the hype surrounding it. Watching Breaking Bad as it aired was amazing, as fans endlessly discussed their theories about how the story of Walter White would end.

With exceptional performances from Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad set a new standard for what I could expect from a TV show. I compared Breaking Bad to every subsequent show I watched, although I was equally impressed by the prequel, Better Call Saul, and how well it fleshed out the character of Saul Goodman. With the advent of streaming, Breaking Bad has found new viewers, who I am incredibly envious of because I wish I could go back in time and watch the series again with the excitement of not knowing how it would end.

Game of Thrones (2011 – 2019)

Game of Thrones was hyped up as the most talked about TV show on the air

I have to admit, I was never the biggest fantasy fan. Although I appreciated series like The Lord of the Rings and have a genuine soft spot for Harry Potter, Game of Thrones didn’t look like the kind of thing that would interest me. However, after the first couple of seasons were released, the hype became too great, and I had no choice but to check out the show for myself.

Despite my general avoidance of fantasy series, I enjoyed Game of Thrones as characters like Tyrion Lannister won me over with their witty comebacks, and the shock of seeing Ned Stark meet his end cemented this as a series where anything could happen. Before long, I was a faithful convert and eagerly anticipated the new seasons of Game of Thrones. That was until the show surpassed the books, and things completely fell apart. Looking back with the power of hindsight, I wish I had never gotten invested in the first place after the lackluster final season.

Suits (2011 – 2019)

Suits was hyped up as an incredible stylish and enjoyable series

Mad Men is one of my favorite TV shows of all time, and whenever I mentioned this, I was always told that I absolutely had to check out Suits. After a while, I’d heard this so often that I decided it was time to find out whether this legal drama could truly live up to the hype and finally acquainted myself with Mike Ross and Harvey Specter. In the end, I felt that Suits lacked the subtle nuances that made Mad Men so extraordinary, but in terms of pure entertainment, it was incredibly watchable.

After checking out Suits to see what the hype was about, I ended up sticking around for all nine seasons and am excited for the spin-off series Suits: L.A. The initial hook of Suits was Mike’s photographic memory, but fan-favorite characters like Harvey, Louis Litt, and Donna Paulson made Suits my go-to show after I first discovered it. Although Suits never lived up to the greatest prestige television shows, I felt like it had a unique identity, and part of its appeal was that it never took itself too seriously.

Stranger Things (2016 – Present)Stranger Things was hyped up as 1980s nostalgia at its bestThe hype surrounding Stranger Things was undeniable in 2016, as I constantly heard viewers praise it as an incredible 1980s throwback that brought to mind the works of Steven Spielberg, Stephen King, and even the horror writer H.P. Lovecraft. That was enough to convince me, and I immediately checked out the first season of Stranger Things and really loved it. Not only did it boast an incredible cast of promising child actors, but there was maturity to its storytelling that meant it lived up to its impressive influences.

The hype around Stranger Things only continued to grow throughout each subsequent season, as I consistently tuned in every time new episodes dropped on Netflix. As Stranger Things proceeded, the stakes grew even more intense, and I watched in awe as the Duffer Brothers fleshed out the world of the show and its creepy alternative dimension, the Upside Down. With the final season on the way, I’ll be sad to see Stranger Things go, but I can’t wait to see how it all pans out for Eleven and the gang.

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