Premieres have a tough job. They are the first show, some for an entire show and others for a season. Either way, they set the tone for the entire series. A premiere has so many things to accomplish on a quick outing that it feels almost unfair to judge an entire episode to mark how a season will go. Yet, that is exactly what we do, so a new outing needs to make it clear that the journey a show wants to take us on is worth it. It is a struggle for a show to figure out what works, but it is vital that it is because a premiere will shape an impression.
New Shows and their Series Premiere
Not every season gets a season 2 premiere, but every single episode gets a series premiere. The series premiere is a first chance for a show to wow and impress. It has the job of introducing the heavy hitters to the show, outlining the premise, depicting what will become a typical plot, all while being entertaining. What I’m saying is, a series premiere has to prove why it will be worthy to watch for it’s foreseeable run. It is a big task to handle and often pilots struggle with being faithful to what they want to one day become or can’t find a way to make it interesting.
There is a reason many people will tell you that if you can get past the pilot and generally the first few episodes a show starts to get really good. This is because a show needs to work out the kinks. No one expects a pilot to be perfect. It is a first outing and often are more for advertisers than for audiences (though they are doing double duty).The pilot gives someone an idea of what to expect. It gives an advertiser a taste of the show to see if their product would fit with the show. Ultimately a pilot has a lot of jobs to juggle. Capturing the audience and at least providing them with hope is key as nearly every show suffers from a drop between a premiere and episode two.
A standard season premiere of an already established show is just as important as a series premiere. Thankfully they don’t have the weight of keeping an entire new show afloat. That said, it is still important to set a tone. A premiere is the opportunity to prove to the audience that they want to come back for more. In many ways this can be more important than a series premiere. The major goal of a television show is to grow over time. A network and show runners hope that as time goes on viewership will raise. A season premiere is a good start for a show to start a season out with a bang. It wants to prove that it will deliver a stronger season than the one that preceded it.
Not all shows do this right and then suffer from drops. The mentality often is if the season premiere isn’t so strong that it will wow me, then why would I stick around for the middle episodes that will likely be even weaker. Which is why you on a season premiere, you don’t just want to deliver an episode that is entertaining and compelling, you want to provide an episode that propels the show forward in a way that will keep people engaged.
As technology has changed that has meant less grand events, like travel episodes or more explosions directly associated with a pilot. It’s unnecessary when a large chunk of the audience doesn’t view live anymore, but binges the episodes instead. For a binge watcher the episodes will all flow together. However, a season premiere is still important, as I’ve already mentioned, in making sure that the trajectory of the show is clearly established.