It will come as no surprise that broadcast television is dying, which leaves cable and streaming to pick up the slack. Fortunately, the looming launch of the spring television season brings with it a bevy of blockbuster options to keep us glued to our couches even as the weather changes for the better. Jogging outside? No thanks, we have TV to watch. Time to hit the beach? The blue light from my HD screen will tan me instead.
According to TV Time data, there are five new and returning series in March that are leading the pack in terms of audience anticipation. TV Time is a multi-platform, virtual TV tracking community of millions of users that use the app to track and react to the cable, broadcast, and OTT show they’re watching. Based on the global data, Hulu and Netflix are in for a strong month.
- Little Fires Everywhere (Hulu)
- Devs (FX on Hulu)
- The Plot Against America (HBO)
- Amazing Stories (Apple TV+)
- Dispatches from Elsewhere (AMC)
- Westworld (HBO)
- Elite (Netflix)
- Paradise PD (Netflix)
- Ozark (Netflix)
- Castlevania (Netflix)
There are noticeably just three linear TV entries among the contenders for audience anticipation—two for HBO and one for AMC. Despite a rocky second season, Westworld enthusiasm remains high after a 16-month hiatus and a soft reboot in Season 3. Aaron Paul, Vincent Cassel, Lena Waithe, Marshawn Lynch and Scott Mescudi join the cast for the eight-episode new season. Creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy recently signed an overall deal with Amazon so although Westworld was positioned as the heir apparent to Game of Thrones, we wouldn’t be surprised if the $100 million-plus series calls it a day in the near-ish future.
Elsewhere, Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington team up for Hulu’s miniseries adaptation of author Celeste Ng’s best-selling book, Little Fires Everywhere. The story follows the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and an enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. Given the talent involved and the focus on weighty suburban drama, it’s hard to avoid the Big Little Lies comparisons (not a bad thing).
As The Ringer’s Alison Herman detailed, Apple TV+ hasn’t exactly hit the ground running despite Apple CEO Tim Cook’s claims that the service is off to a “rousing start.” When the first trailer for Steven Spielberg’s Amazing Stories reboot dropped, we examined exactly why Apple TV+ needs it to be a true blue hit. Its placement on this list suggests strong pre-release interest.
Netflix employs a cost-plus model, which provides upfront coverage of a show’s production costs in addition to a premium of 30 percent of the costs, per Deadline. As such, costs skyrocket after two seasons, making it difficult to sustain long-running shows. The company’s data also suggests that if a series remains relatively static in terms of viewership after a couple seasons, it is unlikely to entice new customer sign-ups or offer much growth potential beyond Season 3. This is one reason why Netflix has become so quick to cancel young series and why the streaming platform prioritizes new original content over existing original content. With that understanding, it’s surprising to see Netflix dominate in the returning series category while not landing a single new original among the top five.