Indelible Pieces

Ramblings about entertainment, lifestyle and travel

News: Secret to unmissable TV revealed


There are tons and tons of great TV shows, films and even trailers out there, but let’s face it, there are few that make you take a few seconds to collect yourself once it’s finished. This week I wrote about The Newsroom and I must say season 3’s first episode was one of those brilliant, take-a-breath shows. Now there’s a code to help decipher and hopefully create those pieces of unmissable TV, cracked by BT TV with the help of TV expert, Boyd Hilton, consumers and Bournemouth University’s Media School.

The Newsroom Boston

According to the analysis of the top 50 most popular shows from the last decade, drama is the most important ingredient at 65 per cent, followed by:

  • 12 per cent shock and surprise
  • nine per cent comedy
  • eight per cent action
  • six per cent romance

This is something I myself was lucky enough to work on as part of my day job* and when we looked at the episodes that came closest to the ideal formula, there are definitely some of my absolute favourites in there. 

Top of the list and closest to the perfect episode is ITV hit series, Downton Abbey, and more specifically season three, episode five in which Sybil dies. The episode is made up of 78 per cent drama, seven per cent shocks and surprises, two per cent comedy, seven per cent action and six per cent romance. So drama really wins.

Downton Abbey Season 3

Other episodes that make the top ten, include:

2. Grey’s Anatomy (Sanctuary)

3. Dexter s1 ep 10

4. Happy Valley ep 4

5. EastEnders Christmas 2007

6. Prison Break s1 ep 21

7. Homeland s2 ep 12

8. Breaking Bad s5 ep 11

9. BroadChurch s1 ep1

10. The Killing s1 ep1

Delia Bushell, Head of BT TV says: “The small screen now rivals the big screen thanks to the huge number of gripping TV series, unmissable sport and box office hits available at our fingertips. As we launch the next exciting phase of BT TV we wanted to know what makes TV so unmissable. Through our research, we’ve cracked the code.”

BT TV cracked the code to mark the launch of its new TV offering, which includes BT TV, YouView, BT Sport and Netflix. For the first time, BT TV customers can sign up for Netflix alongside BT’s other products and services, all-in-one bill. The new BT TV package is £5.99 a month, and new customers will also receive six months free BT Infinity Broadband.

TV expert Boyd Hilton compiled his list of the top 50 episodes from the last decade that he deemed to be truly unmissable, which were then ranked by 2,000 TV fans to celebrate the launch of BT TV’s new offering.

*I work with BT in my day job, but this post is not something I was paid for or asked to write about and is purely due to my interest in the study’s relevance to entertainment.
Image Sources: The TV Addict/ Den of Geek
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2 comments on “News: Secret to unmissable TV revealed

  1. chrischedrawi
    November 20, 2014

    I definitely agree that the “shock value” is of great deal and importance, and it’s something that lures more audience in, but to me I feel like great-written characters is what makes a TV “unmissable”. I don’t think the drama and romance and twists & turns are enough. All these things need to happen to characters that we should care about.

    I take HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER for example. Great drama, shocking twists and turns but terrible, HORRIBLE character development. No one on that show is likable, so I just can’t keep watching.

    Great article btw! Please when you have time take a minute to see some of my TV reviews (http://tvscribbles.wordpress.com/), still updating every day…

    • Kerry Anderson
      November 21, 2014

      Absolutely. I completely agree with you on character development. I think drama, romance etc. are the pillars that need to be in place to give a show the foundation it needs to succeed, but character development, acting as well as a great script are all integral parts to a great show.

      It’s worth pointing out that character development takes more than one episode though. That’s the beauty of a TV show – you get much more time to understand the characters and what makes them tick, whereas story development is often a much bigger focus in movies for example. Sequels are a bit different, as they allow you to get to know the characters over a period of time and in different situations. I mentioned The Newsroom in my article, as I love how the characters have developed, with Will McAvoy a completely different person to the one in season one.

      How to get away with murder is an interesting example though. I’m still watching in, but I suppose that’s mostly due to hoping it’ll get better, because it’s a Shonda Rhimes creation. So far I think the characters aren’t developed enough, but there’s also too much going on with the storyline and too much back and forth in time. The chemistry also doesn’t seem to be there, which I think is one of the main reasons Scandal is such a success. The chemistry is great and the acting is powerful.

      I’ll take a look at your reviews though as I’m interested to read what you think.

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