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"I wasn't the best because I could kill quickly. I was the best because the crowd loved me. Win the crowd, and you win your freedom."
Proximo (Oliver Reed), Gladiator

So the Coming Attractions got lots of people to watch the first episode of a new show. But is that enough to keep them watching?

Of course not. If the audience thinks your show sucks, then the viewers change the channel and know once again to Never Trust a Trailer.

So basically you need the viewers to keep watching. While that is obvious as hell, the thing is that it's not always obvious exactly how you do it. One might think that writing a good show is how you do it, but not really. Not only does that seemingly eliminate most writers, there's also the fact that viewers have different tastes about what is good and what isn't.

This is why subjectively good writing is less important for viewership than simply getting the viewers to like the show. Thus it's a good idea to write what your audience likes. This is why so many shows are Strictly Formula.

Plus the opening of the show is often crucial for this. That's why the first two to three minutes of a show almost invariably are either has a hook for the rest of the show, has a large percentage of the best jokes/tensest moments/biggest explosions, or has a combination of those. This is almost always where you will find the Quip to Black.

Regardless, it's important to keep the viewers liking your show. Even it isn't immediate, you can still make the show work eventually if the suits see the potential. But that can often be harder than winning the audience over.

Also beware of Pandering to the Base.

Compare with Growing the Beard (which can also win viewers), Killer App (which wins the crowd for a system), And the Fandom Rejoiced, and Crowning Moment of Awesome.

Contrast with Jumping the Shark, Wall Banger, and Dethroning Moment of Suck.

Examples.


Anime


Film

Live Action TV

 Riker:Mr. Worf, fire.

  • Doctor Who achieved this when introducing the Daleks, resulting in a series that was originally going to run for just 13 weeks lasting for 26 years.
    • Then, after 16 years of being off the air, came back and became even more ridiculously popular than it was during the old series and has been on for 5 years already.
  • The first few episodes of 24 were solid, but it was the sixth episode, where Janet York was murdered in her hospital bed by the man who, up until that point, the audience had believed to be her father and Jack Bauer was told his daughter had been kidnapped and would be killed if he didn't comply with the terrorist's instructions, that proved the show could live up to its hype.
  • The end of the second episode of Lost.

Web Comics

  • It's been noted by both Howard Taylor and Phil and Kaja Foglio that every single page of a webcomic has to be like this, since it's likely that for someone that one page is the only one they'll ever see. Given the length of the average webcomic page, more than likely it will fill up most of that space.

Video Games

  • An In-Universe example is the Play Station 2 game, Shadow of Rome, where the segments that have you play as Agrippa the gladiator requires you to have a lot of flash and impressive moves, because if you play for speed and simple efficiency, the crowd wouldn't like your performance and it's Game Over.
  • In Chapter 3 of Paper Mario the Thousand Year Door, you have to defeat your opponents in a particularly spectacular manner in order to advance to the next rank.
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