10 Most Expensive TV Shows Ever Made

Matilda Hansson

With no shortage of new TV-shows and with our ability to binge watch our favourite shows on streaming services it's no surprise that TV-shows have skyrocketed in popularity (and number), the Lord of the Rings TV show, with a budget of nearly 500 million dollars tops the list. But which other TV-shows make the top ten cut? We have gathered the most expensive TV-shows of all time, to see if bigger really is better.

The streaming war rages on!

Just as there is no shortage of TV-show there is also no shortage of streaming services on the market right now. This past year has seen market competitors like Netflix, Amazon, HBO, Disney+ and AppleTV+ fight for top position as market dominators and Amazon has gone for the kill with the Lord of the Ring-series, which became the most expensive TV-show ever produced with a budget nearing 500 million dollars. However just because the LOTR spin off might be getting a hefty budget, it doesn't mean that there aren't plenty of other TV-shows that have been sniffing around the top end of the budget spectrum. Here are the 10 most expensive TV-shows ever made.

1. Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power - 58 million dollars per episode

J.R.R Tolkien's popular trilogy became on of the movie-worlds largest commercial and critical successes through Peter Jackson's much loved filmatisation in 2001. The production was also one of the most costly of all time, so it's unsurprising that the big guns are being pulled out and no expenses are spared when creating the TV-show which will explore the world of middle earth and its stories outside of LOTR and The Hobbit. The budget is estimated at about 465 million dollars for the first season alone (not to mention that Amazon won the bidding war for the rights of the show by paying 250 million dollars!) The series is set to premier the 2nd of September 2022 on Amazon Prime Video.

2. Stranger Things - 30 million dollars per episode

With its extensive use of CGI and fantastical sets the new season of Stranger Things is set to be better than ever before if, we're to judge by the budget at least. As Stranger Things is set to debut one of the most expensive television seasons of all time and certainly most expensive season of the series.

3. Marvel Series - 25 million dollars per episode

Disney+ is channelling all their efforts into streaming and with their flagship; MCU(Marvel Cinematic Universe) seeing incredible success, it's not hard to see why. In this very moment there are already several shows available, with a long line waiting to be released. The budgets speak to Disney's ambitions as well as the popularity of the shows, with shows like Loki, The Falcon, The Winter Soldier, WandaVision and Hawkeye topping the list.

4. The Pacific - 20-21 million dollars per episode

Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks mini-series from 2010 still holds its position as one of the most expensive productions to date and the most expensive show ever produced by HBO, even 11 years after it's release! Beating company favourites like Game of Thrones and Band of Brothers. The epic WWII pacific ocean fight scenes are partially responsible for the hefty budget, but we're not complaining, the result was incredible!

5. House of the Dragon - 20 million dollars per episode

House of the Dragon is set two centuries before the event of "Game of Thrones" and centres around the House of Targaryen and the civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons. Although the new release manages to trump its predecessor in terms of budget, the producers boast of how they managed to keep costs low despite extensive dragon CGI to take into account. The large budget seems to have paid off as the show so far has been well received and the bad taste left in many mouths after the last disastrous season of GoT seems long forgotten.

6. Game of Thrones - 15 million dollars per episode

You can't mention HBO without talking about Game of Thrones, and it may come as no surprise that one of the most popular shows in TV history had a pretty price tag. With a massive regular cast, thousands of extras, hard-to-access and visually stunning filming locations along with three very realistic dragons, we're not surprised a big budget was required to actualise G.R.R. Martins books. Out of the eight seasons the last one was the most expensive one to produce. Did you know that the iron throne was made out of actual swords?

7. The Mandalorian - 15 million dollars per episode

The hyped and much loved Star Wars series on Disney+ took the world (and the internet) by storm. With amazing special effects and impressive visuals how could Disney not splurge. Baby Yoda (or Grogu) is said to have been a 5 million dollar CGI story alone. Money well spent we say.

8. See - 15 million dollars per episode

More fantasy! The 2019 Apple TV+ investment, takes place in a bleak dystopian world - with world class special effects that blew up the budget when it was time to turn the fictional literary work into a visually impressive filmatic reality. The show received mixed reviews and may not be as well known as some top contenders on this list, but with Jason Momoa (Game of Thrones, Aquaman) as the leading man, it's definitely worth a watch and with two seasons to date, there is plenty of episodes to binge on.

9. The Morning Show - 15 million dollars per episode

Apple TV+ went all out to get a piece of the TV-show-streaming-goldmine when it released its service alongside its flagship show "The Morning Show" in 2019. A star specked show with among others Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carrell in the leads, which understandably meant expensive talent salaries.

10. E.R. - 13 million dollars per episode

NBC:s TV-show with an impressive 15 seasons on its back dominated the TV screen between 1994 and 2009, featuring among others George Clooney, who had his big break on the show and his start to Hollywood fame. This along with the incredibly popular show resulted in a bigger and bigger budget for every season, we even got to see Quentin Tarantino step in as a guest director. A series which will remain iconic for all who followed it through the 90's and early 2000's.

Optimise your viewing experience

TV shows in all their glory, but was is a great TV show without excellent sound and crystal clear images. Take a look at some of our top picks to help you optimise your sound and viewing experience or take a look at our test of soundbars and TVs.

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