The biggest show sitting out 2018 is Game of Thrones. As with Veep, which is also delayed until next year, the creators decided they wanted to take extra time to perfectly craft the final season. Veep is also delayed until Julia-Louis Dreyfus, who was diagnosed with breast cancer last year, is well enough to return to work. Game of Thrones is a significant HBO subscriptions driver, so there is a financial motive here in keeping customers for as long as possible.
Big Little Lies and Stranger Things also won’t air again until 2019. As is the case with HBO’s highly anticipated Mahershala Ali-starring third season of True Detective.
But in these cases the delay is deliberate or expected. Further seasons of American Gods and Rick and Morty currently do not have release horizons due to difficulties in the production process.
Viewers’ acceptance of these delays is surprising. The Sopranos saw significant outcry when seasons five and six were delayed. Perhaps audiences appreciate how difficult it can be to make amazing shows. The large gaps between film franchise instalments may have made viewers more accustomed to waiting.
2018 won’t necessarily slack in television quality, with hit shows such as The Handmaid’s Tale, Westworld, and Atlanta all returning within in the next few months. But 2019 is already shaping up to be a phenomenal year.