Win the Crowd

When you know you pulled it off.

"I wasn't the best because I killed quickly. I was the best because the crowd loved me. Win the crowd, and you win your freedom."
Proximo, 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 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, Win Back the Crowd (If you lost your aforementioned crowd in the past, but managed to get it back) and Moment of Awesome.

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


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    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 

    Live Action TV 
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation won some fans by growing the beard in the second season, won a few more with the acclaimed third season episodes, but with "The Best of Both Worlds", even the holdouts were won over.
    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. That's more than one hundred times as long as planned.
    • 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 ever since.
    • Thanks to the built-in retooling, it gets to (and maybe needs to) keep winning the crowd. Steven Moffatt said that he expected it to take about six episodes for Matt Smith to be accepted as the Doctor. As things turned out during test screenings, it took closer to six minutes.
    The Doctor: Can I have an apple?
  • 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.

    Television Networks 
  • The Oprah Winfrey Network struggled until January 2013, when Lance Armstrong was interviewed by Oprah, and admitted to doping on national television.

    Video Games 
  • Mass Effect 2 has an In-Universe example. If you don't have enough paragon/renegade points, you can still rally the crowd to have Tali acquitted if you saved Kal'Reeger and didn't send Vetor to Cerberus.
  • An In-Universe example is the PlayStation 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-universe again 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.
    • Winning the crowd over during regular fights (yes, you're on stage) can earn you bonuses Star Power for style.
  • In-universe yet again in Super Smash Bros., where the crowd will often chant out one Smasher's name if they're doing well.
  • With Ground Zeroes, the prologue game for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, there were two things that fans were very skeptical about: Kiefer Sutherland as Snake and its villain, Skull Face (as well as his voice actor, James Horan), with none of the trailers particularly convincing them. Each won many fans over when the game was leaked and eventually came out. For Sutherland, it was at the end of the campaign, due to the emotion put in during those final scenes. For Skull Face, it was the interrogation tapes and end credits, due to Horan's chilling and terrifying performance, and how shockingly horrific his actions in the tapes were.
  • Another in-universe example (used as a game mechanic no less) is pro wrestler Beowulf from Skullgirls. Performing flashy actions like holding the standing light punch to channel Hulk Hogan or dropping the mic will hype up the in-game crowd, giving Beowulf the ability to perform multiple grab moves after using either Alpha Maul or Wulfamania!, as well as do an extremely damaging pin move if the crowd is fully hyped.
  • One of the bigger contentious points with Super Robot Wars UX was unimpressive attack animations and sprite configurations. The initial Super Robot Wars BX trailer showcases more animation fluidity and smoother sprites, such as Shin Mazinger, quelling some UX naysayers. However, Broken Base is still in play as the latter isn't necessarily applied to all units shown in the trailer, most notably the eponymous Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn.

    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.
  • Homestuck is an interesting example. It was first created on the heels of Problem Sleuth, then rather popular in its own right. Andrew Hussie wanted to create a more serious story than the heavily Rule of Cool and Rule of Funny fueled world of Problem Sleuth, so he introduced the more dramatic aspects gradually, winning his old crowd over with the beginning and undergoing Cerebus Syndrome deliberately once they were already reading. However, the more dramatic and overcomplicated aspects of Homestuck later became much more famous than the silly humour, meaning that most of its fans started reading after hearing tales of the less Problem Sleuth-like later acts. For these fans, the beginning of the comic is actually generally the hardest to get through, and it won't be until they see signs of that complexity and badassery that comes later on that they'll be won - when that happens will vary, but it's generally somewhere between [S] WV?: Rise Up and the end of act 4 flash [S] Descend.

    Web Video 
  • When she initially joined the Yogscast, Kim Richards had something of an uphill battle and struggled to make a fanbase for herself. Her voice (which some found annoying at first), lack of Minecraft skill and her supposed tendency to shout led to her becoming a huge Base Breaker. In time, however, she won over the crowd with more collaborations with Simon Lane, Duncan Jones and Hannah Rutherford which were agreed to be entertaining. Then she learned how to efficiently play Minecraft to the point that she was able to defeat the entirety of Hat Films at once, with her alleged hammy nature being toned down around the same time. Finally, her eagerness to interact with fans, particularly the LGBTQ+ community, have made her among the most popular Yogscast members, particularly on Tumblr.