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The 15 Most Expensive TV Shows Ever Made

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Disney+ / Lucasfilm Ltd. / Des Willie / Netflix

So, apparently, CGI is expensive.

When we're watching Baby Yoda strut across the screen, we're usually not taking into consideration how much money went into making that strut occur. As television series become more and more detailed, relying heavily upon animated and other visual effects, that cost is driven up significantly. Though it's more obvious that the budget was high in shows like The Mandalorian and Game of Thrones, there are actually quite a few that were surprisingly expensive to make. In no specific order, these 15 are some of the most expensive TV shows ever created.

1. "The Mandalorian" - $15 million per episode

Any time space is involved in a series, that budget is going to rocket straight up. And if you don't know already, Disney+'s The Mandalorian has quite a lot of space in it. It's filled with tons of animation and CGI, which makes $15 million seem even a little low for such an involved production. In comparison to other Disney+ shows, The Book of Boba Fett also had the same budget, with Marvel shows being given an additional $10 million for their projects.

Watch on Disney+

2. "The Crown" - $13 million per episode

Frankly, I'm surprised that the budget for this Netflix show isn't higher. It takes quite a lot to remake a time period—from sets, locations, costumes, hair, and makeup, it all begins to add up once the check comes, and that's not to mention the prep work that goes into creating a show like this. From mastering the accents to training for the very specific movements of these characters, there's a great amount of effort—and that all costs money.

Watch on Netflix

3. "Halo" - $10 million per episode

With a total budget of just around $100 million for its first season, Paramount+'s Halo is quite an ambitious project. Having already been renewed for a second season, that money was clearly well spent. Some devoted fans felt that the series could have gone further with their CGI and other animated details, but as we're only one episode into the series, perhaps the budget will be more justified as the episodes progress.

Watch on Paramount+

4. "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" - $465 million (total)

This Prime Video series hasn't even been released yet and it's already breaking records with a budget of $465 million—though it's expected that that number might be even higher. A budget like that is quite the tall order, giving the series exceedingly high expectations from the get-go. The show was given a second season order even before the premiere of season one, certainly thanks in no small part to the budget.

5. "The Morning Show" - $15 million per episode

Real-life morning shows are pricey in the first place—now combine that with the fact that The Morning Show is a series about a morning show. Led by Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon on AppleTV+, it's easy to tell that it's a big-budget series just based on the extravagance of certain characters and many of the filming locations.

Watch on AppleTV+

6. "ER" - $13 million per episode

This one was definitely a bit of a surprise, though the cost of each ER episode progressively got higher as the seasons went on. Having aired on NBC originally in 1994, the budget was not as high to begin with, but as the popularity of the show increased, so did the money being spent to create it.

Watch on Hulu

7. "WandaVision" - $25 million per episode

If anything is fully deserving of a massive budget, it's Disney+'s WandaVision. Shifting from a different decade every episode and combining it with the present-day is a large ask: $25 million is definitely necessary for a unique show like this. The show ended up being nominated for eight Emmy Awards, with Paul Bettany and Elizabeth Olsen being nominated for Emmys, as well.

Watch on Disney+

8. "Loki" - $25 million per episode

Disney truly has some high budgets for their new slew of Marvel series, and the six-episode Loki was no exception. Released about six months after WandaVision, there were lofty expectations for the show, and largely, the series met those expectations. Oh, and that $25 million budget certainly didn't hurt, either.

Watch on Disney+

9. "Game of Thrones" - $15 million per episode

I can't imagine how difficult it must be to create a White Walker, but I can hypothesize that it's definitely expensive. HBO's Game of Thrones is another one where I'm a bit shocked by the budget—shouldn't this be higher? For most of its seasons, the budget was $10 million per episode, though it was bumped up to $15 million for later episodes.

Watch on HBO Max

10. "Rome" - $10 million per episode

Given that HBO was recreating the flamboyance of Rome in 49 BC, it was going to cost a bit to make that seem believable and not corny. While the series only went for two seasons, Rome was met with a fair amount of critical acclaim, except some felt that the second season didn't live up to the first.

Watch on HBO Max

11. "Band of Brothers" - $12.5 million per episode

Just a few years after Saving Private Ryan came Band of Brothers, which was an HBO limited series created by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks. Recreating World War II is no easy feat, and although the show didn't have as high of a budget as Saving Private Ryan, it received critical acclaim for how well done they were able to capture the war in the 1940s.

Watch on HBO Max

12. "The Pacific" - $20 million per episode

As a spiritual sequel to Band of Brothers, HBO's The Pacific was almost double the cost; they upped the production value for this show, airing almost 10 years after Band of Brothers. That budget definitely ended up paying off, as the series received tons of praise for its depiction of the Pacific theater in World War II.

Watch on HBO Max

13. "The Falcon and the Winter Solider" - $25 million per episode

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was another high-budget series for Disney+, but it didn't do as well critically as WandaVision and Loki did. Also, yes, that's $25 million for a six-episode series. While it was praised for its action, most people complained about its pacing, which a higher budget most likely wouldn't even be able to solve.

Watch on Disney+

14. "The Book of Boba Fett" - $15 million per episode

Given the sheer amount of visual effects needed for this series to work—along with that crossover with The Mandalorian—I'd say that $15 million feels just about right. Disney+'s The Book of Boba Fett was a highly-anticipated show, and while it didn't quite hit every mark, there's no denying that its budget went to good use (though I'd watch anything Star Wars-related, so I'm slightly biased).

Watch on Disney+

15. "Hawkeye" - $25 million per episode

Okay, this one was another massive shock. Disney+'s Hawkeye was also a six-episode series and each episode had a budget of $25 million—just let that sink in for a second. Yeah. Personally, I thought this show was outstanding, though not everyone agrees with that sentiment and probably feels that it wasn't worthy of that kind of money.

Watch on Disney+
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