Yes, Game of Thrones is ending. Yes, it’s the most successful television show in history. And, yes, there are probably millions of subscribers who’ve stuck around all these years for one show, and one show only. But fear not! Our crackerjack team of programmers at HBO has got it under lock. This killer lineup of prestige television will surely capture the hearts, imaginations and continued subscription of millions of Game of Thrones fans.
And if they don’t? Well, we’ll all be fired without severance! Just kidding. We’ll get severance.
THE WESTWORLD REPLACEMENT
OK, everybody knows we were counting on Westworld to take the baton. That didn’t happen. Which is fine. Season Two cost $100 million. It’s fine. So, instead of Westworld, HBO presents … Backwoods Planet. In Backwoods Planet, everything — and nothing — is real. It’s got costumes. It’s got syrupy accents. It’s got artificial intelligence, humans falling in love with robots, and a bunch of horses. But it’s not Westworld. Jonathan Nolan is insistent that this is not Westworld all over again.
THE DYSTOPIC SHOW ABOUT TECHNOLOGY RUN AMOK
The year is 2065, and people can only communicate through Google Calendar. Brides are devastated, because wedding invitations all look the same now. Emojis are gone, because emojis are considered extremely hostile in Google Calendar. Want to ask somebody on a date? Send them an invite on Google Calendar, and be sure to make it public, or the F.C.C. (Federal Calendar Commission) will intercept your invite from ever being sent. Has technology gone too far? Honestly, no. Or … has it? Who’s to say.
Fans of Black Mirror will hate Google Me This.
THE GRITTY MAFIA DRAMA
A mafia family deals exclusively in old diner benches in this saga of love, loss, and big stains. I mean, the show isn’t about the benches, per se — it’s really about the lengths we’ll go to protect the family unit. Still, it’s hard to ignore just how stained these black market benches are. Maybe we shouldn’t have made the benches that stained?
Y’know what? Let’s table this one.
THE ALT-COMEDY FUSION
Vegetable Honkers is Veggie Tales meets The Eric Andre Show meets my own desperate desire to understand alt- comedy. The pilot opens on a man just having walked into a grocery store and realizing that all the vegetables have … enormous breasts? Here’s the best part, though: These honkers are real, they’re pert, and they have a devastating secret that we’ll uncover in Season Five. Clearly, Vegetable Honkers is the Emmy vehicle, but let’s not rest on our laurels.
THE REALITY SHOW WITH A CULT-LIKE FOLLOWING
This zesty reality show follows the struggles of 12 lonely, Colonial-era town criers who have big news and bad diction. Audiences will laugh, cry, and cringe as the inarticulate criers attempt to warn the townspeople of an invasion (“There’s an emblazon? What was emblazoned?”), announce the marriage of two townspeople with complicated surnames, and stumble over multisyllabic words. They’ll do it all while looking for love amongst their fellow criers. It’s Survivor meets Paradise Hotel, plus a whole lot of mumbling.
THE CONTROVERSIAL SHOW THAT’LL ATTRACT MILLIONS
You know that super-controversial YouTube vlogger who snuck into a morgue on the 20th anniversary of The Sixth Sense’s theatrical release, whispered, “I see dead people…!” and filmed himself with all those corpses? Well, he’s got a nightly talk show! Livin’, Luvin’, Lurvin’ with Landon promises stunts, skateboards, and boys with bleach blond hair and Supreme hats giving their two cents on the 2020 election. Executive produced by Kid Rock and Rob Dyrdek, Livin’, Luvin’, Lurvin’ with Landon will go viral by being the subject of dozens of essays on white privilege and the moral pitfalls of vlogger culture.
“SEX AND THE CITY,” SORT OF
Fans of Sex and the City aren’t getting any younger, which is why we’re pleased to introduce Old But Not Forgotten. This groundbreaking hour-long follows Ellen, Bessie, Judith, and Bean, four middle-aged women living out their raunchiest fantasies in the big city. We’ll connect with the withered gals as they navigate love, loss, and newfangled cell phones — all while removing hair from every cubic centimeter of their crepe-y skin. This show will appeal to sex-crazed olds — the same olds who got a cervical thrill from seeing Willem Dafoe ride an armored battle shark in Aquaman.
If you’re wondering whether it’s too ambitious to invent a sport, and then expect even half of Game of Thrones’ 12 million viewers to fervently follow that sport, consider this: there’s a focus group in Topeka that seemed very excited about storkball. The meat and potatoes of storkball are simple: there’s one wily thrish, three slippery kunes, a goalkeeper (but no goal), and whoever racks up the most flapjill points advances to the final challenge: a good ol’ fashioned weenie set. No biggie, but we’ve invested $3 billion in developing storkball, so. Let’s hope Topeka speaks for the planet.
THE TRUE CRIME DOCUSERIES
Dead teens are a serious moneymaker. That’s why we’re prepared to dive headfirst into the grisly murder of 17-year-old influencer Skippy Lee Legg. Gentlemen, this crime scene looks like somebody organized a poorly-funded Paul Mitchell hair bleaching class inside of a maggoty Chipotle Sofritas bowl. This terrifying true story will force audiences to examine the most vomit-inducing details of the case while also exploring Skippy Lee’s shady past. Viewers will come to the ultimate realization that Skippy Lee probably deserved it because of her role in perpetuating the gig economy.
I should mention that Skippy Lee Legg isn’t actually dead yet, but we have people working on that.
THE BLOCKBUSTER FILM — WITH A TWIST
Titanic, but with dragons.
Cara Michelle Smith is comedy writer and journalist living in Chicago. She has studied with The Second City, and her work has been featured on McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Reductress and The Rumpus, among other publications. You can harass her on Twitter here, so long as you do it creatively.