HBO's House Of The Dragon Cost Far Less Per Episode Than Stranger Things 4

Creating a fantasy world with elaborate costumes, finely decorated sets, and lots of computer-generated dragons is bound to be expensive, but somehow the folks at HBO managed to create episodes of the upcoming "Game of Thrones" prequel series, "House of the Dragon," for far less than Netflix is spending on its upcoming season of "Stranger Things." Both shows require a similar amount of computer effects, and both have big names in their casts, so what gives? Where is all of that money possibly going? Did they genetically engineer a living, breathing Demogorgon, or are the folks in charge of Netflix just really, really bad with budgeting? 

What is happening, Netflix?

Variety revealed that each episode of "House of the Dragon" cost around $20 million to produce, a whole $10 million less than an episode of the fourth season of "Stranger Things." The streaming service often gives big budgets to shows only to cancel them if they're not immediate hits, so it's not a total shock that they're putting so much money into "Stranger Things," which is by far one of their biggest successes. It's just odd that they're spending $30 million per episode on a series when the streaming service is in dire straits, reportedly losing $54 billion overnight and hemorrhaging subscribers to the point that they're finally cracking down on people who are sharing their passwords and accounts. The old adage is that one has to spend money to make money, but did they really need to spend $270 million on one season of one show? That's the kind of budget generally given to a blockbuster Marvel production with dozens of big-name stars. One possibility is that the "Stranger Things" cast has negotiated for bigger paychecks, but even that doesn't totally explain such a hefty price tag. 

On their end, an insider at HBO told Variety that they've managed to keep costs down on their big shows by learning lessons from their previous experiences. Years of creating shows like "Game of Thrones," "Westworld," and "His Dark Materials" gave them the experience to work smarter, not pricier. Here's hoping that Netflix can learn to do the same. The streaming service has created some amazing original content over the years, though some of it was canceled far too soon because of their "throw money at it and pray it works" policy. Maybe the recent shakeups will help them realize that money can't solve every problem, especially when they're going to eventually run out.