While outlets like Vulture seriously sit and wonder if Game of Thrones will be the last TV show that Americans all watch together, people who actually watch TV find themselves laughing at such a prediction. Although the HBO fantasy series drew an impressive number of viewers for its final season premiere episode (the show broke its own record by drawing 17.4 million), there have been plenty of shows to do that. Heck, The Big Bang Theory averaged 18 million viewers each episode in 2018!
Still, it's impressive to see a big-budget drama bring so many in with compelling storytelling that spans generations. It kind of reminds us of a certain procedural called Cold Case, which travelled through time each episode to help solve murder mysteries and seek justice, two goals any Game of Thrones fan could clearly get behind. In fact, Cold Case's most popular episode told the story of two siblings who barely knew each other (it happens, right, Daenerys Targaryen?), and it kind of crushed Game of Thrones' record when it aired back in 2005 and drew 19.36 million viewers.
The episode, fittingly, was called "A Perfect Day," and it took us back to 1965 after the remains of a 4-year-old girl were discovered in a river 40 years later. Lilly must try to figure out who the girl with no name is, and it soon comes to light that she grew up in an abusive home. Flashbacks contrast idyllic images like a beautiful sunny beach day in the Sixties and a kid cuddling a kitten with a dismal home situation where the mom sincerely felt that "her husband was the police."
It's a charged episode that asks its questions in the context of another time, which was what made Cold Case such a special show to begin with. At its core, it was also a love story that features a dramatic reunion. And according to viewers who tuned in en masse to watch "A Perfect Day," watching sisters separated by murder reunite was perhaps slightly more intriguing than Arya jumping into her brother Jon Snow's arms. Who knew? (Fans of Cold Case, obviously.)
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