The 20 Most Popular Shows in the World Right Now
Big data reveals some surprises.
It’s tough to know what the most popular television shows in the world really are, but the platform Parrot Analytics has an algorithm that comes close. Using a number of factors — like audience engagement and internet chatter — Parrot makes a strong case for why some shows are more globally popular than you might think. They’ve shared their data for May/June 2017, and it’s surprising.
Globally speaking, Game of Thrones wasn’t as popular as it was in the US, while Prison Break was a hell of a lot more popular. American Gods came out of the gates strong, and interest in Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why was apparently global.
These findings run from May 1 to June 30, 2017, which means this is what the summer looks like before Game of Thrones Season 7 debuts in July. With that in mind, here are the 20 most popular shows around the world.
1. Prison Break
Intriguingly, Prison Break is the most buzzed-about and in-demand show for the beginning of summer 2017. This is a significant leap from its sixth-place ranking among the most popular shows in the spring. The FOX drama currently has an average demand expression per capita — which is what Parrot uses to measure the “desire, engagement, and consumption” of a show — of 11.16. According to Parrot, this is out of the “total demand for a title, within a country, on any platform, per 100 capita.” It’s generating the most buzz in Muslim countries, perhaps because one of its main characters is played by Amin El Gamal, an openly gay Muslim actor.
2. The Walking Dead
AMC’s long running — or shuffling — zombie drama has fallen from first place in the spring to second place at the beginning of the summer, narrowly edged out by Prison Break. This is likely because its seventh season wrapped up in April, which was the peak of its popularity. Its May and June average demand expression per capita is 10.61.
3. Game of Thrones
Winter might be coming in mid-summer, as the show’s upcoming penultimate season premieres in July. But since it typically premieres in the spring, this new air date has hurt its buzz for the early summer, at least. In the spring it was the second most popular show; in the early summer Game of Thrones is the third. Its average demand expression per capita for May and June is 10.23.
4. Pretty Little Liars
Freeform’s pulpy school drama came to a tense, dramatic close with its seventh and final season, which wrapped on June 27. This is likely why it hasn’t fallen at all from spring to summer — its final season enabled it to consistently remain the fourth most popular show. In the early summer it had an average demand expression per capita of 8.55.
5. The Flash
The Flash has fallen two places from spring to early summer, from third to fifth most popular. The intrigue around the mysterious Savitar has made the CW superhero drama generate an average demand expression per capita of 6.85.
6. 13 Reasons Why
Although the Netflix series generated controversy for its treatment of teen suicide, its popularity remains steady with a long-lasting shelf life. In the spring it was the seventh most popular show; in the summer it’s risen one place to the sixth. Its average demand expression per capita for May and June is 6.84.
7. The Big Bang Theory
CBS’s long-running, self-professed nerdy ensemble sitcom has fallen two places, as it was the fifth most popular show in the spring. In May and June, however, it comes in as the seventh most popular, with an average demand expression per capita of 5.81.
8. American Gods
Neil Gaiman’s bestselling magnum opus has taken sixteen years to leap from the page to the screen, but the time paid off. The surreal Starz urban fantasy built an impressive level of buzz for a cable show on a network with a relatively recent slate of original programming. It ranks in eighth place for the early summer, with an average demand expression per capita of 5.11.
9. Grey’s Anatomy
Shonda Rhimes’s long-running medical drama has made a large leap in popularity from the spring to the early summer. In the spring it was the eighteenth most popular show, in May and June it was the ninth, with an average demand expression per capita of 4.65.
Vikings is proving to have a long shelf life, as its action-packed forth season concluded in February and its buzz is only rising. This might be because the season hit reset on the show’s plot, axing one major character and moving others to the forefront. In May and June, it generated an average demand expression per capita of 4.39.
Stephen Amell’s Oliver Queen has risen — and not just because he’s now the mayor of Starling City. Arrow was in thirteenth place in the spring. It’s now in eleventh place, with an average demand expression per capita of 4.29.
Fox’s devilish supernatural police procedural rose dramatically, as it didn’t even make it into the top twenty shows in the spring. Its second season concluded at the end of May, which probably accounts for the surge in buzz. Its average demand expression per capita for May and June is 4.10.
HBO’s epic robot-western is still going strong even though it aired in the fall. In the spring, it was the nineteenth most popular show, in the early summer, it’s the fourteenth. Its violent delights and violent ends have enticed the entire world. In May and June, it had an average demand expression per capita of 3.94.
14. Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Like Arrow, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has also generated more buzz since the spring, when it ranked fourteenth most popular. In May and June, it was the eleventh most buzzed-about show, with an average demand expression per capita of 3.76.
15. The Vampire Diaries
The eighth and final season of The CW’s supernatural epic The Vampire Diaries drove a final nail in its coffin on March 10. That hasn’t stopped residual buzz two months after, as in May and June it generated an average demand expression per capita of 3.70.
The astoundingly long running saga of the Winchester brothers is showing no sign of slowing down twelve seasons deep. As Season 12 aired in May, it generated an average demand expression per capita of 3.59.
The colorful characters surrounding Bruce Wayne didn’t make the chart in the spring, which suggests that the buzz around Gotham is highest in-season. That’s pretty standard for most shows, unless it’s Friends, Game of Thrones, Westworld, or apparently Thirteen Reasons Why. In May and June, Gotham generated an average demand expression per capita of 3.51.
USA’s sleek, scheme-filled legal drama has plummeted a few places since the spring, when it was the eleventh most buzzed about show. Nevertheless it still ranks a respectable eighteenth place and it’s likely to rise again when its seventh season premieres in mid-July. In May and June, its average demand expression per capita was 3.44.
19. The Blacklist
The NBC crime thriller is going strong four seasons in. Season 4 wrapped at the end of May, which garnered an average demand expression per capita of 3.40
20. Orange Is The New Black
Season 5 of Netflix’s acclaimed prison drama took a dramatic detour from previous seasons, as the events were comprised into a time window of just 72 hours. This heightened tension following Poussey’s Season 4 death paid off. In May and June, its average demand expression per capita was 3.31.