With all the new and returning series having their premieres in September, the list of 20 most popular shows in the world experienced a few shake-ups. Though Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead are still hovering at the top, returning series like Narcos are also blowing up. Meanwhile, the new series Star Trek: Discovery also made the top-20 cut, in contrast to Star Trek-spoof The Orville, which was doing much better rating-wise until it switched from airing on Sundays, where it enjoyed a huge NFL lead-in, to Thursdays.
Data from Parrot Analytics has previously estimated what the 20 most popular shows in the world are in two month periods. But this time around, they’ve released information for the last week of September. Parrot measures the popularity of a given show in average demand expressions per capita, which they describe as “the total audience demand being expressed for a title, within a country, on any platform, per 100 capita.” In addition to viewership, this takes into account things like social media engagement, with more weight being given to more important actions like watching a series, versus simply commenting on a video.
So, it’s not just about ratings. These are the bonafide 20 most popular shows in the world right now.
1. Game of Thrones
Even with a smaller sample size that only accounted for the last week of September, no show was able to come close to dethroning popularity king, Game of Thrones. For that period, it had 25.89 average demand expressions per capita, compared to 26.72 average demand expressions per capita for July and August, demonstrating the show’s impressive global domination almost a full month out from its August 27 season finale, without having to bring in the no doubt higher numbers for people watching the show in early September.
2. The Walking Dead
AMC’s long-running zombie series hit 9.07 average demand expressions per capita for the last week of September. This is a pretty small drop down from the 9.18 average demand expressions it had for July and August, and while it isn’t a 1:1 comparison in terms of time-frame, the fact that The Walking Dead’s Season 8 premiere takes place later in October makes it seem likely that the show didn’t experience a sudden jump in popularity to keep it within spitting distance of where it was in July and August.
3. Grey’s Anatomy
In the week surrounding the two-part Season 14 premiere of Grey’s Anatomy on September 28, the Shonda Rhimes series reached 6.23 average demand expressions per capita.
4. Pretty Little Liars
Almost three months out from the series finale of Pretty Little Liars on June 27, the show still maintains a high rank and an impressive number of average demand expressions per capita. For the last week of September, it had 6.10 average demand expressions per capita.
With the Season 3 premiere of Narcos on September 1, the series made it onto the list for the last week of September. It had 5.41 average demand expressions per capita for this period.
6. The Big Bang Theory
In the last week of September, CBS’ sitcom enjoyed the double whammy of both its Season 11 premiere and the debut of spin-off series Young Sheldon. And it saw an appropriate increase to 5.40 average demand expressions per capita for the week, compared to the 4.94 average it had for the July and August period.
We’re now even further out from the Vikings’ Season 4 finale than we were when the July-August data came in, and Season 5’s November 29 premiere is still a ways out. But at least in the last week of September, it maintained much of the popularity it held onto for the July-August period: 5.23 average demand expressions per capita versus 5.30, respectively.
8. Rick and Morty
In the week leading up to the Season 3 finale of Rick and Morty on October 1, the Adult Swim animated sci-fi comedy had 4.83 average demand expressions per capita.
Following the show’s Season 7 finale on September 13, the USA Network legal drama tied with Rick and Morty at 4.83 average demand expressions per capita. Without the popularity data in the week of the finale, this number is an unsurprising drop from the 5.26 average demand expressions per capita it had for July and August, when it was regularly releasing episodes.
10. Teen Wolf
Teen Wolf’s September 24 series finale took the series to 4.46 average demand expressions per capita.
11. Prison Break
Prison Break continued to enjoy a resurgence in popularity thanks to the show’s fifth season, which ended on May 30. But the last week of September saw a massive decrease from where the show was in July and August, when it had 9.18 average demand expressions per capita. At the end of September, the show had 4.35 average demand expressions per capita. Because the decrease is so big, it’s unlikely that it’s not present in the monthly data, as well.
12. Stranger Things
It seems like hype for the return of Stranger Things continues to build in advance of its Season 2 premiere on October 27. In the last week of September, the Netflix horror series had 4.06 average demand expressions per capita, compared to the 3.28 average it had for July and August
13. Star Trek: Discovery
After 12 years, Star Trek finally returned to TV, an occasion reflected in its 4.00 average demand expressions per capita, and it being on the list in the first place. Since the series is now mostly exclusive to streaming platforms globally, it’ll be interesting to see what data for this series looks like in the month of October.
14. American Horror Story
American Horror Story: Cult starting in September led the series to 3.74 average demand expressions per capita for the last week of the month.
15. The Flash
The Flash’s popularity in part of the lead up to its Season 4 premiere on October 10 isn’t quite as strong as it was closer to the show’s May 23 season finale. The CW series had 3.68 average demand expressions per capita for the last week of September, while it had 4.04 average demand expressions per capita for July and August. Like with most shows on this list, this may be the temporary effect of fall season premieres happening, and wouldn’t necessarily be reflected in monthly data.
16. 13 Reasons Why
Almost six months after its premiere in March, 13 Reasons Why is proving to be a fixture on this list. It had 3.40 average demand expressions per capita for the last week of September.
17. Stephen King’s IT (1990)
The 2017 It film that premiered in September is now the highest grossing horror film of all time, which translated to plenty of people being interested in the almost three decades-old TV adaptation of the Stephen King book. The It TV miniseries had 3.18 average demand expressions per capita in the last week of September.
With Supernatural’s Season 13 premiere right around the corner on October 13, CW’s long-running series about two brothers who hunt all that goes bump in the night hit 3.03 average demand expressions per capita, giving it a place on the list. It’s hard to say what prompted the series to increase in popularity (it didn’t make it onto the July-August list, when the lowest average demand expressions there was 2.92) relative to CW sister series The Flash, which saw a short-term decrease with its Season 4 premiere coming up sooner. Perhaps Supernatural just had more room to grow from its waning popularity in the off-season, while series like The Flash are hugely popular all year-round.
Gotham Season 4 started up on September 21, which was reflected in it getting a spot on the list and 3.00 average demand expressions per capita. The fact that the young Bruce Wayne seems to be making his transformation into Batman at a faster rate now probably helped bolster this number.
Like The Flash, Arrow also saw a slight decrease in advance of its upcoming season, which airs on October 12. The CW series had 2.99 average demand expressions for the last week of September, while for July and August it had 3.23 average demand expressions. Again, this might be the temporary effect of so many premieres happening at once, which would be seen more in the monthly data for September.
Watch this space for more updates on this story. Will Game of Thrones continue to stay on top even though it’s not even airing right now? Some signs point to a big yes.