Timesuck: GraphTV

The sixth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer gets a lot of shade thrown at it from fans, but confession: it’s my favorite season. I often felt pretty alone in enjoying it for the most part, but now, through the power of linear regression and GraphTV, I know that I’m not nearly as much of an outlier as I thought (as you can see in the image above). I am, however, exactly as nerdy as everyone thinks I am.

GraphTV is a so-simple-it’s-genius website put together by software engineer Kevin Wu¬†that takes IMDB.com ratings for television shows and graphs them with individual season trend lines. You can add a series trend line, but it’s almost more fun to look at the data without it.

Sometimes the graphs just confirm what we know in a rather striking visual fashion. For example, Breaking Bad just got more and more beloved over the course of its run:


Parks and Recreation‘s first season bears little resemblance to what has come after:


True Blood suffered a nosedive in its final seasons (look at the sad, sad finale):


But that’s still nothing compared to poor Heroes:


Sometimes, though, GraphTV reveals a curveball. Graphing Veronica Mars reveals that ratings for the final season actually went up, which is the opposite of what most fans would tell you they thought about the show’s trajectory:


The site does have its limits: you can only graph one TV show at a time, and like all statistical analysis, shows with fewer ratings (ie, a smaller sample size) give you a less interesting and accurate picture. But, it is good for both entertainment and settling arguments amongst your friends about which episode or season of a show is “better” because these are FACTS and facts don’t lie, right?* Right…?

*These are not facts. You’re still going to have to fight over whether “Hush” or “Once More With Feeling” is the best episode of Buffy. Sorry.