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Viewership data shows Game of Thrones was the most popular TV series of the last decade

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Viewership data shows Game of Thrones was the most popular TV series of the last decade

How do we assess the impact of a story – be it TV or film? Is there a yardstick, a standard? Most among us would agree that despite critical views and a good story told in a relatable way, eventually, the audience decides whether a story gets etched in the history of our culture or gets shunned out into oblivion. Many great stories might not have made a big footprint and many good stories may have become hugely successful. However sometimes, rarely though, the story and the reception both create a massive thump together.

In every case, viewers are the variable that decides the final outcome. Game of Thrones ran for almost a decade and what did it do in that span of 10 years? It doesn’t need telling that the series became the favorite for a large number of people. We are also sure that its storytelling and writing brought a new dimension to television. But this is all subjective, right? What does the data say? The data says exactly the same thing and more! A YouTube channel by the name, Data Is Beautiful, made a video showing us the timeline history for the most viewed TV series from 1986 to 2019. And the data is indeed beautiful for the fans of Game of Thrones.

There are three factors upon which the ranking of the TV shows is based: “prime-time first 24 hours audience reports; one week of reported statistics for downloaded copies (pirated); one week of streaming services viewership.” It seems quite comprehensive. First of all, even if you’re a Game of Thrones fan and are not interested in the stats starting from 1986, we would still recommend you to watch the whole video. It’s just an engaging visualization. Multiple shows competing with each other against time, trying to grab the top spot. It’s a good old fight. But if only the HBO blockbuster interests you, you can skip ahead to 2010s.

While the 90s were dominated by ER (Emergency Room), Seinfeld, and Friends, the 2000s brought Lost, CSI (Crime Scene Investigation) and NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigative Service) at the top rankings. All of them seem to be on par with each other till 2011 arrives. Game of Thrones just rips everyone apart. There is no TV series on the list that dominated as GoT did for almost the entire decade.

The 2010s belonged to the song of ice and fire, followed by The Big Bang Theory and NCIS. Only for a brief while in 2018 when there was no telecast did the show dip. And surely it came back up on number #1 with the final season in 2019. In the end, though, the HBO hit series was dethroned by NCIS. Perhaps the criticism for the last season and the fact that NCIS is still running in its seventeenth season didn’t help.

Viewership data shows Game of Thrones was the most popular TV series of the last decade

All said and done, Game of Thrones painted HBO on the TV landscape like never before. And its legacy will be carried on by its enduring literature and spin-offs. It has been almost a year since the show ended, yet the buzz still feels fresh with every bit of news about the Westerosi saga. Let’s hope the winds bring with them more, much more! What about you? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section.







Writer, Actor, Teacher - a Game of Thrones enthusiast in there somewhere!

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