After mapping out the Metacritic histories of Dexter vs. Breaking Bad a few weeks back, I started to wonder how other premium cable shows would look. And so, with an idea firmly in place, I started collecting the data. I cooked up a list of Metacritic scores for every season of every drama that has either aired or is currently airing on HBO, Showtime, AMC, and F/X. Then, I had to cull the data. For instance, some shows only aired for one year. Others were missing Metacritic scores for certain seasons, a result of not enough critic reviews for Metacritic to assign a score. Those type of shows couldn’t be used. By the time it was all over, I had complete season-by-season Metacritic scores for 23 shows. After I graphed them out, I realized that it looks a lot like a skyline. Here’s the result.
As always, click on the image for the full resolution version. The shows are listed alphabetically.
Just to clarify what’s going on there, each season of each series has several bars that, chronologically from left to right, represent their Metacritic scores. For instance, American Horror Story earned a Metacritic score of 62 in the first season, and 64 in the second.
It’s a little disappointing that The Sopranos had incomplete data. It would’ve been fascinating to see how it looked in comparison to, say, The Wire or Mad Men. I also would’ve preferred to include Six Feet Under and Deadwood, but both had incomplete data.
Ideally, I would’ve included the average of all show scores for each progressive season in the graph. But realistically, that data is useless because so many shows are dumped before they reach seasons 3, 4, and 5. And the sample sizes are so small that there’s a ton of variance Of the data sample, only nine shows have scores for season 5; five for season 6; and just two have seasons 7 and 8 (Dexter and Weeds). In the interest of full disclosure, the breakdown went like this, but again- I don’t find this data useful:
Season 1 average of all shows: 73.9 avg. Metacritic score (23 series)
Season 2 average of all shows: 77.9 avg. Metacritic score (23 series)
Season 3 average of all shows: 80.8 avg. Metacritic score (18 series)
Season 4 average of all shows: 79.3 avg. Metacritic score (12 series)
Season 5 average of all shows: 80.0 avg. Metacritic score (9 series)