The State of Television 2011 (Graphic).

Tanner | Oct 10, 2011

What do you think about the quality of cable television lately? Do you think there are more good shows on TV now than ever before? Or are you the type of person who thinks TV has gone down a dark and unforgiving road of garbage? In order to find out, we took to the streets (of the internet) and set out to determine what a good number of people think about the current state of television. This is pretty great.

Covering more than 200 shows – the oldest of which premiered four years ago – 2,264 viewer reviews, and indexing more than 5,000 unique words (case sensitive), we looked at the average words used in reviews from metacritic.com to come up with a graphical image of “The State of Television 2011.” Check out the graphic below to see a full version of what words people are using the most to define cable TV today, then scroll down a bit further to read our detailed synopsis.

State of TV 2011

So, what’s the conclusion?

Things are looking good. In our analysis of the 2,000+ Metacritic reviews, there were more positive-associative words (like “good”, “excellent”, “best”, “great”, and “love”) than there were negative words (like “bad”, “horrible”, “stupid”, “old”, and “terrible”). Looking at the final word count, “good”, “better”, “great”, “best”, and “funny” were the most commonly used words. Though “bad” was amongst the top 20 commonly used words as well. Overall the consensus is that television is doing pretty well, and viewers are generally happy about what they’re watching. People are really liking quirky, funny, family shows. Among some of the most common words we see “humor”, “funny”, “humorous”, “comedy”, and “family” being used repetitively, which can only make us think that shows like “Modern Family” and even “Family Guy” are doing really well as of late. Viewers want their quirky family comedies, apparently.

Other highlights. Much of the user reviews we went through included snippets about casts, show writing, and plots. When we pair the overwhelming use of positive words with these show outline words we might safely assume that the general approach to casting and writing lately has been doing very well. Shows like “Dexter”, “Sons of Anarchy”, and (most notably, from the reviews) “Fringe”, are demonstrating that great writing with a well-assembled cast can make for high-quality TV that fans are happy to write positively about. Of course, there are a lot of poor shows premiering lately as well (like the recently cancelled “Playboy Club” and the critically reviewed-but-just-picked-up-for-full-season “Whitney”) but the overall consensus of viewers willing to leave reviews on Metacritic leaves us to believe that the state of television today is… good! Do you agree with the consensus?


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