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October 20 2006

Which show is the more popular? An article on the "Google Trend" graph which plots the volume of traffic on the search engine. Apparently, Buffy has held steady in search popularity years after its final episode.

[ edited by zeitgeist on 2006-10-20 19:24 ]

I realise the article is referring to US viewing figures, but Dr Who gets an average audience of about 8 million in the UK when the show is on BBC1 (prior to its transfer to a seemingly continuous loop of repeats on BBC3). Those are big viewing figures over here these days and crush the results of any other similar shows I can bring to mind.

There is a Dr Who website that claims to have had 18,829,930 visits since Feb 1996 and based on the amount of messages on its posting board, I would imagine it is an accurate figure.
I was thinking the same. Who draws in way more viewers than BSG does here too even though we also are able to watch it on the BBC while we don't get american channels. I guess Fred does have a point that searching with the words doctor and who together might also be done to search something else.

Ah, well. Woohoo for the doc and Buffy.
Yeah, Dr Who averages about 3-4 times the viewers in the UK of BSG in the US. And the US is 5-6 times bigger in terms of audience.

That said, in terms of drama -- and I don't want to start a fandom war here, this is just my opinion(tm) -- I'd say BSG is currently in it's prime, I'd say. I can't recall seeing sci-fi drama as good as the Battlestar Season 3 opener in a long, long time. It blew my sockeths off.
Wow that article is so full of holes I don't know where to begin. And does it really matter who has the biggest following online? Everyone knows its the Harry Potter fandom anyhow. And then the manga mob and then us (I think).
Did someone do some editting of my title? ;) Also, I would definitely consider Dr. Who more popular than BSG overall..

[ edited by spikeylover on 2006-10-20 18:16 ]
I think a major reason why this is so is that Doctor Who is a show you can watch with your kids. Battlestar Galactica has a decidedly more adult viewership.

Doctor Who is also easier to watch. It has humor in it - something BSG rarely has. BSG can be downright dour and morose, whereas Doctor Who always has something light or fantastical about it that is often easier to take on a Friday after a hard work week. I'm not saying that makes it a superior show - just that it is easier on the nerves at times.

Finally, while BSG is an excellent series, it has a continuous story arc rather than stand-alone episodes. (The last stand-alone episode I remember on BSG also was pretty bad...) This makes it difficult to get into if you haven't been with it from the start. Doctor Who is mainly stand-alones that sometimes connect and intersect into a larger story arc, but you don't get terribly lost if you miss an episode. (I haven't yet, but I can imagine missing one and not being lost.)
gossi: I would say that Doctor Who is also in 'prime' status. The final two-parter of the last series will blow away any long time Whovian!

Also, consider that the current Who series is 13 episodes, while BSG has 22 (23hrs?). It's only on TV half as much.
Oh, don't get me wrong ofermod - I'm not knocking Doctor Who.

Essentially, Doctor Who and Battlestar are two very, very different shows with very different target demographics. "Who" is family orentated viewing, and as such is going to be more accessible to a wider audience - and it is. The audience for Who in the UK alone is many, many times the audience of BSG in the US (and probably the world).

Battlestar goes for high drama with very adult themes about personal responsbility, terrorism, the right to fight and all that joy, which your average 6 year old isn't going to enjoy, and isn't going to be as light entertainment as Who. And there's nothing wrong with that, either.
My only experience with Dr. Who is the incredibly cheesy series from I guess the early 70's they used to run on PBS. I never understood the attraction.

I guess the new series is better.
Did someone do some editting of my title? ;)


Just to make it more relevant for the front page. And who knows perhaps we could actually discuss Buffy's popularity in the context article seeing as this is Whedonesque and not Davies' Dandys or Moore's Merry Men *ahem*.

Maybe I'm being too subtle here.
Well, I certainly search for Buffy more than those shows. ;)
For the record I also edited the word graft to graph as that is more likely what you were referring to :)
Also not mentioned is that Doctor Who is very widely downloaded in via various bitTorrent websites, since there's been such a delay in the air date in the UK and the US (and Canada with Season 2). I imagine that the Sci-Fi channel in the US and CBC in Canada could get a boost in ratings if they managed to close that gap with future seasons.
I was copying straight from the article and still wrote it wrong. My typing fingers are possessed.
Maybe it's popularity is due to graft. Payment to viewers to raise a certain programs popularity.

And correct me if I'm wrong, but is the general message here that in terms of popularity, Who's on first?

So, What's on second?
spikeylover - I can totally relate :)

barboo - barboo's on third?
I think I can answer any questions of on-line TV show popularity with this one, simple, definitive visual aid.

Well. So there you have it.

(And I loved "graft" for graph. The corruptive medical implications were intriguing, if obscure.)
'Buffy' has matched or exceeded the search volume of the show. Not bad for a show that has been cancelled for several years!


I guess I'm the only one who took umbridge to the term "cancelled" in this paragraph.
QG - right on :) Graft of course has further meanings (let's not forget the medical definition), which make this even funnier.

killinj - we all just grumbled and made faces and then ignored it :)
I was gonna go somewhere with "umbridge" for "umbrage" but I can't think of anything -- yet they have "bridge" and "rage" contained within. Would that my brain worked better today... JLV?

The clever men at Oxford
Know all that there is to be knowed.
But they none of them know one half as much
As intelligent Mr. Toad!

-- Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows
You know, I don't really mind if more people watch Doctor Who that BSG. I don't even mind if people I know don't watch BSG. The reason is quite simple. You don't watch BSG to be comforted, you watch it to be challenged, intrigued, even disturbed. Sometimes its not an easy show to watch, but it is never an easy show to forget.

I have in all honesty, never watched an episode of Doctor Who, but my impression is that it is much more of a comfort show, that doesn't require you to "flip your brain to the on position" before you sit down to watch it. Theres nothing wrong with that. But in 20 years, which show will have left a larger mark on those who watched it? I has to be BSG.
So, if we're so popular, how come I cant find a Buffy convention within driving distance to save my life?
Actually, I've found I have to keep my brain on to watch Doctor Who, if only to keep straight the wide variety of wackiness that they sometimes cram into a single episode (ninja priests/alien werewolves/Queen Victoria, for example.) DW can get very dramatic/emotional at times as well, although not with anywhere near the consistency and brutality of BSG. I enjoy both shows quite a bit, and while I would agree that BSG is overall the better quality show, Doctor Who is the one I'll watch over again. Once into the breach with BSG is plenty for moi.
Umbrage to my umbridge! *grin*
Would that my brain worked better today... JLV?

Anyone heard from him this week ? Haven't seen any posts recently, I hope there wasn't bad news.

But in 20 years, which show will have left a larger mark on those who watched it? I has to be BSG.

Dunno, Resolute, Doctor Who is a show that kids can watch and personally I was deeply affected by it as a toddler/child - I was that stereotypical tot behind the couch, terrified the Daleks or Cybermen were gonna get me (and it's been around for over 40 years too, maybe we should wait and see if BSG lasts that long before comparing like for like ;).

(not that BSG isn't brilliant - cannot believe they've the bricks to move in the direction they've taken so far - but it's definitely a show for adults and often things you see as a grown-up just don't stick the same as things you watch when you're five)
Doctor Who is a show which has been kept alive by it's fan base for, what, 27 years? It's probably the 2nd most influencial sci-fi TV series ever, after Star Trek. And, in saying this, I don't even like the old episodes I've seen.

In terms of why there aren't many Buffy conventions now, quite simply, there's all manner of reasons. The simplist is that it isn't as financially profitable for the runners and actors as it used to be.

Buffy is a worldwide pop culture hit, make no mistake about it. 20th Century Fox made a mint from it. It generally rated higher on BBC Two in the UK than it did on The WB and UPN in the US, plus there's many other international markets for it. That said, the interest is declining over time, and that's natural.
gossi: Not trying to dispute your points. Just pointing out that as far as revival shows go, /both/ of them have really hit their stride in terms of the writing.

... and considering this forum, one could also mention that the new Who series' direction is, by many known accounts, influenced by BtVS. Go Joss!

But then, what do these statistics really matter anyway? That 43 years of fandom outnumbers (ostensibly) three? (You might argue more than three, but since the show had to be rebooted, I would consider the fan base as rather non-continuuous.)
Saje: "Anyone heard from him this week ? Haven't seen any posts recently, I hope there wasn't bad news."

I sent you an email, Saje. (I believe he's fine.)
Oh, let's not go there ofermod (on Battlestar reboot). If you read some of the online classic Battlestar forums, you'd think the Sci-Fi Battlestar people had been having Michael Jackson cameo on the show or something with the way some people respond to the show now. :o)

There is very definitely a Joss influence on Doctor Who (and Torchwood).
This has probably been linked here before(maybe) but since the topic of old BSG vs new came up....

A funny comparison...
QuoterGal, thanks for that post. I was wondering the same, but was afraid to ask. So long as he's fine. :-)

On topic -- the shows are hard to compare, IMO. They have snark and beasties in common, and I like them both, but in such different ways. I agree that the Doctor Who I'm watching (and, I never saw any before Christopher Eccleston) seems like there's a Joss influence, no doubt. And, yes, something that has new eps coming along certainly would be attracting more interest than something that is living in syndication and DVD, so I always feel these Google Trend comparisons are more for a "Huh, that's interesting" than for really analyzing the audience's feelings. :-)
Ah, cheers QuoterGal, missed the end of that thread first time round (yours is a worthy tactic, maybe if we drop enough opportunities for "bad" puns... ;).

Yeah gossi, some of the original Battlestar fans are extremely scathing about the new show. Personally, I respect Richard Hatch's position the most. He was dead set against it after spending years trying to bring the original show back in some form then met with Ron Moore and saw what they're doing with it and now obviously embraces it so he was willing to have his mind changed (though I think he's still working on bringing the old one back, gotta admire his spirit).

(Dirk Benedict was quoted being very unflattering about the reboot too, dunno if his tune's changed - probably just jealous cos new Starbuck is twice the Starbuck he ever was. Ooh, get me. True though ;).

(LOL Rogue Slayer, not seen that before. "I love your blueish glow and your drunk XO", heh ;)
Saje, Benedict is just sore that no one is inviting him to join the new A-Team movie! :~P

ETA: Ah, here we go, Starbuck: Lost in Castration My personal favorite quote:
Men hand out cigars. Women `hand out' babies. And thus the world, for thousands of years, has gone round.


[ edited by Rogue Slayer on 2006-10-21 01:05 ]
I really dislike that quote. Statistics don't lie, but people often misinterpret them. Statistical literacy is the real problem, and dismissing statistics outright as untrue doesn't help that.

Rant over.

The slow but steady decline since 2004 isn't surprising, but it looks like searches might be holding constant now in 2006, which is interesting. I wonder if it'll reach a certain level and stay there for awhile.
Ah, here we go, Starbuck: Lost in Castration My personal favorite quote:
Men hand out cigars. Women `hand out' babies. And thus the world, for thousands of years, has gone round.


Wow, he's not bitter, is he? Thanks for that link, Rogue Slayer. I remember the first BSG - vaguely. I know I watched is sometimes, but I was not terribly unhappy when it was cancelled and was reluctant to watch the new version because of it. But, due to the enthusiastic endorsement of Simon and others, I borrowed the first season DVDs of the new show and was totally caught up in it. Even though I have yet to see S2, I am still enjoying the current episodes. And I love Starbuck as a woman!

Dr. Who I watched in reruns years ago and enjoyed - still have some of the episodes on tape and have a few on DVD.

That said, as a fairly recent Buffy fan (two years), I can attest to having searched Google for Buffy information on many occasions whereas possibly once or twice only for the other two shows. I enjoy BSG and like to discuss it on "the white", but I don't feel compelled to read every thing I can get my hands on about it, as I do with Buffy.

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