The Videoport TV Series Loyalty Index

(Or, what I do when I’m supposed to be working)  by Dennis
We’ve got a lot of TV series at Videoport.  You know this.  And you also know that DVD is a great way to discover a new show, find out you like it, and then plow through it, to the exclusion of all else in your life, until you’ve devoured five years of broadcast television in about a week.  Well, being an inveterate show devourer my own self, I got to wondering how my favorite (and not so favorite) series fare when I pushily recommend that unsuspecting Videoport customers.  Do they, like me, become obsessed with them and follow them to the end, or do they give them a cursory, courtesy rent and then drop them like a hot rock?  Well, instead of working the other day, I came up with an unscientific method to test a show’s staying power; I compared the cumulative rentals of a series’ first disc with that of its last disc, thus gauging the dropoff in viewer interest.  Sure, it’s not perfect:  some shows later seasons are still too new to get a representative sample (‘The Office’, ‘30 Rock’, ‘The Wire’), while there are undoubtedly other variables I’m too dim to comprehend, but here goes:
First: ‘Firefly’, Joss Whedon’s brilliant, underappreciated sci-fi series:  First disc-385 rentals/last disc-249 rentals (65% viewer retention rate).  Not too shabby and pretty understandable, considering it’s so f-ing brilliant).
Second:  ‘Spaced’, beloved, charming, hilarious Britcom from Shaun of the Dead’s Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright: First disc- 102 rentals/second and last disc-55 (54% retention rate).  Now this puzzles me to no end;  how could anyone bail out on this show and not, like me, watch it over and over again and curse the gods that there are only 14 episodes.  I chalk this up to 46% of the world being really, really stupid.
Third:  ‘The Sopranos’, you may have heard of this one:  first-860 rents/last-257 (30% retention rate).  Wow.  Surprising.  Was it the length (7 seasons)?  The relentless grimness and violence?  Did you finally decide you couldn’t watch Christopher screw up anymore?  Huh.
Fourth:  ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’, Joss Whedon.  ‘Nuff said.  171 rents/65 rents (38% retention).  Well, this one ran seven seasons as well, and did slightly better that Tony  Soprano.  I chalk up the drop off to people like me who just broke down and bought the whole series along the way.  (Whedon’s spun-off ‘Angel’’s similar 37% can probably be explained in the same manner).
Fifth:  ‘Freaks and Geeks’, Judd Apatow and Paul Feig’s beloved, brilliantly-hilarious high school series:  302/155 (51% rate).  Who would bail out of this show?  Probably the same philistines that caused this one to be canceled after a single season.
And last:  ‘Sports Night’, Aaron Sorkin’s pre-’West Wing’ sort-of sitcom about the behind the scenes shenanigans at an ESPN-type network- hilarious, moving, damn-nigh perfect.  164/13 (8%?!?!?!?!?!?).  WTF?!?!  Fully 92% of you people decided to jump ship on this great series?!  What in the…?  What was it?  Was it Dana’s admittedly silly dating plan?  Danny’s on-air breakdown?  Was it the brilliant writing that drove you away?  The outstanding actors?  How Natalie’s nose crinkles up in that adorable way?  Was that it you jerks?  Fine, fine…I’m done with this… and all of you…

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Published in: on June 16, 2009 at 4:21 am  Leave a Comment  
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