Scoring Shows

Scoring Shows

One of the goals Tracy and I have with this site is a way for people to know what shows are worth watching. While we have a simple ratings system and a thumbs up/down score, I kept thinking there had to be a way to mathematically dervice watchability.

I’m a bit of a geek.

But I think I’ve done it.

The Calculations

Calculating that number required breaking down the data we’ve acquired into a demonstrably fair way. First I had to review the data we had on hand:

  • Quality (1-5)
  • Realness (1-5)
  • Screentime (1-5)

Then I looked at the content we tracked that was not generally numerically bound:

  • Tropes
  • Cliches
  • Death
  • Thumbs (up/down/meh)
  • Stars (gold/silver/bronze/none)
  • Trigger Warning
  • Do We Love It?

Some of this is subjective, but the combination overall balances itself out.

Then I gave points to the non-ratings:

  • Thumbs
    • Up +5
    • Meh +0
    • Down -5
  • Star
    • Gold +5
    • Silver +3
    • Bronze +1.5
  • No Tropes +5
  • Trigger Warning
    • High -5
    • Med -3
    • Low -1
  • Do We Love It? +5

The max score a show could get then is 35 points. The lowest would be -7 (3 for the q/r/s minus 5 for triggers and minus 5 for thumbs down). From that I generated a percentage.

Next I factored in character data. Death was ‘easy’ as I took the percentage of living characters and calculated the average. But I also calculated a percentage of characters without any clichés.

Add all three values together, divide by three, and you have a show score as a percentage.


How does this actually work?

Sense8 has a show score of 26.5 – perfect ratings, a thumbs up, and we love it, but only a bronze star – for a 74% raw show rating. It has a 80% survival ratio. In addition, one character has ‘no’ cliches which is a big ol’ .06%. Combined that gives the show a value of 54.13% (accounting for some rounding).

The L Word has a show score of 16 – low realness and quality hurt it. However it has a 96% survival rate, since only 2 of the 60+ characters are dead. That makes the overall value 54.68%

Exes and Ohs has a quite high show score of 24. It has a perfect survival score of 100% (no death!) which gave it the overall of 65.08%

One Mississippi had a higher score in season one, nearly 100%, but after getting a trope it dropped to 77.6%

The Future

All this left me with a little bit of ‘wiggle’ room.

We use ‘stars’ to indicate the show’s status in a sort of ‘is this super gay’ way. Shows like The L Word are made by lesbians for lesbians. They get a gold star. Things like Cucumber are made by the queers in general for queers and is silver. Most everything else is just a generic TV show, but as I was doing the math here, I thought about the meaning of the stars.

This lead us to create a bronze star for shows made by queers but meant for everyone. This gave Sense8 a bump. It brought up the interesting thought of if the straights made a show for queers, should that be a negative? Maybe. Right now the code for ‘bronze’ stars (made by queers for everyone) and ‘anti’ stars (made by straights for queers) are there, but we haven’t used anti yet. Hope we won’t.

What about how long a show has been on the air? Well that would give more points to soaps, who don’t really have great representation in the first place. Should we give a boost for the number of characters? Wouldn’t that give The L Word an unfair advantage when it’s really not that awesome of a show?

Also is a percentage the way to go? What if I just added everything up and left it at that?

Thankfully recalculating the scores is automatic when a show or character is updated.

Can We Make It Better?

I’m sure I’ve forgotten some important calculations in all this. I’d love love to here where I could make this better. Please leave a comment and let me know.

And if you want to know what today’s currently highest rated show is? You can sort shows by score.

About Mika A. Epstein

Mika has been deep in fandom since she could say 'Trekkie.' With decades experience in running fansites, developing software, and organizing communities, she's taken on the challenge of delving into the recesses of television for queers long forgotten. Making this site with Tracy is nothing short of serendipity. Mika lives with her wife and their cats in Southern California. Of course she has a hybrid, but she'd rather ride her bicycle.
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