By cross-referencing the top 200 TV shows on IMDB with granular geographic data sourced from Google Trends, CableTV managed to put together an exceedingly interesting map which tells us the most popular TV show on a state by state basis.
While some of the listings appear to be random (why do Michiganders have a thing for Dexter?), a lot of the results make a lot of sense. Breaking Bad and Silicon Valley, for example, are the most popular shows in New Mexico and California, respectively. It also makes sense that New Yorkers are really into Gotham while their brethren in New Jersey still have a soft spot for The Sopranos.
Looking more closely at the data, CableTV observed a few interesting data points. For instance, the two states with the highest crime rates (New Mexico and Nevada) just so happen to be into shows that feature questionable activities, namely Breaking Bad and Lucifer. At the same time, the two states with the lowest crime rates (Maine and Vermont) appear to have a strong interest in family-friendly supernatural programming, namely Stranger Things and The X-Files.
“We gravitate towards TV shows that reinforce our beliefs and give voice to our fears,” the report academically points out. “In states with high rates of crime, the face of threat is more human while those with lower rates of crime see threat as something more abstract—like being kidnapped by aliens.”
Another interesting, though not altogether surprising, data point is that individuals in a particular state tend to be interested in shows that take place in that same state, whether it’s people in Tennessee being into Nashville or folks in Colorado being into South Park.
Lastly, there are a few popular shows which surprisingly didn’t show up anywhere, with AMC’s The Walking Dead and Netflix’s House of Cards being two prime examples.