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11 Charts and Graphs About Television Shows

Television is one thing that unites people across the country, in that almost everyone watches at least some. However, the landscape of TV offerings has expanded so much with hundreds of cable channels available, that you need a chart to keep up with it. Or many charts. Since I always get a kick out of the entertaining charts people make, I've rounded up a few that try to make sense out of all these television shows.

1. Line/Bar Graphs: Sci-Fi TV

Internet citizens have a particular love for science fiction, compared to the population as a whole, which is understandable among folks who embrace technology. These are also the type of people who like to make and read charts and graphs. Stephanie Fox of io9 made an extensive pair of graphs that show how various types of science fiction TV have evolved since 1970. I had to snip it to show here; you can see the full version at io9.

2. Flowchart: Selecting a Science Fiction Series on Netflix

If the current science-fiction offerings on TV don't appeal to your particular tastes, there are many available on Netflix. Watching years of series at a time takes some commitment, so you may want to use this handy flowchart to select a series you aren't already familiar with. This is a large chart; only the beginning point is shown here.

3. Venn Diagram: TV for Math Geeks

song chart memes

It's a good thing that reruns are available, since ultra-geeky TV shows are few and far between. There is one favorite show those in the math-based disciplines can agree on, and The Big Bang Theory's biggest fans may well resemble the characters on the show. The person who is so invested in the selection of these shows that he/she made a Venn diagram about it is apparently so into a chosen discipline that he/she neglected to learn how to spell.

In 2012, reality shows dominate our TV channels. They are much less expensive to produce than classic TV sitcoms and dramas, and people watch them. The definition of reality TV covers a lot of ground, from jobs to game shows to documentaries, so that the only thing they have in common is that they are referred to as "unscripted." And there are too many of them to include them all in one chart or graph.

4. Diagram: The Intersecting World of Reality TV

If you ever flip through the cable TV channels, you’ve probably noticed how many reality series cluster around an existing idea. Yes, there’s a lot of shows set in Louisiana. And quite a few set in Alaska, too. I once quipped that a network sees no use in wasting a field office on just one show, or two, or three. But what you see here is just a small portion of the Reality TV Venn Diagram by Margaret Lyons and Jen Cotton. The whole chart is much more extensive.

If you can't read it here, see the full-size version of overlapping ideas at Vulture. And yes, I am aware that this is actually an Euler diagram, which shows existing sets and relationships, and not a true Venn diagram that would show all possible relationships.

5. Flowchart: Proof That 99% of Reality TV Started With The Hills

You may have noticed that the success of one reality TV series spawns others that are somewhat similar. This is no accident; networks that must churn out content to cover several channels 24 hours a day need new ideas, but caution leads to "new ideas" that have some relation to "old ideas." Here's a flowchart by amypiehoneybunch that traces the origins of many reality series back to the MTV series The Hills. If someone would do a chart like this for job-based reality shows, they would probably all descend from Dirty Jobs, which first aired in 2003.

6. Pie Chart: Reality TV content

funny graphs and charts

After a while, all these reality shows start to look the same, owing to the formula they all seem to use. Even within a series, the narration tends to use the same catchphrases over and over. Take, for example, the series Gold Rush Alaska.

Do you think they are trying to tell us something? Parker is now in the process of deciding whether and where to go to college.

7. Pie Chart: Important Qualities of a Reality TV Mother

You've heard that the lure of reality TV is that we feel better about ourselves when we see other people messing up their lives. More likely we are drawn to train wreck reality shows because people messing up their lives is something out of the ordinary. That's nice to know. These important qualities plotted by Cheeseboy may not make a good mother, but they make an interesting TV show.

8. Euler Diagram: Unified Theory of Primetime TV

You can plot TV shows by genre (sitcom, drama, or reality), or by subject (such as the intersecting reality shows above), or you can classify them by other criteria. This Euler diagram, compiled by Joshua David Stein for Esquire magazine, classifies shows by both subject and tone, so you can select your poison accordingly. If you can't read the names of the shows in the margins, see the enlargeable version.

9. Scatter Plot: Viewer's Political Leanings

Even political leanings are charted by TV show preference. This chart comes from an article about Donald Trump and his demand to see President Obama's birth certificate last year, but it carries information for shows besides Celebrity Apprentice. It appears that there is no such thing as a Republican that doesn't vote, or maybe they just don't watch much TV. Also, Desperate Housewives crosses the political spectrum. Take a look at the full size version.

10. Flowchart: TV to Watch in 2012

So what should you watch on TV? This very recent flowchart can help you, but you may have to enlist the help of your favorite libation to decide. It's shown bigger at The Faster Times.

11. A + B = BBC

This one's a little different, but I'm including it because it appeared in a recent edition of mental_floss magazine.

Chart Fans! See Also...

Run Your Life with Flowcharts!
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Fun with Flowcharts
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7 Geeky Flowcharts
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7 Brilliant and/or Baffling Flowcharts
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7 Flowcharts for Fun
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10 Funny Flowcharts
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10 Clever and Confusing Flowcharts
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10 Funny and Fabulous Flowcharts
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10 Venn and Not-quite-Venn Diagrams
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Fun with Venn and Euler Diagrams
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9 Silly Venn Diagrams
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Fun with Pie Charts

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Hate Red M&M's? You Need a Candy Color-Sorting Machine
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You don’t have to be a demanding rock star to live a life without brown M&M's or purple Skittles—all you need is some engineering know-how and a little bit of free time.

Mechanical engineering student Willem Pennings created a machine that can take small pieces of candy—like M&M's, Skittles, Reese’s Pieces, etc.—and sort them by color into individual piles. All Pennings needs to do is pour the candy into the top funnel; from there, the machine separates the candy—around two pieces per second—and dispenses all of it into smaller bowls at the bottom designated for each variety.

The color identification is performed with an RGB sensor that takes “optical measurements” of candy pieces of equal dimensions. There are limitations, though, as Pennings revealed in a Reddit Q&A: “I wouldn't be able to use this machine for peanut M&M's, since the sizes vary so much.”

The entire building process lasted from May through December 2016, and included the actual conceptualization, 3D printing (which was outsourced), and construction. The entire project was detailed on Pennings’s website and Reddit's DIY page.

With all of the motors, circuitry, and hardware that went into it, Pennings’s machine is likely too ambitious of a task for the average candy aficionado. So until a machine like this hits the open market, you're probably stuck buying bags of single-colored M&M’s in bulk online or sorting all of the candy out yourself the old fashioned way.

To see Pennings’s machine in action, check out the video below:

[h/t Refinery 29]

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How Common Is Your Birthday? An Interactive Map Can Tell You
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by James Hunt

At some point in their life, everyone counts back from their birthday and tries to figure out what anniversary, special occasion, or other excuse might have happened to their parents nine months before they were born. To make this backtracking exercise easier—and give us the chance to do it for a much larger population—data journalist Matt Stiles created an interactive "heat map" showing the most common birthdays in the United States for individuals born between 1994 and 2014.

Click on the map and you'll quickly notice that July, August, and September are by far the most common birth months. It's no surprise that nine months prior you'll find the dark and rainy period of October, November, and December when—to put it delicately—people have to make their own entertainment.

According to Stiles, "People generally seem to have time for baby-making during their time off. Several of the most common birth dates, in September, correspond with average conception periods around Christmas. September 9 is most common in this dataset, though other days in that month are close. September 19 is second. Following a customary gestation period, many of these babies would, in theory, have been conceived on December 17 and December 27, respectively."

But that's not all we can tell from the chart. When you take into account the fact that some people get to choose their child's birthday because of induced and elective births, they tend to want to stay away from the hospital during understaffed holiday periods.

"The least common birthdays in this dataset were Christmas Eve, Christmas [Day], and New Year’s Day," Stiles concluded. "Dates around Thanksgiving aren’t as common. July 4 is also at the bottom of the list. Conversely, Valentine’s Day ranks relatively high, as you can see in the graphic, as are the days just before a new tax year begins."

Amazingly, though it only comes around every four years, Leap Year babies aren't as uncommon as you might think: February 29 ranked 347th out of 366 on the list.

You can play around with the interactive graphic, and see the full ranking of birthdays, here.

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