For a while now, we’ve been fascinated with the interaction between social media and television.
Over the next month and a half, two of the most popular television shows of the past decade will kick off new seasons — the first seven episodes of the seventh season of AMC’s Mad Men and the fourth season of HBO’s Game of Thrones.
Each Monday, we’ll recap how blogs and Twitter reacted to that week’s episodes.
– WARNING, SPOILERS FOR MAD MEN SEASON 7, EPISODE 1 AND GAME OF THRONES SEASON 4, EPISODE 2 ARE BELOW –
OK, so this week we got the premiere of Mad Men’s seventh season as well as a second episode of Game of Thrones.
This Sunday was all about surprises: on the Game of Thrones we had an unexpectedly (except for book readers, of course) gruesome death and on Mad Men we had an unexpected actress make a surprise appearance.
Let’s start with Mad Men, since this was its first week and we can get to the juicy GoT stuff later.
Compared to GoT, Mad Men is a much slower paced show. And, while it is much more critically acclaimed than its HBO counterpart, it does not receive nearly the same audience numbers.
We can see that in the volume of tweets last night. From one hour before the show aired to one hour after the show ended, we collected just less than 30,000 tweets with the hashtag #MadMen. That’s less than one third of the total tweets we collected with #GameofThrones for the equivalent period (and we’re tracking just one of the GoT hashtags).
The largest volume of tweets came at the beginning of the episode, as you can see in the handy chart below. This was mostly general excitement about the start of the new season.
We also got spikes for a pair of Campbells: when we see a very tanned Pete Campbell (played by Vincent Karthaiser) at 10:23 PM (all times Eastern) and then at 10:45 when we get a surprise visit from Neve Campbell, playing a woman who sits next to Don Draper (played by Jon Hamm) on an airplane back from Los Angeles.
There was one final spike after 11:00 PM, right after the episode finished.
Not surprisingly, Don was the most mentioned character during the episode, followed by the aforementioned Pete and Christina Hendricks’ Joan, who was a major character in the episode.
Now let’s get on to the good stuff: there’s a wedding in Westeros and we all know what that means.
Specifically, Joffrey dies a rather disturbing death, the apparent victim of poison. You can see the Twitter-sphere react to the scene in the chart below.
And, unlike last time, people are ecstatic.
Only sad thing is… we’ll never see Joffrey getting slapped again. #GameOfThrones
— Jon Snow (@JonSnowBastrd) April 14, 2014
At the 9:54 mark, we registered almost 5,000 tweets per minute and the rate didn’t drop below 1,000 per minute until the 10:07 mark. That’s an even bigger reaction than we got to the last murderous wedding in Westeros — and we’re just tracking one hashtag this time!
The Lannisters dominated in terms of character mentions. Joffrey had nearly ten times as many mentions as any other character in the show, mentioned more than 10,000 times. Peter Dinklage’s Tyrion Lannister, who was at the centre of the episode as well, was mentioned more than 1,000 times, as was Lena Heady’s Queen Cersei, who held her unpopular son as he died.
In general, blogs liked the episodes too. We collected 43 recaps for Mad Men and 44 for Game of Thrones. Just less than two thirds of Mad Men recaps gave the episode the thumbs up, and just one gave it a negative review.
Almost 80 per cent of recaps loved the Game of Thrones episode, and none said they disliked it.