Monday, 6 July 2015

Steven Universe Episode Poll - Analysis of Results

A few days ago I ran a poll on r/Stevenuniverse asking people to rank all the episodes. This was picked up by a few sites (thanks guys!) and when the poll closed, there were 409 responses (after removing duplication errors and obvious trolls such as voting everything 1, hilarious).

The full table of results is published here. Below is some analysis and commentary on these results. I hope you all found it interesting, and keep your eyes peeled for when I do it again (I'll probably announce via my Twitter).

Episode Rankings
Episodes were ranked on a scale of 1-5, with 1 being the 'Bottom Tier', 3 being 'Average' and 5 being 'Amazing'. Respondents were asked to rate based on their feelings about the show itself, so 'Average' referred to an average episode of 'Steven Universe' rather than an average episode of any television show, otherwise there was a danger everyone would just give all the episodes top marks as fandoms tend to do. Some people still voted everything 5, which in a comparative poll where you have to respond to all questions has literally no effect. So uh, well done.

What were people's favourite episodes though? Let's look at the top ten:

RankingTitleEpisode Score
2The Return4.80
3Sworn to the Sword4.76
4Ocean Gem4.76
5Rose's Scabbard4.67
6Mirror Gem4.64
7We Need To Talk4.63
8Lion 3: Straight to Video4.60
9Alone Together4.57
10Keeping It Together4.53

Not really any surprises in this table. Jailbreak swept the board and came through as the clear leader. The top ten list favours arc-plot heavy episodes rather than the more disposable 'filler' light comedy episodes the show also does. Three of the top ten ('Sworn to the Sword', 'We Need To Talk' and 'Keeping it Together') are from the latest Stevenbomb, so it is possible that their high placing is partly to do with how new and exciting they are.

The fandom clearly enjoys plots about Gem Homeworld, Lapis Lazuli and Pearl/Rose.

Looking at the bottom ten is a different picture. Of course there's no shame in being at the bottom; in any list for something to be come first, something else has to come last. It simply means they are the least liked episodes of the show rather than being actively bad. What does the bottom of the table look like?

RankingTitleEpisode Score
54Gem Glow3.11
56Horror Club3.05
57House Guest3.04
59Say Uncle2.91
60Shirt Club2.87
61Keep Beach City Weird2.85
62Rising Tides, Crashing Skies2.79
63Onion Trade2.70

So Onion Trade is the lowest scoring episode, with 2.7. Given that the scale is 1-5, it shows that most people still rate it highly if not thinking it's the best. Ronaldo does worst here, with all of his episodes falling at the bottom, though 'Rising Tides/Crashing Skies' poor placing may be more to do with fandom anger about it not being a Lapis arc episode as the title suggested than any quality concerns.

At an earlier point, Love Letters was leading as the least-liked episode, though it ended up with a more respectable 52nd place, 12 from bottom. Especially with later episodes there is a pattern where lighter stand-alone episodes suffer if they come straight after bigger arc-pieces, something the earlier era of the show didn't have to contend with. It feels like if episodes such as 'Shirt Club' and 'Love Letters' had come earlier in the show's run they'd be much better regarded.

Here's a graph of all the results plotted with an average line (click to see a bigger version). The latter half of the show does fall constantly above the average a lot more, though not as much as might be expected. This is mostly due to a handful of later episodes that weren't as well received, these low spikes on the graph being 'Horror Club', 'Political Power', 'Say Uncle', 'Shirt Club', 'Love Letters' and 'Rising Tides/Crashing Skies'.

Fans don't like episodes about Beach City residents much. Or Uncle Grandpa.

There is an overall trend line upwards though:

Episode Consensus
How much do people agree on whether an episode is good or bad though? For each episode, the standard deviation of each score was worked out. This basically tells us how wide a range of votes were received. If the standard deviation is small, this means everyone voted very similarly. For example, a small standard deviation on a 'good' episodes means everyone thought it was good, a small standard deviation on a bad episode means everyone thought it was bad. If the standard deviation is big, it means it had a wide range of votes (for example, lots of 1s and 5s). A big standard deviation means the fandom is split in two!

What are the episodes that everyone agrees on then? What has the least controversial scores?

TitleStandard DeviationEpisode ScoreRanking
2The Return0.524.802
3Sworn to the Sword0.564.763
4Ocean Gem0.564.764
5Mirror Gem0.634.646
6Rose's Scabbard0.644.675
7We Need To Talk0.664.637
8Lion 3: Straight to Video0.674.608
9Giant Woman0.714.4411
10Keeping It Together0.714.5310

Interestingly, it's the episodes at the top that everyone agrees are good. I have left the ranking in on the right hand side so you can see what place they came score-wise. 'Jailbreak's standard deviation is much smaller than even 'The Return's - most people voted it 5 with only a handful of.

People agree that the really good episodes are really good. There's not much dissention on this. What's missing is any episodes from the lower end of the table. This is reflected when we look at the episodes with the most controversial scores:

TitleStandard DeviationEpisode ScoreRanking
1Say Uncle1.462.9159
2Rising Tides, Crashing Skies1.222.7962
3Garnet's Universe1.153.2050
4Onion Trade1.092.7063
5Lars and the Cool Kids1.073.3942
7Keep Beach City Weird1.062.8561
8Fusion Cuisine1.053.4840
9Tiger Millionaire1.053.4141
10Love Letters1.043.1652

There's a bit more of a mix here, but most of the episodes that people are least decided on come near the bottom of the table. This means that while 'Onion Trade' is at the bottom of the list for ratings, there are plenty of people who think it's great. The most controversial episode is 'Say Uncle', which had the widest range of scores by far. A lot of people voted it down, but a lot of people voted it up as well, giving it the widest standard deviation. Here's a chart of the voting for that episode:

A lot of people hated it. A lot of people loved it. It ended up with a score that put it near the bottom of the pile in terms of episodes the fandom liked overall, but by no means was it bad. We can see a similar effect for Rising Tides/Crashing Skies. Perhaps time will be kind to this episode, especially now that we know what happened to Lapis.

For comparison, this is what the least liked episode, 'Onion Trade' got in terms of votes:

It had a smaller standard deviation, telling us that the distribution of scores was smaller. But there was still about as many people who gave it very low marks as gave it very high marks, just that most people thought it was below average/average.

What does it tell us if we plot the standard deviations on a chart? Remember, a high score means people can't agree if they liked/didn't like it, a low score means people agree on if they liked/didn't like it.

As the series progresses, there's more episodes that everyone really likes, but also a lot that split the fandom in two, 'Say Uncle' and 'Rising Tides' being the biggest of those. These seem to be the rare cases though, with only a handful of episodes that everyone can all get behind. People have different tastes, that's probably a good thing.

What it does show is that there is no such thing as an episode people can point to and say 'that's the worst, everyone hates it'. If that was true, you'd expect a small standard deviation, but instead it is the episodes at the bottom that have the widest range of responses.

Least Watched
One of the options on the form was 'Not seen/Can't remember' as an attempt to see if there were episodes people hadn't yet seen. The most watched isn't particularly interesting (though the handful of people who stated they hadn't seen 'Jailbreak' is a bit worrying, get with it, people!). Looking at the episodes least watched is very interesting though:

Episode OrderTitle% Have Seen / Can Recall Ep
221Joking Victim89.00%
343Maximum Capacity89.98%
444Marble Madness91.93%
58Serious Steven93.15%
623Monster Buddies94.62%
736Warp Tour94.62%
827House Guest95.35%
942Winter Forecast95.35%
1051Open Book95.35%

Unsurprisingly the Pilot is first, with a fifth of respondents not having seen it. The Pilot isn't easily available and it takes some effort to track down a copy. More surprisingly, some later episodes pop up as having not been seen or not being memorable, where I had assumed this would mostly be taken up by the earlier episodes of the show.

Notable episodes are 'Marble Madness' and 'Warp Tour', both big arc episodes (with Peridot!). It may be that people just cannot remember what happened from the title alone. Hopefully this is the case with 'Maximum Capacity', which is the third most unwatched/unremembered episode despite it being (in my opinion) one of the show's best. It's the Lil' Butler episode! Of course, it has the least descriptive title, perhaps people just didn't link the two in their minds.

But if you are one of the one in ten people who hadn't seen that episode, fix it now!

What have we learnt from this poll?
  • Fandom agrees strongly that the heavy arc-episodes and PearlxRose episodes are best.
  • Onion Trade is the least liked episode, but all the episodes that fall at the bottom have plenty of fans.
  • People tend not to like episodes that focus on Beach City residents.
  • A light hearted 'filler' episode taking place after arc-heavy episodes tends to have a bad reaction.
  • 'Jailbreak' is literally the best thing ever.
Obviously this poll only tells us what it tells us: 409 is a good selection, but it's pretty much 'what do people who are already heavily invested in the Steven Universe fandom think'. Perhaps for a casual audience, 'Onion Trade' is the greatest ever episode and 'Jailbreak' is undecipherable?

1 comment:

  1. تعتمد شركة ركن البيت على افضل الخدمات الاساسية المميزة التى تساعد فى الوصول الى افضل النتائج المميزة التى تؤدي الغرض المطلوب حيث لدينا شركة تنظيف بالرياض تساعد فى تحقيق افضل ما هو مطلوب في خدمات النظافة بعيد عن اعمال التنظيف اليدوية التي تستخدم اساليب فعليك ان تتعاون وتتصل بنا في شركتنا حيث يمكنك الاستعانة بخدمة تنظيف الفلل من خلال التواصل مع قسم شركة تنظيف فلل بالرياض التي تحقق كل ما هو جيد في اعمال التنظيف والسعى الى التنظيف من الالف الى الياء كما يوجد لدينا خدمات اخري في النظافة مثلا تنظيف الخزانات التي تحتاج الي مختص فني في تقديم اعمال نظافة الخزنات من خلال شركة تنظيف خزانات بالرياض
    التي لديها خدمة متخصصة في القضاء علي البكتريا والرواسب التي توجد في قاع الخزانات من خلال شركة تسمي المتميزة في التعقيم والتظهر للحصول علي كل ما هو صحي من خلال شراء اغلى انواع المنظفات والمساحيق والمعطرات المميزة التى تساعد فى الوصول الى اى نتيجة يرغب العميل بها فشركة ركن البيت هى افضل الشركات التى تهتم باعمال التنظيف لمنزلك التي توجد لديك مثل خدمة شركة تنظيف مسابح بالرياض مهما كانت مساحته ومهما كانت درجة الاتساخ فلاتتردد فى التعامل معنا لدينا خدمات اخري يمكنك متابعتها مثلا بعض الناس يعتمدون علي شركة مكافحة حشرات بالرياض والتي تعتبر من افضل الخدمات الاساسية داخل مدينة الرياض التي تحتاج عناية شديدة في اعمالها من خلال تعاملها مع قسم شركة رش مبيدات بالرياض والتي يستخدم مبيدات طبيعية والتي تقتل جميع الحشرات المنزلية مثل الصراصير والنمل الابض والفئران بالاضافة الى ان الشركة تهتم بتوفير افضل الخدمات الاساسية فى اعمال الرش فاذا كنت فى اى مكان وتعانى من وجود حشرات فعليك التخلص منه من خلال شركتنا المتميزة