LITTLE ROCK As a real-life murder rampage played out in a burning cabin in California last week, an outfit that keeps track of TV’s fictional body count released its latest study.
Funeralwise.com tallies the carnage and, while not attempting to answer whether TV violence contributes to violence in society, puts it out there for discussion. The complete report can be found on the website.
Meanwhile, here are some observations from the study of 320 episodes of 40 TV series in fall 2012. The body count reached 1,516, an increase of 12 percent over the same period in 2011.
Here are 2012’s Top 10 deadliest shows and their total body count:
The Walking Dead (AMC), 304.
Strike Back (Cinemax), 208.
Revolution (NBC), 86.
Nikita (CW), 66.
Supernatural (CW), 57.
Arrow (CW), 56.
Fringe (Fox), 54.
NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS), 46.
Hawaii Five-0 (CBS), 44.
10 Once Upon a Time (ABC), 40.
Others series making the Top 17 in decreasing order of body count per episode were Criminal Minds (CBS); CSI (CBS); Person of Interest (CBS); Vampire Diaries (CW); Grimm (NBC); Vegas (CBS) and Elementary (CBS).
I see a sanguinary pattern emerging at CBS and its little sister network The CW. In fact, of the five broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, The CW), CBS, with its wealth of crime-related programs, had 11 shows averaging more than three bodies per episode. The CW had five series with more than fi ve bodies average.
The study does note that although The Walking Dead was No. 1 (38 bodies per episode), 91 percent of those dead weren’t human. They were zombies. The dead undead accounted for a full 20 percent of the bodies in the total survey.
If you eliminate the zombies and consider only humans, the British military action adventure Strike Back averaged 26 deaths per episode, followed by Revolution with almost 11. The Top 3 dominated the mayhem, accounting for 40 percent of the survey’stotal body count and averaging 25 bodies per episode. The remaining 37 shows averaged fewer than three bodies per episode
Gunshot victims made up 44 percent of the dead and, of those, 86 percent were men. Although women fared better, they were most likely to be killed o◊by other means, such as beatings and strangulation. The No. 2 cause of death (19 percent) was via knife,blade or arrow.
Of particular interest to Funeralwise, the report shows it’s rare to see the dead mourned on TV. Even with all those dead bodies in the survey, only 11 funerals or a service of any kind were shown.
Funeralwise said it conducted the study because “It might o◊er clues to questions such as: What impact does death in popular media have on violence in today’s society? Does death as fictionalized on TV help us deal with our own mortality or make it more di◊cult? Since the dead are rarely memorialized on TV, does it make us less likely to attach importance to funerals? If what’s on TV is a reflection of our society, what does it say about us when there is so much death on TV shows? Should we be worried?”
Discuss among yourselves.
They’ll be back: The CW is pleased enough with three of the shows mentioned above that it has already renewed them for next fall. Arrow, Vampire Diaries and Supernatural will all be back.
CW President Mark Pedowitz noted that the shows’ impact extends beyond the small screen. “Not only do they perform well on air,” he said, “they’re also extremely successful for us both digitally and socially.”
These days, series success is measured in more than ratings eyeballs.
For the record, the freshman adventure Arrow (No. 6 on the body list) is currently The CW’s top performer, bringing in 4.3 million viewers each week.
Soldier dogs. Animal Planet has an inspiring (and heart-tugging) two-hour special at 7 p.m. today on the important work being done by military working dogs (MWDs). Glory Hounds shows that serving alongside the thousands of men and women in Afghanistan are approximately 600 dogs trained to sni◊out and signal for explosive devices and to track insurgents.
Animal Planet says the special was given unprecedented access to MWD teams in some of the most volatile regions in Afghanistan. The film crews spent six weeks embedded with those troops.
The four teams profi led are:
Lance Corporal Kent Ferrell, 22, and Zora, a German shepherd.
Corporal Drew Nyman, 23, and Emily, a Belgian Malinois.
Sta◊Sergeant Len Anderson, 29, and Azza, a Belgian Malinois.
Lance Corporal Durward Shaw, 21, and Falko, a German shepherd mix.
How important is their work? An MWD and handler were working with Navy SEAL Team Six when they took down Osama Bin Laden.
The TV Column appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. E-mail:
Weekend, Pages 30 on 02/21/2013
Print Headline: 2012 TV body count: 1,516 deaths, 11 funerals