So often when it comes to TV, love is generally the top emotion that keeps viewers coming back. But sometimes negative emotions can be just as useful when it comes to keeping an audience riveted. Using data from Canvs, the emotion measurement company, we looked at a few series in the last week (Oct. 24-30) that have been prompting viewer sadness.
Canvs measures what it calls Emotional Reactions (ERs) and drops them into different buckets. Perhaps unsurprisingly, NBC’s hit drama This Is Us tops the list when it comes to social media ERs expressing crying/cried—or signifying crying with emojis—along with the more general sad/sadness.
While multiple characters were referenced when it came to crying and sadness, Jack was the primary driver (by a small margin) during the most recent episode.
A show that led in, specifically, crying ERs was ABC’s Once Upon a Time. In fact, cried was the second most expressed emotion during the most recent episode.
In particular, it was a voiceover by Belle talking about her romance with Rumplestiltskin leading up to her last breath, during which she uttered “You’ll find your way back to me again,” that cued tears for viewers.
“You will find your way back to me again. I promise.” 😭#OnceUponATime
— Once Upon A Time (@OnceABC) October 28, 2017
For mentions of the more general sad/sadness, The CW’s Supernatural came in second after This Is Us — although it’s worth noting that sadness fell further down on the overall scale of emotions generated around the most recent episode.
Dean was the top character driving sad reactions—and even if you’re not a Supernatural viewer, you can get a rough sense of the drama at play here, given other frequently-seen terms including pain, broken, fault and family.