Networks in Popular Television

Sure, we’re nerds, but we like to kick back and watch a little TV just like everyone else. Of course, being network scientists, we tend to notice when network principles surface. Here are a couple of examples we thought we’d highlight.

Game of Thrones: A network analysis of the Storm of Swords book, linking characters who appear within 15 words of each other. A nice demonstration of how the community detection algorithm actually matched up with what knowledgeable fans would expect.

Breaking Bad: A great demonstration of the strength of weak ties. How does a high-school chemistry teacher get wrapped up in a big-time drug ring? The folks you know best usually don’t lead you to new “opportunities,” since they only know the people you already know. But the folks who are on the edge of your network… they can lead you to a whole new world. See the YouTube link for a particularly demonstrative clip. (Spoiler alert!)

Daredevil: A blog post by our colleague Amar Dhand on how “a person is a world… A person webs out, reaches others, and creates reactions. Accentuating this web and what travels through it teaches us about forces radiating in both directions. The structure and composition of the web influence a person’s behavior, response to adversity, healing, and dying. Conversely, there are ripple effects outward, influencing the thoughts, health, and well-being of those reached.” No surprise that Amar specializes in egocentric networks!