Log in

Sat, Jul. 20th, 2013, 06:44 pm
Torchwood Survey - Results

Before I begin, a disclaimer. I am not a statistician. I am not a scientist. I’m just a fan with a vague question: ”What happens to a fandom when it dies?” or, more accurately, “Where did everybody go!?” This is in no way meant to be a hard and fast realistic view of the Torchwood fandom; the sample size was relatively small and my analysis is amateurish. My interpretations of the data, while I try to be as unbiased as possible, are my own interpretations and are therefore subject to personal opinion. This is meant to be a fun exercise/experiment and nothing more.

ETA 7/20/2013 9:36p: I also want to stress that this is correlated data. There is not necessarily a direct line between one data point and another.

I would also like to pause here to thank all of the people who participated in this survey. Because I am not about to pay a fee to satisfy a whim, I was only able to collate the first 100 responses. I know I would have gotten more, and there were a total of 104 when I closed the quiz (apologies to the four people whose data I could not use). There was a fantastic response to this and I am beyond touched.

Now, let’s get into the hard results, per question.

Question 1: Were you an active member of the Torchwood fandom? (Where active includes blogging meta, discussing, writing fan fiction, creating fan art, etc.)


Question 2: What about Torchwood held your interest?


Question 3: What, if anything, did you dislike about the show?


The interesting thing about Questions 2 & 3 is that people sometimes chose the same thing – for example, they liked the Quality of Storytelling and they disliked the Quality of Storytelling. Each result was counted in this case.

Question 4: What was your favorite season/series of Torchwood?


Question 5: Are you still active in the Torchwood fandom?


Here there is some major discrepancy – I noticed that a lot of people put “No” for Question 1 and then “Yes” or “No” for this question, when a “No” to Question 1 should result in a “NA” response for this question.

An interesting note about this: of the 69 people in Question 1 who said that they were once active in Torchwood fandom, approximately 48 – bearing in mind the discrepancy – said that they were still active. That is almost 70%. Even if it is assumed that 10 people made the error mentioned above in favor of putting “Yes,” that is 55%. This is far higher than I anticipated.

Question 6: Have you moved your focus/activity to another fandom? (Choose only one fandom in which you participate the most.)


When I began this, I was not expecting such a huge group of people to move to the Doctor Who fandom, or such a small group to have moved to Sherlock. In retrospect, however, it makes sense. A fairly substantial group of people in Question 2 favored Aliens and Supernatural/Fantasy. Also, the timing of this survey affects the results – a show like Sherlock, which has not had new material in over a year, is going to have a less-active fandom than a show like Doctor Who.

Question 7: Which category below includes your age?


Question 8: How often do you watch television shows?


Now, for some minor analysis.

I wanted to take a look at a couple of perceived polarizing forces in the Torchwood fandom. There may be others – these are simply the ones that I have witnessed firsthand and so used them as a sort of guide through the data.

First, Specific Character: Gwen Cooper.

The data about Gwen paints a very interesting picture – personally, I expected more polarization than I found.

Granted, there are a lot of pieces of data in this survey that can be “sliced and diced” in a lot of different ways. I chose to take three other “likes” and compare them to liking Gwen and disliking Gwen. The three I chose were Character Death/Angst (which I will also look at later on), Specific Character: Jack, and Specific Character: Ianto.

Of the 32 people who specifically said that they liked Gwen, 78% said they also were interested in/liked Character Death/Angst. 93% of the 32 said that also were interested in/liked Specific Character: Jack, and 66% were interested in/liked Specific Character: Ianto.

Filtered in favor of Gwen, the split between new fandoms ranges from 4-8 people in each category, with a “Miscellaneous” (manually entered “Other” fandoms, or one-offs of minor fandoms like “Teen Wolf” that were listed) lead at 26%.

Of the 20 people who specifically said they disliked Gwen, only 24% said they were also interested in/liked Character Death/Angst. 86% favored Specific Character: Jack and 90% favored Specific Character: Ianto.

Of these same 20 people, 57% remained active in the “Whoniverse” (a combination of both Torchwood and Doctor Who). This is an astonishing number that well takes the lead over the other fandoms.

Character Death/Angst is also another dividing aspect of the show.

Of the 30 people who disliked Character Death/Angst, about 40% stayed in the Whoniverse (6 in Torchwood and 6 in Doctor Who) and a solid 25% moved on to Glee. 3 people each (10% each for a total of 20%) went to Sherlock and Supernatural, and the rest went to a variety of other fandoms (or no fandom at all).

Staying within the fandom (or, in this case, fandom universe including Doctor Who) or moving to Glee makes sense. No new characters will be dying in Torchwood anytime soon and on Doctor Who, true character death is relatively rare. Glee, as far as I understand, has little character death (or, at least, the ratio of dead characters to active main characters is marginal). The interesting thing here is that 3 people did not like the character death/angst of Torchwood and then proceeded to move into the Supernatural fandom. While it is a minor percentage (3% of the total sample size), it is still very intriguing.

Conversely, 23% of people who liked Character Death and/or Character Angst in Torchwood moved on to Supernatural. 27% remained in the Whoniverse, and the rest is scattered in smaller percentages amongst Glee, Sherlock, and miscellaneous other fandoms. It seems that liking Character Death and/or Character Angst has less bearing on one’s next fandom of choice than a dislike of Character Death/Angst.

59% of all respondents felt that death/angst played an important role in what they liked or disliked about the show. It ends up being an interesting split – 1/3 liked it, 1/3 disliked it, 1/3 had no opinion. As something upon which the show focuses heavily, this may have a lot to do with the split of fandom, even more so than the apparent split between people who liked and people who disliked the character of Gwen Cooper. Here, 1/5 like her, 1/3 dislike her, and the rest (more than 1/2) felt her character had no bearing on what they liked or did not like about the show.

Finally, a quick look at the Quality of Storytelling category.

Of the 100 respondents, 36 selected the Quality of Storytelling as at least one of the reasons they enjoyed Torchwood. 83% of these individuals also favored the Individual Character Development/Character Stories of Torchwood. Of this total, 12 (33%) remain within the Whoniverse, while 17% each moved to Glee and Supernatural, with the rest made up by other miscellaneous fandoms.

Meanwhile, 27 respondents selected Quality of Storytelling as one thing that they disliked about the show. 67% said that they favored Individual Character Development/Character Stories. About 19% of this group moved to Sherlock, while 22% moved to Supernatural. Approximately 30% stayed within the Whoniverse. The rest is made up by Glee at 11% and miscellaneous making up the remaining 18%.

It is interesting, because again this is polarized (more than interest in Gwen as a character, but not as evenly split as Character Death/Character Angst).

Now, before I finish this off, I wanted to take one look at Female Character Portrayal.

27 people liked the portrayal of female characters in Torchwood. Of these people, 33% stayed within the Whoniverse, 22% went to Glee, 22% went to Supernatural, 4% went to Sherlock, and the remaining 19% was split amongst miscellaneous fandoms.

13 people disliked the portrayal of female characters. Of these people, 31% stayed with the Whoniverse, 23% went to Glee, 8% went to Supernatural, and 8% went to Sherlock, while the remaining were again split amongst a variety of other fandoms (mostly variations of “None” and “Other”).

To be completely honest, I am surprised that liking and disliking the portrayal of female characters in Torchwood leads to what is relatively the same result. I’m not entirely sure why that is in this case.

ETA 7/20/2013 9:36p: There is, however, a big drop in Supernatural fandom that I forgot to mention. Those who liked Female Character Portrayal in Torchwood had a 22% group in Supernatural, while those who did not like the portrayal had an 8% group in Supernatural. Supernatural is notorious for its perceived negative portrayal of women, which makes this a very interesting correlation.

To conclude, a lot of my expectations were trampled. Were yours? Do you have any speculation based on these results? Is there any other correlation that you might like me to take a look at? Any questions? Any recommendations of ways that I might better spend my weekend?

Thanks again for your participation, and I hope you find the results as interesting as I did!

ETA 07/21/2013 9:51am:


A user on tumblr asks: I’m mostly wondering now if the enjoyment level of any particular season is at all correlated with the fandom the person moved on to. Do more COE fans move on to angstier shows vs season 1 fans?

Of the 17 people who liked Season 1, 35% went to Doctor Who, 17% went to Supernatural, 12% stayed in Torchwood, 12% went to Glee, and the rest were in miscellaneous.

Of the 59 people who liked Season 2, 24% stayed in Torchwood, 19% went to Doctor Who, 19% went to Glee, 12% went to Supernatural, 10% went to Sherlock, and the rest was miscellaneous.

Of the 22 people who liked Season 3, 23% went to Supernatural, 18% went to Glee, 18% went to Doctor Who, and 9% stayed in Torchwood; the rest went to miscellaneous fandoms.

I did not calculate results for Season 4 or No Seasons, as there was only one person in each category.

It looks like, yes, more people who liked COE went to, say, Supernatural than the population that did not like COE. But also, a good chunk went to Glee.

Sat, Jul. 20th, 2013 11:18 pm (UTC)

I am surprised that more people didn't dislike Gwen, considering how often I encounter Gwen-bashing in fandom.

The part about character death in Glee gave me a sad since they're going to have to kill off the main male character when the season starts.:(

Sun, Jul. 21st, 2013 12:30 am (UTC)

I was really shocked, too. I mean, the results may be slightly skewed, because few people in my circle outright dislike her (versus, "she's okay, but my FAVORITE character is ______!" Still, it was a pleasant surprise.

As for Glee, I don't know much if anything about the show, but they aren't limited to killing him off, surely? I'm assuming there are other things they could do instead.

Sun, Jul. 21st, 2013 01:09 am (UTC)

The Gwen stuff is equal parts interesting and infuriating. I'm going to have to examine it closer later.

The showrunner confirmed earlier today, after conferring with Cory's girlfriend who is also on the show and his family, that they're going to kill off Cory's character.

Sun, Jul. 21st, 2013 01:20 am (UTC)

You know, I had no intention of going the Gwen route, but when I was entering each and every result by hand (to figure out correlation), I started to notice that there was a split taking place. And 34% of people did say, essentially, that they didn't dislike anything, even though they may not particularly like or dislike Gwen.

Another pattern I noticed that I want to look into is that generally people who put that they disliked Gwen put that they liked Jack, Ianto, and the relationships between characters. I want to look at what percentage of people had all three. Just to make myself angry, of course.

(But let me tell you, the spreadsheet I created is terrifying. There are little Xs everywhere.)

I'd really be interested in your take on all of this, especially because you strike me as having a good analytic mind.

And ah, did not know that. Thanks!

Sun, Jul. 21st, 2013 01:24 am (UTC)

Okay, just figured that it was about 65%. I honestly thought it was more, but when I looked at the response numbers, it was probably because they're mostly in the 40-60 range. So there was a period that I kept seeing it constantly.

Sun, Jul. 21st, 2013 04:38 am (UTC)

Well, they could recast, but since his girlfriend in real life played his girlfriend on the show, I don't know that it would be the kindest thing. They could also just write him out, but he's related to so many people and involved in pretty much everyone's storyline it would be out of character for him never to appear again. It's really best if they kill him off. But the episode is going to kill me. I thought I'd be over his death by now but the creator of Glee just gave an interview today about how they'll handle his death and it set me off again.

Sun, Jul. 21st, 2013 03:42 am (UTC)

I found this experiment very interesting. I kind of feel like the odd one out sometimes because I came late to the fandom, find Gwen charming in a naive and slightly spoiled kind of way, enjoy the dynamic between all the characters not just the main "shippable" ones, and only found livejournal and tumblr after I'd watched everything Torchwood there was to watch (the first two series multiple times) because I still wanted more. I'd devoured a lot of fanfiction before I ever got brave enough to start my own account and *eek* interact. (Sooo not sorry.)

I also wish I could have been less selective about where I spend my fandom energies now. I am equally invested in Sherlock, Glee, Doctor Who, and yes, Torchwood - always. ♥ I also enjoy but don't get quite as fanatic about Castle, Once Upon a Time and Grimm (although I kind of stopped watching either one of those and intend to catch up someday), and a smattering of other shows and movies which I reblog with reckless abandon. I still get a craving for Torchwood and have definite favourite episodes. The thing is when I start watching one it quickly turns into a marathon. No regrets. Same with Glee. Which is what made me decide the way I did in the long run. Glee sucked me in and continues to intrigue me in the same way (ensemble cast, interpersonal relationships, storyline intrigue, angst and anticipated happy endings....) I'm not a fan of death of character. Heh - I'm not a fan of death. I'll admit it. I'm more affected by Finn's storyline on Glee after Cory's death than I'm prepared to deal with right now.

And I'm still just feeling happy that more than 100 people still consider themselves part of the Torchwood fandom. Hee. Thanks again for doing this.

Sun, Jul. 21st, 2013 02:45 pm (UTC)

You're very welcome - this was a really fun project, and I keep adding more pieces to it, like the Favorite Season/New Fandom analysis OJP asked for. I think it's all really fascinating and a lot of it is unexpected.

And I hear you - there are a ton of shows that I love, like, say, Supernatural, but I'm not really active at all, and even Sherlock does not come close to my level of participation in Torchwood. I think that had more to do with it being the right time and place as well as the show itself.

And I have to say, I'm glad you're around interacting! :D

Tue, Jul. 23rd, 2013 06:34 am (UTC)

And I have to say, I'm glad you're around interacting! :D

-- And I have to say, this totally made my week. *blushes* Thank you.

Sun, Jul. 21st, 2013 05:03 am (UTC)

I'm not sure I consider myself to be in the fandom anymore, but that's more about not taking part in fic for me; I feel like I don't have anything to say with fiction that I haven't already. But I do go to cons and look forward to seeing the Torchwood actors and keep up with them. (I followed Barrowman to Arrow.)

I'm mostly involved with Avengers/MCU fandom now; though I liked the individual films, The Avengers hooked me hard because there's a team! And there are more movies coming! I really like things with a team dynamic, versus a buddy show. I kept feeling like Torchwood would add more members after S3 (like Lois Habiba) but then they didn't or in Miracle Day they would and then they'd die, so...that just eventually bummed me out.

Sun, Jul. 21st, 2013 05:07 am (UTC)

How could I forget Arrow!? Yes - I'm totally invested in Arrow and it's down to Barrowman's involvement.

Mon, Jul. 22nd, 2013 04:04 am (UTC)

Me too! I came for the Barrowman and stayed for the Amell. (And the Barrowman.) I did like it more when Diggle and Felicity joined up to make more of a team.

Mon, Jul. 22nd, 2013 05:43 am (UTC)

I agree. The team dynamic is what really keeps me going. And I have to admit I'm crossing my fingers that they keep the brot3 goodness going and don't pair Felicity up with either Diggle or Oliver. I think I'm hugely in the minority among the Arrow fandom though, and this worries me/makes me sad.

Mon, Jul. 22nd, 2013 01:39 pm (UTC)

I like UST so I would like Diggle and Oliver to just continue awkwardly flirting with Felicity forever. :D

Sun, Jul. 21st, 2013 02:50 pm (UTC)

Yeah, definitely - it was about fic for me, too. I still love the show and the actors, but now there's so much ~new~ stuff to write about in other universes.

(Not that I've written much of anything at all. I think I broke it.)

It's interesting - I didn't even consider the team dynamic as being a factor. I should have. That's got to have some correlated results.


Sun, Jul. 21st, 2013 11:17 am (UTC)

That is interesting. Some of the divisions I expected, some of them I was surprised by. The Gwen divisions seemed more based on storyline preferences than I'd maybe feared, or something.

Sun, Jul. 21st, 2013 02:53 pm (UTC)

Well, it's hard to see what the Gwen thing is based on, as I didn't ask for reasons. I did notice, as I mentioned, that people who disliked Gwen seem to be more fond of the Jack/Ianto dynamic. Which, if you think about, seems to reinforce a couple of very negative ideas. But, there's absolutely no way to tell for sure (unless I went into a more in-depth survey, and this wasn't what I had intended to look at at all - just a byproduct!)

Sun, Jul. 21st, 2013 03:22 pm (UTC)

I've always wondered about that. I got into the fandom immediately post-COE. A lot of the Tosh fans and Owen fans had already bailed. I can think of exactly one actual Rhys fan (Blue), one actual Andy fan (Lifty), and I think I'm the only Lois fan. (Fan in this case described as someone who writes about and squees about the character on purpose, versus most people who when asked say, "Oh yeah. I like that character.") The vast majority of the fandom after Exit Wounds stayed for three characters. The strong pattern in TW fandom has been that if you don't like one of the characters, you do like the other two. There's a lot of people who like all three characters, and a lot of people who don't. You can point at the results and think, "Obviously people who like Jack and Ianto are more likely to dislike Gwen," but it's just as valid to think, "People who dislike Jack are more likely to like Gwen and Ianto." (ex: Pocky)

I just tried to dig up the survey someone did back in 2010 that had some of this same data because it would have been cool to compare what changes if any we saw over three years, but I can't remember who ran it. It'd also be interesting to send the survey wider, though I understand why you couldn't. Like you noted upthread, from your own friends, you're starting out with a different filter on results that may not hold depending on how many places in the fandom this survey reached.

Sun, Jul. 21st, 2013 03:48 pm (UTC)

Yeah, it's hard. I would have loved for this to circulate more, but I was limited to the 100 results. Which is a shame, because I think the endgame would be much more interesting if I had a larger pool of responses.

(I didn't realize someone else did a survey, too! I think 2010 was right about when I started, so it makes sense that I may have missed it.)

And that's the interesting thing - what's the difference between passively not liking and actively disliking? And how would that change things? It's a harder thing to measure, though, unless I created a very long, specific survey (which, while this is fun, sounds a bit too much like work for my taste. It's bad enough that I'm spending my weekend analyzing data).

"The vast majority of the fandom after Exit Wounds stayed for three characters. The strong pattern in TW fandom has been that if you don't like one of the characters, you do like the other two."

Very true, and this works out well post-Exit Wounds. One of the things I noticed, though, is that people made it a point to note that they actively liked every character (pre-EW) and actively disliked Gwen. I don't know what that means, exactly, but I'm sure it means something. (I can speculate on what I think it means, but that's just speculation and doesn't really mean a thing.)

One thing I know for sure, only 1% of the entire survey sample preferred Miracle Day - and this is across the board. People who loved Gwen, people who hated her, people who loved Ianto, people who hated Ianto, people who loved the storytelling and people who hated it, etc.

No wonder we're all filtering away.

Mon, Jul. 22nd, 2013 03:59 am (UTC)

I wanted to love Miracle Day, but they didn't give us a new team! Or they did, but then they croaked.

I love Jack and Gwen and would happily watch another series of Torchwood, but for god's sake, make it a team series again.

Looking forward to Agents of SHIELD this fall. :D

Wed, Jul. 24th, 2013 01:20 am (UTC)

Yep, quite an accomplishment that RTD.

Thu, Aug. 15th, 2013 03:59 pm (UTC)


*read everything because this is so totally awesome you are the best forever*

Thu, Aug. 15th, 2013 04:28 pm (UTC)


Thu, Aug. 15th, 2013 05:43 pm (UTC)



Thu, Aug. 15th, 2013 05:46 pm (UTC)

We should! I'm going back to school soon, so I will have no time (between that and work) - are you around, say, tomorrow?

ETA: I am half kidding. Which means that I am half not kidding. I get out at 4. IDK. lol

Edited at 2013-08-15 05:47 pm (UTC)

Thu, Aug. 15th, 2013 06:57 pm (UTC)

I would LOVE to, legit, but I have two weddings in the next four days, along with unpacking (just moved) and a bunch of other stuff.

My life is like a sitcom where they decided to cram in every possible plot in a single season. And that season is this summer.


BUT WAIT, going back to school? Awesome! When are you starting? What are you going for? Yay!!! \o/