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Lost or Game of Thrones - Study reveals the most confusing shows of all-time!

By  Nov 23, 2020

With new restrictions taking shape across the globe, more and more people will be settling into their sofas for their next binge watch - and the one after that, too. But not every show leaves viewers with all questions answered. This led to put on their detective hats and decipher which TV shows have confused viewers the most.

By using global average monthly search volumes for explanations for TV shows that are known to bolster confusion, they can reveal which 10 TV shows have the highest confusion rates! *

Which TV Show wins the prize for most confusing?

ABC’s Lost (2004-2010) generates the most explanation searches, with data showing that there are a whopping 43,000 average searches made every month. Lost ranks 8th on IMDb’s Top 100 TV shows of all-time list, along with an 85% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It seems popularity doesn’t stop viewers feeling lost!

HBO’s epic Game of Thrones (2011-2019) lands itself in second place with 24,950 monthly searches. Full of incredible twists, reveals and crazy fan theories, it seems Game of Thrones will be confusing fans all over the globe for some time yet! Interestingly, this fantasy epic ranks 7th on IMDb’s Top 100, just beating Lost!

On-going Netflix Original Stranger Things places fourth, with 10,160 monthly searches worldwide.

Twin Peaks topped IMDb’s Top 100 list, and despite only gracing TV screens for one year between 1990-1991, it certainly had a resounding impact with it being the sixth most confusing TV show – there are approximately 7,280 Google searches per month on average for explanations.

Other shows to make the top 10 list are The OA (9,050 monthly searches), Riverdale (6,540), and Mr. Robot (4,210).

The lowest ranking show on the list is Fringe with 450 average monthly searches!

these tv shows confuse viewers the most

How do viewers solve these puzzling TV Shows?

To figure out the ‘go to’ method audiences use to find the answers for their questions, OnBuy surveyed 1,425 consumers and asked them how they eased their confusion.

It turns out, 35% of viewers will re-watch a TV show that they found confusing, and 18% of those will watch it two or three times over just to help solve confusion!

When it comes to finding out the answers from other sources, 40% of viewers will head over to YouTube to have other people explain the shows to them, whilst 20% will browse specific Reddit threads to unravel answers, and 33% will look up plot summaries on their chosen TV show’s fan sites.

A further 33% will utilise the power of social media, whilst a shocking 3% will do nothing, and live on with their confusion!


*OnBuy examined existing lists of TV Shows that, according to previous media outlets such as IMDb and WatchMojo, were deemed by fans to be the most confusing.

Using the search tools Ahrefs and SEMrush, they found the average monthly search volumes for each TV show where it concerned plot and explanations. Specific search terms included in the analysis were ‘___ explanation’, ‘___ explained’, ‘___ analysis’, ‘___ breakdown’, ‘___ ending’, ‘___ ending explained’ ‘___ tv show meaning’, ‘___ meaning’, ‘___ synopsis’, ‘___ plot’ and ‘___ summary’.


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