Image: Defending Jacob, Apple TV+
The Force is strong with Disney+’s Star Wars: The Clone Wars. After top the digital original charts for the first time last week, the hit animated series just became the number one overall TV show in the United States. Demand grew a massive 43.3% as its penultimate episode released on May 1st - enough to barely edge out last week’s top series SpongeBob SquarePants. With the Clone Wars series finale set to drop on May 4th – international Star Wars Day – this show’s recent dominance in US streaming TV demand could grow even further.
Another entertainment franchise from the 1970s also grew big with US television audiences - NBC’s Saturday Night Live was up 37.8% in demand after airing its second remotely produced episode on April 25th. The latest episode opened with Brad Pitt portraying Dr. Anthony Fauci - America’s coronavirus task force leader who has become an ubiquitous and reassuring face during the nation’s fight against COVID-19 – and featured a well-received musical performance from Miley Cyrus.
Meanwhile, Adult Swim’s Rick and Morty returned to the US top 10 as anticipation built for the return of new episodes for the first time since December 2019. Demand increased by 23.6% which moved the show up from 23rd to 6th place on the overall charts. The success of Rick and Morty highlights an interesting trend as five of the top 10 overall shows in the US this week were animated series.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars spends its second consecutive week on top of the US streaming TV demand chart, and is now 65.8% more in-demand than second place Stranger Things. We also have two recently released newcomers in this week’s digital original top 10.
The biggest riser was Apple TV+’s new crime drama Defending Jacob. Demand for the show grew a whopping 115%, moving it from 23rd to 5th most in-demand digital original, and giving Apple TV+ a rare appearance in the top 10. The series has received middling reviews from critics, but is clearly resonating with audiences. This is likely boosted by familiar faces Chris Evans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Michelle Dockery of Downton Abbey in the leading roles.
A new surrealist animated Netflix series debuts on the charts and rounds out the streaming TV demand top 10. The Midnight Gospel – from the creator of Adventure Time and described by Forbes as “Rick and Morty meets The Joe Rogan Experience” – is a major success as its demand grew 101%, moving the show from 33rd to 10th most in-demand digital original.