Despite a growing level of scrutiny surrounding media piracy, it’s undoubtedly more popular now than it ever was, and 2014 was a haven for illegal downloading both from leaked studio films and for hugely popular TV series. The top ten pirated series of the year were recently announced, and while the big dog probably won’t surprise anyone, some of the other entries are quite shocking.
This list was compiled by TorrentFreak, the resident professionals at pointing fingers at mass amounts of illegal activities, and it ranks things by single episode downloads, rather than each series as a whole. Oddly enough, Breaking Bad is still one of the top three pirated series, over a year after that series left the air. Would Walter White have downloaded any of these shows?
10. South ParkThe lowest-rated series on this list, South Park is still one of the most culturally relevant shows out there, even in its 18th season. And it looks like quite a few people are making show references illegally, as the number of people downloading South Park is estimated to be equal to its average number of viewers.
9. SuitsWait, what? Are there really 2.5 million people downloading episodes of USA’s Suits?
8. VikingsThe 2.7 million people downloading Vikings should be grateful that Travis Fimmel’s Ragnar Lothbrok isn’t the one doling out punishment.
7. Grey’s AnatomyThis was the year that Shonda Rhimes completely took over Thursday nights on ABC, and it’s her flagship medical drama Grey’s Anatomy that draws the most downloads. Maybe her next series should be called How to Get Away with Piracy.
6. ArrowAnother series with seemingly more people talking about it than actually watching it, The CW’s Arrow was serviced by a big year full of crossovers with The Flash, a series that I’m surprised didn’t also make this list.
5. GothamIf Gotham’s James Gordon was put on the case to figure out who the estimated 3.2 million people downloading his show were, you can bet that at least 4.2 million people would die before he solved anything.
4. How I Met Your MotherThis long-standing CBS sitcom came to a close earlier this year with a pretty controversial final episode, and around 3.5 million people said goodbye to the show in an illegal fashion.
3. The Big Bang TheoryI used to think that people pirating series were looking out mostly for series they might not have access to otherwise, like non-HBO subscribers wanting the premium cable network’s finest. Yet the top three is rounded out by a CBS series that I can probably catch on my washing machine if I used enough foil.
2. The Walking DeadOne of the highest-rated shows on TV, The Walking Dead would be even more popular if only it could translate those 4.8 million pirates into live viewers. I’m pretty sure even dead people are downloading this show.
1. Game of ThronesThe most talked about series of 2014 is also the most downloaded, with the Season 4 finale breaking piracy records. There’s nothing else to do on the Wall, I guess.
Which of the series listed above surprised you the most?