“BoJack Horseman” was the most popular digital original show in Russia during the third quarter of 2016, according to Parrot Analytics. The show wasn’t nearly as popular in any other major market.
“BoJack,” an offbeat Netflix cartoon about an alcoholic talking horse, ranked between six and eight in the US, the UK, France, Germany, and other markets. In all of those places, “Stranger Things” was the top show. But in Russia, “Stranger Things” got second place.
Parrot measures popularity by looking at Demand Expressions, a measure which (lacking ratings from Netflix, which doesn’t release them) combines data on file sharing, social chatter, Wiki activity, fan ratings, and other factors.
Russia generated 4.6 million Demand Expressions for “BoJack,” while the much larger US market generated only 4.2 million. Parrot tells us that Russian audiences also generated more than twice as much “active consumption,” which includes social chatter and file sharing.
Why do Russians love BoJack? Maybe the heavy-drinking country appreciates an alcoholic hero. Maybe the occasional enemy of the US appreciates a satire of Hollywood. Maybe the country was particularly fond of a bit in season two with a KGB spy who wakes up from a 30-year coma and resumes his mission to take down America.
“I’m awaiting orders to take down the American pigs… and dogs and various animals,” the spy says over the radio.
The spy is ready to destroy a knockoff version of Disneyland when he realises that the park will destroy himself. He exclaims: “You know, I came here today to blow up Disneyland, but now I realise I don’t need to take down capitalism. Capitalism sows the seeds for its own destruction. It’s a snake that eats itself. It’s only a matter of time!”
And he walks away whistling.