For the 13th year in a row, Google has released its year-end lists of the most trending (ie. sustained traffic in 2013 but not so much in 2012) and most popular searches of the year for the United States. That is, all together, more than a thousand lists — so we’ve pulled out some of the most “entertaining” top-tens from the bunch, to see what they have to say about the year in culture.
And what they have to say is that Breaking Bad and “Royals” won 2013.
First, take a look at movies and television.
The most-searched movies of 2013:
- Man of Steel
- Iron Man 3
- World War Z
- The Conjuring
- The Great Gatsby
- Despicable Me 2
- The Purge
- Pacific Rim
The most-searched TV shows of 2013:
- Breaking Bad
- Duck Dynasty
- Big Bang Theory
- Good Morning America
- South Park
- True Blood
- Big Brother 15
- New Girl
- Attack on Titan
.(MORE: Most-Searched Song Lyrics of 2013)
As TIME’s James Poniewozik pointed out last year, “most searched” does not necessarily mean most-watched or best. All of the movies on the list with the exception of Jobs appear on the list of the 100 top-grossing movies of the year, most of them near the top, but not one made it onto TIME’s list of the best movies of the year.
Instead, search trends highlight movies and shows that generate buzz or questions, driving viewers to ask Google for more information about the show. Though there’s some overlap — Breaking Bad, mostly — between critical acclaim and search-iness, it’s a better indicator of what makes people talk. In fact, one of the shows, Attack on Titan, gets an “N/A” on critical acclaim in the mainstream American press: it’s an anime series that aired in Japan. The “trending” shows, however, match up much more closely with Poniewozik’s list of the best shows of the year.
The most-trending shows of 2013:
- Breaking Bad
- Game of Thrones
- Orange Is the New Black
- House of Cards
- Downton Abbey
- New Girl
Also of note: Breaking Bad‘s series finale was the top-trending series finale of the year, followed by Buckwild, the MTV show that ended after the accidental death of its star.
Now, on to the music.
The most-searched songs of 2013:
- “Harlem Shake” by Baauer
- “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus
- “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
- “Royals” by Lorde
- “Skyfall” by Adele
- “Tom Ford” by Jay Z
- “Holy Grail” by Jay Z
- “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke
- “Roar” by Katy Perry
- “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons
Five of those songs appear on the top ten Billboard‘s year-end list, which ranks sales and airplay, but only one (“Royals”) is on TIME’s list of the best songs of the year. The closest parallel to Breaking Bad is Lorde’s “Royals,” which similarly succeeded in acclaim, sales and Google. (There’s no parallel, really, in the movie realm.) Breaking Bad tends to sit higher on critics’ charts and Google’s than Lorde does, but it’s likely that more people have heard “Royals,” if casual radio listening is counted, than have watched Breaking Bad.
So we’ll call it a tie, and a weird coincidence: Lorde’s Pure Heroine came out just two days before the Breaking Bad finale aired (Sept. 27 and Sept. 29 respectively). Bored former Breaking Bad conspiracy theorists, get to work.