TV Shows expand on literary world by turning to new media.

Has anyone else noticed this?

Regardless, let me put it into perspective!

As the internet has become more accessible for people of all shapes/sizes/backgrounds/ages, the entertainment industry has geared more and more towards using the internet to advertise; obviously to attract more viewers/buyers/etc. Alongside advertising, however, they have begun to utilize the internet in a different way. The entertainment industry has begun to expand upon the worlds they’ve created in their movies/shows, by creating online media for its fictional characters, businesses, etc.

While yes, I would agree that the inclusion of online components and/or varying media for a TV world can be considered further ploy to reel you in and keep you watching, the aspect of the world’s expansion is worth noting on a literary level. Let’s look at some examples!

The first one/s that I remember coming into contact as a consumer,were associated with NBC’s Heroes. The first and most notable being the graphic novel.

The Heroes graphic novel, like many of the other examples I will mention later on, added a depth to the Heroes universe that could not be fit in the boundaries of a weekly episode. The graphic novel provided the show’s fans with another chance to experience the universe outside of the TV show. It provided them with back story on characters that was mentioned in passing in the show, if at all, with events prior to what happened in the show, during but from other perspectives, or after, all made evident by the words and art that filled the panels of the pages.

Aside from the graphic novel, Heroes used various other means of media to give more depth/realism to the show, such as with the Primatech Paper website, which was the company that *spoiler* was a front for an organization affiliated with the Government to find/keep the “Heroes” under control. The rest are available at the official NBC site under “Exclusives.”

Both Scrubs and How I Met Your Mother have used new media in similar ways. Each show created a faux rating website. Scrubs for its Doctors, rateyourdoc.org, complete with faux reviews and pages for most of the characters, and in How I Met Your Mother, http://grademyteacher.net/, a faux professor rating site which featured character, Ted Mosby.

Unfortunately rateyourdoc.org is no longer in existence (since Scrubs is no longer being produced), but here is a photo of the banner.

They also each showcase websites created by their characters, such as thetoddtime.com (Scrubs) and http://www.barneysvideoresume.com/, (How I Met Your Mother) where you can download and watch Barney’s video resume.

All of the other websites mentioned on the show can be found on the show’s wiki page.

All of these sites create a sense of the show being more than just a show. By making the websites mentioned in passing accessible to viewers, by allowed us to access content the characters speak about, the 4th wall, in a sense, is broken.

In How I Met Your Mother fashion (Barney’s Blog which can be found via the wiki) HBO’s True Blood offers its fans with Jessica’s, a new, through events in the show, vampire, blog/vlog. 

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9tCv8TGpEM[/youtube]

Jessica’s blogs, effect/affect audiences in the same manners as does the Heroes sites. Jessica is a vampire. By giving viewers a look into her life via a blog, not only do we again see more character develop/events/etc. that there is no room nor place for in the show itself, but it allows us, in this instance, further background on the idea/conceptualization of the vampire (as Jessica speaks of her experience) created in its universe.

I expect that soon, the entertainment industry will turn towards interactivity with new media and the shows/movies/games it creates, whether through social media, ARGs, or sites that are fully functional, (e.g. a professor rating site where we, the audience, can review Ted Mosby as a professor) and provide consumers with, not only more draw, but more to pull from literarily.

  2 comments for “TV Shows expand on literary world by turning to new media.

  1. cmccrzy
    February 22, 2012 at 11:52 am

    Yeah. I don’t know about stuff that’s sort of like role play, but I am aware that big shows, movies, and video games have expanded. Something that they all seem to be partaking in is a wiki. World of Warcraft has at least two (that I’m aware of). Star Trek and Star Wars both have wikis (among many other informational websites). I know Babylon 5 has a wiki as well as a main website. David Weber’s “Honorverse” books (science fiction) have their own wiki for all the characters and stories.

    I know that “Castle” the TV series came out with at least one book “written” by Castle himself, based off the books he’s supposedly written on the TV show. Likewise, Klingon and Tolkien’s Elvish (among others) are learnable languages with dictionaries, vocabulary, grammar, and a community of speakers.

    I agree. A lot of TV series are branching out into the graphic novel world. Some of the more recent additions are “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel”, which continue the series past their ends with new stories. Joss Whedon also created “Fray”, a futuristic addition to the Buffy universe. He also came out with some “Serenity” comics that have old adventures for members of the Firefly universe, as well as new ones. An interesting fact is that the show “Doctor Who” has had comics since before it came back to syndication in the 21st century. There are comic adventures of forms 4-11 (at least), and possibly older. All in color. “Doctor Who” also has two video games now. The recent popularity of old comics like “Watchmen” (1986-7), which was made into a movie in 2009, has also spurred new comics. “Watchmen” will be getting a new group of comics that occur before the original 1986-7 comics.

    An interesting adaptation was when “Supernatural” the TV series came out with an anime, using the same basic story, starting from episode 4 or 5 of season 1, and moving on. I think that the idea behind that was to reach out to different fan bases, as well as play with ideas the creators probably had but couldn’t do in live-action.

    Going back to video games, there is a big move for video game conversion for just about everything that comes out on the big screen now. I always find it funny to go to the theater to see something that just came out, and in the trailer section I see the first trailer for video game version. Although this mainly happens for action/adventure movies, it’s just… rather interesting. A number of old stories like, most known, “Pokemon”, “Digimon”, and others have had video game versions. Even “Sailor Moon” had a video game or two way back when.

    I think the idea is that there are now a lot of ways to market merchandise to fans and reach out to new fans through different media, like video games, graphic novels, increased community awareness, and so on. I love it, especially when it comes to basically ALL of Joss Whedon’s stuff (WHY ARE THEY SO MEAN TO YOU???). And it’s just fun.

  2. April 7, 2014 at 10:57 am

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