10 January, 2007

Just Show Me What I Need To Know, Ok?

Over at All Along The Watchtower, Big Orange Michael talks about the Direct to DVD Battlestar Galactica movie that is supposed to clear things up from season three and set the stage for season four. Prior to this season of BSG there were several mini-episodes of the show which ran on the internet. Those webisodes introduced several characters and provided some backstory.

Other shows, like Lost are doing similar things with their content. Sure, you can watch the show during its normally-scheduled airtime, but if you want to know extra fun facts about characters and show mythology you need to hunt down a website or two.

I blame George Lucas for this. When the new Prequel Trilogy Featuring Jar-JarĀ® finally hit the screen, they were long on special effects and short on story. Time and again I'd visit a fansite to say "what's the deal with [blank]" only to have some 45 year old guy named Trent who worked at Comic City tell me that the entire story behind [blank] would have been revealed if I watched the animated series, read the comic books, followed the website, attended the talk with Lucas, jumped down, turned around and picked a bale of cotton. Apparently just showing up and paying ten bucks to get into the movie was not going to inform me.

I've had it. Yes, I like learning interesting things about the various characters that don't pertain to the story itself. *** But when I sit down to read a book, watch a TV show or take in a film, part of that experience is to be told the story in the package I bought. I don't want to be told 80% of the story and have to track the other 20% down on the internet. In every case where this gimmick is used, the main body of work suffers in quality and viewership. The ratings for this season of BSG are down. Lost is a shadow of its former self, with all the intriguing Hanso Foundation stuff left out of the tv show in order to make a compelling web experience for Superfans. And we all know how C+ the new Star Wars trilogy was.

So here's the thing, Hollywood. Tell the story within the parameters of the story itself. If you are giving us a TV show, keep the narrative on the episodes themselves. If you're shooting a movie, find a way to put the story we need to know in the movie itself. That's what we fans are paying for. We have no interest in building up your Web Presence. Thank you.

***For instance, did you know that in the Harry Potter series, Dean Thomas--who thinks he's a muggle--is actually the son of a wizarding father? His father was cruelly murdered by Voldemort and his mother remarried a muggle to keep Dean safe. That's a nice little side story but has nothing to do with the Septology.

I'm also a big fan of Office outtakes on the web.


At 10:07 AM, January 10, 2007, Blogger Michael said...

Well, the thing is that according to the story, SciFi will air the movie BEFORE season four starts. So, if you don't buy it on DVD when it comes out, you will have the opportunity to see it.

I think this is being done this year because of the bad experience Moore had with the web-episodes last year (aka the people getting paid for their efforts such as writers, directors, etc.). Those who make it get paid for it and SciFi gets to have the benefit of two streams of revenue coming in to pay for said movie--DVD and then ad revenue for the show when it airs.

It seems to be a good idea to me...

Unless the movie blows.

That said, Lucas is bad about the Star Wars thing. Of course, most of those Star Wars books are about creating canon fodder for them to kill off in the course of the story.

At 1:50 PM, January 10, 2007, Blogger grandefille said...

What is this about Dean Thomas? Gah!

And don't get me started about the Star Wars series. I was so disappointed in the plot (or lack thereof) in I that I couldn't bring myself to give Lucas any more money for II and III. Actually, he was going that way in VI, if you recall, with the not so much a plot. And I mean, how hard is it to flesh out Arthurian legend? Folks have been doing it for years.

I have to wonder how much of the rest-of-the-story-is-online is the writers/creators trying to compete with fanfic, too. Some of that has gotten so intricate and true to canon that you can't remember what you saw/read IRL and what's been created by someone else.

At 7:07 PM, January 10, 2007, Blogger Chance said...

I got the Star Wars Trivial Pursuit DVD Edition game Christmas before last. The game isn't that much fun, because even if you watch all the films and are a fan in that respect, they still ask these obscure questions that, like you said, you would only know if you "watched the animated series, read the comic books, followed the website..." such as what ship shot at the Millennium Falcon in the 5th scene in Empire, or who was Bobba Fett's grandpa, crap like that...

At 2:08 AM, January 11, 2007, Anonymous Andy said...


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At 9:47 PM, January 11, 2007, Anonymous Muffy said...

Love the HP tidbit!


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