Have you checked out the promo to the new NBC mid-season show “Awake”? It’s a show about a man who can’t discern between two realities, one in which his wife survived a terrible accident and one where his son did instead. First time I saw the TV spot I was intrigued. The psychology of the mind—gotta love it! I’m hopeful for this show, mostly because I enjoy the fact that it’s inviting the viewer into a conversation. It’ll have a strong presence online—well, at least that’s the hope. Did his wife really survive the accident? Or did his son come out of it alive? Is he in a coma and both versions are false? Is it something bigger? And isn’t it cool that I could talk to Joe from Wisconsin and Caroline from Texas about this online?
Obviously, this isn’t something new. “How I Met Your Mother” uses clues throughout the series in order to create a buzz online as to whom Ted will end up marrying (one of the biggest hints being that she’s the roommate of a student Ted dated). “The Walking Dead” has web-exclusive shorts online that provide fans with separate characters that deal with the Walkers in and around Georgia. Check out the webisodes HERE. And need I mention the “Lost” craze a few years back?
A lot of shows are using social media sites to their advantage as well. Liking their page on Facebook, for example, gives fans the opportunity to enter contests and sweepstakes, engage in live chats, and watch exclusive sneak peeks, etc. It’s a great way to get people talking, and it’s cool to read other people’s reactions and thoughts on what’s happening now. And if you’ve got Twitter, you know the impact of hash tags and retweets–and the unfortunate spoilers people seem to always write about (damn you, east coasters!). At the end of the day, the shows are getting exposure, which will get people talking, which, in turn, will get people tuning in each week. On the other hand, it could work the other way around and create a lot of negative buzz, which could get the show off the air faster. (Though this doesn’t seem to be working for that “Whitney” show…)
I’m a huge nerd when it comes to watching the behind-the-scenes of movies. I buy DVDs so that I can get an insight into the creation of a movie and witness how they put it all together. I’m just glad to see that this has transcended into the online world for TV. A lot of network sites now have their shows’ cast and crew interviews, full episodes, and clips and galleries, all with a click of a button—and for free. It makes for a better experience growing with the shows we love.