Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

Value of Media Engagement Part 3

Posted by jasendavis on March 1, 2017

The one part of chapter three that resonated with me the most was the statement made by Virginia Heffernan where she argues that the transmedia approach of producers is undermining the writing and stellar production of more traditional shows. As you all know, she uses the example of Friday Night Lights as an anecdote for her argument. I do agree with her to some extent. Shows like Ghost Whisperer did have a very strong presence online, but the show did have really strong production value. I would argue that the transmedia approach does aid in maintaining an audience, however, it cannot carry a show by itself. The show must hold up to its end of the implicit contract by entertaining those whom chose to tune in. I don’t think that Friday Night Lights was the best example. It was a great show (I have watched it on Netflix a couple of times over), but the overall premise of the show also contributed to the fact that it didn’t last as long as it should have. The fact that it follows a high school football team, a team which must cycle players and narratives every four years, makes the storyline hard to follow for those that have gained emotional connection to certain characters. Tim Riggins, for example, is arguably the most complex and endearing character in the series, but at some point, he must graduate and distance himself from the other characters. The show was lauded for its ability to transition between character sets without losing an audience, but it was destined to eventually lose patronship. I like to think of the popularity of Friends, which even in syndication maintains a strong following through multiple online accounts dedicated to preserving the show’s greatest moments. Even now, a decade and a half from its end, it is still one of the most popular shows on television.


2 Responses to “Value of Media Engagement Part 3”

  1. emmaeled said

    I agree that friends would be a much better example than Friday Night Lights. It’s easier to follow a show that has set lead characters. People attach to those characters and if you introduce too many you can’t give everyone the elaborate back story or depth that you can if you’re only writing for six people.

  2. tommistowers said

    I too like how you said friends is a better example than Friday Night Lights. If you think about it people who watch sports or enjoy watching sports are the ones who play sports. While Friends on the other hand has a wide diversity of audience by not just choosing a specific type of audience.

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