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					ENGL 6310/7310
Popular Culture
     Fall 2011
      PH 300
    M 240-540
 Dr. David Lavery
Convergence Culture
"The . . . ways the business landscape is
changing in response to the growing integration
of content and brands across media platforms
and the increasingly prominent roles that
consumers are playing in shaping the flow of
media" (Convergence Culture Consortium).
Multi-Platform (or Cross-Platform)
Originally a designation for software capable of running on different
operating systems, now refers as well to media forms appearing on
multiple media. Lost, for example, is incarnated not just on television
but in books, videogames, board games, websites, internet-based
"alternative reality games," cell phones, music CDs, and DVDs.
Companion Books

                  ―Read Any Good Television Lately?
                  Television Tie-In Books and Quality
                  TV.‖ Contemporary American TV
                  Drama: The Quality Debate. Edited
                  by Janet McCabe and Kim Akass.
                  London: I. B. Tauris, 2007: 228-36.
Credit Sequences
Memorable Television Credit Sequences (see link on “Websites”)

The Sopranos
Six Feet Under
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Mad Men
DVD Extras
Making of Documentaries
Gag Reels
DVD Commentaries (directors, writers,
showrunners, actors)
DVD Extras
DVD Extras
Easter Eggs
―A virtual Easter egg is an intentional hidden message, in-joke or feature in an object
such as a movie, book, CD, DVD, computer program, web page or video game. The term
was coined—according to Warren Robinett—by Atari after they were pointed to the
secret message left by Robinett in the game Adventure. It draws a parallel with the
custom of the Easter egg hunt observed in many Western nations as well as the last
Russian imperial family's tradition of giving elaborately jeweled egg-shaped creations by
Carl Fabergé which contained hidden surprises.

This practice is similar in some respects to hidden signature motifs such as Diego Rivera
including himself in his murals, Alfred Hitchcock's legendary cameo appearances, and
various "Hidden Mickeys" that can be found throughout the various Disney Parks. An
early example of this kind of "Easter egg" is Al Hirschfeld's "Nina".

Atari's Adventure, released in 1979, contained what was thought to be the first video
game "Easter egg", the name of the programmer (Warren Robinett). However, evidence
of earlier Easter eggs has since surfaced. Several cartridges for the Fairchild Channel F
include previously unknown Easter eggs, programmed by Michael Glass and Brad Reid-
Selth, that are believed to predate Robinett's work.

Another possible origin for the term comes from the film, The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Filmed in 1975, the crew had an actual Easter egg hunt one day on the set and seem to
have missed some of the eggs. As a result, there are three confirmed scenes where an
actual Easter egg can be seen.‖ [Wikipedia]
Easter Eggs (continued)
Easter Eggs (continued)

   Lindelof on finding
   Easter Eggs in Lost . . .
Stories written by viewers (and often posted on the web) which
make use of a television‘s show‘s characters in new, sometimes
improbable situations.

Slash Fanfic: Fan fiction which links together [Buffy/Spike],
usually in sexual situations, pairs of characters who are not so
involved in the diegesis. In slash fan fiction, Mulder and Skinner
might become lovers, or Spock and Kirk, or Buffy and Giles.

        Tanya Krzywinska,
          the UK’s First
        Professor of Video
Alternative Reality Games
―An alternate reality game (ARG) is an interactive narrative that uses the real world as a platform,
often involving multiple media and game elements, to tell a story that may be affected by participants'
ideas or actions.

The form is defined by intense player involvement with a story that takes place in real-time and
evolves according to participants' responses, and characters that are actively controlled by the game's
designers, as opposed to being controlled by artificial intelligence as in a computer or console video
game. Players interact directly with characters in the game, solve plot-based challenges and puzzles,
and often work together with a community to analyze the story and coordinate real-life and online
activities. ARGs generally use multimedia, such as telephones, email and mail but rely on the Internet
as the central binding medium.

ARGs are growing in popularity, with new games appearing regularly and an increasing amount of
experimentation with new models and subgenres. They tend to be free to play, with costs absorbed
either through supporting products (e.g. collectible puzzle cards fund Perplex City) or through
promotional relationships with existing products (for example, I Love Bees was a promotion for Halo
2, and the Lost Experience and FIND815 promoted the television show Lost). However, pay-to-play
models are not unheard of.‖--Wikipedia
On Morning Programs
On 24 Hour News Channels (FOX, CNN, MSNBC)
On Fake News Shows (The Daily Show, Colbert Report)
On Talk Shows (Leno, Letterman, Kimmel, Fallon)
On Blogs
in Entertainment Magazines (Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone, TV
Guide, Premiere)
Bad Robot
Mutant Enemy
R & D
See websites for links to YouTube versions of each of the above.
Media Franchise
A media franchise is an intellectual property involving the
characters, setting and trademarks of an original work of media
(usually a work of fiction), such as a film, a work of literature, a
television program or a video game. Generally, a whole series is
made in a particular medium, along with merchandising and
endorsements. Multiple sequels are often planned well in
advance, and (in the case of motion pictures) actors and directors
often sign multi-film deals to ensure their participation.
Some Media Franchises

Harry Potter | James Bond | Star Trek |Star Wars
|Indiana Jones | Pirates of the Caribbean |
Batman | Spiderman | Doctor Who | CSI | Law &
Order | NCIS | Ugly Betty | The Office | Big
Brother | Resident Evil | Terminator | Aliens |
Predator | Toy Story | Halloween | Friday the 13th
| Nightmare on Elm Street | Twilight Saga |
Transformers | Shrek | Saw | Jason Bourne |
Matrix | Lord of the Rings/Hobbit | Mission
"[A] term first coined by Daniel Tibbets then trademarked by his
employer, Fox Broadcasting Company, for a broadcast television
episode specially made for viewing on a mobile telephone screen
and usually of short duration (from one to three minutes)"
(Wikipedia). A new factor in multi-platform storytelling.
Fictionalized versions
of media texts. A
popular film turned
into a novel.

Tie-In Novels
Canonical or non-
canonical fictions
taking place in the
‘verse of a movie or

This is parody's mission: it must never be afraid of going too far. If its aim
is true, it simply heralds what others will later produce, unblushing, with
impassive and assertive gravity.
                  Umberto Eco, "Preface" to Misreadings

The Daily Show
The Colbert Report
The Onion
Saturday Night Live
Mad Magazine
Monty Python
"[A] sample episode of a television show, [which] acts as a model for
new programming which may be chosen by networks for the following
fall's schedule" (Encyclopedia of Television).
"[A] series of digital-media files . . . distributed over the Internet
using syndication feeds for playback on portable media players
and computers" (Wikipedia). Many television shows inspire their
own official (Ron Moore's podcast commentaries for each episode
of Battlestar Galactica for example) or unofficial/fan-produced
During the four season run of Battlestar
Galactica (2005-2008), a re-imagining of a
semi-cultish but unimaginative late 70s
science fiction series intended to
capitalize on the popularity of Star Wars,
co-creator Ronald D. Moore delivered
discerning, and often too honest web
podcasts on Battlestar from his Vancouver
home (like many American TV series BSG
was filmed in British Columbia). Almost
every week Moore‘s rather annoying wife
would interrupt (usually with stupid
questions), and he could be counted on to
announce the identity of that week‘s
designated bourbon. One week, of
course, his inebriant of choice was not a
distilled spirit but imported, illegal-in-the-
US absinthe.

         Degas, The Absinthe Drinker 
Previously On
A recollective montage, ordinarily preceding the teaser and the
credit sequence, of moments from already aired episodes of a
television series relevant to the episode to follow, intended to get
viewers caught up on the narrative so far.

     From Buffy’s 100th Episode (see websites)

The example of Twin Peaks
Internet sites which offer critical, often sudden, often
snarky—TWoP‘s moto: ―Spare the snark, spoil the
networks—takes on current television. Archived, such
recaps become episode guides to particular shows.

Television without Pity:


Onion TV Club:
“The term "remake" is generally used in reference to a movie which
uses an earlier movie as the main source material, rather than in
reference to a second, later movie based on the same source. For
example, 2001's Ocean's Eleven is a remake of the 1960 film, while
1989's Batman is a re-interpretation of the comic book source material
which also inspired 1966's Batman.

With some exceptions, remakes make significant character, plot, and
theme changes. For example, the 1968 film The Thomas Crown Affair is
centered on a bank robbery, while its 1999 remake involves the theft of
a valuable piece of artwork. Similarly, when the 1969 film The Italian
Job was remade in 2003, few aspects were carried over. Another
notable example is the 1932 film Scarface which was remade in 1983
starring Al Pacino; whereas the setting of 1932 version is the illegal
alcohol trade, the characters in the 1983 version are involved in cocaine
smuggling. Sometimes a remake is made by the same director, for
example Yasujiro Ozu's black and white A Story of Floating Weeds was
remade into the color Floating Weeds. Alfred Hitchcock remade his
Remakes (ctd.)
1934 black and white The Man Who Knew Too Much in color in 1956; as
did Cecil B. DeMille with his 1956 remake of his silent 1923 film The Ten

Not all remakes use the same title as the previously released version;
1983's Never Say Never Again, for instance, is a remake of the 1965 film
Thunderball; the 1966 film Walk Don't Run is a remake of the World
War II comedy The More the Merrier. This is particularly true for films
that are remade from films produced in another language, such as:
Point of No Return (from the French Nikita), Vanilla Sky (from the
Spanish Abre los ojos), The Magnificent Seven (from the Japanese Seven
Samurai), A Fistful of Dollars (from the Japanese Yojimbo), and The
Departed (from Hong Kong's Infernal Affairs).

In the history of cinema, remakes have generally been considered
inferior to earlier versions by film critics and cinema-goers alike, e.g.,
The Wicker Man, Psycho,The Fog, My Man Godfrey, Show Boat, Born
Yesterday, Babes in Toyland, Sabrina, and The Karate Kid, among many
Remakes (ctd.)
Another noteworthy (and increasingly common) development is the
use of a successful (usually older) television series to be remade as a
feature film. Like other film remakes, these often fare badly at the box-
office and/or are considered a poor reflection on the source material
(e.g. The Beverly Hillbillies, Bewitched, My Favorite Martian, Dudley Do-
Right); however, some have gone on to become successful film
franchises (e.g. Scooby-Doo, The Addams Family, Mission: Impossible).”-
“The term reboot, in media dealing with serial fiction, means to discard
much or even all previous continuity in the series and start anew with fresh
ideas. Effectively, all established fictive history is declared by the writer(s)
to be null and void, or at least irrelevant to the new storyline, and the
series starts over as if brand-new.

Through reboots, film franchises are revamped and reinvigorated to attract
new fans and stimulate economic revenue. Therefore, reboots can be seen
as attempts to rescue franchises which have grown "stale.”

The term originates from its use in computer science. After a computer is
rebooted, nothing (except non-volatile storage, such as on a disk drive) of
the computer's previous operating session has any bearing on its new

A reboot differs from a remake and a prequel, in that the latter two are
generally consistent with the canon (previously-established continuity) of
the series. With a reboot, the older continuity is largely discarded and
replaced with a new canon.
Reboots (ctd.)
Additionally, prequels are often developed by the same creator as the
original series they lead up to, while a remake is often produced by a
different author from that of the original series, and can be seen as re-
telling of the same story and essentially maintaining the same canon.
The term "remake" often applies to films or film adaptations of TV
programs, such as 1993's The Fugitive, whereas the term reboot is
ascribed to franchises such as Police Story (rebooted in the 2004 film
New Police Story), Batman (2005's Batman Begins), James Bond (2006's
Casino Royale), The Pink Panther (the 2006 Pink Panther film), Star Trek
(the 2009 Star Trek film), and The Incredible Hulk (2008's The Incredible
Reboots (ctd.)
Two Reboots

                 Ronald D. Moore
                 and David Eick

                   David Eick->
A literary, dramatic, or cinematic work whose narrative takes
place before that of a preexisting work or a sequel.
Recapping the final episode of Alias on the ever-snide Television- website,
‗Erin‘ would seem to have been reverting to the original meaning of ‗incredible‘: ‗impossible
or hard to believe‘. Snidely observant, Erin describes the setup for a sequence in which five
years of Rambaldi mythology (and a thirty-year quest by criminal mastermind Arvin Sloane)
comes to a climax:

      Mongolia. Somebody get me a sherpa and a flagon of yak‘s milk and get me the hell
      out of here. At a large encampment in the middle of Palm Desert, Sloane arrives in a
      Humvee. He gets out and meets with a man speaking Russian. The man says he
      thinks they‘ve ‗found it‘, and Sloane walks with him into a bunker that has the
      Rambaldi eye symbol <O> on it. But then her incredulity gets the best of her and she
      loses it: Well, that [a Rambaldi symbol in Mongolia] can‘t be good. Or maybe it‘s
      awesome. Anything that moves this plot along is fine by me. The closer we are to this
      mess ending the better. Oh, what? Like YOU don‘t feel the same? Please. Even the
      ACTORS think this show should‘ve ended, like, two seasons ago. And they actually
      LOVE it. And Jay- brams CLEARLY thought it should have ended ages ago because
      he left back when shit still made sense, and he‘s barely returned long enough to have
      a piece of cheesecake down in the damn commissary. This shit is over, dudes. OVER.
      (my italics)

Well the shit (aka Alias‘ no longer credible writing2) may have been ‗over‘ (aka ‗outstayed its
welcome‘, ‗continued its narrative too long‘, ‗didn‘t know when to quit‘), but the episode was
not. –David Lavery, ―Five Incredible Years‖ (in Reading Alias)
"The spin-off is a television programming strategy that constructs
new programs around characters appearing in programs already
being broadcast. In some cases the new venue is created for a
familiar, regular character in the existing series (e. g. Gomer Pyle,
U.S.M.C. from The Andy Griffith Show). In others, the existing
series merely serves as an introduction to and promotion for, a
completely new program (Mork & Mindy, from Happy Days)"
(Encyclopedia of Television).
Information, avidly sought by some fans, available in advance of
airing, about narrative developments in an ongoing story.

Spoiler Whore: A fan who actively seeks out and/or propagates

Spoiler Virgin: A fan who avoids spoilers at all cost.

       Angel the Puppet (from “Smile Time”)
Lost, the Cake
“A trailer or preview is an advertisement for a feature film that will be
exhibited in the future at a cinema, on whose screen they are shown.
The term "trailer" comes from their having originally been shown at the
end of a feature film screening.[1] That practice did not last long,
because patrons tended to leave the theater after the films ended, but
the name has stuck. Trailers are now shown before the film (or the A
movie in a double feature) begins.” *Wikipedia]

Teaser usually describes more preliminary, less formal, sometimes
lacking in actual sampled content previews.
Web Series
―A web series is a series of episodes released on the Internet or also by mobile or cellular
phone, and part of the newly emerging medium called web television. A single instance of a
web series program is called an episode (the term webisode has been largely deprecated).

While the popularity of web serials is continuing to rise, the concept itself isn't entirely new.
Scott Zakarin created the first advertiser supported web series in 1995, The Spot. Homicide:
Second Shift was a pioneering Internet web series that tied into the TV series Homicide: Life on
the Street. The web series started in 1997 and was ultimately cancelled due to financial
constraints and technological restrictions.

The rise in popularity of web series can be seen as a result of the increasing availability of
broadband and the improved video streaming technology. This has allowed independent
producers to create low budget series distributed on the Internet, but more recently major
television production companies are using the Internet as a means of promoting their TV shows
as well as developing specific media and shows for the Internet.‖--From Wikipedia

Webisode—"[A]n episode of a television show that airs initially as an Internet download or
stream as opposed to first airing on broadcast or cable television" (Wikipedia). A new factor in
multi-platform storytelling.

                             Felicia Day‘s Web Series The Guild

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