Summary of comments I’ve made on peer’s blogs:
I would tend to agree with you in relation to taking transmedia more seriously. However I don’t think webisodes should be carried forward.
To me, they’re pointless. As much as they may attract an audience who otherwise may not watch the show, the accessibility is a huge issue. The problem seems to be how to successfully earn money off of these webisodes, yet these companies are shooting themselves in the foot internationally by not allowing internationals to access their content. So, why not put it on YouTube? An HBO YouTube. That being said, we are now arguing the platform rather than the content.
To me, these ‘Quality TV’ shows should keep their focus on maintaining the middle ground between film and broadcast TV and create their own distinct format that sits somewhere between the two aforementioned formats. I think in some part this has already happened, what with HBO ditching adds etc., but I think more can be done to achieve this separation.
For example, releasing episodes over many formats – online, broadcast, cinematic (maybe pushing it), cable, on demand etc. and working to improve their brand as an all encompassing entity rather than an in between spreading itself thin across webisodes and other transmedia stakes – after all, transmedia can be as damaging as it can be beneficial to a show’s identity and bank-ability.
Nice post Nadia. Though I’d probably disagree with you on the Betty front, with regard to her desire to find out if Don is cheating.
As much as she can’t help but open the phone bill, until this point she has done everything in her will to convince herself otherwise. That she must be crazy. That Don would never do that – convincing herself not so much because she is stupid, rather that if she forsakes the family she loves she will be also throwing away the only stability she has. Albeit ultimately instable. If that means blaming it on her own nervous issues and anxiety then that is what she will do.
Then, come this episode it just hits her and she stops convincing herself. It comes rushing to her, an epiphany, that Don is cheating. That thing she has been suppressing has reared its head one too many times, as much as she wished it would just go away – which you summarise in your finishing paragraph.
On another note, really like where you’re going with Peggy’s inability to process or even attempt to understand her maternal instinct. Found myself wanting you to really ram this idea home though.
While I think it is, to an extent, her own make up that means she is so unforgiving, it’s also this environment, the era, that Mad Men embodies that bullies her into being so unrelenting. The office, the 60′s, the men – even Joan, especially – have moulded her into the success hungry woman she now is. That being said, one can only assume it was a desire that always existed in her given how strongly she has now pursued it. It’s also presumably Pete Campbell’s child, now a competing copywriter. So she is backed into a corner and must choose.
I feel if she truly was strong willed, her choice would have been to keep the child and find a way to still be a success.
I do like the way you play Kackman against Mittell here, but I want to see what you think! Is it melodrama or quality TV? I would say the contentious subject of polygamy potentially pushes this closer to quality TV, but I still get the overwhelming feeling that this is a polished bar of Soap. Then again, I’m not convinced that quality TV is anything different from that in the first place.
Comedic yes, creepy… also yes. Those compound characters are mighty strange. On another note, it’s interesting to think that something can be considered quality TV yet at the same time could also be deemed a soap – depending on which angle you are coming from. I suppose we are all entitled to our opinion, but it doesn’t help us when guys like Kakman and Mittell give us reason to both hold up quality TV as some empirical, superior TV form, yet also see the merits in derided forms of television such as Soap.
Then again, it’s not as though Mittell champions the format, more just tips his hat at those who appreciate it and doesn’t bother making a definitive statement either way.
Regardless, I think there are insightful things to be learned from considering Big Love as both Soap and Quality TV, whichever it may truly be. Thanks for the post.