LOST

12Sep11

This isn’t really recent news, but I am using the television series LOST as an example because it embodies many aspects of the concepts in Chapter 2. I read Henry Jenkins’ Convergence Culture recently so I am going to focus more on that to bring some more perspective on his ideas because Mark references him in Chapter 2. Jenkins’ chapters on Survivor and The Matrix both reminded me very much of my own experience with LOST. I was a fan throughout the series, as were millions of other people (whether disappointed by the ending or not, that’s a whole other issue), but the point is that I spent those six seasons searching for other avenues of information flow so I could try to figure out what the hell was going on.

 

Jenkins talks extensively about the spoiler community of Survivor (where fans would do extensive, and I mean EXTENSIVE research to try and find out where the next survivor location would be, to try to find out who got kicked off at certain times, and ultimately who won, etc.)  as well as the transmedia storytelling environment of The Matrix (where certain elements of the video game would open up new avenues and expand the narrative of the film, etc.) I see LOST and the fan community as an interesting combination of the two. These types of fan participation and interaction seem to embody a term called “media meshing” used in Chapter 2, defined as: “a behavioral phenomenon that occurs when people begin an experience in one medium, such as watching television, then shift to another such as surfing the Internet, and maybe even a third, such as listening to music” (Deuze, 76) It claims that “the explanation for this behavior is the constant search for complementary information, different perspectives, and even emotional fulfillment.” The LOST experience was so much more than a television show: fans wanted more information and more perspectives on what was going on, and everyone wanted to figure out the secret before it was really revealed.  The website provided certain clues, there were numerous blogs and forums about what the fans thought was going to happen, and extensive research done on the philosophical and historical clues that were buried in each episode. It was a collaborative experience where the consumers were also producers of ideas and theories about the show, which led to even greater mystery and intrigue surrounding the entire series.

 

I found the following video on YouTube and it kind of connects Jenkins ideas with the LOST series and demonstrates some of the other mediums used to expand on the narrative of the LOST story. The video has its good and bad parts. The last few minutes are just action filler, so don’t mind that if you don’t want to. But, the hilariously/uncomfortably awkward part where his friends and family are enacting the plane crash is also a psuedo example of Fan Ficton – which is another issue that Jenkins talks about with Harry Potter fans and which also has been fairly controversial in terms of the line between fan replications/copyright & intellectual property laws. This could be a point for further discussion about the producer/consumer becoming one in the same, and the implications of this.

-Annie Sexton

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