Flow TV Submission – Grrrr Arrrgh

Having been completely swamped with marking (grading) for the past few weeks, it suddenly dawned on me that the Flow TV submission deadline was tomorrow. I had put a reasonable amount of time into paring the exhaustive (and exciting) list down to 6 possible topics, and had mental put together ideas for each of them, but when I sat down tonight to actually write them out, only one had any real semblance of cohesiveness.

However, totally freaking out with not really knowing what is expected. Should I be engaging with the literature more (read: at all)? Should I be drawing more from my own experiences? I have about 30 ideas I could voice on this subject – how do I explain them in 150 words? (No – concisely is not the answer I’m looking for)

So, I’m not sure whether or not this is kosher, but I figured I’d crowd-source this puppy a little bit. See if anyone had anything to add, or any constructive comments to make about how to reformulate. I do have a few hours I can still dedicate to it, and the advantage of being on my side of the world is that I have an extra roughly 20 hours to get it in.


The question –

‘Til Series Finale Do Us Part? Fan Commitment and the Long-running Series

While serialized shows like Grey’s AnatomyAmerican IdolHouse and The Office are still popular, these are also shows that many previously devoted viewers have stopped watching. What elements of fandom, spectatorship, narrative, programming, and production factor into a viewer’s decision to abandon a series after a multi-season investment or, conversely, to keep watching despite diminished engagement? How are such decisions facilitated by contemporary developments in viewing technologies (DVD, DVR, Hulu); viewer knowledge (spoilers, recaps); and viewership outlets (transmedia experiences, paratexts)? As these elements shift in the future, how might spectator commitment to long-running series shift as well?

My proposed response –

From an international perspective, foreign-produced (including US-produced) long running series can be difficult to follow as a fan or regular viewer, especially considering the vagaries of broadcast schedules (season 5 of Criminal Minds started screening on New Zealand television well before season 4 had finished). Frequently, a viewer may not be aware that a new season of a favourite show has restarted until weeks after the first episode. Legal online viewing platforms are scarce outside of the United States, and although illegitimate internet-based channels provide options for tech-savvy fans, a significant portion of the population is still reliant on broadcast networks. While DVR technology may mitigate some of these difficulties, the knowledge that DVD boxsets will be available (albeit significantly delayed) may be encouraging international viewers to forgo a regular weekly commitment in lieu of the possibility of engaging with series uninterrupted, and on the viewer’s terms.


Re-reading it once again, that first sentence still seems overly complicated, but I’ll sleep on it, and the answer might spring at me in the morning.

Any comments gratefully appreciated, even if they’re mean!


3 thoughts on “Flow TV Submission – Grrrr Arrrgh

  1. Tom

    I think it’s a really interesting intervention you’re making, and an experience I can certainly relate to myself! Two things: 1. You don’t actually state how you are going to answer the question. Will this be an audience research project? 2. I think drawing on your own experience, or choosing a single case study could be a good idea. Is the Criminal Minds example from your own fan commitment experiences? If so, it may be useful to signal this in the abstract.

    These points aside, I think this is a really fascinating topic, and I’d be really interested in hearing more.

  2. Chris Becker

    I’m very pleased you’ve chosen my question to respond to, and although I have no say in who gets picked as a respondent for it, I can at least say as the writer of it, this fits perfectly with what I was getting at with the question, and I love the fact that it offers an international perspective on the issue. So I think the core idea is just fine. As for how it’s phrased, the first sentence is fine, though the parenthetical is a bit confusing; you mean S4 was airing on one channel and S5 then started on another? Or NZ got S5 before the US did? The second sentence could also be clearer; are you not aware a show has been restarted because of poor marketing, or you mean it’s restarted in the US and you don’t get it in NZ, so you don’t realize that til a few weeks later? The rest of it looks solid to me. Saying anything in under 150 words is really tough, but you get the point across here.

    • Mark S

      Thanks so much for your response – I was hoping you might since I remembered you saying this was your proposal.

      I’ll definitely go through and revise it based on those suggestions, but for your interest, a channel was screening S4 on Thursday nights (first run), and decided with 7ish eps to go, to start screening S5 on Sunday nights, while still finishing off S4 on Thursdays. They had gone to 2 eps per night to try to burn it off a while back, but hadn’t got there in time! Still can’t quite fathom that programming decision, but I guess it comes from a time where you could screen any ep of a show in any order, because there was no narrative thread, and status quo was restored at the end of the episode.

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