Now it's not enough to watch your favorite TV show -- you may soon
have to pay to get the full story
By Matthew Gilbert, Globe Staff
Madly in love with "24," or "Invasion," or "Prison Break," or "Family
Then get ready to spend more, a lot more, time with it.
In the coming months, you and your TV addiction are going to be reeled
into an expanded "environment" of your favorite network show, one that
may require a cover charge for entry into certain exclusive zones.
You'll be invited to visit characters' blogs at MySpace.com, or pay
for mobile phone episodes (known as mobisodes), or buy DVD packages
and video games containing new and additional plot information. Your
once-simple affair with your TV "story" could have as much to do with
your PC, your cellphone, and your DVD player as it does with your TV
In other words, your relationship is starting to get complicated.
Network TV is becoming only the first step in what is known as a "TV
series." It's becoming an entry point to show-o-spheres, where you not
only watch "24" on Mondays on Fox but you purchase a "24" DVD set
that contains clues to the season's big mysteries.
You not only watch "Lost" on Wednesdays on ABC but you check into the
weekly podcast to hear, say, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje talk about
playing Eko. You don't just laugh at "The Office" on Tuesdays; you
laugh at Dwight's blog entries on the NBC site and on MySpace.
Recently, "Invasion" even included a plot in which paranoid Dave was
abducted because of his blog, which actually exists on ABC's site.
And Neil Patrick Harris's Barney on " How I Met Your Mother"
frequently refers to his blog, which is on the CBS site.
Extras such as commentary and deleted scenes have been with us for
years on DVDs, and of course T-shirts and knickknacks are Marketing
101. But now timely information and integral plot and character
developments are also becoming available outside of the televised
mothership. Last week, for example, Fox announced plans to create new
episodes of its animated hit "Family Guy" exclusively for the Web
next year, for a fee.