The Story Lab – Week 4

Last week in class we talked about how big companies can use transmedia to tell stories. Following on from our discussion of The Matrix the week before, it was really interesting to see how other shows can create a complete universe from a single media item.

In class we watched the first two episodes of Agent Carter, which focuses more on Peggy Carter, and is set in the 1950’s. I was interested in the concept of a spin off show, what makes them good (or bad) and how well they tend to last in comparison in the original media.

Spinoffs tend to have a bad name – taking a minor character, placing them in a new location, and trying to run off the success of the original show, and generally just being pretty bad. Joey (the Friends spinoff) lasted only two seasons, while the Happy Days spinoff Joanie loves Chaci got cut short in its second season.

I think to make a good spinoff you need a couple of things:
• An interesting enough character with a strong storyline which adds something to the original media
• Provides enough information to the previous show, as well as having enough of a plot to stand on its own

The one to watch at the moment is Better Call Saul, the Breaking Bad spinoff. Set before the events of the original show, it provides several hints to the original show, as well as giving enough extra information that it feels like a show in its own right. 

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