Delving into the worlds of your favorite television shows

When it comes to watching television nowadays, interactivity is the name of the game. Many television shows today are reaching out to viewers using the internet to communicate and add to the viewing experience by offering extra material, not aired during the show, which fills in the gaps and teases future storylines.

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By Timothy Guy

By Timothy Guy

When it comes to watching television nowadays, interactivity is the name of the game.

Many television shows today are reaching out to viewers using the internet to communicate and add to the viewing experience by offering extra material, not aired during the show, which fills in the gaps and teases future storylines.

One of the shows to go all out is “Lost”. The producers have set up a game of sorts entitled “The Lost Experience”, which uses various Web sites, phone numbers, a published book, television commercials and print ads to make a complete experience for viewers. Viewers, through the television commercials, are directed to call a phone number for the fictitious Hanso Foundation, the organization which has something to do with the mysteries of the “Lost” island, and visit the organization’s Web site. Once there, people get information regarding the organization and passwords to unlock more content.

One of the more impressive parts of the experience is the excellent web design. The sites include mind puzzles, video, audio and a lot of hidden “easter eggs” (hidden content).

Just released, at your local bookstore, is “Bad Twin” by Gary Troup, a book that the Hanso Foundation does not want you to read. The funny thing is Troup is not a real person, infact he was one of the passengers that died in the plane crash on the first episode of “Lost”. The producers of the show actually went as far as to publish a book to make this experience complete.

Another show using multimedia online to give viewers something extra is “Smallville”. On the show, the villain Brainiac was going around the world collecting deadly viruses and causing all sorts of trouble. One of the lead characters, Lex Luthor, sent agents to follow him and in turn they posted video blogs on the WB Web site regarding the whereabouts of Brainiac.

The Fox show “24” reaches out to fans in a very fun way, through a cell phone. In certain scenes of the show, when a character gets a phone call and looks at the caller ID a number is shown… unlike most fake numbers that start with 555, this is a real number to a cell phone is Los Angeles, a cell phone that is passed around the set of the show. Many fans of the show have called the number and have spoken with various cast members in their down time. “24” also has an Internet video show called “24 Inside” which has cast interviews and behind the scenes footage.

Connecting with viewers on a personal level is one thing that “The Office” has done by using the dreaded MySpace Web site. Some of the actors on the show have created MySpace pages for their characters and post blogs and add viewers as friends.

Of course looking at all of this extra material will kill an enormous amount of time, but don’t worry about becoming addicted to looking at it, this material is used to enhance the shows. You will not get lost or lose anything by just watching the shows only.

Get started by going to these sites:

http://www.thehansofoundation.org

http://www.hansocareers.com

http://thelostexperienceclues.blogspot.com

http://www.myspace.com/pambeesley

http://www.aol.com/smallville

http://www.fox.com/24

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