why am i still not in love with Hunted?

I made the Byzantium test  and, damn, i’m only in the 2% (http://byzantiumtests.com/). I liked the page on fb, i follow hashtags after i see the episodes, i check-in on miso hoping to get a badge. I complete the clues on Sam’s wall (http://www.hunted-thewall.com/), i’m in love with Melissa George and i find the show very intriguing and well-done, much better than a series which comparison with is a must, Alias.

photo of melissa george for the cinemax tv-series "Hunted" of 2012

So the point in this aimless post is the same as the title: why i’m still not in love with Hunted?.

Assured that no-one can force his passion and maybe i must surrender, i wanted to analyze the probable reasons of this because of my interests in storytelling and in how the structures of creativity work.

Hunted is a tv-series produced by Kudos and written by the creator of X-Files: Frank Spotnitz. It’s broadcasted by BBC and Cinemax, which is owned by HBO. It’s mainly a spy-action drama, very well written and made. So i think my personal problem with the series is in the expectancy the promotion campaign created.

“The 1% that matters” is an immersive online experience curated by the well-knowned Campfire agency. It includes the Byzantium test already mentioned and a subversive poster campaign to excite curiosity and raise the brand awareness.a photo shoot from the 99% of the people

My personal note is exactly about the claim of the campaign. In the last two years, in fact, the world has known the “Occupy” Movement and one of their main claim was  “We are getting nothing while the other 1 percent is getting everything. We are the 99 percent.”  Although the dimension of extreme richness is very clear in the drama, at this point there’s no clear signs that this social and idealistic clash will affect the story. I know it’s just entartainment and it is obviously not a problem to mislead the audience expectations,  but mines very really great about the opportunity for the drama to embody these social dynamics in the story and i feel like, in this particular situation this usage is a bit an abuse.

The claim is genial and well guessed, but in my opinion creates this criticism. As a student, it seems more that the campaign was not projected in real time with the drama, but only later, so i think it’s very important, for future productions, to think upstream about campaigns in order to improve both the products and their communication.

(note: i had a little twitter banter with steve coulson during the preparation of this post, so i invite him to respond in order to engender an healthy and positive debate)


2 responses to “why am i still not in love with Hunted?

  1. Hey Francesco, Some insightful comments here, and a good discussion to have.

    i think it’s interesting how the emergence of transmedia storytelling as an art form has become intertwined with its use as a marketing tool (as in this case), and it sometimes leads to these kinds of conflicts.

    i think marketing – especially tune in marketing, which is designed for new audiences who may not even have heard of a show – has a very specific role to play – to intrigue, to excite, to stir conversation, to provoke trial. As such, I’m not sure the Hunted work we created should be regarded as “story canon” in the way that a parallel transmedia execution might work (although it was all created in conjunction with the show runner). Sometimes the needs of marketing requires the adaptation of narrative themes to create a self contained immersive experience that acts as a metaphor or synopsis of a story.

    As a kid growing up in the UK, I devoured American comics, especially Superman. But at that time (the 70s) there was a vogue for depicting narrative moments on the comic cover that actually never happened within the pages. As a reader it always made me angry that the scene I had bought the comic for never actually appeared in the story.

    But the truth is, the cover was designed to get me to BUY the comic – a metaphorical moment designed to induce my purchase. And it always worked. There’s a parallel here, when considering story-based marketing initiatives that borrow themes and characters from the primary narrative to collect an audience in advance.

    I will say that some of the elements you are looking for will continue to evolve in the show, even into season two (there’s a lot more going on than meets the eye). And actually there was a scene from season one, that was shot (but got cut from the final edit) that very specifically had the head of Byzantium talking to potential clients on the phone about their mission to protect the 1% who control the world. So the concept of a ruling elite and their conspiracy to direct the world’s fate is there in the text, if not as blatant as in the marketing initiative.

    I don’t disagree with your thought that there’s an opportunity for “continuity” stories to parallel a TV show or movie, to extend the engagement of an audience and expand the storyworld, but that’s a bit of a different objective to marketing designed to attract new audiences.

    The only thing that upsets me about your comments is you only got as far as the 2% 🙂 i urge you to go back and retake the test through to the very end, because the fifth and final test is where all the magic happens 🙂

    • i totally agree with you, but campfire get us used to a reduction of the “comics effect” you described. By the way, thanks for explaining your approach, it is very unusual that a big name like you partecipates to a discussion on amateurs’ blog. Thank you and keep with your work.

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