Monday, October 24, 2005

TV: Character blogs

The hip new accessory for a TV show this season appears to be a blog on the show's official website. And not just a behind-the-scenes production blog (such as that of Ronald Moore for Battlestar Galactica), or a commentary blog (such as those from ex-contestants of The Amazing Race and Survivor -- the latter of which proves to have a sense of humor about itself with its inclusion of Ralph from Lord of the Flies as one of the commentators), but an in-character blog, supposedly written by one of the fictional inhabitants of the TV show. They're all over the place this year. I would go so far as to say the in-character blog is the new black. Whatever that means.

One of the not-to-be-missed blogs is Schrute-Space, from The Office's Dwight Schrute. Speaking of Battlestar Galactica (like, last paragraph -- stay with me, people), here's Dwight's take on it:

I am just about the world's biggest fan of Battlestar Galactica. The new AND the old. Starbuck is my dream woman. The new Starbuck. The old one was a man and that's just not me. Starbuck can kick ass plus she can make sweet love. Plus she's good at futuristic poker! If we were going out, I would insist that she stop smoking those cigars, though. And grow her hair out a bit more. And not fly so many dangerous missions. I think Edward James Olmos makes a great captain. I wish I was the guy just below him. The assistant Captain. I would follow him to the ends of the universe. Too bad about his skin, though.
Two of my favorite shows from last year appear to have pioneered this trend. Veronica Mars has episode recaps written as though they come straight from Veronica's blog. And the castaways of Lost may not have access to the internet -- but they still have a diary, written by "Janelle Granger," who is presumably one of the random background space-fillers on the beach. It adds a nice extra dimension to the show -- yes, there are other people there besides the dozen or so who get to do the cool stuff.

A couple of the new spooky shows sport in-character blogs. Surface has Miles' Blog, written by the kid with the pet sea monster. Invasion has a blog written by Dave, possibly called Do You See What I See?, or possibly called nothing specific. Key quote:

According to Swedish researchers, mice fed moderate amounts of alcohol grew new nerve cells in their brain. The researcher said, and I quote, "it is possible that the extra cells might help with learning and memory." I guess the key word in there is "moderate," unfortunately, because after I have a twelve pack I usually can’t remember how I got home.
It looks like this blog may have been abandoned. Did the character get killed off?

Commander in Chief has Mackenzie Watch, which isn't written by a character on the show; it's a faux-political blog following the career of Geena Davis' fictitious presidency. Oddly enough, I couldn't find actual information about the show at ABC's website; all their links appear to go straight to this blog.

And perhaps my favorite of this new breed of promotional tool is Barney's Blog, written from the POV of the hilarious Neil Patrick Harris character on How I Met Your Mother (who has been heard to exclaim, "This is so going in my blog!"). My favorite entry: "Lick My Bells," which follows up on an early episode in which Barney and Ted lick (yes, lick) the Liberty Bell. The blog entry is a guide to licking various other National Monuments. Re: the Golden Gate Bridge (with irony quotes intact):

This "orange-vermillion masterpiece" "steeped in San Francisco history" is now covered in an "acrylic-emulsion topcoat" that despite tasting "like monkey dirt," renders the monument free to be "thoroughly licked" without "fear of lead poisoning." "Spectacular views" of the Bay and the "equally lickable Alcatraz" make the Golden Gate a fave among tongue-tourists.
I expect we'll be seeing a lot more of this kind of thing in the near future. These in-character blogs are an excellent way of providing bonus content to viewers who are beginning to consider these kinds of extras as obligatory. And they're so easy to write. Hell, any idiot can do it.

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