A new show premiered on Cinemax last night: “Banshee.” Haven’t seen the show yet, so I’m not recommending it. What I am is curious about is the opening sequence of the show, which reveals a safe’s combination … which will unlock additional content on the show’s website.
The only way to experience the full vision of the show is to note the combination and go to the website.
When did watching TV get hard? Wasn’t watching TV supposed to be mindless?
McLuhan Would Be Proud
A communication theorist that held great sway in the 60s was Marshall McLuhan. He came up with a couple of iconic phrases. He’s the one that coined the term “global village.” He also came up with the phrase “the medium is the message,” which was part of his theory of hot and cold media.
He postulated that hot media, like print and radio, were relatively information-full, and allowed less sensory input or thought completion from the individual. Television, on the other hand, was a cold medium, which means that it is relatively lacking in information and requires more sensory involvement from the listener. Each medium, he said, requires a different ratio of sensory involvement, which is a defining element for each medium.
He maintained that discussion of content of the media was less important than understanding the medium itself, hence, the medium is the message. You simply can’t deliver the same information through television in the same way you can print.
So what have the Banshee producers done? They’ve transformed television into a more interactive form, which actually redefines the medium. This allows them to deliver a truly unique message because of their direct incorporation of other information streams into a brand new medium: interactive television.
That is NOT a new idea. Here’s what the Museum of Broadcast Communications has to say about early interactive TV:
One of the first television programs to encourage audience interaction was Jack Barry’s Winky Dink & You, a children’s show broadcast from 1953 through 1957 on CBS. The interaction was created through the use of cellophane overlay that children could buy at local stores and then attach to the television set. In the program, the cartoon character Winky Dink, encountered many problems, such as being chased to the edge of a cliff by a tiger. Viewers were then asked to help Winky Dink escape from the tiger by drawing a bridge on the cellophane overlay.
First of all, I’m amazed that children were allowed to draw on the television screen. Didn’t they know they would go blind getting that close to the screen? I do seem to recall hearing that at Grandma’s house!
So it would appear we have progressed from drawing on the TV screen to having a tablet, smartphone or even a laptop (so two years ago) to investigate the prompts we get from the TV screen. Other shows are doing this … we’re getting bombarded with hash tags on screen, like #HIMYM or #2BrokeGirls.
What, you’re not following tweets from TV yet? You’re not interacting with other fans in real time on your iPad?
Too bad. Maybe if you beg your Mom, she’ll buy you the fifty cent Winky Dink crayon set so you can be just like all of the cool kids.