Heroes, games, and the future of TV?

Fascinating article over at gaming and social software blog Wonderland, relating discussion with Jesse Alexander, Executive Producer of Heroes (and Alias, and Lost). The main topic concerns crossover between television and gaming, and not merely the usual ‘how do we exploit this property?’ nonsense. No no, this is bi-directional, with TV learning lessons from the games industry.

Let’s face it, gaming isn’t niche: PWC predicts spending on games in the US will surpass that on music this year – globally, that’s already the case. That there are games that tell fascinating, wonderful, gripping stories is not accidental – that only happens when people know what they’re doing.

While I wouldn’t describe myself as a huge fan of Heroes, it does put its finger on something fresh. Perhaps it’s that it’s fluffy and light – and could feel trivial – but somehow taking itself as seriously as it does invites the viewer to buy in. It doesn’t pretend to be something it isn’t – which is lightweight entertainment – but given that, there’s a sense of buckling the belt and the show saying ‘right, let’s get this party started.’ That conviction is strangely infectious.

The best of the new Doctor Who episodes (Blink) have been similar; the BBC’s Jekyll (by the same writer) ditto; the games I tend to like (BioWare‘s stuff, notably) could be described similarly. But it needs a delicate touch: I’ve always considered Lost to be overblown, in the same sort of way that X-Files always was and, arguably, Battlestar Galactica is, unless you’re American in which case it’s probably about right (discuss, 20 marks).

Read the article; it’s interesting.

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