“Lawyers, we’re like health insurance. You hope you never need it. But then not having it? No!” – Jimmy McGill.
Yes, the long wait is over. Breaking Bad spin off “Better Call Saul” finally aired last week (on AMC for those lucky Americans), and on Netflix for the rest of us low priority viewers.
Fans were once again invited to step onto the streets of Albuquerque and meet a few new up-standing citizens (and a few old ones too).
Now, I could give a review of the first two episodes (they were awesome) and drop some spoilers (NOOOO!!!!); but honestly, I don’t think I could do them justice.
I am, however, fully qualified to discuss AMC’s cool Transmedia Storyworld approach and how they created an interactive, multiplatform experience for fans of the show.
(The American ones anyway)… Thanks AMC!
One such feature is a second screen Story-Sync. When connected you are delivered a whole host of bonus content in real time, while watching the show live on TV.
Things like characters details, location details, even a breakdown of the guns found on screen are all delivered to you on your second screen.
You can interact with the app and answer questions, including trivia from Breaking Bad and even predict how you think the episode will end.
You are asked how you would have handled a certain situation on screen and even rate Saul’s Jimmy’s decisions or his actions throughout the episode. All of this data is then collected and used to assess “which character you resemble most”.
You can even play guess the quote…
The App also provides a few nice touches in relation to law trivia – he is a lawyer after all.
There is a running gag on screen related to a defendant being a “petty with a prior”. The line is said over and over again, but it’s the app that explains what it actually means.
All in all, I very much enjoyed the content on the app…
I wish I had experienced it at the same time as Americans, and not through an uploaded re-play, 24 hours later… Thanks again AMC.
But that’s not all.
During the build up to the pilot, audiences were sent lots of cool things online. The most publicly accessible was an online comic.
The comic re-told a key event from Breaking Bad, from Saul Goodman’s perspective; the comic also focused on Mike’s attempt to learn Heisenberg’s true identity. It was a fun little tie-in.
Users who sign up to the AMC site are also able to receive letters from Saul Goodman himself – written in his typical wordy, hypothetical and over-the top metaphorical style.
AMC also released a nifty little Facebook app where fans can create false digital ID’s with their profile pictures – It’s a shame that these ID’s aren’t featured on the Second Screen Sync – it would add a nice little touch of user-generated content to the mix. Next time maybe.
And finally, AMC released promo videos, character breakdown videos, Better Call Saul TV spots, games and a whole host of other video content…
And when these become available to people outside of the US I’m sure I will love them. So once again… Thanks AMC!
(It makes it worse that they email you telling you to watch – before turning you away).
It’s great that AMC chose to go down the route of interactive Transmedia for Better Call Saul; even when they didn’t need to build an audience from the ground up.
Breaking Bad set records that Better Call Saul just continued (It was the most viewed pilot in history among 18-49 yr olds with 4.4 million views).
What is good news for fans of great interactive content is that AMC chose to augment the TV story with some brilliantly thought out Storyworld content – they didn’t fluff it (as so many do) apart from the whole GEO issue… Thanks AMC!
Episode 3 “Nacho” is due to be released tomorrow on Netflix in the UK. Try and check out the second screen content if you can…
If you are interested in Transmedia take a look at this printable implementation guide you can download and keep – click on the image to get it:
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