For my section B, I have chosen three TV series, I have chosen the British Drama, BBC Sherlock, a Netflix original series, Stranger Things and Sci-fi/Comedy, The Big Bang Theory. These three TV series portray some sort of similarities and differences, an example of similarities that they all share is that they are promoted on the eMedia platform such as Facebook. This allows them all to promote their text to a large audience as another similarity they share is the aim at an age range, these shows are aimed at young people between 14 and mid 20’s, a lot of people in that age range tend to use social medias such as Facebook therefore the best method to keep up to date. In addition, all of these three series are available online however only two are available on cable TV, Stranger Things is only available on Netflix at the moment.
To improve my section B, I will include the inversion of traditional narrative structures such as Intertextuality / Subverted / Post Modernism / Parody and Reboot. These narrative structures fit perfectly with some of the texts I have used in my case study such as Stranger Things, they use the narrative structure of Post Modernism as it is a series released in 2016 yet set in the 1980’s, this allows it to stand out to other series as well as create a sense of nostalgia as people who grew up in that era would relate to the atmosphere of the show. In addition, they also use intertextuality by adding 80’s soundtracks, this allows the audience to engage more to the 80’s vibe.
A primary audience is the targeted audience who producers aim at producing their shows for, this can relate to their age, gender and preferences. Examples of these are in my three chosen texts. In BBC Sherlock, it is targeted at a slightly older audience such as 15+ the same relates to Stranger Things whereas The Big Bang Theory is targeted at 12+, in addition they all target towards both genders. On the other hand, Stranger Things and The Big Bang Theory are based on sci-fi whereas Sherlock and Stranger Things are based on mystery. I believe that BBC Sherlock is targeted towards the social grade A to C1 as it portrays a slightly higher class life whereas Stranger Things and The Big Bang Theory relates to the social grades C2 to E as its targeted towards the working-class people as well as slightly older people since Stranger Things is set in the 1980’s.
In addition, these shows also tend to appear to a secondary audience also. A secondary audience are the audience that the institutes don’t directly aim for yet appear to them also. In terms of the shows, secondary audience for the shows could be used as a sense of nostalgia, for example, some people may tend to watch Stranger Things because they grew up in the 1980s therefore want to relive that era again. The same applies to BBC Sherlock as people may be fans of Benedict Cumberbatch or the character Sherlock Holmes. In addition, people may tend to watch Big Bang Theory as they may be a fan of sci-fi, the same reason they may watch Stranger Things.
Each of my chosen texts are consumed by people in different ways. Firstly, they are all aired on TV as well as Netflix when the air dates are over. People are able to watch them on all devices which allow Netflix to run, however they do show two of the texts on television (Sherlock on BBC ONE, The Big Bang Theory on E4).
There are several ways that my chosen texts appeal to their target audience. Examples of this are the advertisements used before BBC Sherlock was aired, they showed the villain Jim Moriaty saying his iconic quote “Miss me?” this can be used a form of gratification as it can suggest that fans have missed the show since it had been around 2 to 3 years since the last season was released. In addition, the theme of the 80s used in Stranger Things perhaps suggest that they feel more engaged especially to the older audience who grew up in the 80s as it will create a sense of nostalgia due to its realistic approach.
Audiences can be defined by their: Gender, Ethnicity, Age, Region/Nationality, Socio-economic group. This also includes the people of social status, the division between A to C1 and C2 to E. The division of social grading can relate to what they watch, for example people from the grading A-C1 are usually middle class and perhaps slightly older therefore tend to watch channels which are used on paid cable such as Sky they may watch channels like Sky Atlantic, Comedy Central, BBC 2/4. On the other hand, people in the grading system C2 to E are more working class and younger people therefore most likely not being able to afford luxuries like Sky and having to use services like Freeview this could be consumed by channels such as E4 and Dave.
My chosen texts have some form of audience interaction, examples of this is that they have produced a Sherlock game on portable devices such as iPads. This is available on the App Store; this game allows you to engage and solve puzzles and crime creating a feeling that they are Sherlock Holmes. I personally think it’s really clever since I’ve played it before, it also gives you points which creates motivation making you want to carry on playing. However, this is most likely used by social graders A to C1 as they are the ones who are most likely able to afford luxuries such as iPads and other Apple devices. I believe this will of course sponsor several companies, The BBC of course as that’s where the show is aired on as well as companies such as Apple who release apps like that allowing interaction.
The audience play a large role in the media as they control the texts. Though they may not directly tell the cast and crews what to do but if it weren’t for them demanding for more as well as purchasing merchandise and box sets of the programs the institution will not have enough money to make another series. In addition, some of the chosen text may take some of the audience ideas into consideration. This could be from written ‘fanfic’ which are published on the eMedia platforms such as Wattpad. I believe that this can relate also to the audience demographics as people in the grades A to C1 may have the ability and perhaps more power to control the media as they have easier access to social networks and the power to get their voice heard. I believe that the platform which allows the greatest audience control is eMedia, this is plainly due to the fact that people have more access to sharing their opinions, they can post a status, create a hashtag trend, post fan art or videos, since the eMedia platform is widely used by a great population, especially for the viewers in my chosen texts are they are targeted towards teenagers and young adults, they have a higher chance of having their opinions heard therefore a better chance of having some form of control.
Linking to the audience control, it’s very rare that the audience can manipulate and control text, especially if their demographics are C2 to E. Regardless the socio-demographics of a person, the only way I personally believe that they can influence a media text is through an opinionated approach. For example, due to a massive outcome of positivity given by viewers of the Netflix original series Stranger Things they demanded a season two, due to very high demands of a second season, The Duffer Brothers have planned to make season two which will be aired October 2017. Though some institutes do that because they have ability to there are some that unfortunately cannot. BBC Sherlock has a very strong and large fan base (myself included) and they desperately request seasons after seasons as they take a few years to release new seasons, unfortunately season 4 (season recently released) has been referred as the final season. Though this may be tragic for the Sherlock fans it is quite understandable.
This relates to the Fiske Theory as it includes some of the five factors. An example of this is the use of region, an example of this is the use of the London scenery in BBC Sherlock this makes the series more eye catching. The use of iconography such as using red double decker buses and traditional black cabs set the iconic scene of London, this engages the audience more as they get to see the reality of the city life as well as allowing them to feel as if they’re in London. My texts also relate to Hartley’s audience identification, these identifications consist of:
- Age group
Since I have previously mentioned how my texts relate to the classes the audience are referred as, there are other identifications that my texts relate to, and an example of this is nationality. All three of my chosen texts are set in the western world, therefore lifestyle be-tween the three texts are quite similar even though they are set in two different countries such as The United Kingdom (BBC Sherlock) and The United States of America (Stranger Things and The Big Bang Theory).
Other co-operations such as Marvel are using actors like Benedict Cumberbatch to film Doc-tor Strange therefore not having a lot of time to film for the Sherlock series. In terms of which technology produces greatest consumption or production I believe portable devices such as tablets and mobile phones as they have easy access to eMedia platforms such as Facebook and Twitter where they can post their opinions and ideas as well as broadcasting services such as Netflix where they can view the texts.
When it comes to institutions, there is a division between major and independent as well as how they are funded. Sherlock is funded by the BBC (British Broadcasting co-operation). They get their funds from the public through the required payment of a Television license of £12.12 a month. Due to the payment required by the public and lack of advertisement they are required to produce one of the best qualities as they do not want to disappoint the public since they are paying to view these channels. The same refers to The Big Bang Theory, they are funded from CBS (Columbia Broadcasting System) they are funded through advertisers and their sponsorships. Due to this they must ensure they produce good quality as they do not want to lose their advertisers which will lack the funding therefore the quality will decrease. On the other hand, Stranger Things is slightly different, although it’s popular and quite good quality, it’s a Netflix Original Series therefore they’re funding is slightly less as Netflix relies on subscriptions from their viewers, the payment from the memberships go towards the funding for the shows. Although the quality is still good, it’s slightly less compared to the other texts as this is not as demanded as well as for a smaller audience.
Advantages of working with major ownerships is that you will receive more funding therefore you will have the ability to use more professional equipment and a better casting to increase the quality of the text. In addition, there is a higher chance of them getting noticed which will increase in popularity meaning their funding and commission will increase. However, there are disadvantages, being part of a mainstream institution means that you are a small fish in a big pond, it is very competitive since other companies are fighting against each other, in addition they will take a percentage of all earnings and if the quality is bad, they will cut you from the institution without any second thoughts.
All three of my chosen texts have different producers, distributors and funders. BBC Sherlock was produced by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatniss however it is also produced by BBC Worldwide and Hartswood Films. The Big Bang Theory on the other hand was produced by Chuck Lorre and Steven Molerro as well as Chuck Lorre Productions and Warner Brothers Television. In addition, Stranger Things is produced by The Duffer Brothers however distributed and funded by Netflix. Sherlock on the other hand is funded by the BBC as well as distributed and The Big Bang Theory is funded and distributed by The Warner Brothers.
BBC Sherlock is known for the iconic British detective Sherlock Holmes starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman (as Sherlock Holmes and John Watson), originally from the novels written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The series have a slight modern twist however set with the classic cases from the original novel. The Big Bang Theory are known for their geeky group of friends starring Jim Parsons who live in California as professors, the nerdy bunch go through a series of events throughout the show with their neighbour Penny. Stranger Things on the other hand is based on a bunch of nerdy teenagers in a suburban town in America, their friend goes missing and they are on the hunt to find him, on their journey they encounter the mysterious girl Eleven she helps guide the boys to find their missing friend Will.
In terms of ownership, the three chosen texts are owned by various institutions. Their ownership and deals refer to their quality of production. Since Sherlock is owned by the BBC, an institution which is funded by the public their quality will be really good as they do not wish to upset the public since they are paying for it through tax (TV license). The Big Bang Theory on the other hand is owned by Chuck Lorre Productions and Warner Brothers Television, they usually receive their funding through advertisement on CBS which means that they have to produce good quality in order to keep receiving sponsorship. Stranger Things on the other hand is owned by Netflix, hence it being a ‘Netflix Original Series’ although it’s popular, it’s not as popular as other institutions therefore funding and promotion not being as much which means the quality will not be as professional.
In my case study, my chosen texts have a variety of representation whether it includes the representation of the characters or the places. For example, Sherlock Holmes is known as a famous British detective who lives at 221b Baker Street which is located in the heart of London. London is represented as a lively city, very fast pace, this links to Sherlock as a character as he is a fast talking person, quick thinker and always on the move. In The Big Bang Theory the characters are represented as nerdy scientists, this is quite evident as their apartment is full of science gadgets, in terms of being a stereotypical nerd, they wear super hero t-shirts and play games such as Dungeons and Dragons. Stranger Things on the other hand is represented the same, they’re stereotypical nerdy teenagers who play games such as Dungeon and Dragons as well as get bullied.
In terms of stereotypes, BBC Sherlock strongly uses the red buses and black taxis as mis en scene. Those iconic figures as well as the use of them drinking tea is a strong stereotype towards the British culture. The Big Bang Theory is the same, they are the stereotypical nerds, they wear super hero t-shirts and play games such as Dungeons and Dragons. Stranger Things on the other hand is the same, they’re portrayed as stereotypical nerdy teenagers who play games such as Dungeon and Dragons as well as get bullied.
In terms of counter types, all three texts share the same counter type theme of ‘friendship’. In BBC Sherlock there is a friendship and loyal bond between Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. The two flatmates have bonded into a loyal friendship and are always there for each other when facing problems. The same applies to the group of friends in The Big Bang Theory as they’re always together and face events throughout the series as a group in addition they are all truly there for each other and remain loyal regardless the situation. Stranger Things on the other hand has a theme based on friendship, their friend goes missing and as good friends they try their best to find him, they encounter Eleven on the way which then form a friendship with her and her loyalty and friendship help the boys find their missing friend.
Similarities that my chosen texts share is the use of eMedia, since my three texts aim towards teenagers and young adults it is most likely that their viewers will have a social media account such as Facebook or Twitter. In this case, a majority of the advertisement is based online, for example they all have their own social media pages and some have their own websites. Sherlock has its own dedicated page on the BBC website with images and videos regarding the series as well as activities which will engage the audience to participate and feel as if they’re the iconic character. This is something the other two texts don’t have. All three texts do not use print as a form of advertisement, this is a combination of today’s society since everything is electrified and advertised on devices, another reason is that it costs a lot to print and publish posters therefore posters are only used for sale purposes such as merchandise. This fits the representation for BBC Sherlock and The Big Bang Theory as they are set in modern times therefore its common in the show to use devices such as laptops and phones. The most successful platform for advertisement as well as receiving the desired representation is certainly the eMedia platform as that is what most of the audience use therefore it links to the text as well as offering more choices such as multimedia posts and games the uses and gratifications for using eMedia can vary also from entertainment, information and escapism.
In the eMedia platform, there are activities which allow you to test your ability in solving mysteries which can allow you to feel as if you’re Sherlock Holmes, these are found on the BBC website or even on the Appstore as there is a Sherlock game. This applies to the narrative strongly since it engages the audience and links to the uses and gratifications of entertainment, education and escapism since it creates the audience to participate and think when playing these games as well as entertaining themselves since they feel being Sherlock is fun. This certainly reveals the real aspect of the narrative as the cases are the same as well as the characters, in addition the steps in solving the mysteries are the same in the programme. On the other hand, the other shows do not have as much communication which link to the implied narrative, although they are promoted but they are usually promoted through appearances on talk shows as well as broadcast advertising, this mainly allows the audience to receive information about the show rather than engaging in the show.
My chosen media texts come under three narrative theories, Levi Strauss’ Binary Oppisiton, Propp eight character roles and Todorov’s equilibrium theory. All three texts link to Todorov’s theory of equilibrium, whether it occurs in one episode or throughout the series, they all meet the stages in the storyline. Stranger Things and BBC Sherlock link to the Levi Strauss theory of Binary Opposition. In Sherlock its portrayed between good and evil (Sherlock and Moriaty) and Stranger Things is portrayed between the humans and demogorgons. Propps’ eight character theory links to Stranger Things as there are characters that match the list in his theory. The use of Barthes’ theory is used mainly in Sherlock and Stranger Things as it links to mystery which will lead the audience in curiosity causing frustration as they want to know what happens next.
The use of colour in my chosen texts vary. For example in Sherlock, they use darker and plain colours, this can represent the serious and slick side of the programme as well as relating to the characters. Big Bang Theory on the other hand is quite colourful, this perhaps link to their lifestyle as its more colourful as well as their choice in clothing. In addition, Stranger Things uses darker/pale colours as its set in the 80s and the retro colour scheme was slightly different then compared to modern day colour co-ordination.
In terms of composition, Sherlock’s composer David Arnold composed all the music pieces, especially the iconic theme song ‘The game is on’. On the other hand, The Big Bang Theory has a theme song composed by a Canadian band called Barenaked Ladies, the theme song for Stranger Things was composed by Kyle Dixon as well as the other pieces of music in the programme.
Cinematography used in BBC Sherlock consist of the Bullet time effect, this is a perfect example to match his personality, he is always thinking, his fast thinking freezes time around him and thats what this method does. The use of green screen is used in all three texts, its used in Sherlock when there is explosions, its used in The Big Bang Theory when Howard goes to space and its used in Stranger Things when the boys enter the other world; the use of CGI is included in the programme to create the demorgogon. The use of framing in Sherlock is mainly focus and close-ups, this perhaps links to the fact that he is always looking close up for clues to solve the mystery. Stranger Things and The Big Bang Theory uses a lot of mid shots since it involves a group of people throughout the series and they are always together therefore this shot captures the entire group of friends.
Typography is used in Sherlock when they are sending a text or writing on the blog, this is used instead of a shot on the phone or laptop, in addition this also links to how the programme represents modern day society in terms of communication. Fonts that they use in The Big Bang Theory include the impact font, also the word ‘Big’ is larger than the other words in the title and the word ‘Bang’ is even bigger, this perhaps suggests the value of the word. In addition, Stranger Things uses a retro looking font to represent the period it is set in.
The sound decisions used as are mainly non-diegetic sounds. In Sherlock they use it for gunshots, explosions and music when something is about to happen or to match the mood of the scene. In The Big Bang Theory they use a swooshing sound when changing locations and scenes, this links to the scientific effect as the programme is based on science. In addition, they use it for the sound effects given by the demogorgon and the creepy sounds they hear in the woods or in the other world.