Alexander noted in passing that one of the ways Heroes builds the narrative is through a process of rapid prototyping. This lets the writing team bring themes forward quickly and examine their options. And I found myself thinking, “well, why not let the fans do this?”
I have been arguing for some time that genre TV is ripe for Free Culture. “Open Star Trek” is one of my standard pitches. The example I use is Xena Warrior Princess, which had a couple of potential (ly disastrous) plotlines rightfully dropped after fan reactions, had episodes written by fans turned pro, and which mentioned a fan website in its final episode.
There are problems with pandering to fannishness – rabid fans can prevent a show growing and developing. There are problems with openness – I blogged about handling reveals and cliffhangers in participatory media before.
But the potential of creating the bible, plotlines, CGI and scripts for a series in a participatory way is massive. Copyleft can turn fan contributions into drivers of value for the core project and avoid making fans into sharecroppers. This is a combination that is just crying out to be tried. If anyone wants to give it a go then get in touch…