A few days ago actor Travis Richey, a YouTuber who played Community‘s Doctor Who-spoof Inspector Spacetime in a recent episode of the series, proposed making the show-within-a-show its own fan-driven web series, without Sony and NBC’s involvement. Richey started a Kickstarter campaign, already almost halfway to its modest $20,000 goal — web series are cheap, and Inspector Spacetime is, conveniently, supposed to look crappy. (UPDATE: NBC has sort of scuttled the effort).
It’s a genius idea. We all know fans come up with the best transmedia content — they know what resonates.
Most buzzy network shows, particularly on NBC, have web/transmedia entertainment. But so often they disappoint because production teams think about what’s expedient — for writers and actors — and not what fans really crave. Who would have thought that Inspector Spacetime, onscreen for less than a few minutes, would resonate most with Community fans?
30 Rock is a great case study. As much a fan I am of 30 Rock, I rarely partake in its many, many online extras. Jack Donaghy: Executive Superhero and Frank vs. Lutz are pretty good but feel a bit too cheap and easy, a little too obvious. To be sure, the show has created some good transmedia projects, like its fake Dealbreakers web site, or JoanOfSnark.com, or Sh*t Liz Lemon Says.
These ideas worked because they took a quick, funny moment in the show and blew it up, made it bigger for fans. 30 Rock is especially ripe for such offshoots because it has so many recurring jokes and show-within-a-show gags. It’s televisual self-reflexivity on steroids.
Now in its sixth season, it’s unlikely Sony/NBC’s going to put much more money into transmedia content. Its ratings aren’t going up. And the writers must be tired. But who knows? Perhaps a few hit web shows that remind fans of how many jokes the producers pack into 22 minutes might keep them from clicking over to American Idol.
Can we Inspector Spacetime 30 Rock? I think we can.
Leap Dave Williams
The latest 30 Rock gave us the exceedingly camp movie Leap Dave Williams, a faux Jim Carrey vehicle about Leap Day William, the show’s maize-and-blue “Leap Day” mascot. We want to see more of this!
Industry Is The Enemy of Art: A German Sitcom
Jack Donaghy bought a German TV network with horrible “sitcoms” featuring black-and-white documentary footage of factory assembly lines. What else does the German network broadcast? Other possibilities in this vein: Kabletown’s “Porn for Women” and any show on the gay network “Twinks.”
Mee-Ow Finds a Boyfriend
Sure to offend environmentalists, women and Asians. Jack has the pitch: “Mee Ow: she owns the largest alternative energy corporation in Asia, so, as part of our ‘green’ initiative, we’re doing a reality show about her quest to find a boyfriend.”
American Hikikomori, Or Goregasm Ruins Teen Lives
Tracy Jordan has apparently created the most addictive video game in history, one that perfectly combines the pleasures of porn and game play. How has this affected our youth? A mock docu-series would be illuminating.
The Misadventures of Greenzo
Greenzo kind of had a nervous breakdown, but in my mind he got it together and started shooting a web series chock full of useless/impractical environmental tips.
Queen of Jordan
“It’s my way ’til pay day.” We want more.
Los Amantes Clandestinos
Elisa’s grandmother isn’t the only one who wants to see the Generalissimo romance the town’s elderly.
Good Morning North Korea with Avery Jessup-Donaghy
She probably won’t be First Lady of North Korea for long, but while she is we might as well see a few choice clips from her daily news program.
Hot Box With Avery and Celeste
We all loved Avery’s program Hot Box (a light spoof of CNBC’s Squawk Box). Upon her return to the US, the producers would do well to pair her with CC (Edie Falco) for a daily partisan blonde showdown. It’ll shore up her conservative credentials and quell fears of North Korean brainwashing!
Matt with Matt Lauer
Or Brian with Brian Williams. Or Tommy With Thomas Roberts. So many NBC, CNBC and MSNBC anchors show up on 30 Rock clearly they’re all angling for the spotlight. I say they get their own web shows where they can be dorky for as long as they want.
Bonus 1: The Girlie Show
We barely saw TGS before Tracy Jordan. Was it worse? Could it be?
Bonus 2: All of Tracy Jordan Movies
One part Eddie Murphy, one part Tyler Perry. How could this not entertain?
Bonus 3: All of Jenna Maroney’s Movies
Can we see the dailies from Jackie Jormp-Jomp?