According to Variety, online chatter about TV shows is forming an all important “viral watercooler” effect coveted by studios and their PR teams.
Thanks to the Internet, a show’s shelf-life now extends days after an episode’s premiere for shows that lend themselves to obsessive online discussion and analysis.
…nowadays episode recaps for series like “Mad Men” and “Lost” are no mere quick rundowns of major plot developments. They’re often a cross between literary criticism and discourses in conspiracy theory. On the most popular blogs and websites, comments on a recap can easily pass the 300 mark within 48 hours, and many of them raise new theories or challenge the reasoning behind the original thread.
A major plot point on “Mad Men” this season was uncovered by commenters on the “What’s Alan Watching” blog, written by the Newark Star-Ledger’s TV critic Alan Sepinwall. When an intriguing male character had a seemingly fleeting introduction as “Connie” from “San Antonio, New Mexico,” fans went to work and quickly surmised that it had to be hotel magnate Conrad Hilton. Sure enough, three episodes later, Don Draper’s chance meeting with the man he didn’t recognize to be Hilton figured into the storyline.