Television purists beware: Facebook isn’t just about to break the fourth wall — it plans to obliterate it.
Facebook has become the ultimate medium for advertisers, publicists and companies to display their products. It was only a matter of time before studios began seeing the potential in utilizing this format to stream their material for profit.
For the past couple of months, Warner Bros. has been experimenting with streaming movies, such as the Harry Potter series and The Dark Knight, on Facebook for a small fee. The plan has gone over rather successfully.
Now, Warner Bros. has joined with Facebook to launch an experimental new type of “social series” television show, Aim High, which airs exclusively on the site. The action comedy stars Jackson Rathbone (The Twlight Saga) as high school junior Nick Green, who moonlights as a government operative.
However, the done-before story arc is not what distinguishes Aim High from the lot. The gimmick lies in the experimental aspect of the social series. Warner Bros. has claimed Aim High is the first of its kind, a truly interactive innovation, because the show incorporates the Facebook profiles of those watching it.
In last night’s premiere, viewers could join in the experience by installing the Facebook App from the show’s page, enabling the integration of all the content featured on their profile pages into the show.
Facebook users who choose to opt into this new service will find their information (such as pictures, texts, music and friends) incorporated into scenes throughout the episode. This can range from one’s photo appearing on a poster in the cafeteria to a name of a friend scribbled across a notebook.
While the concept sounds fascinating theoretically, at its core, its invasive nature should be cause for concern. Facebook has already made stalking and blatant over-sharing socially acceptable acts, but Aim High takes this narcissism too far.
A television show, even one produced by Warner Bros., that gains complete artistic access and control over one’s profile information should set off red flags. Integrating information into a show digitally may sound appealing — in fact, it may set a precedent for future web-based series — but something about it seems downright creepy.
Yet, creepiness aside, it is curious Warner Bros. has chosen to launch this pioneering technology with a show as cliché as Aim High.
Perhaps they are relying on the novelty of the concept and the fame of the lead actor to generate a legitimate success; only time will tell if this odd concept will find its niche.
Regardless, its performance will be telling as to whether this will mark a trend in online television.
Warner Bros. should congratulate itself on being the first studio to tap into this lucrative market, but judging from the lackluster plotline and borderline creepy format, perhaps it should aim higher.