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October 4, 2015

Exploring the new world of online deleted scenes

by Joel Keller, posted Feb 26th 2007 8:43PM
Steve Carell and Ed HelmsSunday's edition of the Newark Star-Ledger had a good article about the relatively new phenomenon of online-viewable deleted scenes, and how show-runners have been utilizing them. Alan Sepinwall, the paper's TV critic, spoke to Greg Daniels of The Office, Jason Katims of Friday Night Lights, and Ronald D. Moore of Battlestar Galactica, about how they've been able to throw in little plot or character details in the deleted scenes, knowing that the fanatical viewers of each show will see them on the web.

For instance, people who watched the extended episodes of The Office online found out that Andy from Stamford went to anger management after his meltdown in the episode called "The Return," but non-online fans didn't find that out until last week's episode. And FNL fans got a better picture of young fullback Tim Riggins, who a recent episode made look like a racist, by seeing some contextual information in the deleted scenes. BSG has used clips from deleted scenes in their pre-episode teasers. Sepinwall talks about a couple of more examples, including one about the Office character of Creed.

It seems right now that NBC Universal is on the forefront of added online content, although CBS put up a lot of additional material to hold Jericho fans over while the show was on its break. But I have to wonder if punishing those of us who don't like watching shows online -- the creators consider it a reward for the shows' most ardent fans -- is the best idea.

I guess giving small away plot points that no one would notice were missing otherwise is a way to go. But the "What happened to Andy?" question was one we were getting quite a bit here at TVS; leaving that info out of the main show was a disservice to the many millions The Office fans that are just as ardent as the online ones, but don't have the patience or inclination to slog through deleted scenes or watch the episode again on their computers.

That's something Daniels found out when word of Andy's situation didn't spread like he hoped it would, as he told Sepinwall. Interesting... shows you that, no matter how prevalent online video is getting, there are still many more old-fashioned geezers like us than there are online fans, and it's going to be a while until that ratio evens out.

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It really kind of bugs me when BSG does this. While I appreciated the web run series of the occupation of New Caprica, I think it's poor storytelling to leave important character and side story development out of the aired episodes just to boost the hits to your website.

While I understand that the lines between our various media are blurring, I like having my TV on TV, my Radio on the Radio, and my online content on my computer... I don't have a tivo, and I have enough of a time deciding what to watch/listen to/Read as it is!

February 27 2007 at 10:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I really don't like the idea of the online deleted scenes. For one thing, I am deaf, and none of the iTunes and the 5 networks' websites don't provide captioning. Just not fair, if I missed an episode and I can't check out the web episodes. :(

I am glad the office experiment didn't pan out.

February 27 2007 at 9:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
The Midnight Penguin

I was just having this conversation the other day. I watch so much television via my TIVO that I barely find enough time to read up here on TVS - there's no way I have enough time to follow up on every show I watch on the actual websites. Plus, the few times I've gone, despite my highspeed internet, I always have loading difficulties and pages that don't load. I think in many ways it's unfair to post these "extras" to a show like THE OFFICE. I don't feel that I should be deprived of semi-important information such as why Andy was absent because I didn't have extra time to watch webisodes online (I rely on the comments here for that). When it comes to LOST and their extras, however, they don't seem to add much to the actual storyline - i.e. that I would feel I've lost some information. If TVS wants to start reviewing the webisodes in the manner it posts spoilers, I for one would be very grateful, since spoilers cull the print coverage so I don't have to - it'd be nice to have the same info posted for the webisodes. There's my two cents...

February 26 2007 at 10:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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