Kritik is no longer wanted. When large entertainment corporations want to launch content such as films, series or video games, they use a technique that variety theater has mastered for decades: always only show a part, lure with fragments, then the audience’s attention is certain. In this way, streaming portals like those of Disney or HBO are finding their way back to very linear broadcasting methods, in which a new episode of a current series is released at a certain time each week. The audience’s curiosity is fueled by a deficiency that suddenly stands in the way of the unique selling point of the streaming portals: having everything fully available at all times and, if you want, “beating” a series in ten hours.
None of this would be a problem if those who are allowed to write about it but have to form an opinion were not affected by this intended flaw. How? As in the case of the new Disney series “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier”, journalists only get to see a single episode in advance. Of course, it will be difficult to make a balanced judgment, especially when the predictability, as in the latest Marvel products, fortunately decreases more and more.
But a judgment as a guide or cautious classification based on observation runs counter to the wishes of the entertainment industry anyway. Both streaming giants and the big players in the video game industry prefer to play a kind of excitement scavenger hunt with their audience, in which – see vaudeville – only a little bit of skin is shown. May the scavenger hunt society – bloggers, V-loggers and established news portals alike – report dutifully about the latest find. According to this logic, something only has to exist (in parts) before it is newsworthy. What comes out of it is hardly important anymore.
Now hardly a series critic can always watch all ten to twenty episodes of a series. One would be surprised, however, how many consequences colleagues often tackle in a very short time in order to be able to make at least an approximately fair judgment.
Just the first few minutes of “Play Me a Song of Death”?
But let’s assume, for example, that the Paramount film studio had already started saying in 1968: Dear critics, look here, we are only showing you the first eight minutes of “Play Me the Song of Death” (already shortened by 25 minutes when it was released) , and now write nicely. What would you have written about then? About three cowboys waiting at the train station for a man who – it takes a while before his arrival – blows his harmonica a little and looks funny. Of course, even this short sequence tells a lot about his relationship with the trio. But nobody really knows whether the three of them will pick up the last member of a bluegrass band to go on a road trip to the rifle festival in Santa Fe together.
As always, it’s not just the internet to blame, but people who misbehave in it. In recent years, media companies such as HBO, Sony and, most recently, video game developers have increasingly struggled with people who enjoy hijacking servers on which scripts and details about the outcome of popular series or video games are stored and then publishing them on the Internet . Simply because you can. Another problem are network channels – pop culture portals and YouTube heaters – whose reporting consists of trailer announcements and story speculations that take no account of so-called spoilers. This has not only led to a dangerous paranoia on the corporate side, which means that journalists are constantly signing embargoes and spoiler agreements and are therefore liable for the jokes of hackers, spoilsport and chatterboxes. It is also kept under lock and key, because nobody can be trusted anymore.
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