From Katie Bishop:
After our discussion on Tuesday about narrative complexity, I began thinking about shows that I watch that encourage a more actively engaged viewer. One show that really stood out to me was ABC’s Once Upon a Time, a show about story book characters coming to life. This show is very complex, but definitely rewards its loyal viewers. What makes the show complicated is that it jumps between two different worlds: a story book world and our world. It often introduces a character in either world and throughout the show discusses why they are relevant to the overall show and really gets at the essence of each character. This show can disorient viewers because if you miss just one show, you miss out on discovering what story book character someone is and what their role is. While the individual episodes might not flow together, they all come together in the end. So even though this specific show invites temporary confusion, it most certainly rewards its weekly, loyal viewers and fans.
I know that when I watch this show I prefer to watch it alone because I cannot risk missing any part of the episode because at times it is like a puzzle, and I am constantly trying to put the individual pieces together. This relates to media marathoning because Once Upon a Time demands a high level of engagement to really understand and comprehend the show.
I really encourage everyone to marathon narratively complex television shows because it requires you to really engage in the text. Also, if it is a good show, you might be able to build para-social relationships with some of the characters.