The CW Network’s television show, Arrow, tells the story of a billionaire’s son, Oliver Queen, who was shipwrecked, missing, and presumed dead for five years. He’s found and returns home to Starling City, a changed man. He creates a secret persona of Arrow and tries to help his family, himself, and Starling City. The show has taken different forms of transmedia extensions, including comic books, a wiki, character Twitter accounts, and character appearance in video games. I will be focusing on the wiki because it is a strong example of transmedia storytelling, “a process where integral elements of a fiction get dispersed systematically across multiple delivery channels for the purpose of creating a unified and coordinated entertainment experience” (Jenkins).
The Arrow wiki is narratively connected to the Arrow television show by providing detailed character biographies, images of characters and from scenes in the show, promotion videos for the episodes, polls, and blog posts by users of the wiki. The wiki builds on the television show and acts as a hypertext fiction, “a set of documents of any kind (images, text, charts, tables, video clips) connected to one another by links…they are best thought of as segmented into generic chunks of information called ‘lexias’” (Murray). Viewers can click on any word (important phrase, name, location, etc. from Arrow) that is typed in green and be taken to another page within the wiki about that particular topic. Viewers can actively piece together the story themselves, creating an individualized narrative, sometimes in a non-linear fashion. They are viewing “lexias” and rearranging them. As someone who has only seen the first seven episodes of this show, I used the hypertext to navigate the wiki and gleaned more information about the storyworld and the characters and, essentially, got “caught up” by jumping from page to page on the wiki. However, my experience was different from anyone else who has visited the same wiki.
The Arrow wiki functions as a cultural attractor, “drawing together like-minded individuals to form new knowledge communities” (Jenkins). Several Arrow fans have created user blogs and use them as platforms for sharing ideas, knowledge, and commentary about what is happening at that moment in the show. The wiki even has two dedicated pages showing every single edit and who has made each one.
Jenkins argues that transmedia narratives also function as textual activators, which “set into motion the production, assessment, and archiving information” (Jenkins). The Arrow wiki is archiving information about the show, documenting episodes, characters, and the overall narrative outline. If anyone wants to know anything about Arrow, this is the place he/she should go. It has very detailed accounts of people, places, and events in Arrow and holds record of the past, present, and future of the show.
Jenkins, Henry. “Transmedia Storytelling 101.” Confessions of an Aca-Fan: The Official Weblog of Henry Jenkins. Web. 1 March 2014.
Murray, Janet. Hamlet on the Holodeck. New York City: The Free Press, 1997. Print.