by Michael Chasin
The critically acclaimed Mad Men recently ended its eight-year run.
Eight years—the equivalent of two presidential terms—during which so much in the world changes.
Eight years—the equivalent of high school—and college—during which we change so much.
So it is not surprising that after eight years with these characters—feeling their triumphs, tragedies, and changes—that we felt genuine emotion seeing them go.
That is the power of well-crafted entertainment—that was consumed over a long period of time—in this case, very specifically, on Sunday nights at 10 PM on the AMC network.
Will this phenomenon continue?
Entertainment is increasingly being delivered differently, in immediacy, such as:
- In bulk—with all episodes at once
- On-demand—on the day and time of your preference
- Anywhere—via your mobile device
With that, can character affinity be built up in a binge watching session—without time between episodes for the characters to resonate with us?
Can character empathy and interest be created while viewing in a distracting supermarket check-out line?
The answer, of course—is yes.
We likely cared about the Mad Men characters during the first act of that pilot episode.
Why? Because the skilled writer(s) created compelling characters.
The rogue, expert, yet flawed men—and the competent and harassed women.
They were unique, yet identifiable characters that we immediately cared about.
So regardless of how your content will be consumed, always be certain that your characters are complex—and have reasons for us—to care about them.
Pictures: wikipedia.org, insiderlouisville.com