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Buffy, the Transmedia Hero

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journal contribution
posted on 22.05.2017, 06:09 by Emma Beddows
The following paper aims to advance a theory of trans-semiotic flow based on an analysis of Joss Whedon’s Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1992–present). Buffy is an example of what Henry Jenkins refers to as transmedia storytelling, which entails “stories that unfold across multiple media platforms, with each medium making distinctive contributions to our understanding of the world.” Critically, the literature on transmedia storytelling suggests that its methods rely on exploiting different media to perform storytelling roles based on strengths associated with form. Such a view champions creative multiplicity over mere reproduction. Whilst this model is theoretically sound, the present research suggests that such an approach weakens stories based on a continuity structure (a unified experience systematically developed across platforms). Discrete media invariably convey story elements differently, which means that the aesthetic quality established in one form cannot be reproduced with complete accuracy in another, thus compromising the continuity structure underpinning the narrative and distorting experience of the text.

The aim of this paper is to explore how extant media in Buffy are consumed, and to explore the nature of the relationship between platforms as they relate to story aesthetics. Critically, this paper discusses how Buffy fans conceive of trans-semiotic flow and how discrete semiotic contexts are reconciled in a transmedia structure.


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