An audience’s satisfaction with an entertainment product is dependent on how well their expectations are fulfilled. This study delves into the implicit contract that is formed between the purveyor of an entertainment property and their audience, as well as the consequences of frustrating audience expectations. Building on this model of the implicit contract, the creation of expectations through marketing, character and world development, and the invocation of genre discourses are examined through the lens of the television shows House M.D. and Veronica Mars. The issues surrounding the dynamic equilibrium between novelty and stability in serial entertainment and entertainment franchises brought up by these initial case studies are examined in further detail through the collectible card game Magic: the Gathering, and the complexity of the interactions between different types of expectations are demonstrated via a study of the superhero comics serials 52 and Civil War.
About Alec Austin
Since his graduation from CMS, Alec Austin has worked as a game designer at EA, Electrified Games, Tapzen, and Kabam. His short fiction has been published in a variety of markets, including Analog, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and Strange Horizons.