Medical drama “Body of Proof” is about a medical examiner in Philadelphia, and how her neuro background helps her solve cases. As you may pick up from my flat introduction to this show, “Body of Proof” hasn’t really grabbed me… but that doesn’t mean we can’t take a look at a rather cool transmedia offering the show is offering on their site!
"Body of Proof" have actually taken an interesting approach to creating a web series, in that they’re creating a storyline to work as a bridge between a two-part episode. In the first "part," the medical team on the show faces a mysterious outbreak, and in part two, they will probably resolve it.
In between those episodes is “Outbreak,” which began rolling out on March 27, and will roll out the fifth episode on April 3, the day of the second broadcast episode.
"Outbreak" follows a news reporter who is also trying to figure out what’s happening in the city when the virus hits. As of episode 4, no main cast members are involved, though it does appear to use title elements from the series.
While the production budget of this short series appears to be higher than the average “web series,” the fact that it doesn’t really “look like the show” or has any of the principals in the cast makes it more difficult to see this as mandatory viewing for fans — even if it does provide an expansion on the “Body of Proof” world.
In fact, the difference in production is very underlined in the first scene in the first webisode… as one character gives an address about the virus, it looks like it’s from the show, but as it cuts to the reporter in the audience, you can clearly see the difference in one being shot at a different time and with a different crew.
Regardless, I would be curious to see how the fifth instalment plays out, and if it’s going to be giving out any clues about the viral outbreak that aren’t given away on-air, or if online viewers are going to solve the mystery sooner. I would like to see more shows take this kind of “bridge” approach to web series, as long as it packs in some kind of narrative value to audiences. Ideally, something like this would be built into the “flagship” production of the series, as the differences in production could make it appear to be “less important” to viewers.
The other key to the puzzle, would be a way to build in enough promotion for the web component, because judging from the # of likes on the videos themselves, I can tell they aren’t getting enough. The show has 187,000 fans on Facebook, but only 100 people like the first webisode. Could ABC be reluctant to promo the web series because the video itself isn’t up to broadcast? This could also be a case for having the mother production create these web series just like episodes of the show. Still, I do appreciate ABC’s shot at giving this a go, and I hope fans of the series are entertained and titillated by it.