Everywhere you look now, there are franchises and expanded media around. Marvel has its twenty-odd films, Halloween has its many weird timelines. And Doctor Who has Big Finish, lost animations, comics, and the books, which doesn't seem like a lot on the outside. And then you properly research it, and it looks like a mountain to climb through. For those interested in getting into the expanded media, and sometimes it turns people off completely!
If you love something that much, you consume all of it, mainly if it's media-based. So what is it about expanded media that makes franchises exhausting and terrifying?
Alienating for the average fan
Average fans who see a character or storyline they like that further explore what they love to consume and enjoy. However, when you read the book, and it references five other things. Or goes onto that media for one character, then realises you have to collect five hundred other things. It can get confusing and be alienating because you feel like you're not a real fan if you haven't caught up like everyone else. But it also alienates you because there's so much there that it becomes off-putting, and you don't want to touch the extra content provided. It makes you distant from the extended stuff, which can take you away from the entire culture of the thing you love if you aren't careful.
Too much too soon
When there's extended media and mediums, you find that it feels like there's a release every month. Keeping up with the extended media and the primary source of entertainment can be too much. It saps the joy out of it. Plus, knowing when something is going to be released and trying to keep up with it. Even when you are okay with the monthly range of new content can begin to be exhausting in and of itself.
Expanded Media is Expensive
Expanded media and its releases. Whether it is a Marvel and What if streaming on Disney plus, the dozens of comic books for literally every franchise going, paying for all these services and pieces of merchandise can get expensive mainly if you are into three pop culture phenomenons at once.
And when you compare that with a budget that typically has to pay for rent and other utilities paying that high amount of money for extended media isn't as significant.
And so, although they want to join in on the fun, they can't because they can't afford it.
Expanded media is not necessary
Another thing about expanded media is that it doesn't affect the primary form of media. And the lack of impact on the main plot doesn't interest people. Unless it happens on the direct piece of media, it doesn't count or didn't happen.
They also don't like the lack of consequences it doesn't have on the main plot, so they get annoyed with it. The short answer is that many people don't find it necessary to consume the extra content for whatever reason.
People don't know where to start.
Another reason why people are so fed up with extended media is because they don't know where to start.
Fans don't know where to start. As, by the time they've started watching the main show, there's been a ton of extended media from books to comics to toys. And so when you begin to get into it, you don't know which bit to start with and where it ends. And what's worth buying and discarding. Investing in something that big and unending feels like giving your money to a black hole. It can be unfulfilling and confusing.
How to fix it
There are many reasons why people are tired and scared of extended media. So if you haven't walked away from consuming the products, then what's the solution? How do you find joy in the content you want and used to enjoy?
Take a break
Fandom and online spaces might be going wild over the stuff and shaming you for what you consume. However, you choose how you interact with it! It's okay to take a break and come back to it whenever you want!
Another thing you can do instead of buying everything from the extended media is buying the stuff that interests you. So you don't get overwhelmed and bogged down trying to keep up.
And if you find it too expensive to keep up with, see if you can wait until the stores sell it at a discount. Or get it in a bundle (or something similar.) It means you get the content you love for a lower price than expected!
Ultimately people are getting tired of expanded/extended media. And the only way that relationship will change is if we change our habits and attitudes towards it.
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