I did a quick trawl around the blogosphere to see what folks were saying about last night’s "CSI:NY" episode "Down the Rabbit Hole" that featured Second Life prominently in the story. As someone who has been active in Second Life for a year and a half, I don’t have much understanding of what it must be like to encounter it on television as a complete newcomer. I was focusing largely on inconsistencies between the fictionalized portrayal and my own rougher experience in-world, which would be totally unnoticed by someone who had never been in Second Life.
I found an interesting mix of reactions, much of it positive…
Kristine Huntley at CSI Files had good things to say about the SL plot device:
As someone who didn’t know anything about Second Life before the press
for the episode came out and hadn’t seen the interface until tonight’s
episode, I have to say, I’m impressed. The graphics were cool, and the
moniker "Second Life" is fitting, as the meta world Mac jumped into is
just that–an entire world where people interact, attend social
functions and even shop for hip new accessories. I was a little
skeptical going into the episode about how well Second Life would mesh
with the investigation, but with Adam chasing IPs as Mac interacted
with suspects, the script sold the idea of the online world being a
crucial part of the investigation.
"Less than 3" was disappointed that the story was so weak:
While I applaud CBS’ efforts at really making a splash and working at
establishing a presence in SL that will probably appeal to the fans of
their shows…especially in light of the nonsplash so many rw brands
have made coming into SL, I gotta say…as a CSI episode, I felt it was
pretty weak…as it was obviously a lot more geared as a ‘vehicle’ to
introduce SL with a pretty light plotline. In fact…Law & Order:
SVU totally PWNED them by already airing an episode this season with a
much richer and more intriguing storyline that involved a fictional
virtual world that closely mirrored SL.
A.Media Circ.us thought it was a huge success from a marketing perspective:
Was This A Success? YES! I don’t care what the numbers say, nor do I care whether or not CBS
or any of the involved parties thought it was a success. I have said
this before and I will say it again, Experimentation Is The Mother Of Innovation and it is this type of large scale experiment that pushed the whole industry forward. My job as a marketing/media strategist has been enhanced due to this
experiment, and for that I tip my hat to all involved parties.
It’s a bit of an ARG, really, playing out on television, in Second Life
and through blogs, videos and podcasts. If only there were mobile text
messages being sent when you got stuck – that’s what always happens in
the TV show, isn’t it? In a rather spooky yet compelling way, this is
also why you’re in Second Life in the first place: on the trail of a
stalker cum murderer who trailed his victim into Second Life to kill
her. First life, Second Life… all this transmedia stuff is getting a
You can also read what people are posting about the show in the official CSI:NY discussion forum. It’s not exactly scintillating reading at the moment, mostly a lot of "I don’t know my password," and "do I need a headset?" comments. Opinions about the actual episode are very mixed, with some seeing it as a weak episode focused mostly on promoting the Second Life experience, while others thought it was one of the best ever. YMMV.