Guest blogger Michaela, a sixth-former from Newcastle, checks out Summerbreak and TryLife – two online only transmedia shows.

@SummerBreak advertises reality when in fact it is a load of staged nonsense!

It is meant to be about following the lives of a group of teenagers in LA spending their last summer together; it seemed quite a good idea showing their life, and how they arespending the last couple of weeks together as a group of close friends.

After watching the first episode on their YouTube channel, I found that in fact it was not what I originally thought it to be.  The teenagers who are part of the cast seem to be really awkward in front of the camera and their personalities seem bland and boring; considering it’s meant to be a reality series it doesn’t say much about them as people.

The cast members also have accounts on various other social media sites such as Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr so you can follow their lives there, but after seeing some of their tweets I don’t understand what’s so special about them.  They are just a bunch of normal teenagers who have been put in these situations where it makes them seem that they do all sorts of activities every day when in fact they’d probably just sit at home and watch TV if it wasn’t for this ‘show’.   It reminds me of something like The Only Way Essex and Made in Chelsea where there are scenes and scenarios that have been made up, and they are acting simply to create drama and tension between the cast.  That does not make it a reality show!

Another show that is only viewable online is TryLife .  TryLife is an interactive show where you decide what happens to the main character, with over 20 different endings depending on which options you choose.  Personally I think this is a better way to use transmedia – where the viewer decides what happens to the characters rather than watching teenagers live their day to day life.

Although you can interact with the cast of SummerBreak and ask them questions about what really happens, there is no control over what happens to them, and you can’t go back and change the story to see what could have happened, which you can with TryLife.  With TryLife even if you have come to an ending, you can still go back to the beginning and choose different options so you can get a different ending every time.  This keeps the viewer more entertained and you can keep coming back to it, whereas with SummerBreak you get what you are given.  TryLife is a lot more original than SummerBreak because stuff like SummerBreak has already been done before and it is just recycled content.