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No Bathroom Breaks Allowed! Arctic Air Web Extras Promise Non-Stop Finale Action


If you're planning on making a mad dash to the fridge, the bathroom - the nearest 7-11's Doritos aisle - during Wednesday's Arctic Air finale, ask yourself this:

Can you do it while juggling your laptop?

Arctic Air's last episode of the year will be a season finale like no other before it.

That claim goes beyond the obvious details; the CBC drama is set in Yellowknife, NWT, where many a TV crew fears to tread. So instead, get this: when the TV broadcast cuts to commercial Wednesday night, the action won't stop.

For anyone watching the show with a tablet or smartphone or whatever in hand - and according to CBC director of digital content Tessa Sproule, 54 per cent of the network's audience watches while pecking on their device of choice - the story will continue on the Arctic Air website.

Every commercial break, a new scene will be unlocked, picking up from what you just saw on TV.

These videos will be interactive. (Remember Choose Your Own Adventure books? Think that.)

For the uber-fan who's been following Arctic Air all year (specifically the ongoing saga of Caitlin and Nelson), the bonus scenes help piece together the episode's whodunit kidnapping plot.

And if you'd prefer to leave your smartphone out of the equation, that's cool too. Dear purists: You can watch the episode on TV as-is, and you'll still get a loaded DC-3-worth of action.

Still, the Arctic Air team wants this "second screen" experiment to be a special "reward" for superfans.

"This is the finale, and we want you to feel like 'Ohmigod, I want to come back next season.' Not just on TV, but on every element you're taking in," said interactive producer Nick McAnulty, speaking at a sneak peek of the Arctic Air finale this week.

Watch a preview of the Arctic Air finale second screen experience:

And according to him and the rest of team behind this second screen experience, Arctic Air is the first show in North America to give fans this particular brand of "wow factor."

Giving fans the opportunity to dive into their favourite shows while they watch isn't new; think of the Republic of Doyle ride-along app, which lets viewers play trivia games, search for show info and more.

"This is the first time where the episode is continuing," says McAnulty. Think of it, he says, as there being "another 20 per cent of the episode we can't fit into a 40-minute window, so we're letting it unfold in this unique way."

-- CBC

And unlike many other web extras, these second-screen videos were written directly into the TV finale's script. "If you read the script for the Arctic Air finale, it plays out with all this in there," says McAnulty. The show's writers and producers were on board with the project from its inception.

"From Day 1, before we started thinking of what the finale is, we planned on having the finale happening on all these screens," explained Nataline Rodrigues, the creative executive on the project.

They also created a whole other story - sort of like "Arctic Air finale (The Remix)" - that will premiere online soon after the televised episode rolls to credits.

Just like Arctic Air's Season 1 finale, Season 2's will be all about cliffhangers.

And that post-finale webisode?

"It's a double cliffhanger," said Rodrigues.

"There are a lot of questions left over about what happens to key players," Rodrigues said, discussing what you can expect from the TV finale. The post-finale webisode, she said, "answers some questions and poses some even bigger ones that impact the season to come.

"For viewers that experience the finale this way, the full finale, we hope, and we think, it will generate just a lot more discussion, especially among fans, about what's going to happen in Season 3."

Arctic Air's Season 2 finale airs on CBC Wednesday, April 17 at 9 p.m./9:30 NT.

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