Calvin's eyes popped open; wow, what a dream; wonder how I get out of this one; guess I'll find out tomorrow...
Choose the program you want to be immersed in during the last half hour of sleep each morning: dramas, historical reenactments, sitcoms and much, much more. For a few more credits spent,
you can not only be the ubiquitous bystander (camera POV on TV), but take part as a member of the supporting cast; quite a bit more credits and you can be one of the main protagonists. Have your own subconscious run an episode and wake up as the credits start rolling.
Coffee-break discussions of last night's TV episodes pale in comparison to banter between people who actually "were there".
"retrointeractivity" is the newest word in the dictionary.
The clientside terminal consists of an Intranet connection to the Network's server from which it receives the daily episode/character script. The script contains not only the character's actions and words, but a full multi-sense rendering of the environments in which the episode takes place. Most importantly a character-specific motivational background for each movement/talk sequence is included. The other portions of the terminal include a basic brainwave scanner, and an audio speaker which is used to pre-program the dreamer and later narrate the episode-sequence while playing the soundtrack.
The sleeper's brainwaves are scanned until they indicate full unconsciousness then the episode setup begins. Since the amount of useful (ie:programmable) sleep the sleeper will have can't be determined ahead of time, the system programs in a holographical manner: gradually adding more and more detail as the night wears on. If the sleeper rouses from unconsciousness the system goes into standby mode until sleep ensues again. Eventually the sleeper will have enough background knowledge and ingrained reflex-cues to make it through an entire episode with minimal cueing.
For instance, the "passive" ("TV camera") sleeper would have inactivity/passivity (except for head/eye movement and interest) stressed to avoid later trying to actively participate during the dream and bunging up the works. Cues such as "John Drake knows his stuff and doesn't need help" or "you will be invisible" or even the stereotypical New Yorker's "don't get involved" are pre-programmed into the sleeper.
However the active roles require that the dreamer believes they're interacting with the environment (even though they're just following a narrated script based on hours of preparatory response programming) : you have to make them pick up an object, see that a suspect is lying, or decide to put the matchstick, paperclip and used gum together in a certain fashion to make a semi-automatic rifle. The point is to ensure that when the dream happens, the "live" narration that cues the entire episode requires no explanation and minimal interpretation on the dreamer's part.
Half an hour before the scheduled wake-up time, the system brings the sleeper into a semi-conscious dreaming state (audio stimulation) then, similar to an auld-tyme radio program, launches into a subliminal first-person narrative of the episode. The dreamer's subconscious, well prepared from the night's programming, fills in the blanks.
Wake up refreshed, ready to greet the day with an interesting story to tell and, if you're one of the "free" subscribers, an overwhelming urge to buy certain products.
You think producing a TV show is complicated, wait 'til you see this. Not only are all the episodes detailed and backfilled to the last nano-whatsis (remember the variety of people you have to "coach" into actively imagining what you want them to), but every single subscribeable character has their own complete story:
Sure, Batman's "Robin" is in on most of the action scenes when he's not in the bathroom with a magazine photospread of Catwoman; his "script" will be quite similar to Batman's except a slightly different visual POV and a more hero-worship oriented motivational background, but what about Alfred the butler?: secretly siphoning the Wayne fortune into an offshore "retirement fund" and spitting in the lobster bisque to make up for having to pander to that psycho and his little kissup friend's every whim. Maybe he goes around after a Caped Crusader who can hardly tie his own bootlaces, having to soften up the villains' minions while skulking in the shadows with a blowgun, and radio-control a Batarang which would end up wrapped around it's thrower's pointy head otherwise. Snicker during other people's daytime conversations of how heroic they were while knowing the truth: that you're the *real* hero.
All defineable characters, main or supporting, have their own "spinoff series" which can often crossover into other main series to keep up interest.
To make things more complicated, we need to program in substitutions: if a client loves spiders, then the scene where they're supposed to scream in terror at an encroaching tarantula will be difficult to program in: so a huge wasp or a fanged bunny, or worst-comes-to-worst, a blank spot filled by "something you're terrified of" on standby, all carefully weaved into the skein, controlled by what the brainwave scanner picks up as your reaction during the programming phase.
On file serverside are the nightly brainscans of all the clients; what they react to, when and how: this feedback allows for more effective programming both at a generic and specific level.
Sponsors pay for product placement, research institutes pay for brainscan results, clients pay for the world's most elaborate alarm clock.
Don't feel like participating tonight ? Hit "Default" and have a dream that you're being woken up by an annoying alarm clock that won't shut off no matter what you do... until you're scanned as being fully conscious.