Like The Television Is Watching


(permanent link) added: 2011-01-04 20:14:21 sponsor: Scooter007 (last reply: 2011-05-18 17:41:25)

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(still) Awaiting final consensus re: Title & Clarity Of Definition

Rolling edits

(formerly The Television Is Watching You; it was judged too literal) Alt Titles:

This is like a multi-car pileup of Big Brother Is Watching, Coincidental Broadcast, Evil Overlooker and Traitor Shot:

There's a face on the television screen which seems to be looking out onto the scene, watching. It's usually a villain, and the trope is typically used to create a creepy feeling. Normally doesn't include broadcast advertisements, interviews, news shows or the like, but if the right mood is struck it can still apply.

It's not to be taken literally; if someone on the other side of the screen really is watching, that would be Big Brother Is Watching.

It can also apply if the person on the screen says something that the watching character feels/realizes applies directly to him, so it's as if the person on the TV is speaking directly to him. Note, though, that if a character talks back to the TV and engages in a seemingly two-way conversation, it becomes The Tape Knew You Would Say That.

  • used in the original miniseries V, when the hero and his girlfriend are watching news footage of the humans' first tour of the alien ships. They start making out and on the screen, a close up of The Baroness Diana seems to be watching them
  • In Time Chasers, the TV ad for GenCorps, with the Obviously Evil CEO Robertson, gives off this vibe.
  • In the opening cutscene for Riven, when Atrus first hands you the book to start the game, the Portal Picture is blurry and indistinct -- but you can, just barely, make out a face underneath the static and fuzz, staring out as if watching for your arrival.
  • In Airwolf, when a dormant computer virus implanted in the helicopter by its Mad Scientist designer activates, it's accompanied by an image of the scientist on the video monitor with a creepily impassive expression.
  • kind of played with in System Shock: the resident AI has plastered her face on all the video screens to make you feel like she's watching you. Well, she is, but not through the video screens.

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