Executainment

You can't spell slaughter without 'laughter.'  
— Executainment PR
  Capital punishment is alive and well in Megacorpolis, and if you have to kill someone, it'd be a crime not to make money from it. Executainment is at heart a simple premise, old as the executioner's axe - turning the grisly, public demise of some poor bastard into entertainment for the masses. If life is precious, corporations might argue, then it should be sold at a high price.   Front row seats are extra, popcorns sold at every occasion.    

Lights, Camera, Action!

Your ratings are great, baby! Consider your debt to society repaid.  
— Executionor Megastar, before turning on the camera
  From there, Executainment has become a billion-dollar industry, one flip of the switch at a time. Nearly every prison in Megacorpolis doubles as a film studio, where convicts vie with one another for their fifteen minutes of fame. Cameras follow prisoners between seasons, streaming live from death row up until they show up on stage, and until the light leaves their eyes.  
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by Paul Koudounaris

Once done in anonymity, executioners are now public figures. In an industry where the cast comes with an expiration date, those with a talent for showmanship and killing become stars.
And there's nothing the audience loves more than the executioner ending up running the gauntlet of his own show.
In the spirit of Megacorpolis, the best leverage their fame to sell merch or springboards for other shows. Hoods no longer hide the shame of those who kill for the state, replaced with outlandish outfits and personalities fit for the cameras.
Rates for capital punishment is still relatively low in Megacorpolis, but tend to spike as another season of Executainment begins or ends.
  Death for sale has never been bigger, with a dozen different shows vying for viewers and ratings with ever more extravagant displays of punishment. Executainment is dominated by a few big names, like Justice Inc, but for every Megacorps, dozen scrappy newcomers that are looking to make a name for themselves... No matter who has to die in the process.  

Exeuction of the Execution

Yes, but what if it was also on fire?  
— Executainment Producer
  Death comes in many forms, but none so imaginative as those conjured up at the brainstorming meetings of an Executainment writing crew. While hanging someone or watching their head come off was once the height of entertainment, the Executainer knows that the modern crowd wants more from their murderous viewing pleasure.  

Game Shows

Ranging from quiz games to obstacle courses, the Executainment game show draws on a long, proud heritage of television, with a deadly twist. Some run the same format every week, while others run a wide range of shows to keep both viewers and convicts on their toes.   Most feature a single convict, competing against whatever the show puts in front of them to stave off the inevitable.

Battle Royale

What started as a cost-saving measure when some executive asked, 'why kill them, when we can get them to kill each other?' has now evolved into one of the most popular forms of Executainment.   A dozen or more criminals are pitted against each other in some suitably dramatic location, and only one of them gets out of there alive. Some variants include armed guards that also hunt the convicts, or in public places.

Gladiator Games

A relative newcomer to the scene, gladiatorial Executainment pits the convict (or convicts) against whatever seems like it'll make a good show at the time. These are always unscripted, which adds an element of uncertainty that draws the more jaded viewers.   These battles include everything from Cybiders to Sewer-Gators, fought on platforms circled by a moat filled with piranha, with a fire closing in on them.
Cross-overs between different Executainment companies are always big events, with the biggest, meanest, most vicious killers to ever go to the gallows competing against each other to see who wins and who dies.   The greatest rating ever seen in Executainment history was when Mad Mikhel went up against Kross the Crusher, and both died in the season finale.
 

And the rest

Along with the staples, there's dozen of smaller shows with more specialized forms of executions. Some show nothing but the perps final moments in close-up angles as the poison goes into their veins or electricity burns their grey matter, while others cater to more specific crowds. The Death Race is the most popular format, where inmates either run from or drive various custom-made vehicles covered in spikes, blades, or other weapons. Usually, there's a time limit involved and a bomb attached to that, to really encourage them to play aggressive.    
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by Death Race
  Each show has its own flair in just how they end a human life (sometimes several!), but there are some trends. Whatever gets the highest rating floats to the top of this particular pool of blood.  
Some of the convicts aren't criminals at all, but planted actors that act the part to heighten the drama of the event. Of course, there's always the chance of getting shanked by an angry inmate, but that's showbiz.
   
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by Running Man
   

Ratings & Reception

Innocent? Well... Everyone's guilty of something. Besides, it was a great show.  
— Random Citizen #279549
  Today, Executainment is a growing industry. As consumers grow ever more jaded about their entertainment, the murder of another human being, complete with song and dance numbers to go with it, is something refreshingly new. Despite that, opinions are still mixed among most of Megacropolis citizens.  

Believe it or not, everyone isn't completely on board with the idea yet. Many sections of Megacorpolis don't even have capital punishment, viewing it as unprofitable waste. Why kill someone when the prison-industrial complex is working just fine?
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by Will-o-Wisp-Gaming
It is probably a coincidence that the sectors where it is outlawed have no serious tv or movie type of portfolios in their ranks, and it's out of the goodness of their heart.    
Bounty hunters have been known to flush prey out from one sector and into one where Executainment is active before making the arrest. That way, there's a bonus for bringing in a new star.

Justice For Sale

Like everything else, law enforcement is a matter of profit margins and financial quarters. A thousand different corps serve the city's policing needs, at varying rates of corruption and cost.   These 'justice corps' serve and protect about as well as you would expect from someone who gets paid by the arrest.  
Reliable as the tide, arrests always spike right around when shareholders want to see some chart go up.
   
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Executainment Music

Executainment has spawned a new wave of music genres that incorporate the noise of whatever madcap contraption the corporations have invented for their latest episode of Murder-Wheel with traditional instruments. Music videos go the extra mile, often featuring the live execution as part of the video.   Some bands make it big by playing live at actual executions and become part of the color and cast of the Executainment.    
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by https://theanesthesiaconsultant.com/
   

Central Casting

Executainment kills its stars, and always needs to look for more. The appeals process in Megacorpolis depends entirely on the proximity of the next season's start. While there's no lack of criminals in Megacorpolis, not all are so heinous as to demand their death. Sometimes, the process needs a little push, and crimes are allowed to escalate. After all, that makes for much better TV.   When the Law Corps can't catch enough to fill out a cast, corporations turn to specialized bounty hunters. These hunt the most dangerous (or at least most marketable) criminals in the Megacity, and these chases often become shows all of their own. Others Livestream their hunts, but that famously backfired when a hunted gang of criminals redefined the term 'stream-sniped.'  
In fact, the most common reason for clemency is not mercy or victory, but because the cast for the next show is slim.
   
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by The Guardian
   

Season of Death

Inspired by reality television and game shows with a storyline, some Executainment shows span over weeks or even months. Narratives are conjured from thin air, stars are cultivated among the prison population, and at the height of every episode, someone dies.   Some of these shows have conceits of a prize at the end, where the single remaining winner is rewarded with her life and probably a new car. Many don't - the viewers never seem to care what happens to their favorite murderer once the season wraps.    
Murder Maze is the most popular show, responsible for more death than a war criminal.
   

One-Shot

Unlike seasons, many shows don't cling to any sort of narrative and don't pretend to be anything but what they are. Most of these are game shows, a quick thirty-minute bite of entertainment that always ends with death. Without the structure of a story, these types of shows make up with excessive showmanship.   If ever given a choice, most convicts know to stay away from this one - the ways to die in the death-of-the-week are particularly inventive, aimed to be spectacles rather than painless or quick.  

Live Stream

Instead of a single show, some Executainments turn their prisons and execution chambers into constant broadcasts. They show every moment of inmates' time on death-row and allow viewers to alter their lives for a fee, making their time better or so much worse.  
Viewer interaction has increased in every medium, and Executainment is no different.   In some shows, it really is the audience who decides who dies and how.
 

Seasonal Show

For every season, there's a show. From Christmas specials filled with deadly presents to spooky Halloween with haunted houses where death comes in colorful costumes, Executainment doesn't miss the chance to put on a themed show.  
Costumes and other outlandish outfits have always been part of the Executainments' unique flair - and it helps the audience forget that that guy who was just impaled is actually human.
 
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by AllThatsInteresting.com
Still, demand and ratings are growing. Every day, there's a new betting pool opening up about which villain will meet what sort of grisly end on tonight's episode of Wheel Of Misfortune. Fantasy Football style leagues have sprung up around Megacorpolis, allowing betters to make entire teams of murderous psychopaths and bet on who will make it to the end.  
Executainment is here to stay, and it's probably not going to get any better.
 
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by Wipe Out

Cover image: by Jackob Wicks news collection) via Wikimedia Commons

Comments

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29 Aug, 2020 09:26

Yep, being as there seems to be a class of sociopaths out there who take the cautionary tales of dystopia as suggestions, one wonders how long before this starts being a thing...   Seriously though, well done! Another darkly hilarious Megacorpolis article! *laughs nervously*

Author of the Wyrd West Chronicles and the Toy Soldier Saga Eater of pickles, Friend of nerds, First of her name
31 Aug, 2020 08:15

Thank you - we just gotta keep it away from Hollywood, or they're really going to get ideas :D   Thank you for reading and commenting <3

29 Aug, 2020 11:50

Another great article Q!

30 Aug, 2020 07:04

Thank you! :D

29 Aug, 2020 14:18

Wonderful! I love the use of different examples from modern media throughout the article as well. Adds a bit more of a dystopian feel to it through subconscious connections :D Great choice, Q! I missed your writing -hug-

30 Aug, 2020 07:07

Awh, thank you so much!! :D

29 Aug, 2020 14:47

This article was definitely worth the wait! Megacorpolis, don't ever change. <3

Author of Fillimet, bright fantasy land of possibilities
30 Aug, 2020 07:07

It's a real fun setting to write for, that's for sure :D

Grandmaster Serukis
Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull
27 Sep, 2020 18:10

Great article, Q! There was definitely an element of 'oh that'd be really interesting' when I was reading, but then the reality of the death being real hit me, hahaha. :D

Emy x