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Netflix brings superfans up close to their favorite shows

Whether it’s stepping up to shoot your shot in a game of Dig Dug at the Palace Arcade in Hawkins, Ind., or popping up from a punch thrown by a Glorious Lady of Wrestling at a gym in retro Los Angeles, there’s no better way for Netflix freaks to spend a weekend than immersed in their favorite shows, and the streaming service just made that possible in a new way. Netflix set up a For Your Consideration exhibition this year, as it has done in the past, as a way of encouraging Emmy Award nominations from Emmy voters. But this time around it opened the doors to the public for a few days.

Over this past weekend the streaming service held a sold-out interactive exhibition called "Because You Watched" that allowed fans to step into scenes from their favorite shows — from the interdimensional gate at the Hawkins National Laboratory in Stranger Things to the hall of scrawled-on lockers in 13 Reasons Why, to a mirrored room with lights and dresses straight out of the closet of The Crown, and the penis-covered back bumper of a car dragged from American Vandal’s high school parking lot.

The event at Raleigh Studios, in Hollywood, Calif., gave Netflix fans photo opportunities — such as a mural made of Cheetos depicting Orange Is the New Black stars, a set of larger-than-life headphones styled after Sam’s on Dear White People, and the Bluth stair car from Arrested Development — and a chance to scope out new shows to binge, all the while promoting the service’s content over that of traditional broadcast networks with gifts.

“With each step you take, mysterious forces will help guide you towards another show that’s right up your alley,” Netflix wrote in a statement in advance of the event. That’s where the "Because You Watched" title comes into play — it's a nod to the way Netflix offers show suggestions based on your viewing history.

This slick effort is one of several by the streaming giant to snag some award nominations for its original shows. “For Your Consideration” advertisements by all major networks have blanketed Los Angeles’s billboards, bus stops, and buildings for more than a week. Networks like Netflix have taken extensive measures to market their content creatively, so it stands out from the swelling number of TV shows up for nomination this year. It uses other tactics as well. For instance, in October, the service will host Stranger Things-themed mazes at several Universal Studios locations, taking guests through Mirkwood, Hawkins National Laboratory, and the Upside Down in connection with Halloween.

Original content and marketing efforts like this have set Netflix up for success with its customers. A recent survey conducted by Morgan Stanley found that 39 percent of respondents said that Netflix had the “best original programming,” way ahead of second-ranked HBO, at just 14 percent.

The event lasted one weekend only, but keep your eyes peeled for other “For Your Consideration” events happening before nomination-round voting closes on June 25 at 10 p.m. Emmy nominations will be announced by July 12.