Do spoilers spoil or do teasers tantalise?
In part one of our discussion on spoilers we looked at whether they were all bad, and in part two we dived deeper to investigate the nature of different potential spoilers. Finally we reach the end of our journey which looks back to the 70s, takes in a tour of movie trailers and historical disasters, before touching on how long a ‘spoiler’ lasts for and finally getting around to drawing some conclusions…
So have you had any examples of where you’ve deliberately sought to puncture the suspense of something that you are actually intending on seeing? The only thing I can remember off hand is an old season of NCIS which ended with a cliffhanger in which a key character appeared to resign and leave for good. They were so important to the success of the show that frankly if they had exited then that would have been it for me, and I wanted to know sooner rather than later whether the actor was quitting the show so that I wouldn’t waste any more time or effort on it in the meantime. (To be honest, it was a pretty lame cliffhanger in any case so it didn’t feel like spoiling something so much as it was just taking care of an irritation!)
The Best of Both Worlds Pt I intimated a new direction for the Star Trek franchise with a psychologically damaged Captain at the helm, which was never properly explored until the movie First Contact. Read the rest of this entry »
Do spoilers spoil or do teasers tantalise?
In the first part of our discussion posted last week, we started looking into the phenomena of the spoiler and asked whether it was all bad or whether there could be an upside to it. We continue our ruminations further this week, and wonder whether falling foul of spoilers actually stops us from watching programmes; which current shows are the most spoilered; whether a whodunit is automatically ruined by knowing the guilty party; and the question of whether novels are turning into spoilers for the TV and film adaptations made from them.
Have spoilers stopped you watching a movie or beloved series? The controversial conclusion to Lost spread across the social media space like wildfire. I never felt compelled to watch the final season! Incidentally, I originally joined Twitter solely to discuss Lost with fellow fans.
For me the equivalent would be The X-Files on a CompuServe forum which was one of the reasons I got online in the first place.. You never forget your first shared Internet fan obsession!
And like you, I never did get to see the end of Lost either – Sky fell out with Virgin Media and pulled their channels from the cable platform mid-season so that was it for me. But in any case, I was never as into it as many people and actually found it more irritating than intriguing to be honest. I’ve never felt inclined to go back and finish it off. I’ve heard the gist of the way it finished if not the details, but it doesn’t make much difference to me.
The only scenario I can think of where a spoiler might stop me from watching something would be if the entire thing hung on a single reveal – whodunits being the most obvious example. Would I still want to see Se7en even knowing who John Doe and his last victim are? Or see all of Twin Peaks if I knew from the start who killed Laura Palmer? Or sit through 23 episodes of Murder One if I already knew who killed Jessica Costello? Or 20 episodes of Forbrydelsen (the original Danish version of The Killing) if the identity of Nanna Birk Larsen’s killer was known at the outset? Or even eight episodes of Broadchurch if I knew for certain who the killer of Danny Latimer was from the first scene? Read the rest of this entry »
Do spoilers spoil or do teasers tantalise?
The return of Game of Thrones for season 4 has once again made the Internet a minefield for those of us who aren’t able to watch the show in real time because of not having the right satellite, cable channel or streaming service to see the show before it makes its way to DVD and Blu-ray in 11 months time. How on earth do we manage to stay pure and spoiler-free for that amount of time without accidentally finding out something devastatingly pertinent in the meantime?
Does finding out about some major plot twist or dramatic event in advance of seeing the show in question end up ruining it beyond repair? Or is it no big deal really and everyone should just get over it? To put it simply: are you a spoilerphobe or a spoilerphile?
Since it was mentioned in the introduction, I should confess that I am – as you know – very far behind in my viewing of Game of Thrones. Despite absolutely loving the first season, I’ve yet to even get cracking on the second box set. While it might be vaguely reasonable to insist that no one spoils the current season now airing on television for at least a few weeks or months, it’s clearly ridiculous to expect them not to speak freely of events that happened a year ago or further back still.
As result, even before I watched a single episode of Game of Thrones I knew that the person who was the evident star of the show – Sean Bean playing Eddard Stark – didn’t make it to the end of the season without a sudden reduction of about a foot in height. This is, as you can image, a rather huge spoiler – arguably it’s the shocking pivotal point of the entire first year. Knowing that, you would think, would irretrievably wreck the viewing experience.
But actually, it really didn’t. It certainly changed the viewing experience, I’m sure, and given a free choice then I’d have preferred not to have known in advance, but I’m not sure it did any major damage – party because the key moment came so much earlier than I’d expected, a sudden twist in fortune that still caught me off-guard when it happened. While I knew Stark’s ultimate fate in the show I had managed to stop myself from knowing the details of how we got there and that made all the difference, it seems to me. In the same way I know in a general way about events such as Blackwater and the Red Wedding and now the Purple Wedding, but it doesn’t impact my eagerness to get to those points in the box sets, or lessen my enjoyment of the show or the effect of those shocks when they happen anyway.
So while I don’t tend to seek out spoilers, I also don’t fly into a rage when one lands in my lap, and I wouldn’t declare the whole show ruined for me for all time if and inevitably when it happens. Does that make me an unusually forgiving and forbearing sort of person, or are you the same?
I’m of the same mind, Andrew!
Inadvertent spoilers don’t phase me per se, but I try to be discreet in how I disseminate information. For example my enjoyment of Captain America: The Winter Soldier was distilled in a spoiler-free review, which made no reference to the titular character, nor identity. It piqued friends interest in a movie they were otherwise disinterested in. Perhaps Marvel should appoint me to the company’s social media division?
I’ve been guilty of very rare, and unintended, spoilers, myself! The most infamous pertained to the appearance of a ‘Red Supreme Dalek’ in a teaser trailer for The Stolen Earth. This was at a time when BBC America wasn’t showing the series day and date with the UK. Twitter replies lit up, aptly, like the Fourth of July and I hastily apologised. Losing a few followers in the process…
Of course there’s an omnipresent issue that friends can post spoilers on perfectly innocuous status updates on Facebook. I’ve received disgruntled direct messages from friends complaining about this. It’s exhausting policing my own timeline for fear someone will reveal to the world that Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker’s father. D’oh! Read the rest of this entry »
After watching Oblivion this week, I had to go back to the mainstream reviews I’d read of the film at the time of its cinematic release and check that they were, indeed, much as I’d remember – at best merely grudgingly tepid. This was a film that seemingly no one liked. Granted, no one actively despised it like they did John Carter, Cowboys and Aliens and A Good Day to Die Hard but still no one could find an enthusiastic thing to say about it. Which I find rather odd, because I like it. A lot.
Maybe it’s a case of my having come to it with lower expectations. If I recall correctly, one of the big problems with the film’s original release is that the marketing campaign contained some massive spoilers which wrecked large parts of the film for anyone who did sit down to watch it after seeing the trailers and adverts, so you’ll forgive me if I tread very carefully when it comes to giving a synopsis of the film for fear of repeating that offence here – what follows comes from the first five minutes of the film, which is set in 2077 with Earth left devastated and uninhabitable by a failed alien invasion. The human survivors of the war have left and the planet is now used only as a source of power for the new off-world colony, with huge fusion converters sucking in the world’s oceans as fuel. As there are still scattered alien combatants at large, the converters are protected by automated drones that in turn are maintained by repairman Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) working with his operations officer Victoria Olsen (Andrea Riseborough). As the last humans left on earth they make an effective team. But as their tour of duty comes to a close, Jack starts having troubling dreams and starts to fear that the aliens are preparing some kind of final counter-strike that may yet change everything; and worse, Jack himself may be at the centre of their plans and hold the future of humankind in his hands. Read the rest of this entry »