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"Yes, that's exactly the most appalling thing you could have said."
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March 13 2008

Spoilers: In Defense of the American Watercooler. The New York Magazine says it's about time we reevaluate our attitude towards spoilers.

Dang, I posted the same article at almost exactly the same time.

Did you notice the two mistakes in the opening paragraph? By the end of Season Five, the Buffy's mom thing had already happened, and Anya's thing was Bringers, not vampires.
For a second, I thought you were going to say, "An American Werewolf."

Gosh, isn't Simon the best?!
The Internet offers plenty of places to discuss your favorite shows, but they're fiefdoms of debate, hidden behind walls of spoiler warnings, and the conversations suffer as a result.

Err, maybe because the internet extends beyond the boundaries of the USA, yes ? I get the point of the article and even agree to some extent but how fair would it be for websites open to anyone to just suddenly drop spoilers for shows a non-US viewer may not have had any chance to (legally) view ?

And sports is a poor example IMO. It's an extremely common occurrence to try to avoid finding out the score for a match you either haven't seen yet or are going to view in highlights (at least over here) though it's probably unrealistic to expect to manage it more than a day or two at the most after the match. In fact, worlds colliding stylee, I remember an episode of classic UK sitcom 'Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads ?' where the "lads" spent the entire episode trying not to find out the score to an England football match before seeing the highlights on telly (*spoiler alert* the "punchline" is that - after many hijinks ensuing - they manage to get to the highlights programme unspoiled, only to find out the match was rained off ;).

I agree though that without the "water-cooler" aspect ("cuppa" aspect may apply more over here ;) TV wouldn't necessarily be as fun to watch (apart from sheer impatience, part of the reason I may or may not "acquire" shows before UK broadcast is to enjoy the social side of discussing the episodes - not just online either, most of the people I know that watch much TV will tend to "acquire" shows early from the US).
I noticed those mistakes as well. I know they're tiny things, but I always get irritated when that happens.

In regards to spoilers, I think like this: If you're not up to date on a current series (say you're checking out COA after Not Fade Away aired and you're only up to Underneath) then you've only got yourself to blame. i learnt this the hard way. You should be up to date with a show before you go checking it out on the net.

What i think are just bewildering are the people who actively seek out spoilers for episodes of shows they haven't seen yet, and the sites that actually accommodate them! What the hell is the point? It just baffles me.

I always make a point when i'm talking to people about certain shows, to ask them if they're up to date. Just so i don't spoil it. And if people are talking about an episode i haven't seen then i just slip away so i don't get spoiled and i also don't ruin someone's conversation.

It's not that difficult to avoid spoilers. Just stay off sites that would give things away for you until you get a chance to watch the show. It's harder for people overseas though. I saw not fade away 6 months after it aired in the U.S. You can't usually stay off the net that long.
I think this article is missing the point somewhat. It is all very well for people in the USA, moan all you like about 'spoiling' your post-viewing experience by not watching the show on time, but other areas, people either HAVE to wait, or break the law, and torrent/stream/whatever the show. People who want to watch a higher quality version on their TVs on SkyOne shouldn't be called the spoilers, in the same way that people download the episodes after they air in the US shouldn't spoil it for them.

I agree, I always ask which episode someone has seen before discussing Lost with them, since I am one of those crazy-sad people who HAVE to find a stream the moment I wake up on Friday morning (don't worry everyone, I fully intend to buy the DVD of season 4).
This is a great argument for things like The Lurker's Guide to Babylon 5. I started Buffy/Angel and B5 each after they'd completed their respective runs. The Lurker's guide to B5 was an absolutely great way to think through things as they were when other people first watched them. Everything was right there, all it took was me having the self-discipline to not click the links that would spoil future episodes, each in turn. When died, it was astoundingly moving.

Buffy, I had to watch while keeping up with current news sites, like here. Tara's death was something I expected. Buffy's death, same thing. Fred->Ilyria? 100% expected. It was still great, but it would have been absolutely better if I'd run into those things completely unspoiled.

I disconnected from the BSG internet fan sites so I wouldn't be spoiled when I was behind in watching S3 on iTunes. That was OK, but it certainly wasn't satisfying. It was my wife and I removing ourselves from the fandom... great. No watercooler, no virtual watercooler, but no spoilers. A solution, but a less than optimum one.
Before it was called spoilers, not revealing what happens in a film, movie, or whatever event is important to you was called good manners. I mean, it just wasn't/isn't done. Sure, on the Internet you can protect yourselves to a certain extent, but how many of us have ever been in a movie line where idiots have seen the thing 10 times before, this is the 11th time and they're loudly talking about the plot. "Spock dies" is actually something I heard yelled outside a theatre after I'd seen whatever incarnation of films that one was (was it Khan? It's too early here). Horribly cruel to do to folks who'd been waiting in line for hours.

Inside the theatre, the same idiots or their relatives whispering loudly in back of you, "Oh, you're going to love this part."

I don't understand why people can't be considerate, but it's one of those crosses we have to bear I guess.
Talking about major plot points on a site dedicated to a specific show is one thing, but opening a article about television in general by spoiling the last three seasons of a random show without any kind of warning is just mean. Seriously, what's wrong with them?
Tonya J-I know exactly what you mean. I will not watch a movie I haven't seen in the presence of my son-in-law, for just that very reason. It's like he just cannot keep his mouth shut and that annoys me to no end.
Duct tape, menomegirl. Seriously. Hand him the tape and ask him to put it on himself if he can't keep quiet. Maybe, just maybe, he'll get the hint.
It wasn't so long ago that UK viewers, such as myself, would have to wait months to see the latest seasons of our favourite US shows. Back when Lost was on Channel 4/E4 we were about half a year behind. It was practically impossible to avoid spoilers if you had any sort of online social life. Thanks to Sky One now making sure we get the likes of Lost, 24 and Stargate Atlantis within a week of US broadcast it has actually become possible to see these shows almost entirely spoiler free. It's a pity that FX doesn't follow suit with Dexter. Despite ads suggesting season 2 is "coming soon", word is that we are talking June or July. Then they wonder why people watch online.
I agree that its so much nicer to watch in real time, and it really sucks for those outside the US that they have to wait, but I didn't start watching Buffy/Angel until right after Buffy S7, and I am sure that is why I hold Angel S5 so dear is that I watched it unfold week by week (and because of the events of that Valentine's Day).
Ok, got rambly, anyway, yes its still good to have the spoiler warnings so that people can view the opinions of others whenever they finally do get around to watching the show, and it is unfair to spoil without any warning.
The errors in the first paragraph actually cracked me up, because then they were no longer spoilers. Just inaccuracies. Heh.

That said, I think they were trying very hard to be mean in their opening, but just tossing off facts like that doesn't really spoil a show (especially one that is as well talked about as Buffy) - even for newcomers. I mean, I still cry at the end of The Prom and The Gift, and during countless other moments in the Whedonverse, and I know exactly what's going to happen. It's taking the whole emotional journey of the story that makes it powerful.

In some cases, like Buffy's newest romantic tryst, a tiny spoiler can people get more excited to read the story. I knew about it from the New York Times that morning before hitting the comic shop, and it didn't spoil the story for me. I couldn't wait to see how it would play out!

Deaths on the other hand... Well, I prefer to be 100% surprised. Because they can be more gut-punching tragic that way, and that is I think the point. I don't think anyone seeing Serenity for the first time should already knew about...well, you all know. Or if they do have an idea, it's best not to clue them in too much on exactly when it happens. It's afterwards, when you catch your breath again, that you should really process it. That said, same thing as I said above. I still feel that sucker punch every time.

Here's a rule I think everyone should follow when talking with someone face to face: just simply ask first. "Did you finish the new Harry Potter book, yet?" Then you can launch into theories, etc, and have a nice back and forth. That is just way more polite than IM'ing, "OMG, Dumbledore is gay!".

Ahem. Yes, I know that wasn't in the book. Just writing like I'm the opening paragraph of a "Vulture" column.
PS - The Vulture was the first one to write about the Sing Along shutting down, and I actually have a couple of friends who write for them. So I wasn't hating on them. Not much, anyway...
I was very disturbed to discover {{{SPOILER}}} that the world apparently extends beyond the borders of the United States.

Seriously, who knew? WTF?!!!??? This is not the kindof thing I want to find out this early in the morning!

I am standing around my office watercolor with myself, and I am fuming.

-- Sincerly, Upset and Iliterate in West Hollywood
Why is it that QuoterGal always cracks me?

SPOILER: Because she's hilarious!
Oh no, you've ruined it! Now I'll never find QuoterGal funny again. :(
SPOILER: Because she's hilarious!

Godammit, I wasn't going to find that out until about 2 years ago Buffy SingALong, what the hell ?!? Still, it explains the laughter.

Sorry QuoterGal. Um ... I was, err, just kidding. Y'all. Yes ... I am from Texas, America. Y'all.
Reminds me of that time there was a spoiler -within- an episode.

Angel Season 5, Episode 1, and who's in the main credits but...James Marsters. Even though his character went poof in the Buffy finale. And you don't see Spike until the end of the episode.
MarsInvestigations.net has a great way for managing spoilers when watching Veronica Mars.

When you go to the site, you can choose the last episode you've seen. Then, when you browse the site, it only gives you information that you've already seen. This is great for stuff like the [SPOILERS IF YOU HAVEN'T WATCHED VERONICA MARS YET] graveyard Which has headstones and witty epitaphs for all the people who died during the course of the show.
I was very disturbed to discover {{{SPOILER}}} that the world apparently extends beyond the borders of the United States.

No, no. That was a fake spoiler someone leaked just to mess with people.
Reminds me of that time there was a spoiler -within- an episode.

Angel Season 5, Episode 1, and who's in the main credits but...James Marsters. Even though his character went poof in the Buffy finale. And you don't see Spike until the end of the episode.


I'm not sure why and how people can get away with hiding guest credits like that. I recall JMS saying that he had to include Melissa Gilbert's credit in the B5 episode she appeared in due to union rules. But then, when Giles shows up at the end of S6 (Two to Go, was it?) his 'Special Guest Star' credit played at the end. THAT was an unspoiled surprise for me--I think I actually jumped up and cheered when he made his appearance. Wasn't the first time Dru shows up in Angel (to turn Darla) the same sort of thing? I forget.

To my mind, those sorts of constructive, plot-serving concealments preserve the tension and enhance the narrative. I'm all for not hiding guest star credits without a good reason, but to preserve end-of-the-episode plot turns is a great reason.

In the James Marsters case, I bet Joss would have done it if he could have afforded to edit together a different opening sequence for Angel for use just in that one episode. IIRC, Michelle Trachtenberg didn't appear in Buffy credits until S5.2.
if he could have afforded to edit together a different opening sequence for Angel for use just in that one episode.


He sure didn't have a problem sticking Amber Benson into the credits for just one ep, though. *quiet, forlorn sniffle*

(For that matter, there was also the Jonathan-laden "Superstar" credits sequence... am I forgetting any other variants?)
I had a friend recommend the Whedon triumvirate to me a couple of years ago by saying, "You would like these shows. First watch Buffy, then watch Angel--he gets his own show after a few seasons." So I Netflixed the whole lot and was completely charmed by the first couple seasons of Buffy. When Season 2 ended, I was shocked and totally grieving. Even though I knew that Angel had to come back somehow! I was just captivated by the greatness of the storytelling. Likewise, when Angel did return in early S3, I was again so wrapped up in the story that I forgot I was already "spoiled" for this to happen.

Did Angel's return lack punch for me because some part of my brain knew it was coming? Maybe, but that doesn't bother me too much. I think that part of our rampant spoiler-phobia is because too few shows have any real emotional substance to back up their surprise twists. *coughHeroescough* When all you're going to get as a viewer is a good visceral reaction, then yeah--avoid spoilers at all costs. If you're watching a good show, though (like Buffy, Angel, BSG, etc.), then there will always be enough going on that knowing a plot point or two isn't going to ruin your viewing experience.

(Off topic, that's one of my biggest beefs with the creators of LOST. They think I'm interested in learning the answers to the mysteries. I'm really interested in good character interaction.)
The Spike spoiler was one that I couldn't have avoided even if I'd somehow managed to miss his appearance in the opening titles of Conviction. That was back when we were still months behind the US and I had far too many US based Buffyverse loving friends to hope not to hear about Spike turning up. In fact I don't think that there was a single major plot development in either Buffy or Angel that I didn't already know about before I actually got to see the episode.

"(Off topic, that's one of my biggest beefs with the creators of LOST. They think I'm interested in learning the answers to the mysteries. I'm really interested in good character interaction.)"

Which again proves that the Lost writers will never be able to win. When they do episodes that develop the characters and not the main plot they are told they are doing "filler episodes" and wasting time. When they concentrate on telling the main story all of a sudden people want character interaction.

That wasn't a personal attack on you, by the way, ShimShamSam. Like myself, you may have loved the so called "filler" episodes, just for the sake of seeing the characters develop in situations outside of the life and death Island story and interact as people, rather than as survivors. It's just that I've seen a lot of opinions from people who were at one time demanding answers now saying that they are moving too fast with the answers. Must be quite annoying for the writers to never be able to please certain people.
Well, even though I frequent the Bronze:Beta & have read many discussions about specific plot points, I'm still unspoiled for Season Five of "Angel." And...most of the rest of the series, too, for that matter.

Yeah, I know Spike comes back. Dunno how, though. Or why. Or what happens after that. Or how exactly Fred was...transformed. Or just what exactly happened between her & Gunn & Wesley. And I don't want to know until some small miracle occurs and I can watch the whole series all the way through in order.

There were some episodes of "Buffy" I'd missed, so, even though I knew vaguely what they were about, watching them through for the first time was still enjoyable.

So...I guess...if someone tells you verbatim how Serenity ends, from Wash landing the ship all the way up to the end credits, that's majorly spoiling. If they just warn you "Have tissue handy" that's minor spoilage. Some folks don't want either kind, and I understand that. But sometimes curiosity is a cruel mistress.
In the James Marsters case, I bet Joss would have done it if he could have afforded to edit together a different opening sequence for Angel for use just in that one episode.
IIRC, it was pretty common knowledge that James was making the jump to Angel. They probably just decided it wasn't worth the effort to try to conceal something so much of the fanbase already knew (kind of annoying, though, that if you discovered the series via DVD like me, the cover gave the end of the season premier away).
He sure didn't have a problem sticking Amber Benson into the credits for just one ep, though. *quiet, forlorn sniffle*
I still remember the first time I watched that episode, completely unspoiled despite seeing it on DVD four or five years after it aired. I was thrilled to finally see Amber in the opening credits; after picking up my jaw at the end of the ep, all I could do was laugh, raise my beer, and say, "Joss, you magnificent bastard."
The article also doesn't take into account different time zones. I'm on the west coast, and when a show airs here, it's already aired 3 hours previously on the west coast. I've had to avoid the internet at times so I wouldn't be spoiled by internet chatter while I was waiting for the episode to air.
Everyone knew Spike was coming back. That was common knowledge by then. In fact, he was part of the reason WB gave the show a fifth and final season. No way they were going to keep him under wraps.
I completely agree with those who point out that the writer seems to be ignoring the fact that not everyone has access to new episodes at the same time. I know that in the UK we used to be months and months behind the US. I know now that the gap has narrowed significantly, but if people were to write about spoilers all over the Internet without any warning as soon as the US premiere was over, then a lot of people from all over the world would have it spoiled for them.

I don't see how setting up a simple system for spoilers like the one we have at Whedonesque detracts from enjoying the discussion, as the writer is suggesting. Unless you get some sort of enjoyment out of spoiling it for people, it's not difficult to mark a thread or post with a spoiler tag and then you're free to discuss it as much as you want once people have been given a basic warning.

And I do think spoilers detract somewhat from the enjoyment of drama. Of course it depends on the medium and the text in question, and how dependent it is on the element of surprise.

The reason most people read Shakespeare, for example, is because of the richness of the language and the characters rather than the plot twists. Because his plays are so widely known, and because they are equally popular being read as watched, make them a slightly different case. I know the basic story of many of his plays that I've never seen or read. And most people will have seen some of them but not read them, and vice versa. But if the actors are good enough I don't think having read the play will spoil watching it because it can still be incredibly powerful.

But I find that reading spoilers for films and TV is no way as satisfying as watching it happen, whereas reading Shakespeare can often be just as satisfying as watching it. Something that places a lot of emphasis on plot twists can be really boring when you already know what's going to happen, and even in the Buffyverse, the element of surprise always adds something to a first viewing. Even though there is so much to appreciate on repeat viewings, there is something almost magical about watching and being completely unaware of what is going to happen. In fact I'd bet a lot of people would love to be able to rewatch their favourite TV shows or films again with fresh eyes.
I guess it all depends for me. I respect the different time zone thing completely, and the lengthy lag in airing in other countries, and always try to make sure the person I'm discussing with has seen what we're discussing.

What I can agree with in terms of the article, are the people who haven't watched even the DVD('s), years and years after the end of the show, even though in our increasingly digital age, several years after a show's end is plenty of time to find a way to watch it if you truly want to. They have no immediate plans to get around to watching it, but when someone ends up spoiling it for them, they get supremely angry. Like "Hey, I know that movie is 8 years old, but I was going to possibly watch that 3 years from now and now it's spoiled!" I think there is a statute of limitations on just how long something should be respectfully unspoiled before the spoiled is just a lazy bum who didn't really care too much to watch it already.
I'm on the West Coast, too, and it became apparent to me a long time ago that if I couldn't, y'know, just stay off the Internet for three hours, it was my own damn fault if I got spoiled. ;)

My problem with spoiler oversensitivity these days is that it's slowly but inexorably moving from a valid defense of common courtesy into It's All About Me. Read: I haven't watched it yet, so how dare you talk about it? It's been two weeks since it aired but I couldn't take 45 minutes to catch up, so omg how could you be such a thoughtless bitca as to post about it outside an LJ cut? I happen to live in a different time zone / country / it's not on yet here / I'm just behind / I'm lazy / I want to set my own rules for every discussion I participate in, and I don't have enough sense despite all this to stay out of forums where it's likely to be a topic, so EVERYONE ELSE has to shut up about it to protect my delicate sensibilities!

...sigh.

Short form: if you know other people are going to get to it before you do, yes, it's gonna suck, but learn to skim, and save the righteous anger for the real blabbermouths who drop unsolicited spoilers in stupid places, because that does happen, too, and they deserve a smack for it every now and then.


Thus endeth the rant. I go hide now. :)
When I read "The Portrait of a Lady", I made the mistake of reading the introduction first, in which a writer with what I can only assume was a severe case of displaced hostility toward better writers, revealed an extremely important, hidden fact that was not revealed in the text until near the end. Thanks to that bit of literary spoiler-ship I was deprived of the opportunity of seeing the situation through the eyes of the protagonist as James had intended the book to be read, not to mention the shock of the revelation, which was obviously carefully designed by James for maximum impact.

Just to show that spoiler-rats can hide out in many places. The experience cured me of reading introductions or prefaces before reading the actual text.
OK, I have to own up now to being a spoiler addict.

There's a reason. Watching unspoiled lets me become unhinged. No, seriously, it just gets too much for me and I have to stop viewing (in case of DVDs) run out of the room (in case of TV) or close my eyes and ears (in the cinema).
I read every blurb about every film, even read the DVD package of the films I know before viewing, I read the introductions and everything on every book and booklet I can lay my hands on. For me the pleasure in watching is mostly how it's done. And that's why I'm a Whedon fan. He never let's you down. You notice the most wonderful details on third fourth and fifth viewing.

So the internet is absolutely great for me. I take the fright of people being spoiled seriously, so I don't spoil myself, but thank you, world wide web, for spoiling me. :)

OK, so that was a tad overdramatized, but the core truth is, if something is well done, knowing about what's going to happen doesn't diminish your pleasure.

I saw Serenity absolutely completely unspoiled and was totally shaken. I enjoyed the fifth viewing much much much more.
Is our take on this totally off-base? Are we being heartless? Are you pissed at us for spoiling Buffy? Let us know in the comments!


Alright, who complained to the NY Times for running that spoilerific article about issue #12 without a spoiler label? 'Cause I'm thinkin' they're really asking if anyone's pissed at them for spoiling that.

Heck, last Friday on AfterEllen's Best. Lesbian. Week. Ever. they slapped a whole page of it on the homepage.

Sometimes I get confused as to when I'm supposed to put spoiler warnings within posts that are within topics/threads that already have a general spoiler warning.
Casira, you should rant more often because you are dead on.
Casira has an excellent point. I'm just stubborn in that I consider good TV (with heavy continuity and all) to be stories, which ought to be viewed in the proper order. And since I'm never in on the ground floor of anything -- Dollhouse will break that pattern, I hope -- I'm always playing catch-up because I want to see the show in the order presented.

The article made me grin, however, because I was spoiled on almost exactly those things for Buffy (minus the inaccuracies, of course). My friends converted me with Once More With Feeling, for which I have never quite forgiven them.
What about foreshadowing? I have a friend with whom I watched a certain show (which has been discussed on these boards, but I will not mention for obvious meta reasons), and near the end of a certain season, a whole episode (at the end of a season-long arc) was devoted to the emotional breakdown of a certain character, who began to detach from everything and everyone during the course of said episode, and ended up dying in a blaze of glory (suicide? you decide) at the end. And my friend turned to me and said, "Well, that sucked because I saw it coming from the beginning of the episode." He considered the whole episode to have "spoiled" him for the character death, and thought it would have been much cooler if the death had not been foreshadowed at all. That is spoiler-phobia in the extreme!
Anyone remember the spoiler the WB itself made during the final episode of Angel? During a commercial break mid point in the show, they actually showed a segment from an upcoming pivotal scene where Lorne does something completely shocking.

The "teaser"clip happened so fast there was no time to my avert eyes... I saw it... there it was, burned into my brain. What would have been a totally unpredicted turn of events (at least for me) was completely ruined. And why? I mean I'm already watching, why show a spoiler for a shocking moment that's going to happen in just a few minutes? It's the frikken series finale... I'm not going anywhere. It almost seemed like a purposely cruel move to spoil that moment for the viewers. It's one thing to show an upcoming "exciting" moment to keep people tuned it, but it's quite another to show a moment that was one of the series most unexpected and shocking surprises... and ruin it in 5 seconds.
Not everyone has 5- gazillion dollars to get everything when first broadcast.

HUMANS don't spoil for others.

One has only ONE chance to see something for the First Time. Humans don't spoil that for others.

Now that there are ways for people to discuss and enjoy the first hit, without ruining the entire experience for everyone else, they should do so -- without destroying it for everyone else.

Not being registered on the site, I'll post my comment here (sorry, haven't read the comments here yet):

This screed seems to think that everyone should always watch everything at the same time as everyone else; hate freedom and individuality much?

People who insist on destroying another person's experience of something are the sort of people who kick puppies for fun.


Real humans don't give the story away. (And Buffy's mom died BEFORE Buffy sacrificed herself at the end of season 5 -- twits!)

I do NOT tell people who are experiencing a thing for the first time what's next. That's just MEAN (and I'm basically a sweetheart).

Both Grrr AND argh to that essay! Even worse, both Pooh! AND Barf!

If I don't make 50 gazillion bucks per month (or any income at all), then I never deserve to experience ANY art ever, for my whole life, as it was meant to be experienced?

EVER?
You folks on the West Coast .... here in Hawaii, now that daylight savings time has started on the mainland,
(we don't have it here)I'm three hours behind you. Which puts me six hours behind EDT (2 hrs. and 5 hrs. respectively during standard time on the mainland).

And I am the worlds most fanatic spoiler-phobe. (Apparently, along with Joss. Talk about good company) ;-). Spoil me for a show I really care about and you're dead, everyone who knows me, knows that.

Once BSG is back, I'll be very careful on .org because I don't expect everyone else to wait for the show to end in last time zone in the U.S. before posting.
I'm not sure how it works for U.K. folks but y'all always seem to be up on the latest U.S. shows ;_)

And now that I'm in love with a BBCA show (Torchwood), I'm really careful about spoilers, even started a "Spoiler-Free for the U.S." thread on .org and also on the one other site where I'm a regular.

It's just a matter of being aware that there are *gasp* other people in the world, and these things called "time zones".

My internet solution: only frequent sites with a firm spoiler policy and thoughtful people. So it's no problem here, where everyone is cool and "the story" is sacred, as it should be.
To me it's both funny and sad to see UK people complaining about a couple of months of delay in seeing some series. Here in Finland we can only dream of such delays. Eg. Veronica Mars hasn't yet finished, How I Met Your Mother season 1 started running like a month ago, etc. etc.
I lived in the US in the late 90's, before internet was common in most homes, and I constantly had friends and family calling me for spoilers on the latest Buffy, Friends and Days of Our Lives episodes, which did not air back home for months and sometimes years after the US airdate.

Now I'm back in Australia I rely on the net for these things.
Why should I be beholden to a network's or retailer's schedule? I'm an adult, damn it! If I want to join in on current world-wide conversation about TV episodes, movies, comics, or books, then I make a conscious choice to be 'spoilt' (in every way!)

But I will zealously protect the rights of others not to be. Case in point- I was sent an email containing the last chapter of HP7 many days before the actual release. No warning was given by my so-called 'friend'. But more fool me, because I started to read it, realized what it was and then, here is the kicker.. kept going!
And contrary to the book, all was decidedly NOT well. But I only had myself to blame.

So, let's be aware of leaking spoilers, while still putting the onus on people to avoid sites that have obvious info on something you haven't seen or read yet.
The reason most people read Shakespeare, for example, is because of the richness of the language and the characters rather than the plot twists.

HAMLET DIES AT THE END !!! ;-)

(on that topic - but off this one ;) - just watched the first series of 'Slings and Arrows' a Canadian comedy-drama series about a theatre and its troop. Good enough that I went ahead and ordered series 2 and 3 before getting to the end - it's sort of like a very lovely but sometimes amusingly bitter ode - fantasy i'd say in my own more bitter moments ;) - to the transformative power of art. Paul Gross, eh, who knew the guy could really act ?)

Long since stopped reading the introductions to classics because they seem to be written with the assumption that everyone has already read the work in question - haven't seen one yet that doesn't contain massive spoilers for the following book.

Casira: I happen to live in a different time zone / country ...

Err, is there any way at all that can be construed as the fault of the viewer ? So why do they deserve to lose out as a result ? Good rant in general though ;).

It's pretty simple really, either mark the thread/post with spoiler warnings - that, as others have said, is just good manners - or, as we do here, have a clear rule about what, technically, qualifies as a spoiler but with a healthy dose of concern for your fellow posters. S'not rocket science.
Hey, just keep that snot off of doorknobs. We don't need injuries along with the insult of spoilers [/Americanism].
Only sorta apropos - my partner is not much of a reader, but I'd gotten him hooked on Harry Potter stories. He fell behind in reading them, so was only up to the plot info via the movies, which as you know, seriously lagged.

He managed to stay spoiler-free of important info - I would head people off in discussions, let him know not to read something, etc., etc.

Til the day came last summer when he dropped me off at Book Soup to get Deathly Hallows and as I was scooting into the store - he waited outside to keep spoiler-free - someone was talking real loud as they went into the store and said, "Now we can find out if Dumbledore's really dead!"

He was gutted - but not mad. It was a miracle he managed to hang on this long. But seriously, the irony somehow...
Casira, one of the issues with special credits sequences was the budget and time involved. AtS5 had a substantially lower budget than Buffy S4 or S5, IIRC. But in those three Buffy cases (Superstar, Buffy Vs. Dracula, Seeing Red), the special sequence was a key part of the surprise.

[ edited by jclemens on 2008-03-14 17:51 ]
That's awful, QG. A stealth spoiler attack.
Yeah but the "Special Guest Star" type of credit doesn't matter to the budget surely ? It's only when they need to actually alter the main credit sequence that it's gonna cost. From what I heard, Joss asked ASH if he could play his credit at the end, ASH said yes, job done (which makes me think that in other instances either the actor just didn't give permission or possibly that with ASH being an ex-pat the rules were different ?).

Tonya: We don't need injuries along with the insult of spoilers ...

I'm now trying to imagine what a snot related injury might consist of (then there's the inevitable lawsuit ;).

(we call it snot too BTW)
Oh, there's this disgusting saying Americans have coined: "Slicker than snot on a doorknob." Meaning you could ostensibly have your hand slip off, lose your equilibrium, fall and break a leg. I'm just saying. Hey, I'm off work today so I can be silly! I couldn't resist!
Ah right. Nice expression ;).

(do you guys have "quicker than shit off a shovel" over there ? Similar idea but with speed rather than slickness. And not snot. Or doorknobs. Actually, it's totally different)
I haven't personally heard that one. But I like it. Ah, colloquialisms, what would we do without them? :>)

PS: Jeff Goldblum said in The Big Chill, "Ever try getting through the day without a juicy rationalization?" Same theory.

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