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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
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May 08 2004

Gossip sites taking the suspense out of TV plots - and the fans love it. Article about spoilers with a few comments from Joss. (Full version of article at the New York Times website).

I decided a few weeks ago that since this will be the last Angel that I'll see, that I will remain spoiler free. I've kept to this and I think I have added to my enjoyment. Still this show is usually so good that even with knowing what is going to happen seeing the actual execution is still better then my past spoiler fed imagination expected.
Also staying spoiler-free, to the extent I can...don't even watch the previews of next week's colleague at work can't understand it...
I'm much happier since I quit the spoiler habit. When I first discovered Whedonesque, Buffy S6 I believe, I would gleefully follow any red link posted, sure I was in on something the general public wasn't. I quickly found that knowing what was coming really... *ahem*... spoiled the shows for me. There's a reason they call it that, folks. I do go back and read some spoilers after the ep, to see if they got it right, especially Herc's stuff. Fun to see what he liked and didn't.
Yup, after I was completely spoiled for the end of Buffy, I decided to be spoiler free for Angel. It really does ruin then suspense. I knew Anya and Spike would die. I was still sad, but it kind of loses the shock value. And I love being shocked when I'm watching tv, because it happens so rarely. Except when Ross and Rachel got together. The suspense nearly killed me, and I was so surprised when Rachel came back, I almost cared.....But seriously, Joss and the writers of Buffy and Angel are some of the few folks who can surprise me, so I'm going to let him.
I dislike the idea of spoilers yet,me and many other people I know, can't get enough of them. Luckily, I will go spoiler free on the finale. Spoilers are helpful, but I feel bad for the writers.Their hard work is leaked and spread widely. I think if they don't want this information leaked, they should take extra careful precautions. I know I would if I created a show and didn't want my secrets given away. Does anyone else agree that spoilers become very addicting after reading a few?
Actually, the article has been cut quite a bit. The complete original article and interesting accompanying art can be seen in the Sunday New York Times at:

It will require registration to read the Arts and Leisure Section story.

As for spoilers, I avoid them as if touching them has the potency of snake venom. I want writers to entertain and surprise me. If you want to know what happens, why not just write fan fic. And for those who say they find spoilers help them to appreciate how the story was done, watch the darned show again. I'll just never understand the spoiler chase.
Sometimes I think poor Joss should relax a little on the spoiler front. I mean, I don't know exactly what kinds of precautions he takes to make sure things don't leak, and perhaps he should keep taking them, but he always seems so dissapointed when he talks about losing the spoiler war...The thing is, the people who want to be spoiled, will be spoiled, and the people who don't, (hopefully) won't. If there are people out there who are so determined to be spoiled, why not just let it go? I mean, why be so bothered by it? There are still plenty of people out there (such as myself), who are complete spoiler-phobes...
Remember the good old days when spoilers were precious and people would endlessly debate them because we didn't know the full circumstances of what would happen in the episode. These days we get summaries of the entire episode about a month before it airs and it does kinda take the fun out of things. Buffy season 7 was like that and this season of Angel was certaintly the case.

Oh and thanks for the info Drifter, I've added that link in the description field. Oh and

"Hercules said. "In my early spoiler-boy days, I held back nothing." Then he received a super spoiler: the Rosetta Stone of "Buffy" Season 6 plot twists. He printed it. Marti Noxon, an executive producer, wrote begging him to desist from further leakage. "

What exactly was that spoiler he was referring too?
Sometimes, I got the sense with Buffy season 7 that if I hadn't read the spoilers, I wouldn't have understood what was going on in the actual show. I know that was probably just me, but it really did baffle me sometimes.

But I think that Joss has good reason to be careful on the spoiler least him. I know that there are a lot of people who are frustrated because they feel that Rick Berman and Brannon Braga seem to give away "too much" in regards to spoilers for Star Trek: Enterprise.
What exactly was that spoiler he was referring too?

The death of Tara, I would guess.
See I was thinking that but then I was wondering if it was Spike getting his soul back.
It's not that I don't think Joss should be careful about spoiler leakage, it's just that I think that maybe he worries himself too much about the people who seek out spoilers. That he lets it bother him too much that some people choose to be spoiled. There's always gonna be people who wanna know the dirt, and they'll usually get it one way or the other no matter what Joss or anyone else does. The way Joss talks, he seems so frustrated sometimes about it, and he has good reason to be- he's fighting a losing battle if he thinks he's gonna keep everything a secret from the people who want to know them.
Now I don't want spoilers to leak so profusely that I can't help but accidently run across them, and I appreciate any efforts of Joss & co that might help to prevent that from happening. And I appreciate knowing that when I read an interview with Joss I can count on not being spoiled by him. It's just that, sometimes I wonder if Joss doesn't stress himself to much worrying about those people who choose to be spoiled. They do choose to be spoiled.
I don't think it was the death of Tara as another poster broke that as far as I recall Herc got details of what the first 8 episodes of season 6 were about

The only major difference was that the episode which became Normal Again was listed as the eighth episode and OMWF if I remember correctly was listed as the sixth episode

[ edited by garda39 on 2004-05-09 14:18 ]
I think what stresses Whedon the most about spoilers is that they prove that some of his employees are rats.
I got in the habit of reading spoilers because I was so far behind in the different series that it almost didn't matter. Now I find I have difficulty staying away from them even when I know I don't want to know. Plus, the first episode of BtVS I ever saw was the one where Tara was killed. I watch season 4 and 5 with a very different mindset than my partner who still has no idea (boy, I have been good about that secret!) It's amazing how much also leaks around without warning too. I definitely find that it diminishes things a bit.

On the other hand, I knew that Joyce was going to die in season 5 and I was still completely shocked by it--both in "I Was Made to Love You" and "The Body". I think that knowing the events that are going to take place doesn't change how amazing the creators are at the execution of them. It's one of the reasons that I find Whedon and his cohorts to be so damn amazing.

This is a very interesting discussion BTW--I've really enjoyed reading it.

And OT but I want to wish blwessels, willowy and all the other moms on the board a Happy Mother's Day!
To by-pass all that free registration garbage (which is just excuse to send you spam mail):

I don't understand people who read spoilers, patience is rewarding, the episodes are better first time around, the first watching experience is meant to be the best, and some of you spoil it for yourselfs, I find that annoying, even though I don't spoil it for myself, those writers craft suspense, and some of you don't appreciate it, and I think websites are stupid for posting them, if they are spoilers, why give them out, a good site called Batman on film only posts news that's non spoilerish. I understand joss's pain.
Surprise "makes you humble. It makes you small in the world, and takes you out of your own perspective."

I think this is why I try so hard to avoid spoilers. I want to experience the story the way the writer wants me to first; not after it's been filtered through my preconceived notions. It's also about respecting all their hard work and being patient enough to let Joss and the writers tell the story their way the way they intended without me taking away what they've created. Surprise can be a "tantalizing" and "gorgeous sensation". One of my favourite movie quotes is from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory: "The suspense is terrible. I hope it will last."
Ahh, Thank You Marmoset - that was really sweet!

I try to stay spoiler free too but unfortunately because I like to visit sites such as this, I've sometimes accidentally been spoiled by someone else leaking something else out and that sort of thing drives me crazy. But my biggest spoiled moment was Tara being killed. I had been visiting a site that gave a description of the upcoming episode and they had been really good about not giving stuff away and for some reason they just blurted out that Tara was going to be killed. I was so upset to have read that! I was still shocked at how she died but I always wonder how the moment would have hit me if I hadn't known it was coming.

There were other things for season five and six that I knew about before seeing the show because we had lost our local WB affilliate and didn't have UPN and I had to wait for a friend to let me borrow her video tapes and I only saw her a couple times a year (we'd get the tapes and me, my husband and daughters would just sit and watch the entire run straight through). She was pretty good about not giving anything away but my dopey sister would just blurt things out and I'd want to ring her neck. An example of our conversation would be - Her - "Oh, you should see what's going on on Buffy" - Me - "Don't tell me ANYTHING - I don't want to know a thing!".. Her - "It's not a big deal or anything" - Me - "I don't want to know!!!" Her - "But Buffy and Spike are going to get together" Me- ARRRRRRRGHHHH - WHY DID YOU TELL ME THAT - I DIDN"T WANT TO KNOW!! - Her - "Geez, well you didn't say anything"

We, fortunately, got both the WB and UPN during season six and I was able to have conversations with my sister again (although I still want to ring her neck sometimes!).
I was unspoiled for the end of Buffy season 2 when Buffy poked Angel with her sword and I was so glad I was didn't know what was happening. Cause that was one of the best moments of the show. But when I discovered Buffy fansites at the end of season 5 being unspoiled went out the window.

However I had no idea Spike was going to get his soul back at the end of season 6 and my jaw just dropped when it happened. "What the hell? Two vampires with a soul" I screamed. But it all worked out for the best. Still wish I had been unspoiled for Giles coming back to confront Dark Willow.
I think it was the Spike soul thing that got out - not Tara's death. Basically cause they filmed the episode and no one knew what was going to happen since the line was not in the original script and was looped in later to keep it as much of a secret as possible. Even Marsters said he had no idea until he watched the episode and he thought that he was going to have the chip removed and was shocked to find out he had gotten a soul instead.

Being a spoiler junkie - I realy don't get all that spoiled by them - I was still just as effect by Fred's death. I have been unspoiled before and for me it's the reverse - I have less of a reaction when I'm unspoiled compared to when I am. I love anticipaton and knowing how things are going to go down makes the enjoyment of watching them that much more intence. Surprise maybe nice but it's brief and over to quickly, but antipation is thrilling, long lasting, and savoring. To see how they will visual pull off what is on paper or computer screen it gives me chills of excitement.

[ edited by RavenU on 2004-05-09 19:04 ]
UPN leaked the soul spoiler in a press release which was quickly withdrawn but some fans saw it first and herc wasn't one of them
I remember Joss once saying in a post something like "The value of the element of surprise is not completely lost on me", pointedly aiming it at spoiler-whores. I was already very anti-spoiler, but that sealed the deal. You have to see this from his perspective. He's created (and written much of) these shows, wants you to see them the way he intended, wants you to go in blind. From his perspective (and my own), it's kinda disheartening to see that so many people don't care about the magic (for lack of a better term), the awesome reactions resulting from the art of surprise. I don't care how amazing an episode is even after having been completely spoiled for it, the fact remains it could've been that much better if you'd abstained from spoilers.

It's just plain sad from some artists' perspectives, and to those of us who really love and treasure entertainment in all its forms, and respect the creators' intents. I know that sounds pretentious...I don't look down on spoiler-whores or anything, I've been one when it comes to some shows (usually my guilty pleasures such as Smallville and The OC). This is just how I feel.

[ edited by Kris on 2004-05-10 07:52 ]
I think that Kris and bloodflowers said it best. I avoid spoilers at all costs, and when it comes to friends who I'm introducing to the Buffyverse, I REFUSE to tell them any upcoming plot points. Not only is it an amazing sensation to be surprised by these shows (which, sadly, we won't get anymore after 2 more weeks), but it's great to watch someone else be surprised by them as well.

I simply think that it's disrespectful to the talented creators of these shows to "peek ahead" and see what's next. There's a reason that saying "patience is a virtue" exists.
Rosebud was his sled.
RavenU, I agree.

I don't think it's "disrespectful" to be a spoilerfiend, at all.

People ask me why I even bother watching the show if I know all the information on it anyway. The answer is this: I want to see how it comes across. (aka it's the journey not the destination) I already know the destination because of the spoilers, but what I don't know is how the actors and writers are going to portray a scene. Something that sounds completely corny (aka "Smile Time") turns out to be phenomonal. THAT is amazing to watch and you can never "spoil" that. The opposite is also true. You can read something that sounds great and then, due to bad writing or bad acting, it just comes across as lame.
cubiclesatan, I agree with you. I've always been spoiled, never regretted it, and find that it really adds to my enjoyment of the show. You know what happens, but you don't really know how it happens. Its beyond cool to see it played out.

I'm just one of those that's gotta know. I'm sorry, Joss.

marmoset, thank you for the mother's day wish! How kind of you. I hope you see this thank you because I had to go into the archives to read this topic just because I missed ONE DAY!

Does anyone else think we should have more than one front page?? Er... you know what I mean...
Willowy - not that you'll see this ;), but each month I go into the archives and click on the listing for that month, then bookmark it. Then for the rest of that month, I'll use the bookmark to go directly to the page listing the full month's worth of posts. Er... does that make sense?

This works great as I'm often away from a computer for days at a time.

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