Being a fan of several TV shows which have ‘mystery’ integral to their very nature, while at the same time being an avid user of social media, has its pitfalls. Sadly, we live in a time where patience is no longer the virtue it once was, and in the case of such shows as Coronation Street, Eastenders et al all have their storylines reported in the national press some six months prior to transmission. We know well in advance when a wedding is about to be ruined, or a key character is going to go mental and blow up the local pub, and this has unfortunately become the norm.
I myself have often been known to use spoilers to my own ends. Maybe I just can’t be bothered going to see a film at the cinema – it’s not beyond me to find the Wikipedia entry of said film, read the plot and then make a decision as to whether I’m disappointed I ruined it for myself. Obviously this is a terrible way to experience the art of the cinema, and as such I only tend to take this route when relates to a film I’m 99.9% likely NOT to go to see. I saved myself two valuable hours I could have wasted going to see Marley & Me, for example. I was never going to see that at the pictures, no bloody fear.
As you may have worked out from the layout of my page here, I am a Doctor Who fan. I love the show, I love the characters, I love the fact that the viewer can be taken anywhere in space and time, and every week it’s totally different. It’s the same reason I loved Quantum Leap back in the day – the nature of the show was that each week you’d be in a different era, anywhere from the 50s to present day.
The modern day Doctor Who series tends to follow a ‘story arc’ each year, which generally keeps me hooked until the very end of the last shot of the last episode of the series. With Eccleston we had “Bad Wolf”. With Tennant we had the return of the Master, and the stars disappearing, and with Smith we’ve had the Pandorica, the death of the Doctor, and River Song. I enjoy these arcs. In all honesty, I could happily watch the series even without them, but I do love the extra depth that they give to the series – especially those episodes where we learn just a little more……
I find it very sad therefore when I find it increasingly difficult to slalom through my Twitter timeline without slamming head first into someone else’s post giving away important plot details of a forthcoming episode, series or character. Doctor Who is one of only two programmes on at the moment where I would willingly change my social plans to ensure I watched the episode at the time of transmission. In fact, the only time in recent history I didn’t watch an episode live was Asylum of the Daleks, which was originally shown on Saturday 1st September 2012. I know that, because that was my wedding day. And despite my objections, I had to spend the time socialising.
I would have been gutted if I’d learned that night that a certain character had made her first appearance in the show without seeing it myself first. It’s that “oh!” moment of Doctor Who I love. Luckily nobody spoiled it for me and I was able to enjoy the surprise as everyone else had done the night before.
Sherlock is the other show I refuse to miss. It’s absolutely faultless, from the casting and the direction, to the wardrobe and script – everything is as close to perfection as I believe you can get. So, the Reichenbach Fall. How DID Sherlock survive? Part of what makes the show what it is, is the having to wait a year and a half to find out. It’s utterly frustrating, but it’s worth the wait. I don’t want to know beforehand. What’s the point? I want to watch it and exclaim “oh!”.
“Knowledge is power” – as the old saying goes. Maybe folk who post spoilers do so for the rush of being able to tell someone that they know the ending before their victim does. But they’re not impressing anybody.
What they’re doing is robbing their victim of that wonderful sensation of the moment the plot unravels before their own eyes. And that moment is what makes good television GREAT.