Ponderance

(May 2003 - March 2007.) Tama's thoughts on the blogosphere, podcasting, popular culture, digital media and citizen journalism posted from a laptop computer somewhere in Perth's isolated, miniature, urban jungle ...

Sunday, May 09, 2004
Spoilers Go Mainstream

The NY Times
has a great article on the way that spoilers (and, by implication, the Net and fan culture) are changing the face of episodic TV. The 'surprise ending' is almost a thing of the past, with hungry netizens seeking out any tidbit of info they can grab on their favourite shows. The mandatory Joss soundbite:
"They beat me up; they took my lunch money," sighs Joss Whedon, whose productions (including "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and the recently canceled "Angel") have been longtime sieves for inside information. "I tried to fight them for years, including this year. And I lost. I tried to keep Christian Kane's appearance on `Angel' a secret, and I made the cardinal mistake: I filmed with extras." Extras are on the set briefly, and once they leave there's nothing to keep them from talking about what they saw there. "The only way to rid yourself of spoilers is to try to make work that people are not interested in, and that's not a method I'm going to try," Mr. Whedon concluded.
The article continues on to look at the way networks have started using spoilers, releasing misleadings spoilers, or even producing multiple endings to keep the suspence out there! Of course, the situation for non-US viewers is even more difficult: given that most American TV shows are 3 to 6 months behind the US in Australia (for example), that which is non-spoilerish for US viewers still is for us! How hard is it for an Australian viewer with an Alias obsession not to dip into a quick US episode summary and find the plotlines for the next ten episodes! The Net might be a global phenonmenon, but free-to-air TV is still nationally controlled with a focus on the winter peak viewing months. Australia, one might say, suffers from the tyrrany of televisual distance in the era of a wired globe!

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