Anthony Bailey (anthonybailey) wrote,
Anthony Bailey

The hopeful tale of an unspoiled Twilight

Viewers of television shows with long narrative arcs know the Net can be a double-edged sword. It can provide many pleasant words shared with other engaged fans. It can also deliver much pain in just a few unwanted words of spoiler. The key to avoiding the latter, I think, is community and convention.

For many years as a UK viewer, I found myself jealously observing the growth of lively Net discussion of the unfolding stories on US TV. The time difference between when countries aired of the shows meant I couldn't actively participate in those discussions, only read them many months after the fact. Meanwhile even a casual browsing of fan sites for the shows ran quite a risk of being spoiled.

More lately this has been less of a problem for me, since I can download episodes of the few shows I do watch week-by-week shortly after they air in the US. Instead I observe others experiencing an analogous problem at a smaller timescale as they attempt to combine a DVR-based viewing schedule with their eager tracking of the real-time web. "OMG I can't believe X just Y" tweets from those watching live make the trade-off between involved and unspoilt viewing as difficult and as dangerous as ever.

Discussion of the spoilage process itself is even more fraught with difficulty - there's precious little you can assume everyone knows or that no-one will mind hearing.

Given this context, I'm pleased to present a recent personal story of spoilage avoidance.

Although the TV show is over, the official Buffy canon continues in the form of a "Season Eight" series of monthly comics, involving a masked Big Bad known as Twilight. Lately there was a horrendous mess up when the uncensored version of a cover of an upcoming issue which literally unmasked Twilight was unintentionally included in teaser marketing materials, revealing the identity of this villain months ahead of schedule. A significant proportion of the keener fans were spoiled, and there were dozens of discussions and press stories on how this all came about.

Now, I follow Joss Whedon stuff relatively close up on the excellent Whedonesque hub. But this site has a gated and relatively caring community, and a strong convention of omitting spoilers from summaries and clearly marking when they may be present in linked articles, or the site's own discussion boards. I read Whedonesque for many months before the comic in question was finally published, and despite the huge amount of attention "Twilightgate" received I easily remained unspoiled until I reached the intended page. So I want to offer warm fuzzy thanks in the general direction of all those who helped that happen.

(I'll reserve judgement on the overall plot and twist in question until the season is done, mind.)
Tags: metaspoilt
Comments for this post were disabled by the author