Spoilers! and Fandoms

As someone who consumes a hell of a lot of media, I can honestly say I have also been a major consumer of spoilers, but I am not the only one – in a certain way, aren’t we all? Before going further, I would like to correctly define what the definition of “spoilers” is, as stated by the Merriam-Webster:

information about the plot of a motion picture or TV program that can spoil a viewer’s sense of surprise or suspense; also :  a person who discloses such information

With this in mind, I have actually admit I have followed the spoilers of many of my favorite media and here is a list:

  • Xena: Warrior Princess Seasons 4 through 6 (1998-2001)*
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 6 through 7 (2001-2003)
  • Buffy spin-off Angel Seasons 4 through 5 (2002-2004)*
  • Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda Season 2 and 5 (2001-2002, 2004-2005)
  • Charmed Seasons 4 through 8 (2001-2006)*
  • Stargate SG-1 Seasons 8 through 10 (2004-2007)**
  • Stargate: Atlantis Seasons 1 through 5 (2004-2009)
  • Stargate films: The Ark of Truth, and Continuum (2008)
  • Smallville Seasons 4 through 10 (2004-2011)***
  • Fringe Seasons 4 through 5 (2011-2013)***
  • Smash Seasons 1 through 2 (2012-2013)
  • Sherlock Series 3 through 4 (2014, 2017)***
  • Doctor Who Series 3 onward (2006-PRE)
  • Supernatural Season 12 onward (2016-PRE)*
  • Vera Series 6 onward (2016-PRE)***
  • Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 (2016-2017)
  • Arrow Season 5 onward (2016-PRE)*
  • The Flash Season 3 onward (2016-PRE)
  • DC’s Legends of Tomorrow Season 2 onward (2016-PRE)
  • Supergirl Season 2 onward (2016-PRE)
  • Phase Three onward of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (2016-PRE)

* Denotes that I have watched, or are watching, in syndication on the TNT Network.

** Denotes that I watched in syndication via the SciFi Channel.

*** Denotes that I have watched via other means.

I would actually argue that in this day, and age, no one is spoiler-free. Turn on any TV station and we bombarded with film trailers, episode trailers, and even book trailers. For example:

If you have ever seen any of these, you have been spoiled. How so? Each of these offers something relevant to the episode, film, or book regarding it’s plot. Whether it’s the images, quotes, or shocking twists, parts of them have been somehow incorporated into the trailer to attempt to get you interested, and want to watch. According to Aoyama Gakuin University Japan researchers in their study, “A Study On Effectiveness Of Movie Trailers Boosting Customers’ Appreciation Desire: A Customer Science Approach Using Statistics And GSR”:

In terms of the factors that make younger people interested in movies, a film begins to advertise and many young people decide they want to go see it. They come in contact with advertising media for the film, including trailers, posters (Uchida, Kohara and Amasaka, 2010), websites, and flyers. Movie trailers are one form of media that has a significant impact on young people’s desire to see a given film. Movie trailers are broadcast on TV, on the Internet, and in theaters, and they can present the fascination of movies through their pictures. When the authors conducted a preliminary study in theaters in order to determine the importance of movie trailers, they found that 71% of moviegoers watch trailers at the theater before seeing the feature film and that improving the quality of movie trailers can lead to an increase in theater customers (Takahashi, Hasegawa, Sugiyama and Watanabe, 2000).

71% is a pretty large number. But let’s the look at the film, Serenity, when I was working at AMC Theatres at The Loop in Methuen, MA.

At the time the film came out, I was not involved with Firefly fandom (I’m still not, actually), but I was rather surprised to see old high school classmates going to see the film who had no idea of the television show. They thought I did have an idea about the show, expecting me to tell them – but that really wasn’t the case.

Arguably, they weren’t part of that fandom. I’m hardly the only one that is part of a fandom though, and worth looking into others.

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From my parent’s love of The Sopranos, The X-Files, Burn Notice, and Sons of Anarchy to people in the local LGBT community having a love for Glee, Desperate Housewives, RuPaul’s Drag Race, and Will & Grace to local politicos having a firm appreciation for The West Wing, House of Cards, Veep, or Madam Secretary – everyone is almost inexplicably guilty.

Boston Red Sox Victory Parade

Even those who love sports can arguably be part of a fandom, knowing the individual stats of players, debating who you think will get to/win the World Series this year, as well as the impacts of players personal lives on their performance in any particular game – that counts, too.

Fandoms are literally all around us, and why shouldn’t they be? We enjoy them.

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They can help increased our appreciation for the shows we watch, and with other fans, even share different insight into the characters, events, etc. within this medium. We feel a sense of community with them. Whether it is our favorite sports teams, the town, city or even state we live in, the high school or university we went to, or our favorite boy band, there is clearly some investment which is worth appreciating.

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