With DVRs and the Internet, we can watch TV shows whenever we want to. We’re not forced to sit down in front of the TV at a certain time on a certain night to watch out favorite shows. I wouldn’t want it any other way.
One thing you have to be really careful about is spoilers. Nobody really likes to be spoiled when it comes to shows that you watch, especially popular shows with big mysteries like LOST and Battlestar Galactica. We want to find out for ourselves what happened.
I’ve noticed that a lot of the articles I read online have carefully worded headlines that don’t give anything away. Also, on podcasts that I listen to they are usually carefully about not giving away spoilers or putting them at the end so that people can avoid them if they like. If there are spoilers contained within these articles or podcasts, there is usually a spoiler warning. Fortunately, avoidance of giving spoilers doesn’t last forever. After a certain amount of time people feel that it’s okay to talk about the important developments in an episode and it’s not their fault if someone hasn’t seen it yet. Depending on the source that amount of time could be a few days, a few weeks, a few months, etc. I don’t like getting spoiled, but it’s not that big a deal and I’m over it in a second.
My problem is with spoilers on Twitter. Whenever a big show like Heroes or LOST comes I see at least one person warning everyone not to spoil anything or scolding someone who gave away a big plot point. Yes, I do understand that West Coast viewers see everything 2 hours after we do and some people choose not to watch live anyway. But still. Twitter is all about the conversation, but I can’t talk about this show that I’m so excited about that I’m taking the time to watch it and watch it live and that. I hate being peer pressured into anything.
I’ve seen Twitter described as the tech watercooler. Haven’t TV shows traditionally been watercooler conversation topics? It seems to me like you shouldn’t hang out around the watercooler if you don’t want to have anything spoiled. If you go into the break room/kitchen at work and people are talking about an episode that you haven’t seen, would you tell everyone to shut up because you don’t want to be spoiled? I don’t think so. I think this may be another situation where people behave differently on the Internet than they do in real life.
I don’t remember spoilers being as big of a problem in the VCR days. Those tapes could only hold a few hours so you couldn’t wait too long to watch what you recorded before you needed that space back. And technological changes in general have made it easy now to watch an episode when you want and get spoiled before you watch it.
It’s just frustrating that when I’m most excited about a TV show episode, I can’t talk about it. As much as I want to blurt out plot points sometimes, I don’t out of politeness. Maybe some Twitter client out there will implement a filter where users can enter keywords (LOST, the hatch, Oceanic 6, etc.) and not receive tweets can contain those keywords. Maybe there is one already.