Why Avoiding Spoilers is More Rewarding

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Mark McCullough explains.

We are very much living in an age where everything is accessible online, you can do your shopping, talk about your favourite shows with fellow fans or even look at pictures of kittens (if you’re into that). Unfortunately this comes with a curse, the double edged sword or available information, the dreaded internet spoilers.

When it comes to spoilers there are two types of people: you can be a spoiler junky who reads each and every spoiler religiously, or a spoiler-phobe who avoids them like the plague. Today I am going to try to convince you that the latter is the most rewarding approach. It’s a much harder decision to make, but one I find from experience pays off enormously when watching the show. I can speak from experience as I have been both at times, depending on the show I’m watching. Spoil Game of Thrones on me and you will meet a similar to fate to the majority of the characters, whereas for any of the American Crime shows I’ll look at any and every spoiler I can find. For Doctor Who I used to embrace spoilers until Series Seven Part Two left me with a bitter taste in my mouth. Why you may ask? Because what I had been led to believe was the case by spoilers turned out to be better than what we actually got. Since then I have been avoiding all spoilers so as not to experience the same thing again.

To put my previous point about it being rewarding to avoid spoilers into context, let’s take a look at some of the twists within the show. Imagine hearing Professor YANA proclaim “My name is the Master” with no idea that the Master was even returning, or Tom Baker’s Curator popping up with no prior warning (Unfortunately Tom himself spoiled this one). I’m sure we can think of numerous others too. These scenes were obviously written to be a shock. Rather unfortunately the impact of the majority of these twists in the show has been lessened to some degree due to the availability of spoilers. Yes the scenes are still exceptional , but imagine for one moment how much better it would be if you had no idea what so ever is about to happen. You can never recapture the magic of an initial viewing as once you have seen it, you know it. Spoilers are a little like that but to a lesser extent.

My second reason for wanting to avoid spoilers is out of respect for the writers of the show I love. It may be a small point to pick up on and have no real significance to the writer themselves. However their intention is to deliver the best possible story to their audience. It’s hard to tell a good story when the element of surprise has been removed due to someone posting the plot of an episode or the course of an arc online in the public eye. In an ideal world all filming would be conducted in private locations and the first anything sees the light of day being the initial broadcast. I can’t help but feel sorry for a writer who has their hard work ruined; as such I always try to avoid these kinds of spoilers out of respect for the writer and the series as a whole.

Most spoilers can be considered a minor peak at what promises to be a far bigger picture and many fans can have fun speculating how what they have seen comes together. Most are small pieces of controlled information. However there is a major difference between friendly filming pictures and the release of not just one, but five entire scripts. As such I would plead to those who would normally look at spoilers to in this unprecedented situation avoid these entirely. As I am sure you are aware the majority of Doctor Who Fan sites including our own have already made huge sacrifices in order to stop the spread of the spoilers.

The image at the top of this article was created by our very own Connor Johnston; it features his hashtag (#keepmespoilerfree). I would urge all you reading this article to try to stay spoiler free from now until the start of Series Eight. If we care about our show at all, if we value its integrity we will come together and ignore the leaked scripts. Not just this, but I urge you to spread the word, embrace the hashtag and save our fandom from possibly one of the most devastating events it has faced.

I know that it is difficult to avoid spoilers, they are extremely tempting. But now more than ever it is important that as true fans who love the show, we avoid them this time.