Oh, teasers are teasers and spoilers are spoilers and never the twain shall meet.

The subject of spoilers came up the other day after a New York Times article essentially spoiled the ending to DC Comics’ big Batman/Catwoman wedding storyline.  Not only did they spoil it, they spoiled it in the damn headline!  Fan response was…heated.  Comic shops that had pre-ordered copies were suddenly left holding the bag (and board to ensure its contents remain in mint condition!) as readers responded by cancelling their planned purchases.  Twitter was ablaze with a furious fandom who felt betrayed by either the book’s ending and/or the decision to reveal said ending days before the title dropped.

To be fair, it was a curious PR call.  I mean, I understand the great buzz that would follow a feature profile in the New York Times, but surely that could have been achieved without ruining the ending.  It’s not like you’re going to convince new readers to check out a movie, t.v. show, or book by saving them the trouble of actually watching/reading.  I honestly don’t get it.

On the other hand, there are productions that guard against any and all pre-release reveals with merciless determination.  Many an extra and crew member has been fired, publicly pilloried, and, on occasion, even sued for posting what they deemed a perfectly innocent pic on their instagram page, or made mention of a seemingly innocuous onscreen development on twitter.  In some cases, I get it.  In others, not really.  For me, it comes down to the difference between a spoiler and a teaser.

And what is that difference?  Oh, that’s easy.  A spoiler spoils viewers while a teaser simply teases them.  I know, I know.  Where to draw the line?  It varies from production to production, viewer to viewer, but I’ve personally always been very forgiving when it comes to on-set posts and pictures so long as they don’t reveal any major plot twists or surprises.  For example, a photo of a presumably deceased character on set would, by my definition, be considered a spoiler.  Photos of our series regulars in action would not.  Yes to sneak peeks of most concept art, costumes, visual effects designs and props because I want to get viewers excited in the lead-up to the episodes – and hopefully intrigue some new viewers as well – rather than wait until after the episode airs at which point these visual tidbits are rendered mere points of interest for the hardcore fans.  No to major reveals – like that new Android costume or a shot of SIX back on the ship after his apparent departure in Episode 303.

I think that’s reasonable.

Inciting a full-scale rebellion among your fandom probably isn’t.  But then again, I’m not the one with the marketing degree.

My Top 5 Stargate Spoilers

#5 – The Curse: Dr. Daniel Jackson reconnects with some people from his past, one of who, it turns out, has been taken over by a goa’uld.  Who could it be?  Well, if you watched the broadcast promo, you’d note a fiery-eyed Anna-Louise Plowman using a goa’uld hand device to blast our heroes.  A dead giveaway.

#4 – Apophis episode: Don’t recall which episode, but the network aired a promo that included a scene of Apophis actor, the amazing Peter Williams, snapping orders.  Only problem was they inexplicably used raw footage in which the actor’s voice had yet to be flanged to achieve that ominous goa’uld delivery.  As a result, mystified viewers were treated to a uniquely terrestrial-sounding System Lord with a slight Jamaican lilt.

#3 – Solitudes: A gate mishaps strands Sam and Jack on an icy wasteland.  Stargate Command races to locate them.  Where could they be?  Well, if the SGC had merely consulted TV Guide before the episode aired, they would have learned Antarctica and saved themselves the time and effort.

#2 – Kindred I: Another network promo totally ruins a surprise the production had kept under careful wraps for almost a year.  “You won’t believe the last five minutes!”says the voice-over, at which point we are treated to a shot of a once-dead, now very much alive Carson Beckett asking Sheppard and his team: “What took you so long?!”.

#1 – Forever In A Day: The German title for this episode is “Sha’re Ist Tod”.  Translation: Sha’re Is Dead.  But maybe not!  Ah, who am I trying to kid?

14 thoughts on “July 2, 2018: On Spoilers!

  1. The Batman Wedding thing reminds me of the Superman Death (Superman #75) when I had 3 comic shops. It helped propel comic sales, but people were buying them for speculation. I thought, “well it helps us pay our bills,” so I welcomed the “I gotta have any #1 that comes out, especially DC and Valiant.” Then, when DC announced Superman would come back and Valiant was going to do a crossover with Image, “collectors” started dropping like flies. 1993 resulted in 3/4 of our customers saying, “buh bye” to comics and we couldn’t keep up. Got in trouble with Diamond (the Goa’ould version of comics distribution….Ba’al was nicer, hell even Apophis was nicer) and I lost my shirt. In fact, I couldn’t even afford to launder a shirt. Comics that were going for $3 cover were going for pennies on the dollar. Ended up selling my inventory for $2000 (it was worth $50K retail, $25K wholesale). I have nightmares to this day about this loss (I couldn’t even afford to go bankrupt. I lost virtually everything I owned) as I have always loved comics and it was my dream to be involved in the industry, even if just selling them. The 2 years I pursued this was a lot of fun until DC and Valiant decided to get greedy. People began to realize, “hey these stories kinda suck and the cool covers are just selling mediocrity and these aren’t worth saving anymore.” I blame myself too, as I should have been a lot more cautious. There is a glut of comics now, a lot of them great, but I see similar problems to 1993 and am glad I just read them now.

  2. I’m generally not too bothered by being spoiled and, as a result, I sometimes forget that other people really hate it and I let slip things that I shouldn’t!

    On the other hand, having worked on productions with a large, rabid fanbase that is desperate for any piece of information I understand the need for security and keeping things under wraps. Like that time one of our file transfer servers got hacked. It had the first images of the CG rendered Golum on it. It would have been a disaster if they had been leaked. But luckily the hacker never knew what they’d hacked into and was just using the server to launch attacks on other servers. If they’d taken the time to look around on the disk . . .

    PS: Soylent Green is people and Dumbledore dies!

  3. Yes, the Kindred I spoiler was THE MOST ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen.


  4. What, Janet Frasier’s death (SG-1’s “Heroes”) didn’t make the list?

    Then again, that was an inadvertent slip during a Gatecon Q&A (I was there), and it wasn’t a complete reveal, if I remember correctly.

  5. To me, one of the worst spoilers was putting a picture of the Statue of Liberty on the cover of the Planet of the Apes movie.

  6. I remember the promo for Kindred I. I was like…”WTF??”.

    Generally spoilers don’t bother me. My enjoyment of the event is fulfilled by experiencing it, even IF I already know what’s going to happen.

    What I cannot stand is when production attempts to reign in the spoiler or the obvious conclusion with misdirection and evasiveness. Or as in the case of Avengers 4, just plain out lie to fandom. Mr. Feige, we KNOW they’re not all dead. Because we’re not stupid.

  7. I actively avoid huge portions of the internet when anticipating some movies, like Infinity War. Oh, yeah, I knew the overall “everyone dies” thing, because that’s just the set up for the next movie. I’d figured out a few things on my own, and felt very clever. I won’t go near the Walking Dead fan forums, sheesh. What is with the “I know something” people? Do they really think it makes them impressive or smart? No, it does not.

    Although that’s what brought me to the blog, I was behind on recorded SG1 episodes, and a friend’s tease brought me here. I’m glad I stayed.

  8. I remember the rerun broadcast of the Atlantis episode “Michael,” pretty sure they opened with him straight up yelling “I’m a wraith!”

    I think they were going for an “…or is he?” vibe but in the end yes, he was in fact a wraith.

  9. “The Kindred” has to take the cake. Showtime also used unflanged footage for their “Forever In a Day” promo, which had the very human-sounding Sha’re saying “My host cannot help you!”

    The other network promo I remember (which rightly made you loose your s### at the time) was “Ex Deus Machina” — “The bomb isn’t IN the building, the bomb IS the building!” Well then.

    I certainly contributed to the spoiler universe more than my fair share over the years, and would do some things differently if I could go back. But it always amazed me when the network promos blew Act 4 (or even Act 5) reveals.

    1. Ah, yes! “The bomb isn’t IN the building; the bomb IS the building!” That was one brazen network spoiler!

  10. Here you can find the German names of the Stargates episodes what is a complete spoiler disaster.:

    Here are just a few examples:
    Der Kuss Der Göttin – The kiss of the goddess = Hathor
    Das zweite Tor – The second gate = Touchstone
    Apophis’ Rückkehr = Return of Apophis = The Devil You Know
    Harsiesis’ Rettung = Saving of the Harsiesis = Maternal Instinct
    Hilfe aus dem Traumwelt = Help from the dreamworld = Changeling

    They also like characters’ names as episode titles.. like Anna, Colonel Vaselov, Soren, Colson, Arkhan King, Vala, Joe, Jim (!!!!!).

    And this is just simple laziness:
    Die Invasion Teil 1-2-3-4 – The invastion = There but for the grace of the god + politics + Within the Serpen’ts grasp + The serpent’s lair

    I still remember I have watched the first five seasons in German on RTL II.

    * * *

    It is also funny that I had to write 1-2 sentences long synopsis about SG episodes to our Hungarian website. I have learnt that time how talk about something why you are not really talking about it like a producer. You can imagine my surprise when I have seen that my own little synopsises / thread starters were published in the Hungarian media platforms for the SG shows. They simply copied them from the biggest fan site and even if they didn’t ask my permission, I was very proud of myself. 🙂

  11. Ah yes – German episode titles – the bane of German viewers. The rule seems to be that in a title you have to describe what happens, instead of being creative and give the episode additional depth or another spin with the title. And you could of course be lazy and just translate the original title for that matter. Seems to be typical German (and being from Germany I am allowed to say that).

    And on the matter of spoilers: Please do not spoil Dark Matter, Season 2 just started in free TV in Germany. After longer deliberation I decided to watch it even though I know it was cancelled mid-way. Normally I do not invest the time in these cases, so I guess it is compliment for the quality of the show. I am of course counting on you to give closure in some way or another 😉

    Thanks for the great show!

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