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?