This is a new and very different age of content consumption. When we’re talking water cooler TV there are still those Breaking Bad’s and Walking Dead’s, but sometimes this sort of water cooler conversation gets delayed a bit. Many fans of shows don’t actually watch the shows until after they have completed their television runs. Netflix original shows such as House of Cards are crafting a generation of TV fans that expect to take a weekend and watch an entire season. This sort of TV viewing is fascinating because it runs so opposite to the quick fix short attention span modern generation of media consumers (that’s a polite way of saying young people). This new means of consuming media is a double edged sword for networks. From one point of view it means that fewer people are watching live broadcasts or even time shifting episodes via DVR. On the other hand the popularity of a series is layered with one group being fanatical about a show as it airs and a whole new group bolstering post broadcast home video releases such as blu-ray box sets and streaming options such as Netflix. Some fans don’t actually wait until a show is complete to watch but they are generally a full season behind. AMC releases previous seasons of Mad Men for example on Netflix to coincide with the new season starting up on the network. So, there are those that were watching season four on Netflix while season five is airing.
With this formula of media consumption being the norm spoilers becomes more of an issue than they ever have before. Sure, there should be a statute of limitations of worrying about spoilers but that statute has be extended more than it once was due to many people not choosing to watch a show as it is broadcast or in cases like Game of Thrones simply not being able to see the series due to it existing in a premium walled garden (HBO). Game of Thrones fans don’t care though; rather than share their love of the show they’d rather spoil new viewers right out of caring about the series at all.
Typically the avoiding of spoilers has not been much of an issue because fans of various shows are desperate to bring in newbies so they won’t spoil something in the hopes of getting their friends to watch the show. One anomaly is Game of Thrones. Hard core fans of this series seem radically desperate to spoil the show the minute some major twist or death occurs. Immediately after an episode social media is splattered with joke stills and OMG posts that give an entire plot twist away. Why? Why do these fans so deeply need to spoil a show that they should be attempting to get more people to watch? After too many spoilers I completely loose interest in watching a show because the shocks and surprises are that anymore because they’ve all been spoiled for me. Also, these spoilers don’t mean anything to people who aren’t yet invested in the show so what do these fans have to gain by doing this?
The answer isn’t a simple one but one reason is that this series spurs a level of content elitism that’s not often reached on TV. This sort of snobbery is usually reserved for the written word. It’s very common for fans of a book series to display this sort of level of “I’m more clever or knowledgeable than you because I’m into something you don’t know about” snobbery. Game of Thrones sprang forth to television from a popular series of books so it’s not unreasonable to deduce that those fans were at the core of the internet spoilerism that is so heavily tied to this show. That kind of snobbery spreads like a wildfire so now those that haven’t read the books are just as elite as those that have read them. These people are part of a fandom that you just don’t get for whatever reason. Could it be that we just don’t want to pay for HBO so we are waiting to see it later? I’ve personally had so much of Game of Thrones spoiled for me that I’ve started to lose interest in catching up with the series. That’s unfortunate since the blu-rays are hitting shelves so it’s totally doable.
I recently blew through the entire run of Breaking Bad with minimal pre-viewing spoilers. Sure some things did slip through here and there but overall most of the twists and turns of the show remained intact prior to my viewing. When LOST was a thing that show managed to stay mostly spoiler free prior to the blu-ray releases to outside of some internet talkage about the finale that was so divisive. So far spoilers for the other HBO series that has a fairly rabid fan base True Detective have been easily avoided. It’s only Game of Thrones fans that seem to not be able to keep their traps shut.
What do you think? Why are GoT fans so desperate to spoil the show for people who have yet to see it?