About six months ago, I was listening to a critic on the radio discussing spoilers for Avengers: Endgame. It was her opinion that, if knowing a spoiler in advance can ruin the movie for you, then it’s not a very good movie in the first place. Period. She was so adamant in her opinion, and so wrong, that it has stuck in my head ever since.

Then yesterday I read the writer’s notes for the Doctor Who audio drama “The War Valeyard” by John Dorney, which offered a more cogent rebuttal than I ever could. I was going to post this to my “Time War” discussion, but I wanted it to have a wider audience. It’s not really a Doctor Who discussion, anyway, but if you read further, be aware…

SPOILERS for “Trial of a Time Lord” (1986).

Having said that, here’s John Dorney.

“I can still remember the moment.

“It was an age before the Internet. Before my involvement in fandom. Before spoilers.

“‘Or as I’ve always known him, the Doctor.’

“What a line. I mean, really. Thirty years on, when the Valeyard’s identity is well known to us all, even new viewers, it’s hard to get the same hit from it. But I remember. The audacity of that concept. And the reveal, done so beautifully—a casual, almost throwaway sentence from the Master in the middle of another line. It leaves us in the same position as the Doctor himself, lagging behind, not quite sure what we’ve heard—‘Hold on, did he just say…’ It takes you totally off guard.

“I love moments like that. Revelations that just hang there in the mind. It’s tricky to get that same kind of surprise in drama these days. Trailers merrily give away twists and if they don’t, somebody has managed to sneak them onto the Internet before the first screening have finished. Even as you read these words, people online will have already heard the entire play.

“But I still try to throw in some big surprises. And some audacious twists. Because when they work and when you don’t know… they are simply unforgettable. The Valyard taught me that. Let’s see if he can shock you again…”

Now I invite you to share similar moments, some gob-smacking moment that just wouldn’t have had the same impact if you’d known about it in advance. I’ve posted this to the non-comics forum so as not to limit the discussion to comic books only, but feel free to post about comics as well.

Be sure to post a spoiler about what you are spoiling as I have done above.

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Here's hoping the   photo spoiler-1.gif smilie from the Smilies Folder is still working ...

I mention one example over in the "Favorite Bits from TV Shows" thread: the time Officer Joe Coffey was killed on Hill Street Blues. There was no surprise, as there was a lot of hype and hoopla at the time about Ed Marinaro leaving the show.

 photo spoiler-1.gif

SPOILER

Contrast that with The Good Wife, which focused heavily on the mostly unrequited love between lead character Alicia Florrick and her Lockhart Gardner law firm partner Will Gardner. Eventually, the romance was consummated, and then soured, badly, when Alicia and several associates left Lockhart Gardner to start their own firm. Then one day, during this very bitter estrangement, Will got shot to death! It was during a trial; his defendant grabbed a gun from a bailiff and a shootout ensued. 

It was a TOTAL surprise to the viewers. It seems actor Josh Charles was ready to move on after the fourth season, but the producers talked him into hanging around so they could do this story, halfway into the fifth season. 

(An aside I've never found a place to mention, so why not here? The Good Wife was set in Chicago. Lead actress Julianna Marguilies also starred on ER, which was also set in Chicago. Will was dead on arrival at the hospital, but I always wondered if the folks at County General Hospital might have saved him ...)

Jeff, I follow John Dorney on Twitter, does he know of this column? I bet he'd like it.

SPOILER for 'Sapphire and Steel'

They don't get out in the end.

Another  photo spoiler-1.gif -- the pilot episode of The Shield in 2002.

The show was about a bunch of crooked cops in Los Angeles. They nominally were an anti-drug strike force, but essentially were a street gang with badges. The drug dealers they busted were competitors of the drug dealer who was paying them off. The whole premise of the show -- inspired by the Rampart scandal in the 1990s -- was pretty much "How much $#!+ will these guys get away with?"

So, anyway, the precinct captain tries to insert a detective loyal to him into the Strike Team. The rogue cops are suspicious ... and at the end of the episode, when the Strike Team makes a bust at a dealer's house, the dealer gets killed and the team leader shoots that detective in the face! Then he takes the gun and plants it in the dead dealer's hand!

We viewers had NO inkling that was about to happen. There was nothing to tip off what was going to ensue. Reed Diamond, who played the ill-fated detective, was billed as a regular member of the cast (not a "special guest star"), appeared in cast photos, and had his bio and publicity photos on The Shield webpage on the FX channel's website as if he was going to be with the show for the long haul. 

"...does he know of this column?"

I doubt it.

SPOILERS for Star Trek II and The Empire Strikes Back.

Back before Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan was released, there were rumors that Spock would die, but I don't think I knew that for certain going in. One pre-publicity article stated that multiple endings were filmed, and one of which might be substituted at the last minute. None of us had a clue what "Remember" meant until Star Trek III.

In my circle of friends, it wasn't "I am your father, Luke" that sparked our imaginations; it was "There is another... Skywalker..."

There's a new Superman storyline, a big one, set to debut in December but I already know all about it because it was covered last week in Comic Shop News. Honestly, if I hadn't read about it I probably would buy it, but now I might. I'm pretty good about avoiding spoilers for stories I'm interested in (regardless of medium), but I don't mind so much knowing about upcoming directions. If I tryit and like it, I won't read anything else about it until each issue hits the stands.

Just last night, The Talking Dead apparently revealed what I would consider to be a pretty big spoiler for next week's episode of The Walking Dead. In cases like that, I have to relegate my surprise to the preview, not the episode itself (like, when someone tells you in advance what you're getting for your birthday).

ClarkKent_DC said:

Here's hoping the   photo spoiler-1.gif smilie from the Smilies Folder is still working ...

Spoiler - it isn't!

The only way I've found to make a smilie work is to download a copy of the GIF from smg.photobucket.com to my computer, then upload it into my reply in the same way that any other image is uploaded.  It's a poor work-round, as you end up with multiple copies of the GIF on storage.ning.com, but you do get it displayed correctly.. Here's an example: 

As far as actual spoilers are concerned, I remember when I first saw The Sixth Sense.  I knew that the film had a surprise twist ending, which I won't give away in this discussion.  I didn't know what the twist was, I didn't work it out before it happened, and I blew me away when it was revealed.

I'd gone to see the film on my own.  Later, I recommended it to my girlfriend, and we went to see it together.  About half an hour before the end of the film, she leaned across to me, and whispered, "I think that he's [a correct prediction of the surprise twist]".

The film is much better if it's not spoilered.  If you're like me, you get the fun of being surprised on first viewing, and the fun of spotting the clues that you'd previously missed on re-watching.  If you're like my girlfriend, you get the fun of working out the twist, and showing off how clever you are to your boyfriend.

ClarkKent_DC said:

Here's hoping the   photo spoiler-1.gif smilie from the Smilies Folder is still working ...


Peter Wrexham said:

Spoiler - it isn't!

The only way I've found to make a smilie work is to download a copy of the GIF from smg.photobucket.com to my computer, then upload it into my reply in the same way that any other image is uploaded.  It's a poor work-round, as you end up with multiple copies of the GIF on storage.ning.com, but you do get it displayed correctly.. Here's an example: 

S'funny ... the  photo spoiler-1.gif smilie I got from the Smilies folder is working for me, although several other ones in that folder are not.

Okay, Clark, I think I've worked out what's happening, at least in part.  I use AdBlock software, and it looks as though Photobucket objects to that.  When  AdBlock is active, smilies from the Smilies folder (which link to Photobucket) are blurred, but when it's disabled, they display correctly.  Smilies that are downloaded from Photobucket then uploaded to Ning work whether or not AdBlock is active.

I don't know why some smilies work for you, but others don't.

Hmmm. I don't use AdBlock; I used to use it and other such programs, but for me found them to be more trouble than they were worth.

I use Google Chrome about 90 to 95 percent of the time, Firefox about 3 to 5 percent of the time, and other browsers (Brave, Edge, Opera) the remainder of the time. However, no matter what browser I use, I use it in Private mode. I do that every time unless I absolutely can't get into a particular site unless I don't. Maybe that has something to do with it.

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