So, apparently, Steven Moffat had microphone shoved in his face at a party and was asked about his remarks in DWM where he bemoaned how some fans spoiling things. And the next thing you know they’re talking about it on the BBC Breakfast News on an item that includes other pundits from the land of Who (ok, DWM writer Benjamin Cook and his red hair). And then there’s a news item about it. And some people are calling it “Spoilergate” on Twitter.
I don’t mind spoilers, honestly. (Though it was nice to come to The Impossible Astronaut and not know what was about to happen!) But I spend half my life having to crack down on them. Especially when UK and North American broadcasts were weeks, sometimes months, behind. Last year, when Space was showing episodes three weeks after British broadcast, moderating the blog was a minor nightmare (the week Rory died when Cold Blood aired on the BBC made life particularly frustrating as Space was showing, I think, The Vampires of Venice). When I edited Enlightenment a couple of years ago I was left with the painful realization that Daleks vs. Cybermen was not going to be seen on CBC until eight months after broadcast in the UK.
Nowadays, we have the luxury of a lag of only a few hours or so between UK broadcast and North American broadcast, but Spoilers are still problematic. Why? Well, the opening two-parter was a big ‘event’ story and they decided to have public screenings of it. In North America, where some of the loudest, most enthusiastic Doctor Who fans in the world live.
On the one hand, I kind of get why Moffat is so grumpy. I think fans could learn to curb their need to talk about everything they see and to demonstrate some empathy that others might not want to know what’s happening, and be considerate for others to have the same degree of surprise.
On the other hand, I dunno: show a ginormous event episode in several theatres in NEW YORK CITY and yeah, people will post it to the internet. If you’re that worried, why not show Curse of the Black Spot instead? The fact is they wanted the buzz those episodes created. That’s what comes with the territory.
I really don’t have much sympathy. Russell T Davies showed Partners In Crime at a press screening without the scene where Rose shows up because he wanted it to be a surprise. If you want to have that level of control, then you don’t have advanced screenings for thousands of fans in two American cities with a loaded big frakking gun of surprise revelations. When this was pointed out, Steven Moffat on Twitter, said. “But it’s the fans who MAKE the screenings - helluva lot of people to punish for one idiot.” Which I suppose is true—and the vast majority of people I know who went to New York kept surprisingly quiet about it through the lead-up to the first two episodes—but the issue still stands.
Anyway, if you want to avoid spoilers, Mags Halliday has some good advice. Now excuse me, I’m going to go live in a bunker until Saturday’s episode airs.
Posted by Graeme on Thursday, May 12 at 4:11 am