The Dreaded Spoilers

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We’ve all had it happen. A new movie comes out, and some ass-crumpet posts a pivotal detail on social media before you have a chance to see it. A TV series airs in another country or time zone before it airs in yours, and though you promised to stay off Facebook, you pop in for “just a minute” and discover a favorite character is dead.

Wails, anguish, threats of swift and blinding retribution.

But there’s another kind of spoiler, one some viewers actually seek out. Let’s skip movies for now, since I rarely watch movies, though I did watch Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri yesterday. (Spoiler alert: There are billboards. Three of them. Outside Ebbing, Missouri.)

Television episodes are provided to select reviewers before the episode airs, and some of them work with fandom sites to reveal key information before it is broadcast. They can’t just post them anywhere, though, or the network will quickly figure out who it is, and their early-review days are over.

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One such group is The Spoiling Dead Fans, though they got a lot of heat from AMC, and now the spoilers are shared in a closed group, TSDF Army. Around Wednesday or Thursday before the Sunday US premiere of an episode, a Q&A covering key story developments appears, and lots of people read them.

I do.

The Spoiling Dead Fans has over 450,000 likes on Facebook. The closed TSDF Army group has over 40,000 members.

Why would anyone want to know what happens before an episode? For me, it’s a combination of anxiety and immediate gratification. I admit, I do sometimes skip the spoilers for a huge episode like a season premiere or finale, but I usually read the spoilers for The Walking Dead. I’m a highly anxious person, and I’ll get so worked up with the anticipation and tension that I can’t enjoy the program itself. I’m also very Veruca Salt, and “I want it now.” No waiting. I want to know, so just tell me, already. If I know, I can mentally prepare myself for anything disturbing, or pay closer attention as the revelation of something exciting approaches.

There have been exceptions. I didn’t read about the season finale as we awaited who would Negan bash in the head…and regretted it. I’d heard rumors of a possible cliffhanger, but refused to believe they’d do that to fans. And they did. And I was furious. There’s nothing worse for an immediate-gratification person than having to wait six months for an answer. I still hate Scott Gimple. So. Much.

There have also been a few times even TSDF Army declined to post a spoiler. Most notably was when Chandler Riggs himself contacted them and asked them not to reveal Carl’s impending death. Because he asked politely and respectfully, and was humble and mature about it, they agreed.

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Right now, their source has decided not to provide spoilers for the upcoming final two episodes of the current season. This is his or her prerogative, and we don’t have any right to complain. We’re not entitled to spoilers. There are rumors out there, but very little of it can be confirmed. So I’m going into tonight’s episode with not much concrete information. I kind of hate it, but I understand.

How do you feel about spoilers, either the right-after-it-airs kind, or the pre-broadcast ones? And after a movie or episode is out there, how long is the appropriate time to refrain from posting spoilers on social media? I mean, it’s not realistic to keep your thoughts and opinions to yourself for months, just because someone is waiting for a movie to hit Amazon, or because someone is a season behind in binge-watching The Walking Dead. I think a week, maybe two, is fair. If seeing the movie or series isn’t your priority, you have to accept the risk.

As for tonight, I very strongly suspect one particular death. I have some good hunches about a few other developments. But I’m going in with a lot less information than I typically have, and there’s only one thing I can say about that…

Spoiled child

The Return of Dead Sundays

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I love The Walking Dead.

Yeah, I said it.

If you spend any time on social media, you see people post they stopped watching after (insert heartbreaking death here) or because (pick a generalized complaint about plot or character development).

The zombie apocalypse was a favorite genre for me even before TWD. I’ve been an avid reader of Joshua Guess, Kate L. Mary, Chris Philbrook, and Samie Sands, to name a few, and I even wrote two zombie books myself.

We’re coming up on the second half of season 8 on February 25, and you’d better believe I’ll be watching. I’ll be hosting a live chat on my private Facebook group, Lori’s Dead Talk, and if you want to join us, send me a Facebook message so I can add you.

Have there been episodes or story arcs that have been “meh?” Sure. This will happen in any long-running show. I adore Supernatural, but there have been times I’ve been less engaged. But I ride it out, and sooner or later, it comes back around to the core of the show I love.

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Season 8B promises to be crushing. We have the death-in-progress to see through, and this is one of those “I stopped watching after…” points for some fans. Not for me, really, as this has never been one of my favorite characters. It also deviates wildly from the comics, which devoted comic fans sometimes have issues with.

But who’d want to watch if every episode followed the comics faithfully? No surprises there. There are characters alive in 8B who died long ago in the graphic novels, some died early on in the show but are still alive in the comics. And we have characters, including fan-favorite Daryl Dixon, who don’t even exist in the comic world. Keeps things interesting.

I enjoy the progression from simply trying to avoid death-by-walker for one more day to building societies and battling the real menace…other people. It’s realistic. When the apocalypse arrives, this is how it will play out. Walkers are unspeakably dangerous, but they don’t plan or strategize, they don’t have hidden agendas, they aren’t capable of betrayal, they don’t want more power. They’re mindless eating machines, and once you know how things work and learn how to survive in that reality, you have a much better shot against them than any one human who wants what you have or bears a deadly grudge.

People are the real monsters, and let’s face it…the show would’ve become tedious long ago if all anyone ever did was run from walkers or bash them in the head.

There are characters I love. There are characters I hate. There are characters I love to hate or hate to love. And having met many of the cast members at Walker Stalker Atlanta, I universally love the actors who portray the characters in the TWD universe. Seriously, I did not have one negative experience the entire three-day weekend.

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I’m counting down the hours to 9:00 p.m. next Sunday, to watching the tide shift and trying to anticipate how events will impact those who remain. I can’t wait to live chat with my TWD-fan friends, letting the snark fly, sharing the anguish and the victories, and someone can always fill in the blanks for me if I miss a detail.

Do you watch? Do you watch live or on DVR…or wait for it to hit Netflix? Have you ever been to a viewing party? A convention? Have any good memorabilia?

I’ll be there! Or, more accurately, here, on my couch, with my trusty machete under the end table within easy reach. Because you can never be too careful.