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March 6, 2009 |

By Seth Freilich | Miscellaneous | March 6, 2009 |

Earlier this week, I posted a blurb on the fact that ABC was canceling “Life on Mars,” its reboot of the same-titled British show. In passing, I made mention to how “the mystery” of the British show was resolved, with a spoiler warning. Some folks complained that I did not give enough of a spoiler warning. Fair point, insofar as the spoiler warning was only mere words before the spoil.

However, the show ended in April of 2007, almost two years ago.

Anyone who reads my columns regularly (back when I had the time to do regular columns, that is), knows that I generally tend to go out of my way to give spoiler warnings since so many people wait for shows to come out on DVD (the peeps I dubbed the DVD Folks). However, this shit can only go so far, people. Take “The Sopranos” for example (*mother fucking spoiler warning*). The day after the series finale aired, there were a ton of media outlets commenting on and satirizing the show’s sudden cut-to-black. Shit, even Olbermann commented on it on “Countdown.” Years later, do I still have to give the spoiler warning I just gave, because some of you may not have caught the show’s end yet? How far does this go?

I mean, am I going to get mad heat because I didn’t lay down a spoiler warning before telling you that in the 1967 series finale of “The Fugitive,” Lt. Gerard kills the one-armed man and Dr. Richard Kimble is exonerated? Didja see the last episode of “Six Feet Under?” Everyone dies. Dr. Sam Beckett never returned home. Newhart woke up and revealed that the Vermont town was a dream. St. Elswhere may have been a product of autistic Tommy Wewstphall’s imagination. Cole sees dead people, and Bruce Willis is one of them. Dil has a penis.

Stop the fucking madness, people, and take responsibility into your own hands. I watch plenty of shows on delay. Sometimes it’s just a day or two later, sometimes months or years later. If I truly don’t want to be spoiled, I avoid anything that appears to be referencing the show until (a) I’m all caught up or (b) I don’t care anymore. Am I sometimes spoiled anyway? Yes. Shit — I haven’t seen the British “Life on Mars” yet, but already know why Sam’s in the 70s. And I’ll still get around to watching the show one day. And aside from reality show outcomes, I’ve only been hit with a true spoiler I didn’t want to know about once, and it wasn’t even a TV show (it was who killed who at the end of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”). And while I was a little sad about knowing this ahead of time, I didn’t lay blame because I was reading the book two years after it had been released. These things happen.

If you’re behind on something, particularly something that is or becomes part of the pop culture, it’s your responsibility to try to avoid spoilers. Not caught up on “Lost” yet? Don’t read Dan’s latest recap. Waiting for “24” to come out on DVD so you can watch it in one fell swoop? Don’t bother. Seriously. But if you are going to bother, don’t read news blurbs about the show while it’s airing. And yeah, I understand that my “Life on Mars” news blurb was about the ABC version, not the British one but, newsflash, when talking about a remake, an article may mention something about the original.

The advent of TV on DVD and DVRs and BitTorrent is a great thing. But with the ability to timeshift, so too comes the burden of spoilers. It’s something we have to bear. Such is life.

Oh, and the Korean War ended in the last episode of “M*A*S*H.”

Fuck off... / Seth Freilich

Miscellaneous | March 6, 2009 |

Seth is a Senior Editor and sometime critic. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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