Following the accidental release of the second half of Doctor Who season 7 on DVD in the US, I’ve tried to heed the warnings to avoid any online news about this Saturday’s finale. However, since the news broke that details of ‘The Name of The Doctor’ have leaked out, I have had a niggling and impatient curiosity in my head that has said more than once “go on, have a look”. I don’t want to spoil my enjoyment of the episode or the surprises Steven Moffet has cooked up for us this week, yet the information is out there, and it’s only a few key strokes away. I wonder if it puts me in the minority to be tempted to read spoilers out of pure enthusiasm? I certainly have no urge, like some out there, to spoil the show for others but I have been tempted give in and just spoil it for myself. I guess I’m just impatient and will need to resist and wait till Saturday.
This brought to mind an issue I have pondered before; how much do I really want to know about the things I enjoy before I can experience them properly? I know I will re-watch trailers for films I’m excited about and read any and all news stories about them and I’m not alone in that, but can it take away from the film going experience? For some its part of being a fan; it’s all part of the build-up of anticipation for any media release. For others the idea of knowing too much puts them off any pre-release publicity and marketing.
I have to wonder at times if the web has in some way hurt how we see the media we like, and I’m more than aware of the irony of writing that in an article on a website. Many dangers lurk online for the fan of TV, film and comics. There are the aforementioned spoilers that can come from news articles or leaks and trolls who seem to enjoy spoiling stuff for others. We face the louder voices of the fan community who are particularly vocal in the comics’ medium and feel everything should be written exactly how they want it (and all of them think they have storytelling talents unmatched by even the great Alan Moore). As a comic book reader even choosing what to read is a minefield of possible spoilers. More so than fans of anything, other perhaps soaps (their plots are all over newspapers and magazines constantly), we seem to face a barrage of officially released spoilers. Previews and solicitations, not to mention news stories, about upcoming story lines and what they will lead to appear long before the books appear in print; all with the aim of securing our pre-orders. Yet perhaps my biggest worry when it comes to what is written online is the peek behind the curtain.
As a fan of DC’s current output of books, I have read a number of stories about what is happening with all their titles. That has led me (as I’m sure it has many of you) to read about several hirings, firings and some rather public fallings out. The big incidents that come to mind are the cases of Rob Liefeld and Gail Simone. Gail Simone’s position on Batgirl came into question when it was reported that she had been fired via email before DC had a change of heart and she was put back on the title. Rob Liefeld reportedly left the books he worked on for DC (including The Savage Hawkman and Deathstroke) following editorial interference, which lead to some angry exchanges on Twitter between Liefeld and other comics industry professionals (if you are curious give them a Google. Childish name-calling features a lot).
As I read these stories and others like them all I could think was; “should I really know all this?” Is this insight into the business side of comics and the occasional hints of in-fighting and office politics (which are as common in the comics industry as any other) maybe a bad thing? Of course, the simple answer is not to read any of that stuff. Ignore anything you don’t want to know and just turn a blind eye to any articles online. Problem is, I am a curious person by nature and I’m sure like many of you I want to know all I can.
So here I reach the point of this article; I want to start a debate. Do you think we know too much before we see, read or play a piece of media? Do you wish some things were just kept quiet and not spoiled or do you want to know all you can and be allowed to read what you want to? Please sound off your opinions in the comments section below and let me know what you think. And remember, just be careful if your curiosity takes hold of you when you’re reading online or you might find yourself regretting that last click on a story link.