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How the ‘Spoiler’ Has Evolved Into a Serious Problem in the Digital Age

Jul 11, 2011  •  Post A Comment

The so-called “spoiler” — the revelation of a plot twist or how the story ends to those who haven’t yet seen a particular television show or movie, or had a chance to read a recent book — is no longer the relatively minor and infrequent phenomenon it was when the public generally watched TV shows on a live basis, writes Mary McNamara in the Los Angeles Times.

"But now a spoiler means having the temerity to discuss things that some people haven’t gotten around to watching or reading," McNamara writes, pointing to the way technology has especially changed television, allowing viewers to watch streaming shows on Netflix years after they originally aired or via their DVRs at a later date.

"Delayed content delivery gave birth to a generation of people who are not about to schedule their lives around some TV show. Not even a Really Important episode that they don’t want spoiled," she writes.

Indeed, just four years ago every blog and media outlet dissected the final scene of HBO’s "The Sopranos" with almost no anger expressed over spoilers, she points out. But from now on, McNamara writes, "The TV time warp is going to get only worse, and with more and more people watching on their laptop, we may have to come up with a whole other term for ‘television’ (Small-screen content? The art form formerly known as TV?)."

The good news, though, is that if a show is good enough to keep you watching, "it will no doubt survive a little spoilage," she adds.

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