Spoiler-alert culture is taking all of the fun out of television
Kit Harrington as Jon Snow in HBO's Game of Thrones
This article doesn’t contain any spoilers whatsoever for Game of Thrones, Season 5, Episode 10, Mother’s Mercy.
By now you probably know that Season Five of Game of Thrones ended with the shocking … no, wait, we can’t talk about that. But it was days ago! Surely we can … No, we can’t. We just can’t.
Perhaps even more traumatic than witnessing the season finale – for those who have – is the inability to talk about it for fear of social recrimination. Spoiler-alert culture is taking all of the fun out of watching and talking about television.
For a long time we all watched TV together. Audiences gathered around the box to consume an appointment-based viewing schedule of programming. They consulted weekly TV guides to see when and where their favourite shows would screen. If they were missed, they simply would not be seen. Plot twists were news because they happened to everyone at the same time.
Now, with popular foreign programs being screened direct from the US on subscription television, and made immediately available via streaming services and (albeit illegitimate) peer-to-peer downloads, content is frequently available concurrently around the world.