This week's "Doctor Who" was well made, well scripted, and well acted. And I hated it.
The reason I hated it was very little to do with the show, and much more to do with spoilers. (Oh, yeah, there are going to be some spoilers in this post. If you don't want to know, skip to the end.)
For the past week, there have been interviews everywhere about Clara's exit from the show, about how she definitely won't be returning, and detailing the sequence of emotions we were supposed to feel during her departure. Many of which were right there in the headlines, so it wasn't as if I could choose not to read them - by the time I knew the article was about DW, I'd already read the spoiler. And, indeed, there was a whopping great spoiler right before the show started.
The net effect of all of this publicity was that the show itself left me completely cold. Oh, she's going to die. Oh, it's going to happen like that. Oh, they're emoting all over the place. Oh, I don't care.
The thing is, some people like spoilers, and more power to them. And some people don't mind spoilers, and that's their prerogative, too. But some people like to avoid spoilers, because knowing this stuff reduces their enjoyment of the show - they like the surprise that's just been ruined.
Now, it is fair enough that complaining about spoilers needs to be time-limited. If I complain because someone says, "Darth Vader is Luke's father!", then I'm going to look rather foolish. Indeed, complaining about being spoiled on the most recent series of "Game of Thrones" would be a bit much - yes, I haven't seen it, but I've had adequate opportunity to do so; if it really matters to me to see it "clean", I really need to take responsibility for doing so promptly. Because people will discuss it, and it's not practical to expect them not to.
But at the same time, there's a limit to how soon it's reasonable to expect people to have seen it - there's a difference between discussing the plot details of a film the week after it is released versus doing so immediately after the first showing.
And, of course, in this case we're talking about spoilers for a show that hadn't aired yet. That is, spoilers for something I couldn't have seen "clean". Thanks, BBC.
(There's a bit more, but I'm not going to comment further right now, because Spoilers!)
#56: "Waterloo", by Bernard Cornwell
#57: "Dragons at Crumbling Castle", by Terry Pratchett