backwards five years.
I'm at home in my living room sitting in a since-retired
recliner watching Buffy The Vampire Slayer. On screen,
Jenny Calendar is shocked and surprised to see Angelus
in front of her. Angelus proceeds to smash her computer
to bits. Ms. Calendar gets away and a heated chase ensues.
Finally, Ms. Calendar, all on her lonesome, reaches
the top of a staircase where, once again, she's shocked
and surprised to see Angelus in front of her.
In my seat, staring intently at the screen, I begin
to think of ways in which Jenny Calendar could escape
this brutal attack. Perhaps Buffy, the resident Vampire
Slayer, could show up behind him and, in a heroic move,
fight him to bring the focus off of Ms. Calendar. Perhaps
Ms. Calendar could pull a cross out of her back pocket,
surprising the demon to the point that she'd be able
to slip away.
Either one of these scenarios could have occurred.
But neither did.
On screen, Angelus grabs the computer teacher and
snaps her neck as the WB cuts to commercial. This sudden
death shocked me, which brings me to the real subject
of this particular article. Buffy The Vampire Slayer
and its sister show Angel pride themselves on these
sorts of moments. However, with the emergence of "spoilers"
on numerous websites on the Internet, these moments
are being lost on many fans.
Before season six began, I bought my first computer.
When I went online, I discovered that there is a vast
landscape of websites devoted to Buffy, now my very
favorite show. The first website I found was BuffyGuide
and I savored every word on the site. Soon after that,
I discovered BuffyWorld, BuffyCritic, Slayage, Michael
Hickerson's Review Site, and many, many other websites.
Finally, I found Ain't It Cool News, a mega entertainment
site that offers reviews of each and every Buffy episode
days before it airs for the first time. These reviews
reveal every plot point of every episode, holding no
Throughout season six, I became addicted to these
spoilers. I read them the moment they were posted. I
even sought out an additional site called The Spoiler
Slayer, which is devoted entirely to these spoilers.
Cut to late season six. Same living room, new chair.
screen, Willow Rosenberg and Tara Maclay are sharing
a moment of elation. However, I know already that Tara
is seconds away from being shot. I watch with a jaded
stare as the events I read about previously unfold on
This was the moment I realized that I had to get off
of spoilers. It's a shame that no support group exists
for this addiction.
As season six came to an explosive close, I resolved
never to read spoilers again. It was rough going throughout
the summer as questions came at me from all sides. Is
Willow better yet? Will Dawn begin training? Is Giles
okay? What is Anya doing with her vengeance powers?
Then the dust cleared and I came to a realization.
This is the FUN of the show. I began to remember the
great surprises that have shaped the show. I remembered
my shock when Kendra told Buffy that she's the slayer.
I remembered how stunned I was when Faith turned against
the Scoobies. I remembered how dumbfounded I was when
Dawn popped up at the end of the fifth season premiere.
Most of all, I thought about Jenny Calendar's death
and regretted the knowledge I had about Tara's.
Amber Benson (Tara) was finally put into the opening
credits in her final appearance. If I hadn't read the
spoiler, I wouldn't have thought much of it, but being
that I did read it, I knew that it was a clever trick
and gave a sly smile at what the producers did.
Spoilers change the show for me and I'm glad to be
rid of them because, thus far, the current seventh season
has had an abundance of surprises.
I now can't imagine having known beforehand about
the death of Jonathan Levinson, a personal favorite,
at the hand of his own friend, or the twist ending of
"Help", or the shapeshifting shenanigans at
the close of Joss Whedon's masterpiece, "Lessons".
I don't mean to sound like some sort of preaching
numbskull. I don't discourage people to read spoilers.
For some people, I suppose, it helps to enhance the
show. Some people can't handle the sense of surprise
that Mutant Enemy's shows lend.
Hey, I even continue to read and love Hercules The
Strong's reviews on the aforementioned Ain't It Cool
News website. I log online immediately following an
episode of Buffy, or Angel, or even Firefly (until its
recent cancellation) and read the AICN review.
I try not to discourage it but I honestly think that
the better way to watch is to go spoiler free. Really,
the sight of Angel trapped in a wooden box, falling
downward and downward into the depths of the ocean sent
a chill down my spine. By the time that episode, "Tomorrow",
aired, I was already pushing away the spoilers and my
guess is that the cliffhanger ending would have been
infinitely less effective if I had indeed known about
Joss Whedon is a master plotter, the best mind working
in television today. He's surpassed Bochco, Kelly, Sorkin,
even his own father and granddaddy. Each season of each
of his shows have a wealth of completely brilliant moments,
scenes, fights, themes, dialogue. Pretty much, he's
a "you name it, he can do it" sort. Most of
the best episodes of Buffy were penned (and sometimes
directed) by him. He's nurtured Angel into a successful
spin-off that can stand on its own. He's created a new
show that takes place outside the Buffy universe we
know and love and has created characters with emotional
depth and morals.
He's created universes and I don't think we should
spoil the surprises that they have in store for us.
|Daniel Erenberg lives in a gothic-looking
house in a suburb of Long Island shrouded by trees
and darkness. His backyard is so overrun with shrubbery
that he can't plant flowers in the soil. He's penned
articles for numerous magazines (and a couple of
websites for free). Currently, he's writing his
first novel, entitled People That I've Long Since
Forgotten. He's also written two plays, Little Room
and Dystopia and a screenplay called Youth Or Consequence.
He lives a fairly happy life alone and hankers constantly
for the hour of eight P.M. to nine P.M. on Tuesday
nights. You can contact Daniel on firstname.lastname@example.org.