Spoiler Alert: Spoilers Don’t Matter

branches&creatures

Star Wars fans…you’re wrong about everything.

I don’t like critics as much as the next guy, BUT, this time they were right and the fans were dead wrong….. So, so wrong.

The Last Jedi might not be the best Star Wars film, but you can make the case that it’s the third best one. Which isn’t bad, not great, but it’s certainly nowhere near as bad what the fans have been saying. As a side note, some nerd stated that Star Wars might be the most overhyped franchise in history. He certainly had a point. Out of the eight films, (or 9 if you want to include Rogue One) only about half of them have been good. But the same could be said about the James Bond franchise, so I’ll leave it there. But the Last Jedi challenges some old ideas and fans went apeshit.

Personally, I thought that it all mostly worked. Even the humor. What fans were complaining about didn’t even register while I was watching it. Not the porgs, not Luke Skywalker’s personality, not the “Asian sidekick” (by the way, a lot of you nerds are REALLY racist). Many also bitched that it was “liberal propaganda”, meant to neuter straight white male characters. NONE OF THAT even occurred to me…none it seemed remotely political when it comes to addressing current events. Yes, it did take a stab at war profiteering and religion, but NOTHING to say about today. As a film, while far from perfect, it holds up. And  when people watch this movie years from now, they’re probably going to wonder how Star Wars fans were so stupid.

This is why we can’t get nice things.

While I took several shots at you guys in an earlier post, I’m not through with you yet. Prior to release, many of you were (almost VIOLENTLY) trying to avoid spoilers.

We might be living in the so-called “Golden Age” of television. But much of the writing is designed around this concept of “spoilers!”. While that might provide a degree of shock value for the audience, most of the shows have little re-watchability BECAUSE they rely heavily on “spoilers!”.

It’s for this reason why I say we’re NOT living in the “Golden Age” of television.

So what has been the greatest show in the last 10 years? Easy answer: Friday Night Lights.

Why?

Although it also included story and character arcs, it didn’t rely on shock value to keep you tuned in. In fact, the stories were almost predictable and underwhelming . Landry doesn’t get the girl, Riggins goes to prison, Tara ends up with Riggins, Saracen eventually loses his staring QB position to far more talented player and then graduates to become a starving artist, The Smash stumbles a bit but eventually lands on his feet, and Coach Taylor sacrifices his career for his wife who sacrificed so much for him. This predictably wasn’t a drag on the series, that was part of its edge. When it did try to inject some “shock value” into the story (like the time Landry killed somebody), it didn’t work.

It was like the writers and producers (mostly) understood what makes a show work: characters and a GENUINE story. FNL brilliantly captured that feeling you get when you reminisce (which is why casting 20, almost 30 year old, actors to play teens works in this series). It rose above becoming just another standard teen drama into something timeless.

Each episode was in service to itself rather than relying on what came before or after it to justify its worth (which was why we were able to overcome Landry killing someone so quickly). It didn’t rely on spoilers or plot twists. You could watch its amazing series finale first (the greatest of all time) and still enjoy watching the show unfold.

I imagine that this will be why Mad Men will hold up as well.

And speaking of AMC, you know what show WON’T hold up?

The Walking Dead.

Fans might claim that they love TWD now, but wait until it concludes (which will hopefully be soon). There’s nothing to the series. Characters die. They roam around and fight hoards of zombies every episode. And they defeat one group of bad guys only to face another. Nothing important happens in between. I’ll admit, I still watch the show, but it’s gotten to the point where I only the first and last episode of each season. That’s when the “spoilers!” happen. TWD is so written around “spoilers!” that they could care less about things like “quality of each episode”, “character development”,  and the like.

“Character development? There’s all kinds of character development in TWD!”. You might say.

And they do a halfassed job at it. They only develop characters so that they can…SPOILER ALERT….kill them off later. I understand that that’s sort of the philosophical backbone to the series (hence the title “Walking Dead”). But that becomes old, uninteresting, and predictable FAST.

So we should only care about a character because they MIGHT get killed later? (This was why Glen was a terrible character, despite being a fan favorite. There was nothing to him, he was just whatever the writers needed him to be for a particular episode. But he seemed to dodge death more so than anyone.)

That was the genius behind FNL…that something outrageous didn’t need to happen to characters in order to be engaged. Would you still care about them even if it was something as simple as losing their starting QB job? THAT’S character development.

I don’t know if the same could be said about Game of Thrones. Unlike TWD, characters in GoT seem to die more genuine deaths…or it’s not necessary for them to be threatened with the inevitability of death for us to like them. But is GoT rewatchable? At the very least, it’s far more rewatchable than TWD.

But the biggest mistake people make in putting so much emphasis on “spoilers” is that specific plot points don’t matter. It’s like what Rick Deckard’s daughter said in Blade Runner 2049 (paraphrasing): “it’s not about adding more detail to memories”. (In case you haven’t heard me say…2049 is a great fucking movie and you should be ashamed of yourself if you didn’t see it). It’s not about WHAT happens, it’s about how you FEEL when it happens.

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