There’s no debate to be had here: spoilers suck.
For TV and film fans, there is nothing worse than looking forward to a series finale, new release or key episode, only to have someone (be it a friend or Twitter user) reveal what happens.
And in this day and age – thanks to streaming services, midnight releases and Twitter trends – it’s hard to both avoid spoilers and work out when it’s ok to discuss things. But fear not.
Here’s our guide on how to avoid screwing it up...
Let’s start with muting on Twitter
Facebook is a wasteland when it comes to spoilers, thanks to people you went to school with still insisting status updates are a thing. If you’re trying to dodge spoilers, avoid Facebook altogether. All you’ll miss is chain posts from older relatives and baby pictures from everyone else anyway.
When it comes to Twitter, if you really can’t stay away then there are still options: mute, mute, mute and mute again. In the settings section, you can block entire words, hashtags or phrases from your timeline – here’s a handy guide on how to do just that.
Obviously, this isn’t totally foolproof though.
For a start, things like Game Of Thrones and Avengers (more on them later) have tens of characters and muting all of their names would be a stretch. It’s also perfectly possible that someone could craft an offhand tweet and attach an image that gives the game away.
Know your Subreddits
If you’re someone who loves talking about TV shows almost (or even more) as much as you love watching them, you should be on Reddit. The concept is pretty simple, there are subreddits for basically every television show/film/franchise on the planet – and you’re less likely to encounter unwanted spoilers than on Twitter.
Each subreddit is a discussion homepage and when new seasons are upcoming and airing, moderators will run a pretty tight ship on spoilers. Any posts containing them will be clearly marked with the main images hidden.
Once you’ve seen the relevant episode, feel free to dive in and discuss away. Spoiler-heavy discussions are usually kept on subreddits of their own so if you want to know who’s going to be on Drag Race UK, look elsewhere on the site.
The things that are always off-limits:
- Facebook statuses
- Groupchat messages that aren’t preceded by a courtesy to check everyone is watching
- Detailed blow-by-blow accounts on Twitter – they’re spoilers and boring.
But what about the rest of it? Twitter discussions and work canteen chats? One thing that will help us all is agreeing on when it’s ok to start talking about crucial moments.
Let’s get that straight once and for all – with a little help from some of the shows dominating our TV viewing this year…
The newly-official rules on… Game Of Thrones
This is going to be a running theme here but the best way to avoid Game Of Thrones season eight spoilers is to wreck your sleeping pattern and watch the episode when it’s simulcast in the UK and US at 2am our time. Sorry, but it’s true.
However if you’re one of these people, the fact you stayed up does not mean it’s ok for you discuss the twists and deaths as though everyone has seen it.
Monday daytime is off-limits entirely: There will be no nudges to co-workers, or posts in group WhatsApps, about “that sword being important” or “that insane death” unless you are 100% certain they’ve seen it.
The verdict: When the 9pm airing of each episode rolls around, we reckon tweeting along is fine and sharing articles containing spoilers is also ok.
Obviously, people have jobs and lives beyond television though, so this green light doesn’t mean it’s time for reckless abandon. We’re implementing a grace period of one day to account for anyone who simply cannot shift that family meal. From Wednesday morning though, it’s their problem, not yours (sorry).
The same rules apply to: Other weekly, hit shows. If they’re big (we’re talking Line Of Duty, Bodyguard, Broadchurch levels) then watching with the rest of the nation is part of the fun, so tune in and tweet… but remember the blow-by-blow accounts are boring and banned.
We’re also applying similar rules to RuPaul’s Drag Race, which airs in the US on Thursdays, before arriving on Netflix each Friday. Given the weekend, two days should be enough, so the cut-off here is Sunday evening.
The newly-official rules on… Love Island
This is far less complex (phew). Love Island airs every day and the twists and turns (no, we’re still not over Josh leaving Georgia for Kaz) arrive thick and fast. If you miss an episode, there’s literally no time to catch up so don’t expect everyone to wait for you.
The verdict:The second it airs, you’re good to head online, post in groups and shout twists from the rooftops. If anything, info on Love Island being shared will just help those of us who couldn’t tune in.
The same rules apply to: Every other reality show that airs on multiple nights a week.
The newly-official rules on… Killing Eve
The fact Killing Eve series two is airing in the US right now, while it doesn’t even have a start date here in the UK, is a source of never ending frustration for many fans.
It’s obviously not ok (or legal) but it is possible to take matters into your own hands and see the episode via illegitimate means online. It’s also possible to head over to American entertainment websites and read breakdowns of the action. If you do this, you do so at your own risk – both when it comes to, y’know, the law, and the fact you might discover a twist so juicy you can barely contain yourself.
The verdict: Sorry, but there’s no discussing this until it airs in the UK – no matter how explosive the action is.
The same rules apply to: All other shows that air in the States (or elsewhere) months before they arrive here.
The newly-official rules on… Blockbuster films
This is a slightly more complex issue thanks to the fact films obviously do not air as TV shows do, but we’re going to make it simple.
When is it ok to assume everyone has seen it? The short answer is: Just don’t. It’s not worth it.
Granted, if you’re excited for something like the latest Avengers then you’ll probably see it on the opening weekend, but this isn’t always possible. Also the cinema is seriously expensive and sometimes people wait to see movies with pals/loved ones.
The verdict: Look – we still wouldn’t feel comfortable tweeting that [REDACTED] died in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, so don’t share film spoilers at all. Ever.