Getting spoiled on a show, it has happened to us all. At one time or another we’ve probably kicked ourselves for not being more careful. Sometimes you accidentally run into spoilers while puttering around on the internet. Sometimes someone let’s some bit of information slip without meaning to. And sometimes the show itself is there spoiling things for you. This third, and much more rare, scenario is what I want to discuss today. Maybe you’ve experienced in show spoilers and maybe you haven’t.
As you may know, I have been watching Legend of the Galactic Heroes, a series that has an ever-present narrator. The narrator does his job which enhances the tension and foreboding of coming events, he may also provide information that is beyond the scope occurring in the far future or the distant past, but many times he is like the narrator of too-much-information. Is it really necessary to end sentences with things like “this is the last time they would ever speak like this . . .” DUH-DUN-DUH! But what may be even worse are the previews for the show, they are literally unwatchable if you don’t want to know all the important stuff that will happen next. Characters, important characters, get killed in episode previews! This has becoming a running joke as we watch through the series.
But this isn’t the only show that has a runaway narrator or previews that leave nothing to the imagination. However, to be fair some crazed narrators are entertaining, ones that come to mind are the narrators from Fist of the North Star, Hayate the Combat Butler, and VOTOMS. Original Gundam certainly has previews that act in a giving-it-all-away manner, Mazinger Z has utterly misleading episode titles, GaoGaiGar’s narrator sometimes just lies in the previews, and in a more recent example Cross Game destroys its own cliffhangers in the show previews!
So what is up with these tactics? The most obvious answer is for monetary reasons, they want to make sure that we are in our seats every week or picking up that next DVD as soon as it hits the shelves. We can all understand that the man is looking out for his all-mighty yen. (Though in the case of Cross Game, I have no explanation).
But to put it in another light, these narrators are there to help us through the less exciting and tense moments of the series by informing us what is to come is surely worth all the build up. They also can speed us through sections of the story to arrive at a new more exciting piece. Unfortunately, some of these narrators seem to go rouge. It is no secret that certain amounts of subtly in some stories are lost on the viewers. We’ve all missed things at one time or another, just check any forum discussion about most shows to see it plain as day. In some American dubs for television a narrator that never existed in the original series is inserted to make sure you don’t miss one single thing.
Only problem is, the missing of things in a show is where discussion truly thrives. Or catching something that others have missed. Being able to interpret what you see on screen and then make predictions about the future of the series or the future actions of characters, why it’s one of the best parts of watching a show with an ongoing narrative! When I’m watching a show, I start connecting with things on screen and characters come to life, watching the show becomes this moment between me and the characters. But then this lumbering gorilla of a narrator comes along to busts in on our private moment taunting me with his spoilers. I want to figure these things out for myself and if I don’t atleast let me have a great conversation where it all comes to light rather than getting the Wikipedia version of the show from the narrator.