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Sherlock Hemlock
Posted on Wednesday 27 March 2013 at 5:16 pm

What counts as spoilers?

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So... this post is being driven by the recent frenzy in the Sherlock (BBC) fandom, but is somewhat more generally applicable.

What counts as spoilers? Are official announcements on titles, casting, etc. spoilers? Are hints from sources such as producers/directors/actors, carefully selected by them to generate publicity without giving away more than TPTB are comfortable with the audience knowing, spoilers? Are photos snapped by crowds at location shoots spoilers or does that one depend on what is in the photos? Are officially released publicity photos spoilers?

For me, I generally go with anything from an official source is fair for open discussion and not a true spoiler but anything else is a spoiler and I generally prefer to avoid them.

Part Two of all this is far more Sherlock (BBC) specific...
Where does speculation based on Conan Doyle canon fit in, especially when combined with officially released information. For example, we know the first episode of series three will be called The Empty Hearse. Let's say a new cast member was announced. Should it be considered a spoiler to say "In the ACD story The Empty House there is an important character who does the following things. I bet the BBC show is going to play with that story in their known to be similarly titled episode so maybe this newly cast actor is going to play that character. I wonder how they're going to deal with this specific aspect of something that happened in the ACD story?" Are spoilers for something released approximately 100 years ago actually spoilers or is there a statue of limitations on this and does it change when it ties in with new stuff?


failte_aoife at 9:55 pm on 27 March 2013 (UTC) (Link)
I have never been terribly spoiler-phobic. I never considered 'casting-spoilers' proper spoilers as I really don't think that knowing faces in advance somehow spoils my fun while watching. Same goes for titles...and as you said: what writers etc. give away is usually carefully selected, often even deliberately missleading but I do somehow understand if people don't want to know that.

Re: Sherlock...good question. Again I'm happy with all speculation, especially because knowing the original stories hasn't really helped with figuring out the solution to any of the episodes. Even in Hound & Study in Pink that were very closely linked with the original stories, knowing them helped in no way figuring out what the solution was. And learning the solution beforehand that's really the only thing what would spoil it for me.

Generally speaking: A while ago there was a tumblr-post with casting news about an actor who got cast for the first episode. There was no offical announcment about his role but everybody yelled SEBASTIAN MORAN very loudly and without spoiler-warnings. I don't think anybody got upset about this (but then I avoided looking closer at it...I know why I don't look at the Sherlock-fandom on tumblr that closely...)
bratty_jedi at 11:24 am on 28 March 2013 (UTC) (Link)
Moran speculating kind of thing is what I was mostly wondering about. I've seen some speculation on that and on another canon character possibly being introduced in the first episode and that doesn't bother me at all but then there are supposed set spoilers "confirming" various speculations and that kind of thing annoys me a bit but not really because I don't really believe it is confirmation and because the exact execution is far more interesting and just knowing the characters are going to be there doesn't tell you what Moffat and Gatiss are going to do with them.
donutsweeper at 10:18 pm on 27 March 2013 (UTC) (Link)
IMHO, spoilers = anything that haven't aired/been published/been printed/whatever. But, there's some reasonableness to it. If X scene has been in every promo, mentioned in every interview, commented on by every star then you can't reasonable be annoyed if someone posts about it and "spoils" you although you can try to avoid it if you wish. However, X actor/character being in it or X plot point is a little more reasonable an expectation of information to not have shoved in your face.

With Sherlock (or any movie/show based off old, very prevalent stuff) it's a little muddied. One should expect that everyone already has been 'spoiled' that Sherlock will "die" at the end of Reichenbach, the fact it will happen was pretty much expected and assumed since it was canonical for ACD. However, the specific manner of the death should be considered a spoiler.

I think fan released stuff should be considered a spoiler, but show released stuff isn't or at least be reasonably expected to have as knowledge out there. (I mean, you can *try* to avoid all the stuff swirling about out there and get annoyed if someone shouts OH MY GOD Sherlock survived by transforming into a turtle! I saw the fanvid on youtube! Can you believe it? But if someone says, what do you think of those promo shots of John in a maid's uniform, you shouldn't get too upset about finding out John's a crossdresser because the showrunners wanted you to know in the first place- all of that is bogus of course, although would be interesting)

Specifically, there's been a lot of discussion about the character arrested in the empty house in the books and how/if they appear in BBC and as long as you're not bringing into the conversation leaked info about casting/photos/whatever, I think it shouldn't be considered a spoiler because it's been in print, out there for 100 years or so.

Wow, I ramble. Sorry.
bratty_jedi at 11:30 am on 28 March 2013 (UTC) (Link)
Sounds you like classify a few things as spoilers that I really wouldn't if you have actor casting news as spoilers. Unless I'm misunderstanding you since you do say show-released info isn't really spoilers but fan released stuff is.

the fact it will happen was pretty much expected and assumed since it was canonical for ACD. However, the specific manner of the death should be considered a spoiler.
Here we are definitely in agreement. Being told that Sherlock (BBC) will be playing around with some aspect of the ACD canon isn't that big of a deal to me. Being told how they're twisting it and using it would annoy me a great deal.
donutsweeper at 2:06 pm on 28 March 2013 (UTC) (Link)
I'm torn on actor casting and how much I really want to know. Boiled down, I think anything the show officially releases is fair game, but I can understand people trying to avoid it. (So, knowing X will be in the next series is acceptable, but who they will play- which is speculation/discovered by fans stalking filming- is not)
kizzia at 10:57 pm on 27 March 2013 (UTC) (Link)
My view of spoilers is that anything "officially" announced i.e. BBC, Hartswood, Sue Vertur, Mark Gatiss or (cause they're practically official) Sherlockology isn't a spoiler. Anything that come off filming that hasn't been officially released is (hence my upset today as what I was told was what had been filmed).
The thing about Sherlock is that we know what might be and thus I think speculation of the kind you're talking about is fine. In fact it's more than fine, it's brilliant and i'll happily join in :)
It's what they're actual filming I don't want to know about!
bratty_jedi at 11:33 am on 28 March 2013 (UTC) (Link)
Sounds to me like you and I are in complete agreement on this. Anything officially released in not "spoilers" while anything fan generated from set reports and the like is. Assuming everyone is familiar with the Conan Doyle canon, or at least can't be "spoiled" on anything for it, is fine. Speculating based on the possible intersection points between said officially released publicity information and said Conan Doyle canon is beyond fine and is in fact brilliant.
Unsentimental Fool
unsentimentalf at 10:30 pm on 28 March 2013 (UTC) (Link)
That seems fair, and I'm talking as someone who sticks their fingers in their ears and yells "remote!" as soon as the "next week's ep" info starts on the TV. I prefer to avoid trailers, cast interviews and speculation but I don't throw my toys out of the pram if other people talk about them. Filming, on the other hand, and non authorised cast details deserves spoiler warnings at least.

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