Tread lightly, Austin Television Experience visitors: there be spoilers ahead. Let’s talk about them!
While TV viewing evolves so does our appetite for spoilers. Come be part of a discussion about how spoilers affect how we consume television. Moderated by cultural anthropologist Grant McCracken, panelists will include individuals who work across the entertainment world.
- Uzo Aduba, Suzanne/”Crazy Eyes” from Orange is the New Black
- Beau Willimon, writer/developer for House of Cards
- Nick Wechsler, Jack from Revenge
- Kerry Ehrin, writer/producer on Bates Motel
- Tim Goodman, TV critic from the Hollywood Reporter
- Eric Pallotta, social media analyst at Netflix
The presentation opened with a video from Netflix highlighting the history of television quality from the 1950s to today, including Netwon Minnow’s “vast wasteland” quote and the disruption brought about by cable and new media. Part of that disruption includes social media, specifically the OMG/WTF tweets that happen every Sunday on Game of Thrones or, as was the case this February, about 37 minutes into the first episode of the second season of House of Cards.
Aduba and Pallotta discussed the conversation methods happening on social media, particularly the evolution of coded language and spoiler etiquette, with other panelists adding their personal experiences with online versus offline social interactions. Interestingly, the online discussions seem to be easier to navigate with the use of subtweets and creating conversation venues in Facebook comments, while interactions with friends or in interviews tend to be minefields. Wechsler summarized this point best when discussing fan/interview interactions: “it’s important that you’re asking. It’s not important that I tell you.”
The other major takeaway from this panel was the concept that we now live in era where shows have endings. As a result, serialized television has taken on more of the sense of reading a book, with each chapter building to a defined conclusion. Combined with successful series ending on their own terms (usually), it is almost required to watch in order without skipping ahead. Willimon summed up the concept with this spoiler: “we’re all gonna die.”
We got ice cream! And a fantastic discussion with panelists from all walks of television. Also, this panel had a “stars: they’re just like US” quality: They live-tweet shows! They don’t want their watching experience compromised! Or, as Wechsler said, “I wish people would just shut the fuck up.” Though not necessarily an informative panel, it was entertaining.