A Word on Spoilers

Spoilers. They’re everywhere these days, aren’t they? I think it’s safe to say that pretty much everyone hates them. No one wants the book they’re about to read or the movie they’re about to see to be ruined because someone else couldn’t keep their mouth shut. But there are degrees of spoilers. Telling someone who’s never read Harry Potter how the final book ends is egregious and, in my world, unforgivable. But what if you don’t go that far?

What if you just mention your favorite joke from a story? Or your favorite scene? Is that still a spoiler?

Let’s try a specific example.

What if there’s a cameo in the middle of a movie that remained a complete surprise to everyone upon first watch, but you decide to let the cat out of the bag in your review? That’s not telling anyone how the movie ends or what happens to the main characters, so is it really a spoiler? I’d argue yes. This exact scenario played out on At the Movies with A. O. Scott and Michael Phillips in 2009 when they reviewed Zombieland. You can watch the clip here, but if you haven’t seen the movie and want to, I don’t recommend watching it. Basically, Phillips gleefully reveals the surprise to the viewers. What bothered me about this is the fact that when I saw the movie, it was so delightfully unexpected, I was almost giddy–why would anyone, especially someone who liked the film, want to ruin that experience for everyone else?

There’s a joy in discovering things about a piece of work like that. Can you imagine what The Godfather would be like if its scenes hadn’t so thoroughly permeated pop culture? Imagine seeing that movie unfold and genuinely having absolutely no idea where Sonny Corleone would end up. Or how about Star Wars? What would The Empire Strikes Back be like to watch if we didn’t already know who Luke’s father was?

That’s what I want to preserve for you with my reviews. I know that if you wanted to learn more about any of the books I talk about, it’d be easy. But I like the idea that maybe I can convince someone of a story’s value without having to pull out all of its pieces. I like the idea that I can hate something without needing to ruin it in a way that might make it less enjoyable for you if you disagree.

My boyfriend takes things to the extreme, often refusing to watch trailers or read news about anything he’s interested in reading or watching in order to preserve a kind of “pure” experience for himself. I don’t think it’s necessary to go that far. But I do want you to know why it is that my reviews tend to be sparse on details when it comes to talking about plot.

I want to give you the same fresh experience I had, the chance to really dive in free from expectations about where the story will go. I’m not sure if I’ve been able to strike the perfect balance on this bog yet, but I’m certainly working on it, and I hope it’ll end up being worthwhile.

-S

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Volumes 1 & 2

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

The Long Way Home

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Long Way Home
Author: Joss Whedon
Artists: Georges Jeanty and Andy Owens

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: No Future for You
Author: Brian K. Vaughn
Artists: Georges Jeanty and Andy Owens

I was eager to start season 8 of Buffy after finishing the show I’d grown to love so deeply. I like to think of myself as having discerning taste, and I happily admit that I think Buffy is one of the best shows on television. I loved that cast like I love my friends. I was invested in them and their relationships and it was hard to say goodbye (uneven though the final season of the show may be).

Thanks to Whedon’s direct involvement, the comic books can be seen as part of the canon in the official Buffyverse. This had my expectations pretty high. But what’s important to realize is that the comic books are not the show. On the one hand, the stories of all my favorite characters pick up where they left off and I can hear their voices in my head as I read, but on the other hand, the books really play with the comic format. Things that wouldn’t have been physically possible to do on the show take place in the books right off the bat. While interesting, it does end up creating a sense of dissonance, at least initially. If you’re not used to superhero comics, I think portions of The Long Way Home and No Future for You will seem downright outlandish.

Parts of the story hint at some truly interesting if not great character development, especially with Xander and Faith’s arcs. Between the two volumes Faith’s story in No Future for You is the real standout, and that’s no doubt thanks to the involvement of Brian K. Vaughn (Saga, Y: The Last Man), who continually produces great original work. Unfortunately, other plotlines are laughably bizarre (I’m looking at you, Dawn).

Ultimately, these first two volumes of the series are like a couple of damaged puzzle pieces. They’re part of the overall picture, but they don’t quite fit they way they should. I’ll keep reading the series, but my expectations for greatness will stay low.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

No Future for You

Housekeeping Updates

Hey, all.

I just thought I’d post a brief update since some of my writing is taking a little longer than expected.

I have a couple posts in the works as well as a new piece for Booklicious coming down the pipeline that will be less of a review and more of an update on some interesting changes in the publishing industry. My most recent review is of a book coming out this July, The Good Girl by Mark Kubica, but I might wait to publish that closer to the book’s release date. It’s currently both my longest and most political review, so it might need some more… tweaking. I’m also experimenting with some new formatting for reviews after I plowed through four trade paperbacks in a row and felt that comics deserved a slightly different style than my regular reviews.

In the meantime, I’m still figuring out this whole “blogging with a purpose regularly” thing and will be making changes to the site accordingly!

Happy reading

-S