Critic's Take

Critic's Take: I Spoil If I Must -- And I Sleep Just Fine

EW's Ken Tucker argues for the value of writing smart, provocative reviews by any means necessary

24 ''As a TV critic, I am going to tell you who got killed on, say, last night's 24 , because an event like that…
Image credit: Kelsey McNeal
24 ''As a TV critic, I am going to tell you who got killed on, say, last night's 24, because an event like that immediately becomes part of the pop culture conversation,'' writes EW's Ken Tucker

EW critic: I spoil if I must

When it comes to spoilers in reviews, I'm pretty hard-core: I don't care about 'em. Whether I'm writing a review or reading one, I don't want any held-back information to prevent that review from being the most interesting, thought-provoking one possible.

If that means a movie critic reveals a crucial plot point in order to lay out an argument for a film's greatness or its hideousness, so be it.

As a TV critic, I am going to tell you who got killed on, say, last night's 24, because an event like that immediately becomes part of the pop culture conversation — you bouncing your opinion off mine, critic and reader relishing the opportunity to speculate together on what this means for a show we care about.

Sure, gratuitous spoiling is an immature drag. And sometimes a network will send out a TV episode with a request that the final plot development not be revealed; I'll abide by that if keeping mum doesn't prevent me from doing my job, which is providing the most engaging argument I can to you readers. Still, the very fact that a plot twist becomes the most sacred bit of information, the key to enjoyment, doesn't speak well for audiences' appreciation of the performances, the direction, and other elements that make a show worth pondering.

I admit that if someone tells me who won The Amazing Race before I've seen it, I may gnash my teeth a little. But chances are, it will make me want to see how those people scored their victories and how the producers edited the game even more.

Knowing the way something turns out shouldn't ruin anyone's pleasure. Hey, it's a 24/7 media world. The best way to kill spoiler culture, if you don't like it, is to say one thing to both spoilers and spoiler ''victims'': Grow up.

What do you think about Ken Tucker's position on spoilers in reviews? Post your comments at EW.com's PopWatch

MORE ON THE SPOILER DEBATE:
Spoiler Nation: Secrets About Movie/TV Secrets Revealed!

Originally posted Jun 02, 2008 Published in issue #995-996 Jun 06, 2008 Order article reprints
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