TV Watching in the Social Media Age

Over the past few weeks I’ve struggled with logging onto social media while attempting to still be surprised by a TV series.
As a disclaimer, I’m not a huge fan of spoilers. I believe they’re called spoilers for a reason. In the past I’ve gone looking for them, and then been let down when watching the TV show.  I grew up watching soap operas and in the weekend paper there would be a synopsis of what happened that week and a cryptic statement about what was coming  up in week ahead. (“Joe is shocked”; “A stranger comes to town”). Nothing that would cause you to say, “Man, I don’t need to watch; I know what’s coming”.

Living in Canada, the major U.S. Networks are available on cable or satellite, so we see them in real time. Living in the Atlantic Time Zone, we sometimes get them an hour earlier. 😀  Some shows I don’t care if I watch them in real time (I don’t see a lot of spoilers for Blue Bloods in my newsfeed) but shows like Survivor or the Amazing Race I make sure I stay off social media if I’m late watching (or if we pause live tv because we’re gabbing).  All that to say, in a world where you can google and find out just about anything in 30 seconds, I like to “not know” when I settle in to watch tv.

Which brings me to my latest conundrum.  Last winter on vacation in Florida I watched an episode or two of “When Calls the Heart” on the Hallmark channel. I had read the series of books and enjoyed them and once I got beyond the fact the show was the same but different, I enjoyed the fact that it was different. I fell in love with the show so I liked their Facebook page. I started googling it to see when it would be available in Canada. The Hallmark Channel isn’t available here, but frequently their successful shows are picked up by a Canadian specialty network.  I finally found it was coming on Superchannel (a movie network). I changed my satellite programming and watched the first season, not really knowing much more about it than what I’d seen on vacation. Because the American run had finished before it started in Canada, there was limited or no conversation about it on social media.  I truly watched with no expectations of what was to come, so when Jack Wagner showed up late in the season, my teenage self shrieked “Frisco!” in shock. (My adult self may have too).
Season 2 aired this spring, this time starting just a few weeks later in Canada.  In the weeks leading up to the U.S. premiere, I realized I wasn’t the only one who loved the series.  While at first that was reassuring (popular shows tend to last longer than unpopular ones) I realized that the 3-4 week time lapse was going to be an issue.  Not only was the show’s Facebook page showing previews of that week’s US episode, but the stars live tweeted several episodes and the show became a social media sensation. 

And I had to wait a 3-4 weeks to see what the excitement was about.

I ended up knowing some things that we’re going to happen, but I managed to not know how the finale ended.  I gasped when I watched it Sunday night.  I was surprised, and glad I was.

Now, I’m watching social media with fans in both countries anxiously waiting to hear that season 3 will be made.  I’m watching season 1 again on CBC. And I’m trying to decide if finding out the latest news about my favourite tv shows is sometimes more information than I should have.

I’m wondering what your thoughts are about knowing what’s going to happen on your favourite tv show?

3 thoughts on “TV Watching in the Social Media Age

  1. I do not have television, but I do watch popular shows on DVD, either renting or buying. I knew I would love Downton Abbey so I bought each season after it was aired. like you I don’t like to read anything before I watch it. Then again, I’m not on Twitter and Facebook, so that makes it easy to ignore any sort of social media buzz. And in case I come across a blog or a piece of news that might contain spoilers, I simply stop reading.

    Liked by 1 person

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