When Trailers Go Too Far

I love trailers! Whether they be movie, TV, or video game trailers, I love watching them… except when they go too far.

A good trailer teases you, gets you excited for the upcoming movie, show, or game, and creates a sense of curiosity, anticipation, and gets in your head. In my next post, I’m going to feature some of my favorite trailers.

But in this post, I want to talk about when trailers go too far — specifically, when they tell you waaaaay too much.

Sometimes they ruin critical plot points or twists, as fellow author, Garrett Robinson says of the Ender’s Game movie coming out.

Other times, they make you feel as if you’ve already seen the movie or TV show.

Case in point: NBC’s new fall show, The Blacklist.

On the surface, this looks like a pretty cool show, starring James Spader as a fugitive who turns himself into the Feds. But he has an agenda. I’m not sure if this is based on another TV show or movie, but it feels a bit familiar, like something I saw recently. But hey, James Spader is in it, so I’m interested.

But then, as the trailer played out, it seemed to reveal…


What the hell?

Here, watch for yourself (unless you don’t want to be spoiled).

NBC and I have a rocky history. They’ve aired some of my favorite TV shows of all time. But they’ve cancelled a great number of shows I’ve loved, way before their prime. Now it seems like they want to screw this show before it even airs!


A couple of years ago, a news story was making the rounds which said that people want spoilers, and that movies which aired spoilers in their trailers actually did better at the box office! It seems counterintuitive to me, though one of my best friends used to LOVE reading the end of books before she even started them, so, maybe there’s a lot of people like that.

I don’t get it, though. As a storyteller, I hate when the mystery is ruined. Hell, I hate when the mystery ends in a book even by natural causes. I love when an author can string out the mystery, or weave new ones into the narrative (like LOST, and as I hope we did well in Yesterday’s Gone). So I certainly don’t want spoilers which ruin the pilot of a show I would’ve otherwise watched!

What do you think?

Do YOU like spoilers? 

What’s the most egregious trailer you’ve ever seen? Leave a comment below.

Please avoid posting any spoilers in your comments, so as not to ruin something for others.

3 thoughts on “When Trailers Go Too Far

Add yours

  1. After looking up the word egregious, a couple of things popped up in my mind concerning spoilers.

    First off, I hate spoilers, completely. Like your friend, my 89 year old Grandma likes to ‘see the future’ and enjoys taking a little peak at what’s happening a few chapters ahead of where she’s at, on occasion skimming the last chapter. We’ve had some interesting discussions, but that’s a way of living I cannot subscribe to. I can’t even, comfortably, read a series out of order and expect to sleep at night.

    My worst experience with a spoiler is very recent, in fact, I’m still recovering. Here’s the deal, just like everybody else on the planet, my son (20) and I are huge Walking Dead fans. I’d just finished Season Two around the time Season Three was well under way.

    And listen, I was well aware that there was information out there that I wanted no part of. I was in complete isolation from any possible Season Three spoilers, no tv, no Better Off Undead, no blogs about WDS3, NOTHING! A complete blackout! Then my son calls.

    He loves spoilers, well, delivering them anyway. It’s a weird thing that I hope he got from his mother. 🙂 Don’t get me wrong, I love my boy, but he can be diabolical with a spoiler. Somehow he talked (begged) me into letting him give me one spoiler. I gave in, but asked him to please not make it a big one. “Of course, no problem dad!”

    BAM! Can’t say what he said, but if you follow the show, you probably know what I’m talking about. That little piece of information crushed me for weeks, I wasn’t prepared. As a lover of great fiction I really need to experience the natural progression of a story, that’s really important to me.

    I’ve yet to summon the strength to start Season Three, just not ready.

  2. I hadn’t heard about “Blacklist” yet. It does look like something I will be all over when it goes to air. James Spader is brilliant and will “be” that character. The trailer definitely peaked my interest and certainly makes clear the premise of the show. However, I can’t help feel that there will be a key twist that we aren’t expecting or that they purposely are leading us away from…as good trailers often do.
    Last season’s “The Following” did this very well and actually surprised me. I consider myself “unsurprisable” when it come to TV so I became an instant fan.
    Tell me, now that you believe the promo spoiled it, will you still watch it?

  3. I like some spoilers. Depends.

    With movies, not so much since a movie is just a two hour investment. I just want enough to wet my appetite, enough to say what the movie is about (spies, thriller, fantasy, etc) and maybe what’s at stake. (Though I have read plot summaries of movies I didn’t actually want to watch, usually horror.)

    With books and long TV series I’ve gone looking for answers.

    Example… I started reading Wheel Of Time, a long time ago, and got half way through book 4 before I just decided it was too much. I loved the story, I wanted to see how it ended, but I did not have the time to invest in reading such a massive series. So I went looking for plots, character descriptions, and other information. Enough that I would be satisfied and not have to read the whole thing.

    With TV series, I have caught a few series that were interesting, but not amazing. Not worth investing weeks of my life to try and watch every episode. So I might find a wiki and pull out the major plot driven episodes to watch, or I might just read the wiki to see if I really want to continue with the series, or to catch up on moments I’ve missed.

    I use to read a novel a week, now I just can’t find the time for it, so I have to prioritize. It makes me a little sad that I had to cut back on my reading like that, but other things are more important.

    However, I will say that I do like to chose weather I am spoiled or not. I don’t want it in my face in the trailer. I want to work for it.

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