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Comment > Spoiling The Mood by Steve

In these modern days of the internet and with hundreds of television channels to choose from, itís hardly surprising that ratings for all tv shows have dropped considerably. In its heyday, Neighbours would often receive more than twenty million viewers, putting it only second to Coronation Street in the nationís top ten. The drop in ratings has been fairly gradual, but it still seems like a shame that more people arenít tuning in, even when the plots and characters are some of the best that this viewer has seen in many years. Could the problem be that everyone seems to know everything thatís going to happen before the plots have even begun?

By its very definition, spoiler is a negative word. You read what the spoiler says, and it spoils your viewing pleasure. It seems that the whole point of actually watching a daily soap opera Ė to watch the story as it unfolds Ė has gone out the window. Indeed, the spoilers have pretty much become so detailed that it would probably be just as simply not to watch at all. They facilitate it so people can pick and choose when they watch, in order to see a particular scene or their favourite character.

Spoilers have become so common that theyíre proving difficult to avoid for those who donít want to read them. It seems to have become commonplace for websites and newspapers to revel in revealing every detail of whatís going to happen. Whatever happened to the element of surprise? Why has everyone become so impatient all of a sudden? Ten years ago, we were lucky to even know whether an actor was leaving, let alone the minutiae of the plot that would see them exit Ramsay Street. With no internet to speak of, and our only information coming from monthly editions of Inside Soap, it was so much more interesting to watch the show, not knowing whether a character would survive a car crash or succumb to an affair. Nowadays, everyone simply has to know exactly whatís going to happen to Karl and Izzy or Steph and Max before the plotís even started to unfold on screen.

It seems that it would take a miracle for something to happen on the show (especially in the UK) that hasnít already been mentioned weeks in advance. Even when something is only hinted at, it seems that many fans know so much about the comings and goings on set, even the lengths of actorsí contracts, that a hint is all that needed to confirm a story. Do we really have to know so much? Back when it was higher in the ratings, it seemed like Neighbours could actually have been real. We knew very little about what went on behind-the-scenes, which only added to the sense of intrigue and enjoyment. With all of these spoilers flying around, it makes it so much more difficult to enjoy the show and for the crew and actors to make it. One of the criticisms that it constantly levelled at Neighbours is that itís too predictable. Sure, a lot of the stories can be seen coming a mile off, but maybe if we didnít always know the ending, weíd enjoy the journey a lot more.

I appreciate the irony of this article appearing on a Neighbours website. At The Perfect Blend, we do sometimes drop in the odd spoiler via our news and interviews, but we like to believe that weíre more rooted in the showís past and present than its future.

Personally, Iíve enjoyed Neighbours a lot more in recent months as Iíve made a concerted attempt to avoid spoilers. Something as simple as Carmella turning out to be the magazine editor or the outcome of the Boyd and Travis storyline were made so much more interesting as I watched them unfold on screen, in the context that they were intended to be shown. Nobody would start reading a novel by looking at the last page, so why should it be any different with soap operas?