I own a lot of DVD box sets of various TV programmes – some of them long-running affairs spanning several years when originally broadcast, and featuring characters who leave, return, leave again, and crop up for the occasional surprise appearance.
Or at least they’re supposed to be surprise appearances. That’s usually the way they were written.
So why do the creators of the tediously animated DVD menus almost always insist on including a big picture of the “surprise” guest when you select the episode you want to watch? Worse still are those that drop you straight into a graphical “chapter selection” screen, which not only gives spoilers about any surprise appearances, but often spoilers about the entire episode.
Equally bad are the “Special Guest Star” credits which often appear at the start of the programme before the special guest has even appeared.
Worst of all – and this crime is thankfully reserved for TV broadcasts rather than DVDs (at least at the moment) – are the “In Next Week’s Episode…” trailers at the end of a programme. What’s the point of the scriptwriter creating a cliffhanger ending if post-production slaps on a spoiler-laden trailer immediately afterwards?
“My god! Surely they haven’t killed off [insert character name here]? Oh no, it’s alright, he’s still in next week’s episode, and looks absolutely fine.”
I can only imagine that the post-production-trailer-people and the ghastly-animated-DVD-menu people are what you get when impatient kids, who read the last page of a book first, grow up and get jobs. If they want to read the last page first, that’s fine – just don’t read it aloud to me!