Spoilers. Some people love them, but others regard them as the bane of our existence. The tricky part about spoilers, though? Information wants to be a free-for-all, with people sharing top-secret plot twists in public and on message boards. Avoiding spoilers can require ninja-like stealth and discretion.
So to help you out, here's our patented "spoiler forecast" for 20 TV shows and movies, letting you know how much you should be worried. We, of course, will attempt to stick to our own spoiler pledge — never to post spoilers without giving you a spoiler warning first. So here you go, with each item ranked in terms of how spoiled it is, from 1 to 10.
The Cabin in the Woods
How pre-spoiled is it on a scale of 1 to 10? 1. The long-awaited meta-horror film by Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon has been remarkably light on details about the insane plot twists in the film. There have been one or two reports, giving away some details, but not exactly a flood. Some people have already seen test screenings or previews, but nobody seems to have posted a detailed synopsis or anything.
How hard will it be to avoid spoilers? Probably pretty easy, although in the week prior to release all bets are off.
The Walking Dead
How pre-spoiled is it on a scale of 1 to 10? 6. The TV show seems to bring in elements from the comics pretty often, but the creators have indicated that they're telling a new version of the story. They've already shown a willingness to make some serious changes. On the other hand, you can kind of see some popular stuff from the comics coming.
How hard will it be to avoid spoilers? Moderately hard. This show gets talked about a lot, and the rumor mill is pretty active about certain upcoming developments.
How pre-spoiled is it on a scale of 1 to 10? 7? It seems as though the film-makers are sticking reasonably close to the books, although they're having to take liberties just to turn a few episodic stories into one film. We already know a fair bit about what happens in this film, and apparently some key scenes in the trailer are from toward the end.
How hard will it be to avoid spoilers? Probably pretty easy. There doesn't seem to be that much feverish discussion of this film, and a lot of people haven't read the Edgar Rice Burroughs books.
The Hunger Games
How pre-spoiled is it on a scale of 1 to 10? 10. The makers of this film would be lynched if they make significant departures from the book, especially in the first film. You'll probably notice a few little moments here and there that are different, but if you've read the book, you know more or less what happens in this film.
How hard will it be to avoid spoilers? If you haven't read the book, then you're screwed. There's no way to avoid running into people who've read it and want to talk about it.
How pre-spoiled is it on a scale of 1 to 10? 6. We already know that this film is making some significant departures from the 1980s Verhoeven film, but it's still the same basic story — and it's based on the same Philip K. Dick story. A lot of the surprises will be in how director Len Wiseman tells the story, not in the actual story being told.
How hard will it be to avoid spoilers? Pretty hard. One crucial difference from the Verhoeven film has already been in headlines everywhere. On the other hand, this film just may not get talked about that much.
Game of Thrones
How pre-spoiled is it on a scale of 1 to 10? 9. At least, if you've read George R.R. Martin's A Clash of Kings. The first season of this show stuck pretty darn closely to Martin's first book, with just the occasional extra scene or departure here and there. And by all accounts, the second season will do the same thing — although season three may make some more drastic changes.
How hard will it be to avoid spoilers? It depends. Did Ned Stark's fate in the first season catch you by surprise?
The Amazing Spider-Man
How pre-spoiled is it on a scale of 1 to 10? 5. It seems pretty likely that the movie will follow the comics to a large extent — we'll see a new version of Peter Parker's origin, and his relationship with Gwen Stacy. On the other hand, it sounds as though a lot of details will be different.
How hard will it be to avoid spoilers? Pretty hard. There are already a ton of set photos floating around, and if it does turn out that the movie makes significant changes to the Spidey saga, you can expect cries of "sacrilege" to echo around the net.
How pre-spoiled is it on a scale of 1 to 10? 9. An early script draft was posted online last year, and a ton of people read it. Plus, a lot of stuff from the comics is bound to show up, to please the die-hard fans.
How hard will it be to avoid spoilers? Moderately. This film probably won't get Avengers or Dark Knight levels of online excitement, and the fact that the entire script already went online could perversely work to keep people from posting spoilers closer to release date — because why bother?
The Dark Knight Rises
How pre-spoiled is it on a scale of 1 to 10? 4. The most recent trailer gave away a surprising amount, plus many of us have already seen the film's first six minutes. Plus there have been loads of set photos. But knowing Christopher Nolan, there are still a ton of surprises and twists in the film that almost nobody's guessed at yet.
How hard will it be to avoid spoilers? Almost impossible, when it comes to the basic storyline and who's in it. But the real surprises from the film, like what happens in the final reel, may be avoidable if you just stay off some message boards and comment sections.
How pre-spoiled is it on a scale of 1 to 10? 6. There have been even more set photos for this film, including some which seemed to show the movie's final moments. There are also pervasive rumors about the plot of the movie, which probably have at least a grain of truth to them. On the other hand, you know writer/director Joss Whedon will find ways to surprise us.
How hard will it be to avoid spoilers? There's almost no way. Between the Whedonites and the Marvel fans, everybody will be talking about this film, and there will be lots of discussion of every tidbit that gets revealed.
Men in Black 3
How pre-spoiled is it on a scale of 1 to 10? Like a 3, maybe. The trailer gave away the basic storyline, and there probably isn't that much more to this film. But we don't know that much about how it unfolds.
How hard will it be to avoid spoilers? Pretty easy. There's been surprisingly little buzz about this film, at least so far. Plus, to the extent that there are surprises, they'll probably be in the form of little sight gags, which are harder to spoil.
How pre-spoiled is it on a scale of 1 to 10? 3. The official synopsis of this film, along with the trailer, give away a lot of basic stuff about the crew's mission, and where they go. This film is still being widely reported as linking up with the original Alien, which implies some stuff will be familiar. But the overall plot remains pretty mysterious.
How hard will it be to avoid spoilers? Moderately hard. There are already a few Alien fansites pulling apart every clue and every bit of new information. There will probably be a flood of images and more spoilery trailers between now and the film's release. But there's probably at least a 50/50 chance that the film's big surprises will remain under wraps until it comes out.
How pre-spoiled is it on a scale of 1 to 10? 8. By the time Doctor Who returns in the fall, we'll probably know a lot. Filming starts soon, and historically set photos and leaks have provided a pretty detailed picture of the storyline. Plus Steven Moffat tends to telegraph story points far in advance, and the "fields of Trenzalore" thing last season telegraphed a lot about upcoming stories. A ton of information should be out there within a few months.
How hard will it be to avoid spoilers? If you avoid certain message boards and Twitter feeds, then it should be moderately easy. But you'll certainly see fans speculating about what happens next, and we've seen enough of how Moffat does things that those speculations are likely to be pretty accurate.
How pre-spoiled is it on a scale of 1 to 10? 2. For now, the 23rd James Bond movie is almost completely unspoiled. When we see a trailer and the publicity machine cranks up, you can expect that to change.
How hard will it be to avoid spoilers? Thanks to a long delay and the addition of director Sam Mendes, there'll probably be a lot of talk about this film. But the generic nature of James Bond plots may work in this film's favor.
How pre-spoiled is it on a scale of 1 to 10? 3. We already know the basic story of Alfonso Cuaron's new space movie, starring Sandra Bullock. And it may well be a pretty simple film in which the surprises are character-based rather than huge plot reversals.
How hard will it be to avoid spoilers? Probably pretty easy. Most of the talk with this film will probably be about Cuaron's brilliant direction and Bullock's acting, rather than any detailed plot stuff.
World War Z
How pre-spoiled is it on a scale of 1 to 10? 3. It's based on a successful novel, but by all accounts, the movie will tell a completely different story. That means all bets are off.
How hard will it be to avoid spoilers? You can expect multiple rounds of news cycles in which people decry the ways in which this movie completely ignores the book it's supposedly based on. Or, if it turns out the movie is closer to the book than we've been led to believe, you can expect to hear about that too. So there will be a steady trickle of hard-to-ignore spoilers.
How pre-spoiled is it on a scale of 1 to 10? 8. It's based on a beloved book, but it's also clear that Peter Jackson and company are making some pretty big changes to create a story that can support two movies, and including some beloved characters from Lord of the Rings.
How hard will it be to avoid spoilers? Almost impossible. This movie is going to be everywhere, and the differences from the book will be discussed endlessly, in public.
How pre-spoiled is it on a scale of 1 to 10? 9-ish. It's based on another beloved book, and it appears the film-makers are sticking pretty close to the source material. We previewed some casting pages, and they were very close to the scenes in the book.
How hard will it be to avoid spoilers? If you haven't read the book, you should go do so now. There's still time — this movie comes out next March, and the spoilers will start coming fast and furious in the fall.
The Man of Steel
How pre-spoiled is it on a scale of 1 to 10? 5. We know who are the villains, and roughly what period in Superman's continuity it takes place in. There have been a lot of set photos, and a trickle of reports about the film.
How hard will it be to avoid spoilers? Pretty tough. Director Zack Snyder is always happy to talk about his work, and he's probably going to be pretty eager to talk up this film in particular, after Sucker Punch. There will be a ton of more spoilery stuff released between now and the film's release — and god forbid there's any major changes to the Superman mythos here, along the lines of Watchmen's climax.
Star Trek 12
How pre-spoiled is it on a scale of 1 to 10? 2. We don't know much right now — not even what villain Benedict Cumberbatch is playing. Closer to the film's release that will probably change. Filming just started, and there are bound to be set pics. On the other hand, J.J. Abrams did an amazing job keeping the plot of the first movie semi-secret, although most people knew Vulcan's fate a few weeks early.
How hard will it be to avoid spoilers? Almost impossible. Anything major that gets revealed (like the identity of the villain) will be everywhere. On the other hand, you have a 50/50 shot of not finding out about major surprises from the film. (Vulcan's fate was confined to just a few message boards and features like "morning spoilers" before the first film came out.)