I can’t hear the ‘previously’ before a favourite TV series without automatically thinking ‘on LA Law’. Which, if nothing else, dates me horribly.

Sometimes it is really handy if you’ve been away from a show for a whole, like SEVEN days, to watch a brief recap. But my word it’s refreshing now and then to just sit down and start viewing the new episode. Especially when the bits you’re reminded about give clues to what will happen in the next 43/59 minutes (or however long a 1 hour drama actually lasts). Sometimes these suggestions actually act as spoilers – you’re not so much sitting on the edge of your seat worrying what’s going to happen to Zoey Bartlet/Starbuck but can guess pretty much what will unfold based on the contents of the recap.

The Killing (US version) didn’t pander to our short attention spans, it just started, goddamit, and that was just fine.

So, ‘previously’s have their uses, especially when you’re watching live and the teabag’s not quite ready to come out of the mug.

But ‘next time’s?? I cant remember when they started, maybe around the same time series were broadcast on consecutive days and TV companies were terrified viewers would lose interest. It’s not always possible to hit pause to change channels to avoid the synopsis of next week’s episode, and I really regret continuing to watch ‘Hidden’ after last week’s show.

Hidden BBC

It ended with a cliffhanger – OMG, how will Harry get out of this one? Will Gina survive? How wonderfully dramatic. Then up pops the ‘next time’ segment and we see Harry and Gina in another, subsequent scene without a scratch on them. Writers who have engineered an episode so that it ends on high drama must really want to weep when all that hard work is totally trashed by a ‘next time’ spoiler.

Come on Beeb – play nice with your viewers. Give us a genuine reason to carry on watching.



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