Do you learn a lot about a TV show before actually watching it?

When I first learn about a show that sounds good, I go to Wikipedia and read about it, including the episode synopses for the series, before watching the first episode. (I just did that for the Netflix show Derry Girls, which I highly recommend and am now watching.) That way, I know the storyline long before I devote the time to sit through it.

I suspect most people don’t do that and just watch the show without knowing what will happen.

So do you learn as much as you can about the story before spending the time to watch it, or just trust that since other people like it it’s going to be worth it in the end?

I’ll learn a little about the premise and type of show before watching it, usually from a review in a newspaper like The New York Times or a website like The AV Club.

I watch what my wife tells me to watch. (or more precisely, what she’s watching)
I typically don’t know anything about it beforehand. Not sure if she does.

Just whatever premise synopsis comes up on Netflix or that I read somewhere. Give me two or three sentences. I don’t need nor want to know any more. Like with the aforementioned Derry Girls – it came up on my recommended list on Netflix. I saw Northern Ireland, Catholic family, Troubles, that’s all I needed to know. Seemed interesting enough and, sure enough, was highly engaging. Queen’s Gambit? A drama set around chess? Say no more. Fun series. The Bear? Set in Chicago? Features Italian beef? Yes please. That’s about as much as I’m going to get invested in researching a TV show.

I will sometimes read a season-long synopsis after the fact, to see what I missed or to put all the pieces together. Stranger Things would be a good example of this. I’m still not 100% sure I know what exactly is going on, but I enjoy it.

I like to just have some vague idea that I may like it. Then I watch an episode or two. Slightly more often than not that’s the end of it. All 3 of pulykamell’s examples got me in. I started each with no great expectations, although I have long loved all Walter Tevis’s novels.

I rarely, if ever, watch what my wife watches. We have entirely different tastes in TV shows and movies.

I only watch Asian series and watch anything my favorite actresses (there’s a lot) are in or the synopsis sounds interesting.

Asian series are usually only 10-16 episodes and don’t always have additional seasons, so they’re easy to get through. But I don’t always watch until the end.

One of the reasons I prefer Asian TV and cinema is almost none of the actresses and actors are strictly one genre. The could do a comedy, then a dramatic or historical role next.

If I haven’t heard anything about it from here, other people, talk shows, etc. I look it up on IMBd. I check the rating, read the description and sometimes I read some of the comments and then go from there. I try not to get a preconceived notion after reading comments and ratings because sometimes I totally disagree.

I dig up spoilers every now and then. Helps prevent wasting time (which is all I do anyway).

Like others, I’ll usually look for a quick summary of the premise and genre. Just something like the intro paragraph from wiki. Usually if I’m that far, I’ll scroll down to Reception section to make sure people aren’t saying it’s awful.

A lot of times I’ll just head over to youtube and watch a preview/trailer/commercial for it. That usually gives me a halfway decent idea if I should even bother. Sometimes, despite people talking it up, I can tell from a 30 second preview it’s not going to be for me.

With some shows, I’ll end up watching bloopers or Best Of videos first. With sitcoms, that doesn’t usually spoil anything.
Between regular bloopers and Best Of Moss/Jen/Roy/Richmond etc, I felt like I saw just about all of The IT Crowd before I actually watched it.

If it’s a show I have no clue about, I’ll need some kind of basic knowledge before deciding to watch, but I try not to deep dive anymore, as I am someone who prefers to avoid spoilers. Sometimes just audience buzz or a single recommendation is enough for me to start on something new, but when it’s a big deal show with a bajillion trailers and teasers leading up to it, I watch only a couple of them, avoid the rest, and then await the release date.

I do what you do with both tv shows and movies. I’ll read the full synopsis including spoilers. I don’t care about surprise. The fun for me is how it’s executed.

I miss the Fall TV Guide special editions; they usually had enough information about new and upcoming shows to decide if they’d be with watching. Lots of times the shows that looked the most interesting are the first ones to get canceled. I find it hard to find good information nowadays.

I’ll pay attention to shows that get buzz, meaning approving coverage in the newspaper television articles (for those few newspapers that still have a television columnist) or on the entertainment-oriented websites. (For example, a new show called Reboot on Hulu looks interesting.)

No, of course not. I don’t want it spoiled.

What I do is use my transmogrifier/duplicator to make multiple copies of myself. I assign my duplicates to read all the books and watch all the movies and shows I might be interested in and then tell me which ones would be worth my time, and to tell me only the minimum amount I might need to know what to expect going in.

(Well, that’s what I would do, if I had a working transmogrifier/duplicator.)

I’m the same way about spoilers – don’t care – but for me it’s just I can better decide whether I like a show by watching an episode or two than reading about the whole thing.

I’ll look up the synopsis online, like, from EW or something.

If I see “laugh-a-minute”, “sentimental”, or “cutting edge drama”, I’ll steer clear.

See also “high octane” or “gritty street-level”.

I go out of my way to avoid learning anything about any show I’m remotely inclined to watch.

It’s not about spoilers, exactly, though that’s part of it. Much of the draw of any show is the slow unveil of the world they’ve created; learning the little details as they go along. Learning too much about a show (or movie, book, game, etc.) reduces that enjoyment.

Sometimes I go in cold, sometimes just based on comments from boards like this or streaming guides from sites like The Ringer.