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Westworld trolls Reddit with spoiler video

Westworld trolls Reddit with spoiler video

  • 10 April 2018
Image copyright HBO
Image caption Although the video claimed to be "full of spoilers" it instead featured a specially filmed song

Westworld's creators have fooled fans of the TV show and much of the media with an offer to reveal spoilers about its next season ahead of broadcast.

Two show-runners took part in a Q&A on discussion site Reddit in which they said they would publish a video laying out the plot of the second series if enough people voted in favour.

They said they believed the move would help protect the programme's secrets.

But the video was actually a spoof featuring a notorious song.

After about 90 seconds of footage, the android Dolores - played by the actress Evan Rachel Wood - launches a retro-themed version of Rick Astley's Never Gonna Give You Up.

The 1980s hit features in an internet meme called Rickrolling, in which the original video for the song normally makes an unexpected appearance.

The rest of the 25-minute video switches to black and white and shows a dog sitting in front of a piano while the Westworld theme tune plays on repeat.

Several news sites, including Time, Vanity Fair, Quartz and Cnet were fooled by the prank before its punchline was revealed.

Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy - the two executive producers involved - had sold the gag by referencing another HBO series, Game of Thrones.

In that case, readers of the novels had helped guard against others revealing the fantasy show's twists online before the relevant episodes had been transmitted.

"It's a new age, and a new world in terms of the relationship between the folks making shows and the community watching them," wrote Mr Nolan and Ms Joy.

"And trust is a big part of that. We've made our cast part of this decision, and they're fully supportive."

Several of Reddit's users had expressed misgivings about the idea before it was revealed to be a spoof, but appreciated the effort afterwards.

"You sly dog," wrote one member.

The publicity stunt should perhaps not have come as a surprise.

Last month, the two executives told an audience at the SXSW festival in Texas that they were working on a "controversial plan" to interact with their community, adding that they liked to mess with Reddit "as much as possible".

One expert said that while some viewers might have thought they wanted to see a real spoiler video, they would probably have been "gutted" to have done so.

"Westworld is a show that thrives on twists, turns and completely unexpected, bonkers events," commented Terri White, editor-in-chief of Pilot TV magazine.

"If those aren't held until broadcast, that would absolutely hit viewing figures.

"Take away the elements of surprise and you rob the show's creators of the chance to do a proper storytelling job and the audience of the experience of finding out as they were intended to."