TV Shows That Always Ruin The Next Episode

Love them or hate them, the "next episode" previews at the end of your favorite television shows aren't going anywhere. Just like movie trailers that give away the entire movie, TV's "Next Time On..." sequences generate a lot of controversy. Some fans love to know what's in store, while others consider the previews to be misleading, spoilery, or just plain stupid. Let's take a look at the TV teasers that went too far.

[Caution: some of the incidents discussed below may contain spoilers for those shows. You've been warned.]

24 (Original TV Series)

Political thriller drama 24 is somewhat notorious among its fans for spoiling upcoming plotlines with promo trailers. Because the show focuses on the real-time suspense of what will happen next, actually being shown what happens next often ruins things for first-time viewers. From the death of a character to the location of the next attack, 24's promos have managed to ruin quite a few plotlines.

In one notable example from season three, Jack Bauer's team spend an entire episode trying to track down the location of a teenager being used to smuggle a powdered form of a deadly virus into the country. In the promo teaser following that episode, we see Bauer in panic mode, yelling that the virus is loose. While the spoiler ended up being a false alarm, many fans were so upset that they started refusing to watch the teasers.

Reality shows

From Survivor to The Amazing Race to MasterChef, reality shows that involve competition (and even those that don't) frequently abuse the teaser trailer. Invariably, these trailers either spoil major plot points of the next episode, or they purposefully mislead the viewer into thinking there will be more drama or suspense than there actually is. Here's an example:

Narrator: Next week, things heat up on MasterChef. Has Chef Ramsay gone too far?

Gordon Ramsay: I've never done anything like this before in my life.

When you watch the episode, you're anticipating a huge blow-up on the part of Chef Ramsay, maybe one that involves throwing pointy metal objects at the contestants. Instead, what you get is Chef Ramsay allowing the contestants to cook using his top-secret recipe for Beef Wellington.

The worst part about these reality show teasers are the clips that air during the actual episode. Not only do the networks spoil what will happen next week, now they spoil what happens after the next commercial break. When you're about to find out who gets eliminated in the episode and the "up next" clip shows a tearful contestant hugging the others, the answer becomes rather obvious.

Family Guy

After the departure of main character Cleveland Brown for the creation of spin-off series The Cleveland Show, the executives at FOX managed to spoil a reunion between the main characters of Family Guy during a promo teaser. In the season eight Family Guy episode "The Splendid Source," Peter and the gang travel across the country in search of the source of an especially dirty joke. Along the way, they meet up with Cleveland. Show creator Seth McFarlane used the reunion as an opportunity to poke fun at FOX's promo blunder with some fourth-wall shenanigans:

Peter Griffin: Cleveland?

Cleveland Brown: Hey, fellas.

Peter Griffin: Holy crap! Who knew we'd run into you, except everyone 'cause FOX ruined it in the promos.

You tell 'em, Peter.


While we're on the subject of animated shows, certain anime series exported from Japan (and some live-action ones, too) have particularly awful teasers. Some shows (like Dragon Ball Z and Pokémon) give away basically the entire plot of the next several episodes with their teasers. Others would have trailers so indecipherable or badly translated that you had absolutely no idea what the narrator was talking about (we're looking at you, Neon Genesis Evangelion.)

Dr. Who

The Dr. Who reboot has been known to egregiously reveal spoilers in their preview trailers, at least the ones aired on the SciFi Channel. The show switched to a single-episode format with the reboot, and so there were generally no more cliffhangers to keep fans on the edge of their seats. When the first two-part episode of the new series was announced, fans were excited for their first Dr. Who cliffhanger in 15 years. Unfortunately, that cliffhanger was promptly spoiled by the "On the Next" trailer that appeared directly after the end of the episode. Following the angry outcry from fans, the promo trailers were moved to run after the episode credits instead.

In one notable incident, the US trailer for the episode "Utopia" contained a voiceover saying, "The Doctor's greatest enemy returns!" This narration was paired with footage from the episode which promptly revealed the appearance of that enemy and his name. Gee, thanks, SciFi.


ABC's blockbuster series Lost frequently spoiled upcoming episodes with their teaser trailers, despite repeated objections from the show's creators. Right after the season one finale aired in the UK, viewers across the pond were accidentally treated to a season two preview that included many notable moments from the next season. In a similar situation, one episode's final scene shows a character being tossed down a well, perhaps to his death. The suspense lasted only about 30 seconds, as the "Next Time On" teaser revealed the same character to be alive and well in the next episode. Whoops.

Show creators and producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse ordered ABC to not show any footage from season six after season five ended on a massive cliffhanger. They felt that showing clips from the following season would have spoiled its overall plot. Unfortunately, network executives didn't listen, and started airing new footage days before the season six premiere. As the showrunners predicted, this footage ruined the surprise of several key plot lines.

Shows that do it right

On the flip side of all of this, many recent shows have made sure their teaser trailers don't spoil upcoming plotlines for their fans through creative editing and other methods.

Mad Men utilizes an interesting tactic—they pick seemingly random clips from the next episode to feature in their trailers. While some of these clips may hint at important plot developments in the works, they are presented in such a way that the viewer has to watch the actual episode to find out what will happen next. Arrested Development has turned the "Next Time On" teaser into an opportunity for additional comedic value. Instead of showing actual clips from the next episode, they show short scenes that expand on plot points from the current episode. These gags almost never appear in the next episode, which means if you've been skipping these parts out of fear of being spoiled, you may be missing some of the best jokes.