To Be Continued, or Not To Be Continued

I hate season-finale cliffhangers on TV.

No, you don’t understand. I hate them. Not in the "Oh, the producers are such geniuses, I hate them in a good way," like you feel when a writer pulls a particularly clever, devious trick. I mean I really hate them. They piss me off, and the fact that they’re becoming standard fare pisses me off even more.

They irritate the crap out of me. Occasionally there’s a good reason for them, like in a series that’s one long continuing story (i.e. Babylon 5). But most of the time? They’re cheap gimmicks. There’s rarely any good reason why you can’t complete a full, satisfying arc over the course of a full season. And that includes the ending.

I’m not saying that every last plot thread has to be tied up; a TV series is ongoing, and there should be ongoing plot points and character developments. But that’s a far cry from a three-month-long "to be continued."

I have never dropped a show I liked just because there wasn’t a cliffhanger to draw me back next season. And I have never continued watching a show I dislike just because there was a cliffhanger. But I have, on occasion, dropped a show I was liking because a season-ending cliffhanger rubbed me the wrong way. (Not often, I admit, but it has happened.) And slightly more often, a lingering cliffhanger has pushed me over the edge into dropping a show that was on my personal "bubble."

They used to be only occasional. I remember how shocking it was when Star Trek: the Next Generation did it with the Best of Both Worlds two-parter. (If you don’t remember what that was, get off my lawn, you dang young-uns!) But then, as I said, it became more and more standard. Now? Now, based on what I’ve seen for myself and what I’ve heard, I think every single show I watch is ending on a cliffhanger this season, with the possible exception of Mythbusters. (And at this rate, I wouldn’t put it past them to find some way to do it there, too. :-P)

And it’s freaking annoying!

I’m already either coming back next season or I’m not! Quit annoying me like this, or I’m going to start leaning a lot more often toward "Not." 👿