New rule.."No season ending cliff-hangers until show is renewed"

Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by todd s, Nov 15, 2005.

  1. todd s

    todd s Lead Actor

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    Since congress is getting involved with baseball. Maybe, we can get them to pass a law stating that.."No show will have a season ending cliff-hanger. Unless it is guaranteed a renewel."
    This will prevent horrible feelings of letdown when shows such as John Doe, Now & Again, Space:A&B, etc, etc. End on such shocking cliff-hangers.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    (Yes, this was a joke. I don't really expect congress to get involved.)
     
  2. Yee-Ming

    Yee-Ming Producer

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    Hear hear.

    OK, I'd allow an exception, that you MUST already have a full story treatment detailing how said cliff-hanger is to be resolved, and in the event TV show is not renewed, said story treatment MUST be included on the DVD boxset.

    Or heck, never mind the DVD boxset, story treatment must be posted on the official website, said website to remain accessible for at least two years, and rights granted thereafter to fans setting up their own tribute sites to reproduce (in entirety, with full credit and not-for-profit) story treatment for others to read in event official website goes offline.
     
  3. Bill GrandPre

    Bill GrandPre Cinematographer

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    I think this is pretty unreasonable for many reasons. Yeah, it's a bummer when a show just ends with no resolution but it imagine how much the creative process would be limited by the uncertainty of a show's future if the writers were constantly under pressure to make any given episode a "final" episode. In today's competitive ratings climate, the fate of shows is often in question on a weekly basis. Also, I feel that ending on a cliffhanger when the fate of the show itself is uncertain shows confidence and says that the show is viable in the future. "Playing it safe" and writing an episode that could serve as a series finale while leaving the door open for future episodes makes the episode itself suffer, and it's also a sign of weakness to network execs, it's practically saying "we give up". However, I do support the idea of an outline or even a description/discussion from the show's creator in a featurette explaining how a canceled show might have continued in the future, but there's no reason why this can't be written or discussed after the show's demise is official.
     
  4. todd s

    todd s Lead Actor

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    I am not talking about shows that only last 13 episodes. I am talking about shows that have been given full season orders.
     
  5. Robert Ringwald

    Robert Ringwald Cinematographer

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    Example. VERONICA MARS was unexpectedly renewed, but the season long mystery was resolved by episode 22. There may have been a mini-cliffhanger at the end of season 1, but had the show been cancelled, it wouldn't have killed people.

    POPULAR ended HORRIBLY and it was because WB asked them to do a 2 hour finale... then at the last minute chopped the episode order to 21... so they had all the stuff set, and didn't get to have their payoff. Very sad ending.

    How about just making it mandatory for the people who cancelled the show to let the creators inform the public what would have happened. [​IMG] Then they also have to eat bugs...
     
  6. Stephen Orr

    Stephen Orr Screenwriter

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    I always thought Space AAB ending appropriately...
     
  7. Hugh Jackes

    Hugh Jackes Supporting Actor

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    I am still growsed over Tim Daly's version of The Fugitive. Season 1 ended with the one-armed man shooting his gun toward Dr. Kimball and Lt. Girard, with infamous "To be continued" banner. Season 2 never happened.

    Or, more recently, Carl Kolchak was tossed in jail on the remake of "The Night Stalker". To be continued. Or not.
     
  8. todd s

    todd s Lead Actor

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    That irks me even more. When they cancel a show after showing part 1 of a 2 parter. Would the ratings be that much worse. They owe it to the 3-4 million fans who are looking to find out what happened. [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  9. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    At least that Night Stalker episode was shot. There's a chance that the episodes will be run on cable (Sci-Fi Channel is usually a dumping ground for every cancelled horror/sci-fi channel) or maybe DVD. It beats no hope at all. [​IMG]
     
  10. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    I applaud the the writers of Futurama to have predicted the cancellation and end the final show as a limbo show that could have easily continued if a new season were to happen, yet works wonderfully as an ending to the series. [​IMG]

    And as far as making them explain the 'resolve', after the show has been canceled...wouldn't that be like getting laid off and then the boss asks you to come in for the next few days to tidy up the office and help clean out the facility?....for FREE!!! [​IMG]
     
  11. Bill GrandPre

    Bill GrandPre Cinematographer

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    But you can have a full season order that gets cut down to 13 episodes. It happened with "Arrested Development".
     
  12. LarryDavenport

    LarryDavenport Cinematographer

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    This is why I almost prefer the British way of doing TV where the network commits to X number of shows and the Producers create a story that is wrapped up in that many episodes. If the series come back, then a new story begins.
     
  13. Bill GrandPre

    Bill GrandPre Cinematographer

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    Another example is "Harsh Realm". They were filming their ninth episode, a standalone episode that offered up no closure whatsoever, and the call came down that the show was canceled after only two episodes had aired. What can you do when you get the call from right out of the blue? Nothing. There's just no way that they can "play it safe" in any effective way on a general basis.
     
  14. Jeff Jacobson

    Jeff Jacobson Cinematographer

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    The cliffhanger at the end of the first season of Martial Law never got resolved, even though it DID come back for a second season. What the **** was up with that?
     
  15. Yee-Ming

    Yee-Ming Producer

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    Be grateful you didn't mistakenly watch the scrapped cliffhanger for JAG (can't remember which season, probably 1 or 2), called "Ghost Ship" IIRC. Catherine Bell played another guest role (i.e. she wasn't Mac yet), an ex of Harm's, who got murdered, and Harm was arrested as the prime suspect. Next season, Bell is now Mac, no mention of Harm getting hauled up -- because the ep was never aired in the US, but in sales to foreign markets, they usually throw everything in, and we did see it here. Quite silly.

    Bill certainly makes a valid point, producers can't always foresee if/when a network might pull the plug on them. Hence, my suggestion (which I guess I shouldn't call an exception, but should be the standard to which we hold the producers) that a storyline should at least have a proper treatment with resolution of any cliffhangers that are introduced, so in event of cancellation, the treatment can be released or included on a DVD set, and fans can read how the producers intended to resolve the cliffhanger.

    I gotta agree with those who put it in their sig, the John Doe cliffhanger is one of the most infuriating ones hanging out there. In contrast, as already commented above, at least with Space AAB, you can simply accept they were annihilated. End of story, end of series. And in some sense, Crime Story as well.
     
  16. Ethan Riley

    Ethan Riley Producer

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    A short list of famous (and obscure) tv shows that ended with a cliffhanger (or just ended with certain storylines unresolved, or ended badly, or on a sour note):

    American Dreams
    Angel
    Battlestar Galactica (1978)
    Dallas
    Dark Shadows (1991 version)
    Dynasty (both Dallas & Dynasty got reunion films, but those films did not resolve old storylines).
    Gilligan's Island (situation resolved in reunion movies, 15 years later).
    Hail to the Chief
    Land of the Giants
    Life as we Know It
    Lost in Space
    Muscle (the entire cast was gun downed at the end, ala Dynasty's Moldavian massacre...!)
    Point Pleasant (probably the most bitter ending to a series, ever!)
    Popular (a very painful and sad ending for the fans)
    Savannah
    Second Noah
    Soap (ended with half the cast either shot or about to be shot)
    the Titans
    V
    ...and...almost EVERY Sid & Marty Krofft show: HR Pufnstuf, Lidsville, Dr. Shrinker, Land of the Lost, the Lost Saucer, Far Out Space Nuts; all had "Gilligan's Island"-type situations that were never resolved!

    There are dozens and dozens more.

    I guess you simply run a risk, as a fan, when the show is in a serial format in the first place. All of those shows above were either serials or had continuing storylines or otherwise unresolved situations.

    Not all of those final episodes are bad however. Some of them can be looked at as a conclusion of sorts, or going out with a bang. I mean, the last ep of Point Pleasant is so damn sour; you can simply choose to view the entire series as a horror movie in which many cast members are dead at the end, and the devil's daughter has her due. That makes it satisfying. But some shows simply wimped out, like V and Dynasty. Other shows had a situation which was never resolved, such as the fate of the castaways in Lost in Space or all those lost kids in every Krofft show (LOL).

    None of these sour endings takes away from my enjoyment of these shows, though. Some of them are my favorite shows, ever.
     
  17. MatthewLouwrens

    MatthewLouwrens Producer

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    My favourite - the cliffhanger at the end of Twin Peaks, which is absolutely compelling. And then Lynch made Fire Walk With Me, which is a prequel to the entire series, but which has one scene (the Heather Graham scene) which seems like an attempt to provide some small degree of resolution, or a least explanation, to the ending of the series.

    I watched the final episode of Carnivale last night, and that provided a lot more resolution than I was expecting, so that it pretty much works without any further scenes. But then they threw in a big cliffhanger, that starts to send the story off in a different direction, and it will never be resolved.

    The other show that comes to mind for me is Nowhere Man.
     
  18. Keith I

    Keith I FoS

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    My wife and I just finished watching Odyssey 5 and it makes me wonder with infuriating curiosity why Showtime would allow this show to be cancelled without at least allowing some kind of resolution. With a show like this where the premise is played out over a season, this was one big SNAFU. The series was 19 episodes. After seeing Star Trek: Enterprise, I see why Manny Coto is so great at storytelling. However, it seemed as if he was stretching storylines out and the cancelation came abruptly for Odyssey 5. If he knew the end was near, I would assume there would be some kind of small wrap-up or and indication of an "end" somewhere. I like the idea that the creator(s) of any such show could at least provide a text of the conclusion or do a novel or something in a different medium to keep the story alive or end it appropriately like Bill mentioned above.

    This thread is helpful if/when these shows come out on DVD (or if they already are) so I can rent them.

    Are there any more shows that ended on a cliffhanger or abruptly, besides the ones already listed above?

    Reunion is one that comes to mind.
     
  19. Rakesh.S

    Rakesh.S Second Unit

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    Miracles, Veritas, Reunion, Point Pleasant, Firefly (not a cliffhanger, but a lot of unresolved storylines that were brought up in earlier episodes)..the list goes on and on
     
  20. Linda Thompson

    Linda Thompson Supporting Actor

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    A couple more off the top of my head (and looking at my DVD shelves):

    Alien Nation - single-season, ended on a cliffhanger, later resolved in the first of the 5 follow-up TV movies

    The Lone Gunmen - single-season, ended on a cliffhanger, ultimately resolved in the X-Files episode "Jump The Shark"

    At the other end of the spectrum, La Femme Nikita actually had two endings. The show was cancelled, and cast and crew knew that Season 4 would be the final season. The fates of some main characters were sealed, the series was resolved (semi-ambiguously, by design), and that was that...the cast members went on to new projects.

    After a very passionate (but, in retrospect, perhaps ill-advised?) fan campaign, the show was granted an abbreviated (8-episode) fifth season, which some fans still refuse to acknowledge as canon. Needless to say, there were some real stretches made to work some of the cast (including some whose characters had been killed in Season 4) back into the show (as twins, holograms, etc.), and Roy Dupuis was MIA for most of the early episodes due to other commitments. A couple more characters' fates were sealed, and ultimately, the series wrapped for good.

    (And, in spite of all that, it's STILL quite possibly my all-time favorite dramatic show. [​IMG] )
     

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