What Was the Best Season-Ending Cliffhanger?
Today, I’m asking you what you think was the best season-ending cliffhanger of all-time.
Pop Culture Theme Time is a feature where I put a question to you to see what you think about a particular theme. I might later revisit the theme for a future Drawing Crazy Patterns or Top Five.
In the past, I’ve asked you what was the best season finale plot twist, and I’ve also asked for what you think was the best cliffhanger in a NON-season finale episode. So now, as TV shows are all wrapping up their seasons (and we’ve had plenty of cliffhangers already), I’m going right to the big one, what do you think was the all-time best season finale cliffhanger?
It feels like a cliché to say this, but I think the Dallas Season 3 finale, with J.R. Ewing seemingly shot dead in his office in the closing moments of the episode, is pretty hard to beat. It sort of became the standard for all other season-ending cliffhangers to follow.
But this is obviously a tough category, so I’m sure there are plenty of other good picks out there, so let me hear them!
Everyone, feel free to suggest future Pop Culture Theme Time topics to me at my new, much shorter e-mail, email@example.com!
15 thoughts on “What Was the Best Season-Ending Cliffhanger?”
You are correct, the Dallas “Who Shot J.R.” cliffhanger set the standard. I would add Star Trek: TNG’s Best of Both Worlds as 1A. It was a long summer with Captain Riker’s command of fire on Locutus.
I’m going with Lost Season 3’s finale. In the last scene, the audience realizes that Lost has changed its own story structure rules — or else they just hadn’t bothered explaining the full rules just yet. To me, that’s a bigger gut punch than a standard how-will-the-hero-get-out-of-this-one or who-will-live-who-will-die cliffhanger.
Season 3 finale for Star Trek TNG Best of Both Worlds Part 1. Picard is assimilated into the Borg and Riker fires on him to end the show. Very long summer to see what would happen.
Blake’s 7 season 3 might count except it was supposed to be the series finale (the legend is the producers only found out it had been renewed when the announcer said it would be back next year over the closing credits)
Or “Introducing John Hurt as The Doctor”
It’s Season 3 of Dallas. Who shot JR was a phenomenon and set the bar for cliffhangers.
Twin Peaks, season 2, which also served as a series finale in which the cliffhanger was not resolved 27 years later in Season 3.
I liked Falcon Crest season 2. Julia was unmasked as Carlo Agretti’s killer and pulled a gun. As people tried to wrestle it away from her, the camera panned out the window and pulled away to show the house as shots ran out. Next you saw a casket being lowered and then the credits rolled. You had to wait until fall to find out who the victim was. I was in high school and remember being wowed but that ending.
I’m going to join everyone saying Star Trek: TNG’s “Best of Both Worlds.” It was a fantastic character moment for Riker and it was the first time Star Trek had ever done anything like that. And while I’m glad Patrick Stewart decided to come back next season, part of me really wants to go to the alternate reality where he didn’t and watch the remainder of TNG under the command of Captain Riker.
other than BOBW, I’d nominate the Alias season finale where Vaughn tells Syd his name’s not really Vaughn and then their car’s hit by a truck.
I’d cast a vote for “The Good Place” season #1 for best cliffhanger.
The big reveal of the secret series plot and followed by a cliffhanger of how the characters can avoid the afterlife issues. It was a great combination of big reveal and cliffhanger all combined.
Certainly had me wondering what would happen next. Although the big reveal in the season ending episode of “The Good Place” may have made me think for favorably on the cliffhanger.
Yeah, right or wrong, the twist was SO huge in that finale that I think it makes people think more about the cliffhanger aspect of the episode (which was still good, don’t get me wrong, it just wasn’t like the twist. The twist was amazing!).
One nobody has mentioned that I always liked: St. Elsewhere. At the end of Season 5, the Catholic diocese has shut down the hospital because it can’t find a buyer and plans to tear it down. Dr. Auschlander is trapped in the building just as the wrecking ball tees up, and the final image is of the “St. Eligius” sign broken in half.
a lot to choose from…
Spooks had great cliffhanger endings to the first 2 seasons – first the main hero’s romantic interest and her daughter trapped in a house with a bombed laptop, second he’s framed and on the run walking into the North Sea.
But I’ll pick the end of season 2 of Blake’s Seven
Blake is recovering from injuries and an alien battle fleet is heading through a gap in a minefield ahead of the heroes, it will be hours before any reinforcements arrive (and those will be from the Federation whom they have been fighting against)
Vila “Avon, This is stupid!”
Avon “When did that ever stop us? Fire!!”
Doesn’t get bigger than that.
In Living Color had one of the more creative season enders when it gave their recurring skits cliffhangers. The one I remember was Homie the Clown became a successful sellout. It was resolved the next season only to find out he was pretending to be a sellout so that he could hit the network executive over the head. “It was all part of my plan to bop the man.”