We love a good TV cliffhanger… but some of them are not all that good, are they?
Ideally, a cliffhanger leaves us perched on the edge of our seats, impatiently waiting for the next episode to arrive and truly wondering what might happen next. But sometimes, the plot twists are so transparently manipulative — “there’s no way they’d kill the star off!” — that instead of standing and applauding, we’re left rolling our eyes. Cliffhangers are a potent storytelling tool, but when used unwisely, can actually alienate the very fan base they’re trying to titillate.
With this TV season’s finales now in the books, we’re looking back on a dozen of the most ridiculous cliffhangers in TV history, from title characters’ “near-death” experiences to ham-handed grabs for watercooler buzz. (Note: This is not about cliffhangers left unresolved by cancellation.) We even take a swing at some of our most beloved shows of all time, including The West Wing, The X-Files and Gilmore Girls — because even great shows can take a wrong step once in a while.
Join us in the gallery attached above — or click here for direct access — to see what made our list of the laughable TV cliffhangers. And if you know of one we forgot, we won’t leave you dangling: Just head down to the comments below and let your voice be heard.
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