Episodic television is a tough proposition, especially with today’s expectation of arc-driven storytelling, something which I blame on the seminal and excellent long-ago crime drama ‘Wiseguy.’  Any more, it seems that every new show has to have a hook, a mystery, or a built-in mythology to get greenlit, which leads to unpleasantness when shows get cancelled.  ‘The Sarah Connor Chronicles’ and ‘Tru Calling’ went out on unresolved cliffhangers, but even when a show enough notice to wrap things up, they still leave the occasional errant polar bear string untied, which in turn begs a query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) still, asking: What’s the most frustrating cliffhanger (resolved or unresolved) of all time?


About Author

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.


  1. Top 2 right off the top of my head:
    1) What happened to Duckman’s wife Beatrice?
    2) What happened to the kids of Clone High after they got flash-frozen?

  2. That’s an easy one for me. Why did Number Six retire? HAD he really retired? Was he working for the Russians all along?…

    All entirely immaterial to enjoying the actual show of course because the writers understood that you could leave mysteries hanging in the background. They didn’t treat the unanswered questions as the crux of the plot as so many shows seem to. Rather they concentrated on the character of Number 6 and the central themes of imprisonment, paranoia and Patrick McGoohan being a stone-cold bad-ass.

    Side note, I’m a Brit and have been to Portmerion in Wales to visit the Village. They have the boat and everything. If you ever get the chance, it’s well worth the trip.

  3. A few years back there was a show that popped up that seemed to be designed to follow the path of Lost, being a show filled with weird conspiracies, mysterious people and events and littered with clues to the eventual answers. This show was called FlashForward. Unfortunately after 2 seasons it became clear that this show wasn’t going to have the run it wanted, so the last season was designed to quickly wrap up everything, but still managed to end with a ton of unanswered questions and cliffhangers. The big one for me was: What Did Everyone See?

  4. Christopher Crissey on

    The one that really bugs me was a show called Persons Unknown. Random people get kidnapped and taken to this place. They don’t know why or by whom. They end up escaping and all; however, at the very end they all wake up in another place together and they see a guy that tells them “Welcome to level 2.” and the show got cancelled.

  5. It annoys me they never answered half the questions presented in the series The Pretender. Any answers we did get always lead to more questions.

  6. The finale of Sliders. What happened to Rembrandt when he jumped into the wormhole on the final episode? Did he make it back to his Earth? And if so, did he succeed in getting rid of the Kromaggs on his Earth or was he killed like in that person’s vision?

    The finale of “Forever Knight”. Not the usual sort of cliffhanger, but we never actually saw LaCroix plunge the stake through Nick and Natalie, the scene shifting to an exterior shot just after he raised the stake above his head and said “Damn you, Nicholas!”. It seems that there is a chance he may not have gone through with it.

  7. There is the “The Golden Compass” movie. The producer decided to divide the story into two movies, and so a portion of the completed film was removed from the theatrical release to serve as the beginning of the second movie. Then the movie didn’t do well enough to warrant a sequel and the second movie was never made. So not only was the story never completed, there’s at least ten minutes of completed footage that has never been released.

    There were also several interesting series of novels where the author kicked the bucket before finishing the series. One of these was a series of Civil War novels by Michael Kilian which were mysteries set in each major ciivl war battlefield. They were a good read, but the writer unfortunately died after completing “Antietam Assassins” so we’ll never know what else he had planned.

    Then there is author Peter Tsouras, who was writing one of the best Alternate History Civil War series and had two of the three planned books published, when his publisher went out of business. Unless some other publisher manages to get the rights to the third book in the series, it may never be published.

    Which leads me to the biggest disappointment of all – at least for all of us who lived through the Golden Age of Indie Comics in the early 80s. Marvel and DC were mired in a muck of their own making, and treating even their most popular writers and artists like dirt, and so the best writers and artists started working for comic companies like First, Pacific, etc. and we got wonderful new series like Aztec Ace, I Am Coyote, The Badger, Groo the Wanderer, and so much more… and these comics were printed on better paper, with better coloring and wow!!!
    Sadly, one by one, the indie publishers fell by the wayside and a lot of wonderful comics vanished before they were finished. Ever wondered how “Starstruck” ended? It never did. Need I even say it? Where is my “Cap’n Quick and a Foozle”???

Leave A Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.