There was a time when the concept of the Star Trek “universe” didn’t really exist.  There were three seasons of the original day-glo Original Series Trek, a pretty lackluster-and-weird debut season for TNG, followed by a season of growth and a very nice run of episodes from Next Generation.  But when the Borg kidnapped Captain Picard and transformed him into Locutus, it was the moment NexGen came into its own.  This would NEVER have happened to Captain Kirk, let alone Starbuck or Luke Skywalker!  And as the episode ratcheted up the tension, Commander Riker stepped forward, calmly speaking to his security chief, and gave the order to destroy the Borg ship with their Captain on board…  followed by a summer hiatus!  Would they continue with the adventures of now-Captain Riker’s Enterprise?  Would the Borg take the ship and assimilate its crew?  It was one of the most effective cliffhanger moments in my memory, a kick in the gut followed by a swift uppercut of gobsmackery and the realization that we wouldn’t know how it ended until September, which leads us to today’s dramatic, shocking query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) has never been known to let the beat…





…DRROOOP, asking: What’s the most effective cliffhanger 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. Steve Cramer on

    “Lost” had some good season-ending cliff hangers too. I’m fuzzy on the details now, but the reveal of the underground complex is one I remember.

  2. Lemmy Caution (@_Lemmy_Caution) on

    For me, the most amazing thing about the end of Best of Both Worlds Part One was discovering that it was taken essentially verbatim from a TV show almost exactly 10 years prior!

    I still love it, tho. So much fun. My top pick.

    • Daniel Langsdale on

      Ah, yes, the infamous season 3 Love Boat cliffhanger, “Best of Boat Whirlpools” wherein Captain Stubing leaves to join the Maori navy, complete with face tattoos, leaving us to contemplate a Pacific Princess under the leadership of Gopher. I really wondered what Vicki would do, join her father into assimilation with the islanders, or stay with her ersatz mother, Julie, continuing to explore the frontiers of meet-cutes.


      • Lemmy Caution (@_Lemmy_Caution) on

        It wasn’t The Love Boat… :)

        (this is common knowledge, yes? Wasn’t trying to be obtuse.)

        • Lemmy Caution (@_Lemmy_Caution) on

          Blake’s 7 end of season 2.

          I suggest watching from the beginning and avoiding spoilers because I love that show. It’s… special.

          But I know people are not that patient these days. It’s all on YouTube.

          • Daniel Langsdale on

            I’m familiar with Blake’s 7, my last re-watch was about two years ago. This is the first I’ve been given to consider similarities between the two episodes. Thanks for sharing this, now I have an excuse to do some more re-watch! :)

  3. Well, I don’t know if it counts as a cliffhanger, but Firefly getting cancelled left us with a lot of unanswered questions that wouldn’t be resolved until the movie came out several years later.

  4. Steve Cramer on

    Oops, can’t forget to mention “who shot J.R.?”, although I was only vaguely aware of that cliffhanger being too young to like that show.

  5. Daniel Langsdale on

    Right now , I’d say it’s a coin toss between Empire Strikes Back and Avengers: Infinity War, although I might give the edge to Infinity War because it accomplished it’s public-attention-grabbing in a world with a lot more “noise.”

    A different, also interesting, question would be “What is the best follow-through on a cliff hanger?” For instance, I’d put Return of the Jedi ahead of Avengers: Endgame, and LotR: Two Towers ahead of LotR: Return of the King.

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