Cliff Hanger

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To be resolved...in two weeks! (because I am an evil motherfucker)

A Cliff Hanger ends an Act Break, episode, or even a whole season (or a film or novel in a series) with some or all of the main characters in peril of some kind and the audience is made to wait for the outcome. The To Be Continued caption is often used here. Typically the longer the viewer is made to wait, the larger the seeming peril. Indeed, this can be a Downer Ending to the part just finished—although many apparent perils and catastrophes are not as serious as they appear. It is a rare Cliff Hanger that will cut back simply to watch 'em fall.

A Cliff Hanger can also be centered around surprising revelations; either one just made, or one being saved for the 'hanger's resolution.

Named for the old Saturday matinée film serials which would frequently leave a character literally hanging from the side of a cliff, revealing how the character escaped in the next episode.

The season type of 'hanger has a flaw: if the show gets canceled, the 'hanger stays unresolved. A few such 'hangers are listed below. This is not to be confused with a Bolivian Army Ending, which is an intentionally unresolved cliffhanger as an ending. If this happens, the cliffhanger may be resolved in a movie or miniseries later on. Or, it may not... and that's why we have Fan Fiction.

Stories need not end with just one cliffhanger; there can be one for every independent plot thread if the writers think the audience will stand for it.

Myth Arc, Mind Screw, and Jigsaw Puzzle Plot series all use cliffhangers as often as possible, some of them with every episode.

This site contains a comprehensive list of unresolved cliffhangers.

Not to be confused with an area for aircraft set into a mountainside (a cliff hangar), the sort used to hang up clothing (a coat hanger), the laserdisc-based video game using footage from Lupin III, the pricing game Cliff Hangers on The Price Is Right (AKA The Yodely Guy game), the movie of the same name (you might be able to find that here) either of the two comic strips also using the name, or the Cliffhangers TV series.

Beware of these being executed badly, too. "What?" Cliffhanger is when a cliffhanger is so deliberately vague that it not even suspensful enough to hold a viewer's interest until the next chapter; a Cliffhanger Copout is when a creator deliberately tweaks with a story's continuity of events when resolving a cliffhanger or outright refuses to reveal a piece of information that is promised at the end of one chapter to the next. A lampshaded, immediate resolution would be To Be Continued Right Now.

See also Literal Cliff Hanger.


Examples of Cliff Hanger include:

Resolved Cliffhangers[edit | hide | hide all]

Anime and Manga[edit | hide]

  • Even Anime has done season-ending 'hangers, with The Big O and Zoids Fuzors, not to mention a cliffhanger of truly staggering size at the end of Season 1 of Code Geass (mentioned in detail below).
  • The anime Code Geass ends its first season on a particularly high Cliff Hanger: the rebellion is collapsing, the entire school is being held hostage by a student with a bomb, the Anti-Hero's identity is revealed to his now bloodthirsty former best friend, and the situation devolves into a rage-filled Mexican Standoff... just to fade to black in time for a single gunshot.
    • Let's be perfectly honest here. Code Geass has a very, very, VERY nasty habit of leaving cliffhangers at the end of every single episode, at least in the first season. The season is basically a 25-episode cliffhanger, ending with a scene that quite often leaves viewers screaming at the top of their lungs at their screens.
    • They also had a bad habit of the next episode beginning after the cliffhanger is resolved, and then drawing it out until a flashback shows how it actually ended.
    • And then comes the second season, where Every. Damn. Episode. Ends with a cliffhanger of cosmic proportions and every second one is a Wham! Episode, to boot.
  • Parodied in the first episode of Magical Project S, which ends with the then-faceless Pixy Misa saying "you'll have to wait until next week to see who I am".
  • When D.N.Angel was put on a hiatus by its writer, fans were left hanging for two years in which Daisuke was setting off to find his kidnapped love interest's twin sister, and gets offered by his morally questionable rival for help. Fans were left waiting for two years until the manga was started up again and the arc was resolved.
    • After completing the aforementioned arc and even getting through another one, D.N.Angel is once again put on an at least six month hiatus with the completion of Part 1...with the massive cliffhanger of Riku finally seeing Daisuke (and Satoshi) transform, and asking if he's Daisuke...or Dark. And that's not even covering the stuff that still needs to be answered after that single chapter.
  • In True Tears, one of the driving factors for following the story asides the depth of the characters and the compelling love story are the constant cliff hangers on the end of each episode. Several of these tend to shake up things quite a bit.
  • Naruto is pretty infamous for this. A recent chapter even ended mid-sentence during such.
  • Bakuman。 is pretty much a cliffhanger in every chapter. Especially when the characters are up for serialization.
  • The Transformers Cybertron episode "Search" ended with Overhaul dangling from a cliff above a valley of lava.
  • Bleach often ends with cliffhangers, especially when one character launches an attack against another. More often than not, the attack is non-fatal (and often, completely ineffective), and the next chapter shows why.
  • Several episodes of Death Note, particularly the second-to-last one when Light has Mikami write all his enemies' names in the Death Note, end in cliffhangers.
  • Hayate the Combat Butler manga started out the current arc with one, and still hasn't resolved it. Leaving the fans to try and figure out how the pieces are going to connect. Doesn't help that the last arc gave us the starting of it, but leaving things vague enough for us to not realize that it was going to be left as a cliffhanger.
  • Zig-zagged in the anime adaptation of Berserk. The very first scene of the anime takes place a few weeks after the events of the Eclipse with Guts waiting for Godo to prepare the Dragonslayer. After the opening credits, the scene flashes two years later when Guts has a well-established reputation as the Black Swordsman. After defeating an apostle, the rest of the series reveals how Guts became the way he is in the present, starting with his first encounter with soon-to-be Big Bad Griffith. In the last episode, during the climax of the Eclipse, we see Guts screaming in rage and agony at the sight of the demon lord Femto raping Casca just as the credits role in. Although the very last scene reverts back to the very first scene, it is still left unclear as to how Guts managed to make it back from the hell dimension alive or whether Casca survived her ordeal and the viewers are still Left Hanging on this detail as Guts walks into the distance as the Black Swordsman, which is where the anime ends.
  • Used very very frequently in Brigadoon Marin and Melan. Especially in the second half of the series, more episodes end with cliffhangers than not.
  • The Pokémon Special FireRed and LeafGreen chapter ends with one of these.
  • Every chapter has a Cliff Hanger in Bitter Virgin. The readers are even left hanging on the last chapter to how the relationship will end up.
  • The Giant Robo OVA ended on a great, gaping "To Be Continued". While the main conflict is resolved, it's implied that Big Fire still had a few more tricks up their sleeves.
  • Episodes 5 and 10 of Popotan: the former ends with Mai and Mea being left behind when their house jumps forward in time five years, the latter with Keith incapacitating Mea and making the house travel to its final destination.

Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • Chapters 3, 4 and 5 of All Fall Down end this way.
    • In Chapter 3, Siphon is placed under arrest for the super-manslaughter of 642 people.
    • In Chapter 4, the last thing we see is Portia stepping off a high-rise roof, followed by a Black Screen of Death.
    • In Chapter 5, we see Pronto, Brainwashed and Crazy, about to be unleashed on his unsuspecting friends.

Film[edit | hide]

  • Film does this too, especially when doing the "two films at once" thing. Star Wars seems to have started the trend with the ending of The Empire Strikes Back, with Han Solo being captured, frozen in carbonite and being taken to Jabba the Hutt so he could be rescued at the beginning of Return of the Jedi.
  • The endings of the first two Back to The Future movies (each ending with a "To Be Continued..." at the end.) Note that the original theatrical run of Back to The Future did not have "To Be Continued..." at the end; it was only added later for VHS and TV prints when the first film became so popular, that they decided to do the sequels.
  • The second Pirates of the Caribbean film (Jack gets captured/killed and everyone gets ready to go rescue him).
  • The Italian Job is worth mentioning - although the ending is technically of the Bolivian Army variety, it's also a Literal Cliff Hanger involving an entire bus.

Charlie: Hang on lads, I've got a great idea...

  • Film serials of the 1930's and 40's used this technique to bring audiences back each week to see how the heroes would get out of whatever tense situation they were last seen in. This was used to great effect in the The Adventures of Captain Marvel serial, despite the protagonist being Nigh Invulnerable to most forms of attack. Not only did they occasionally place Captain Marvel in situations where even his invulnerability might not protect him (including one infamous death trap involving molten lava), his mortal alter ego of Billy Batson was often placed in dangerous situations, making the audience wonder if he'd be able to escape or say his magic word in time.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • Older Than Print meta-example: The cliffhanger was part of Scheherazade's desperate gambit to keep herself from being executed in Arabian Nights, as she told the evil king a series of stories for one thousand and one nights, ending each night on a cliffhanger so very enticing that he could not execute her, because then he would not get to hear the ending.
  • One must really feel sorry for those who read the Alex Rider novel Scorpia before Ark Angel came out. The novel ends with Alex being shot in the chest and him seeing his dead parents which gives the assumption that the bullet killed him. Even though he was proved to have survived with the release of Ark Angel, some fans still think that he was killed in Scorpia and have varying theories about the later books.
  • Demonglass ends with Abby Thorne being burnt to the ground while under attack from the Eye with Archer and Sophie's Dad still trapped inside Cal running in to try and find them, Sophie's powers blocked, Jenna missing, possibly dead and Sophie being told that she could find her mother with supposed evil prodigium hunter Aislinn Brannick. Also Demonfied Nick is loose and killed nearly 20 people in one night, Demonfied Daisy was also released, we still do not know what happened to Chaston, Anna, or the other missng students, half the Council was killed and the good guys were actually the bad guys, so the bad guys might be the good guys, but were not sure yet.
  • Edgar Rice Burroughs's The Gods of Mars ended with Dejah Thoris, Thuvia, and Phaidor all trapped in the Temple of the Sun for a year—and with Phaidor trying to stab Dejah Thoris. John Carter has to live out that year in ignorance.
  • Lloyd Alexander's The Remarkable Journey of Prince Jen ends every chapter except the side stories and the finale with one of these, along with an italicized paragraph directly addressing the reader and asking questions in the vein of "What will happen next?"
  • Lampshaded in The Pendragon Adventure by the titular character. Since most of the series takes place as a series of his journals, which he frequently writes before falling asleep, he has once written about an impending catastrophe... only to apologize in the next journal, saying he couldn't stay awake to continue.
  • Bruce Coville's Song of the Wanderer ends with the big bad getting the key that will allow her to destroy Luster, cue huge build up and a to be continued. The sequel about the epic war is then put on hiatus and not published until nearly 10 years later.
  • The Tennis Shoe Adventure books start being cliffhangers after book 2, and they haven't stopped. Last time we checked, the fate of every. Single. Character. Was hanging in the hands of a cocky 19-year-old and time was running out. And this was in...what, 2006?
  • The ending to the second Hunger Games book (Catching Fire) caused major fan freak-outs.
  • Wendelin Van Draanen loves ending every single one of her chapters with a cliffhanger. (Thankfully, they're always resolved with a turn of the page. Face it, as annoying as this can get, you can't say as much for the cliffhangers of other authors.)
  • Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire ended with Harry finishing his fourth year at Hogwarts. Oh, and the little incidental fact that Voldemort had returned, meaning that everything was about to change for the heroes and the world in which they lived. Naturally, the fandom exploded with theories, Wild Mass Guessing, and more Fanfic than anyone could reasonably hope to read. The next book, Order of the Phoenix, wasn't published until three years later, prompting many fans to dub the interval "the three-year summer."
    • Order of the Phoenix, Half Blood Prince, and, to a lesser extent, Prisoner of Azkaban end on cliffhangers as well. The first book also has a minor Sequel Hook with Dumbledore's mention that there are still other ways Voldemort could return, although that thread doesn't pay off until the fourth book. Goblet Of Fire, however, goes so far as to title its final chapter "The Beginning".
    • Also, in Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone, if you were reading one chapter at a time, you were definitely on the edge of your seat with the words at the end of Through the Trapdoor: " But it wasn't Snape. It wasn't even Voldemort."
    • Severus Snape: friend or foe?
  • Six Sacred Stones takes the concept of a cliff hanger one epic step further. The novel ends with Jack West falling into an abyss, without his maghook.
  • Every chapter of every Goosebumps book ends in this manner, which leads the reader to wonder what happens next, ESPECIALLY at the end of the book.
  • The Princess Bride (novel) ends with a Bolivian Army Ending, with everyone separated, stuck, and surrounded by enemies. We get Cop Out in the preview for the sequel, where somehow the crew of Dread Pirate Robert's ship comes in at the last moment and saves them. Also, Goldman writes about how Morgenstern (the "original" author) had a monetary stake in trees at the time, so to get people to care more about trees, he decided to spend 95% of the chapter talking about how great trees are, with details of their rescue sparsely peppered in, so you'd need to read about the trees just to read the cop out.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: at the end of every book and most of the chapters.
  • The Dresden Files: Changes ends with Harry shot dead, yet the series is obviously not concluded.
  • A Certain Magical Index: Any volume that's part of a multi-volume arc and isn't the finale. The biggest example is undoubtedly New Testament Volume 8, where Othinus gains her full power as a Magic God and destroys the entire universe. The next volume revolves around Touma (the sole survivor, due to being immune to magic) having to fight her singlehandedly.


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Doctor Who for most of its history consisted entirely of multi-episode serials, so obviously it's had a lot of cliffhangers. There have even been a couple of Literal Cliff Hangers.
    • The modern series, which has multi-parters as a more occasional thing, makes it slightly easier to list.
      • "Bad Wolf" ends with the revelation that for the past century Earth has been controlled by the Daleks, and the Doctor promising he'll come rescue Rose from their clutches.
      • "Army of Ghosts" ends five million Cybermen arriving on Earth and seizing control, and the Void Sphere opening to reveal four Daleks.
      • "Utopia" finishes with the reveal that Professor Yana is actually the Master, as he steals the TARDIS, leaving the Doctor, Martha and Captain Jack about to be killed by zombie-esque hoards. The episode right after that, "The Sound of Drums" finishes with The Master aging and capturing the Doctor, imprisoning Jack, and Martha just escaping to witness the death of 10% of the Earth.
      • "Silence in the Library" ends with Donna disappearing mid-teleport with a scream, as the Doctor and River are cornered.
      • "Turn Left" finishes with Donna saving the day, and destroying an alternate universe where the Doctor died prematurely....but then tells him about the strange blond woman who said the words "Bad Wolf". At that moment, the old Arc Words from season one appear everywhere, and the cloister bell starts ringing.
        • The episode right after that ends with Daleks raging across the Earth, Sarah Jane being cornered by Daleks in her car, the members of Torchwood under attack, and the Doctor mid-regeneration.
      • "Flesh and Stone" ends with the Doctor about to execute a plan to escape the Weeping Angels.
      • "The Pandorica Opens" finishes with Rory being mind-controlled and shooting Amy, the Doctor being locked inside an inescapable prison by all of his enemies, and the TARDIS blowing up with River inside it, destroying the entire universe.
      • The end of "The Impossible Astronaut" is Amy shooting the astronaut which killed the Doctor, only to reveal it to actually be a little girl. The next episode also has a cliffhanger, but one that isn't concluded for several more episodes, as it shows the same little girl regenerating in a back-alley.
  • Lost regularly milks cliffhangers of both types for all they're worth, and Heroes is jumping in with both feet too.
  • Also a staple of J.J. Abrams' other serial Alias, as as acknowledged nod to The Perils of Pauline. Almost to the point of annoyance.
  • Peril 'hanger: At the end of Angel Season Three, Angel is put in a box and sunk to the bottom of the ocean and Cordelia becomes a higher being and disappears. Huge cliffhanger.
  • Every single Farscape season ending.
  • Season two of Lois and Clark ended with Clark having just proposed to Lois. This cliffhanger lasted for four months, eventually to be resolved with the Wham! Line, "Who's asking? Clark or Superman?"
    • Four months? It was a year in the UK. Frustration ensued, especially as UK viewers are less habituated to cliffhangers...
  • The Adventures of Brisco County Jr made regular use of cliffhangers. The early episodes had two cliffhangers (one for each act break). Later episodes had one.
  • Mission: Impossible used this constantly in Act Breaks (and, of course, in its two-part stories - the show's only three-parter, "The Falcon," even ended part one with Paris dangling over a cl... balcony!).
  • The first season of Stargate Atlantis ended with the city of Atlantis on the verge of another wraith attack, Ford captured by the wraith, Colonel Everett surrounded by them, and Major Sheppard flying a booby-trapped puddle jumper on a suicide mission towards a Wraith Hive-ship.
    • The second season ended with several Wraith hive ships headed towards Earth.
    • The third season ended with the city stuck in the middle of empty space with limited air and a failed hyperdrive. Even if Jewel Staite was entering the show as Kaylee rather than Doctor Keller, it's a bit tricky to imagine them fixing it.
    • Season four ended with the slightly less impressive cliffhanger of an building collapsing on the team.
  • Likewise, parent show Stargate SG-1 ended almost all of its seasons with cliffhangers of varying magnitude, all with the ominous "To Be Continued..." caption.
  • Dallas relied on a season ending Cliff Hanger every year. The most famous was "Who Shot JR?" in 1980, which lasted from March 21 to November 7.
  • Star Trek has had a Cliff Hanger in nearly every non-final season since Star Trek: The Next Generation's Season Three. It's no coincidence that that cliffhanger, "The Best of Both Worlds", is considered to be the best episode of the entire series (and good arguments are made that it's the best episode of the entire franchise. Edith Keeler might disagree, though...)
    • This one is particularly interesting in that it cleared the way for cliffhangers, previously a staple for soap operas, to be used in more "serious" TV shows.
    • At the time, this cliffhanger had particular punch because it was unknown whether Patrick Stewart would return for future seasons; the writers left the second half open for this reason.
    • The Next Generation, Voyager and Enterprise always achieved their cliffhangers by splitting a two-part episode over the end of one season and the start of the next. Deep Space Nine had a rather more interesting approach however, in which the final episode of the season would have its own storyline wrapped up within the episode itself, but the next stage of the show's story arc was set up in the process.
  • 24 typically uses a cliffhanger at the end of each episode. The show also featured a season-ending cliffhanger in the final seconds of season 2, which, irritatingly enough, was subverted when the third season picked up three years later and the cliffhanger had already been resolved. This was later revisited in The Game, but it's annoying how the Season 2 and 7 plot arcs aren't fully explored at the end.
  • The beginning of the new Doctor Who episode "The Impossible Planet" has a Shout-Out to the Cliff Hangers of the old series. In The Teaser, the Ood, who look like Lovecraftian horrors, walk toward the Doctor and Rose chanting "We must feed", and the close-ups and spinning camera angles match the old Who's Cliff Hangers perfectly. Naturally, after the titles, the Ood are shown to be perfectly nice and friendly, with their apparent viciousness being a Phlebotinum Breakdown: "We must feed..."—whacks the translation orb -- "...you, if you are hungry. Do you want refreshments?"
    • Actually, the first episode of every season finale ends on a cliffhanger that is resolved by the following one. Usually in an awesome way.
  • ER does this pretty much every season.
  • CSI ended its seventh season with Sara Sidle stuck in the middle of the desert (during a rainstorm) and trapped under a car. This was because the Serial Killer had put her there.
    • Its eighth ended with Warrick Brown apparently shot dead by the Undersheriff. He was actually shot dead
  • Season 3 of Babylon 5 ends not only on a cliffhanger, but a cliffjumper as the main character flings himself into a bottomless chasm.
  • Season 3 of The Sentinel ended with one of the main characters having been drowned in a fountain by an evil female Sentinel and a To Be Continued... at which point the show was cancelled. Fan outrage helped get it Uncancelled for a half-season, long enough to resolve the storyline and come up with a less depressing finale.
  • Season one of Supernatural had John being possessed and Dean being tortured, then Sam trying to get them both to the hospital, saying that everything will be fine...and then a giant truck totals the Impala, leaving all three men bloody and unconscious.
    • This was nothing compared to season three, where Dean dies and the last shot is of him in Hell.
    • And then the last episode of season four, which had Sam killing Lilith, and learning too late that she was the final seal that was keeping Lucifer from entering the mortal realm.
    • Season six.

Castiel:I'm your new God. And you will bow down, and profess your love unto me, your Lord. Or I shall destroy you.
end

  • EVERY season finale of One Tree Hill.
  • Third Watch had Cliff Hangers after its third, fourth and fifth seasons - the latter two both involving Bosco, Faith, Cruz, and a shooting.
  • Even sitcoms aren't immune - most of Frasier's season finales ended on a cliffhanger - the biggest one being the end of Season 7, where Niles and Daphne finally got together.
    • Even the Grand Finale ended on a minor cliffhanger. The only seasons not to end with one were 1, 2, 3 and 6.
  • Smallville. Every single season of Smallville.
  • The first and fourth seasons of The West Wing end on extremely tense cliffhangers.
    • The second season doesn't, if you've been paying any sort of attention, but many viewers apparently missed the cues.
      • The funny thing about the second season finale is that it does have a cliffhanger, for the more minor plot of the coup in Haiti. The President's reelection, however, is a much larger arc and takes up much of the focus, so the Subversion there is unexpected.
  • "You aint my muvva!" "Yes I am!!" Dun Dun dundundundun...
  • In an unusual move, the second season of the light-hearted Big Wolf on Campus ended with one of the main characters a stone statue after making a Heroic Sacrifice for his best friend. All the more dramatic because the show nearly didn't come back for a third season, but fortunately it was renewed and he was saved.
    • An intentional (I think) cliffhanger, or at least the show wasn't unexpectedly cancelled.
  • The third season of Desperate Housewives concluded with Edie Britt's apparent suicide after Carlos dumped her. The fourth season premiere revealed that she had actually faked her suicide in order to win Carlos back.
  • JAG had several cliffhangers. The first season ended with Harm being arrested for murder, though same episode was a Missing Episode and later adapted, thus bordering on Canon Discontinuity. The third season ended with Harm and Mac about to be shot down in a Russian jet while looking for Harm's father. The sixth ended with Harm lost at sea, having ejected from his F-14 trying to get back in time to catch Mac's wedding. The seventh ends with Bud stepping on a landmine while trying to prevent an Afghan boy from doing likewise. The eighth ended with Harm leaving JAG to save Mac and Webb against orders. The ninth ends with Webb apparently killed and the Admiral's retirement. The series itself ends with something like a cliffhanger, leaving the audience wondering if either Harm or Mac will retire after they decide to marry and whether they'll end up in London or San Diego afterwards.
  • Grey's Anatomy's fifth season ended with a cliffhanger. Either Izzie or George might be headed for the big OR in the sky. Or both.
  • An early British example was the TV spy series Callan, whose second season ended with an episode where Callan was kidnapped and brainwashed into believing that Hunter, the head of his section, was an enemy agent. Callan kills Hunter and is himself shot; the episode and season ended with him mortally wounded and gasping to Meres, a fellow agent, "Toby, old man... I've been had!" The next season dealt with Callan's recovery and return to operations while being treated with extreme caution by his superiors.
  • Friends ended almost all of it seasons with a cliffhanger, the most famous one being the season 4 finale, where Ross says the wrong name at his wedding.
  • Season 2 of the new Battlestar Galactica ends, after having skipped a year, with a Cylon fleet appearing over New Caprica, the Battlestars and remnants of the civilian fleet jumping away, and President Baltar surrendering. The first episode of Season 3 skips ahead four and a half months, when the Cylon occupation is in full swing. By the fourth episode of the season, the Cylons have been kicked out and the search for Earth resumes.
    • The first season ends only moments after Commander Adama has been shot twice is the chest, right after initiating a military coup and arresting the President.
  • A short lived '70s series called Cliffhangers was a homage to the old movie cliffhanger serials. The show had 3 different segments each hour, with each ending on a Cliff Hanger each week! (And just to rub it in, only one segment reached a proper conclusion before the series was cancelled!)
  • Used constantly on The X-Files. Three really annoying words: "To Be Continued..."
  • Already taunting fans with severe British Brevity (i.e. the prospect of waiting a whole year for another six episodes), Misfits ended its first season on a horrible cliff-hanger: the main character was left buried alive, with no obvious means of escape.
  • Vintergatan had a cliffhanger Once an Episode, with no sign of stopping. Fortunately, the cliffhangers don't bother people that much. Why? Because it's always been presented that way, and there's danger around every corner in-canon, so it doesn't seem forced (and even when it does, it rarely becomes Narm—usually it's Narm Charm, and at worst, it's So Bad It's Good) -- and second, because that meant we got to hear the cliffhanger jingle. DAH, DADAH-DAH DAAAAAAH!
  • Power Rangers Turbo ended with the mentors all captured or MIA, all powers and ranger tech broken or destroyed, and four of the remaining five rangers taking a space shuttle out to try and do something, lack of superpowers, FTL drive, and location of enemies be damned. The series actually ended on a "to be continued" just as the shuttle took off.
  • Mighty Morphin Power Rangers got in a really good one at the end of "Green With Evil Part 2". The episode ended with Goldar's sword apparently about to impale Jason's head.
    • Let's not forget Season 3's infamous cliffhanger with the villains' blowing up the Command Center, and leaving the Rangers pretty much screwed.[1]
  • A few season finales of 7th Heaven have ended on cliffhangers, with the 7th season being the worst offender. Is Lucy pregnant? What happened that brought head of the church and the police force to the Camdens' front door to talk to Eric immediately? Who did Mary elope with? Did Roxanne and Chandler get married? Of course, it was all resolved next season. Lucy wasn't pregnant, Simon got into a car accident that resulted in a young boy's death, Mary eloped with Carlos, and Roxanne and Chandler break up. Although we never did find out what happened to Christine or why Cecilia disappeared in early season 9…
  • NCIS has six season cliffhangers:
    • Season 2 Kate shot and killed.
    • Season 4 Tony meeting his girlfriend's father, La Grenouille.
    • Season 5 Jenny's death and Vance separating the team.
    • Season 6 Ziva held captive by terrorists
    • Season 7 Paloma Alejandro and her gang walking into Jackson's office.
    • Season 9 Harper Dearing planting a bomb on the Navy Yard, which goes off with Gibbs, Abby, Ziva, Tony AND McGee all still inside. Ducky gets the news at Palmer's beachside wedding and promptly has a massive heart attack.[2]
  • Happens at the end of the first half of every two part episode in the 1960's Batman series.
  • The Season 2 finale (and Series Finale) of The Colbys had several cliffhangers, most of which were later resolved on parent show Dynasty, the most fantastic being Fallon's abduction by aliens in the California desert. Even for an over-the-top show like The Colbys, this was a Jumping the Shark moment.
  • Criminal Minds does this with EVERY season finale.
  • Veronica Mars ends Season One on several cliff hangers. Aaron Echolls has been arrested, but it's unclear how Veronica's relationship will be affected. The audience knows that Logan had an incident on the bridge where he contemplated suicide, although the characters don't.
  • Boy Meets World ends season 5 with one: Topanga proposes to Cory during their high school graduation ceremony.
  • Red Dwarf has had bad luck with season cliffhangers: it's tried it twice, and both times immediately went on hiatus for years.
    • Season 6 ended with the lead characters apparently murdered by their evil future selves; the audience had to wait three years to find out how they got out of it.
    • Season 8 ended with the titular ship being devoured by a genetically enhanced virus while most of the crew evacuates, and the main characters escape to a mirror universe. Except for Rimmer, apparently trapped on the disintegrating ship. The series ends with the screen saying "The End? The smeg it is!". This time the audience had to wait a full decade. And strictly speaking we still don't know what happened next, because the makers invoked an Un Installment and skipped forward to where everything was back to normal.
  • The third episode of Sherlock season 1 ended with Sherlock and John facing Moriarty with snipers targeting them. It was resolved quickly in the new season when something new and better came up for Moriarty. And he was probably having too much fun with Sherlock to let him die so quickly.
  • The season 3 finale of How I Met Your Mother ended with Ted proposing to Stella (mind you, this was while Stella was hinted to be the titular Mother) and Barney realizing that he was in love with Robin. Stella said yes in the teaser of the fourth season premiere, and the rest of the episode took place several months after the teaser, partly because the season 3 finale had also featured Barney getting run over by a bus, which took him an entire summer's worth of physical therapy to heal from.
  • Spooks ended most of its series on these. Exceptions are series three, five and ten (which was the last).
    • Series One: Tom's girlfriend and her daughter locked in his house with a bomb, with him refusing to clear the blast radius.
    • Series Two: Tom is framed for the assassination of the Chief of the Defence Staff, shoots Harry in the shoulder while trying to escape, and seemingly drowns himself in the ocean.
    • Series Four: Angela corners several MI-5 personnel in the street with a sniper rifle, putting a bullet into Adam's lung in the process before lining up a shot on Harry...
    • Series Six: Adam appears to mercy kill Jo to spare her from any more torture by the Redbacks, just as CO 19 storms the building.
    • Series Seven: The leader of the local FSB office kidnaps Harry for reasons unknown.
    • Series Eight: Ros and the Home Secretary get caught in a hotel explosion engineered by Nightingale, with Lucas also getting blown back by the explosion while trying to get back to them.
    • Series Nine: Lucas' exact fate isn't specified despite the car alarms and Harry looking down from the rooftop. Harry is told by the Home Secretary "to prepare for life after MI-5"...
  • The first season of Person of Interest ends with Finch being kidnapped by Root. To track him down, Reese asks the Machine for help and the Machine answers, but the episode ends before we find out what it said.


Other[edit | hide]

  • Greg Farshtey's method of writing when sitting down for the latest Bionicle story chapter is to think of a cliffhanger, and hope to find a way to resolve it in the next. Not just individual chapters, the stories tend to end in cliffhangers too. On some occasions, this proved to be a reckless idea, since he couldn't resolve them thanks to his busy schedule. In these cases he assumed the villains simply turned back or just didn't find time to carry out any evil plans. In other cases the constant reliance on more and more extreme and forced cliffhangers lead to the serial inching close to Jumping the Shark.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • In Golden Sun, you have only managed to climb up one of the four Elemental Lighthouses when you reach the final Dungeon, Venus Lighthouse. If you haven't been reading a guide (or spoiled by this example) you'd assume you were halfway through the game. To be fair, the game does provide some hints, the Infinity+1 Sword is contained inside, and the music does lend the tower a tone of The Very Definitely Final Dungeon. But once you reach the top, the game throws both the main antagonists of the story at you, you beat them, then they combine and throw the Final Boss at you. Once you beat that, the game just ends. The missing friends are still missing, the party travels off to parts unknown, and the credits roll. Quite an impressive feat, making a very big cliffhanger that wasn't resolved for a few years when the second game came out.
    • To be fair, this cliffhanger is the result of Camelot splitting what was supposed to be one game into two games, Golden Sun 1 and The Lost Age.
    • Another one is at the end of The Lost Age. Alex has just been granted demi-god powers, but is then pinned to a mountaintop, and sent crashing down to the Earth, however, The Wise One implies they will meet again, and the last shot of the game, is Mt. Aleph still standing...
    • The third game Dark Dawn has its own as well. After everything looks happy and peaceful. The heroes return home and they realize that there was one thing they didn't look into to solve. Now it appears to be far more threatening then it was when they last encountered it.
  • Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood ends with a major cliffhanger. After getting brutally smacked down by Super Sonic, Imperator Ix commands the wormhole connecting Sonic's world with the Twilight Cage to close before he disappears. The whole team rushes right on out to the Cyclone to jet and get the hell out of dodge before they find themselves trapped for all eternity. And lest you not forget how the flow of time differs in the Twilight Cage with how Ix could still be alive after four thousand years, take a moment to remember who stayed behind before you crossed dimensions and what he could possibly do with all that time...
    • How's Sonic Chronicles: Eggman's Revenge for a sequel title?
      • I perfer Sonic Chronicles: The Eggman Empire.
  • A (particularly frustrating) example with Halo 2: Cortana in the clutches of the Gravemind. Miranda, Arbiter and Johnson stuck on Delta Halo. Master Chief emerging from slipspace, stowed away on an enemy ship, to find Earth's defenses about to be overwhelmed by the Covenant fleet. Roll credits with nothing more than a heroic one-liner. Only partially resolved with Halo 3 - We see Master Chief ariving on earth, but we don't see how Arbiter and co get back. How MC actually got off the enemy ship is explored in a spin-off comic series, and Cortana's fate is a plot-point for the rest of the game.
  • Cliffhangers are standard for Telltale Games, as their games come in monthly installments.
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 ends on a rather big one. The Invasion of the US is stopped and presumably the US counterstrike is about to begin. Soap and Price are wanted Fugitives, Shepherd is dead but his plan is in motion and you still have no idea where Makarov is.
    • The Sequel shows that the war becomes over near the end of the game, and also Soap dies from a later injury from a mission, and Price gets a BSOD, and in the final mission, Price kills Makarov with Punches and with the finish of Makarov being hanged.
  • BlazBlue loves this:
    • The original Arcade game always ends with the characters getting sent back in the past due to being in a time loop. Most worse is Ragna's, where he gets to fuse into a monster, sent back as a destructive monster in the past that gets killed.
    • The console version had the crew getting out of the time loop... just in time for the supposed Big Bad, Terumi, showing himself off and got away scots free for his next plan... giving Tsubaki the order to assassinate Noel and Jin (still a psycho).
    • The original Arcade of the sequel eventually had the characters confront Terumi, beat him... then Terumi reveals that he's just warming up and he summons Noel, turned into a mindless monster bent on destroying the world, to fight you... and the game ends.
    • The console version of the sequel threw A LOT of surprises: Noel gets saved and Jin stops being a psycho. However, Tsubaki had a new resentment with Noel and stuck with NOL, thus not quite giving Jin and Noel a happy end for all they've been through. Then, the originally good-hearted Litchi turns antagonist and joins NOL so she can procure the cure for Arakune which is in NOL all while having her degenerate further, and lastly... Terumi is not the Big Bad. The Big Bad, the NOL Imperator, turns out to be Saya, Ragna and Jin's sister! Then they all head off to Ikaruga for the sequel to come. And if the supplying material is to be trusted... turns out Saya was just being a Puppet King, Terumi still retains his Big Bad Duumvirate position with Relius.
  • Asura's Wrath. In multiple times in the True End. Deus is dead, Asura can finally reunite with Mithra... and suddenly Olga appears and threatens to kill her for Deus' death... until all of the sudden, that Golden Spider accompanying Asura most of the time kills Olga, possesses Mithra and... the end, that's it. Regardless, at the end of the game, Asura is still pissed off.


Web Comics[edit | hide]


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • Spoofed on Homestar Runner in the Strong Bad Email "cliffhangers", where Strong Bad is asked by a fan to "Resolve all the cliffhangers, please". After showing three mock cliffhangers, the email ends on an actual cliffhanger when Strong Bad's Lappy 486 computer gets stolen.
  • The online novel The Saga of Tuck has (for now) 142 chapters, each almost always ending on a cliff hanger.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Subverted in the South Park episode "Professor Chaos", which appears to end on a cliffhanger: "Will Professor Chaos' latest plot succeed and be the final undoing of Earth? And which boy has been chosen as the replacement for Kenny? And which of these South Park residents was killed and will never be seen again?" (The first two were already the focuses of the plot, but the last ones comes out of nowhere). "These questions will be answered... right now: No, Tweek, and Ms. Choksondik."
    • South Park also squeezed the concept for all the humor and frustration they could in the "Who is Eric Cartman's Father" two-parter, "Cartman's Mom Is a Dirty Slut" and "Cartman's Mom is Still a Dirty Slut". They teased the fans mercilessly by splitting the two episodes up with an unrelated full-length April Fools' Day Terrance and Phillip episode.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) its fond of the season-ending cliffhanger: three of its seven (As of 2008) seasons (1,2,4) end this way. Season 4's cliffhanger is notable for being in danger of never being properly resolved, since for never-quite-adequately-explained reasons, the people behind the show decided to skip season 5 and go from season 4 to season 6 without explanation, ignoring the cliffhanger. After several delays, the "Lost Season", as it came to be called, began airing on February 2008—a year and a half later than it would have, had it aired normally.
  • Happens in The Simpsons: Who shot Mr. Burns? Obvious homage/parody of Dallas.
    • Also spoofed by the show on a number of occasions. At the end of one Holloween episode, the last few seconds reveal a surprise ending where Mr. Burns' head has been grafted unto Homer's body. The episode ends with a (fake) cliffhanger and a teaser for next week's episode, where Homer is denied a free spaghetti dinner because Mr. Burns has plans to meet with the queen of Holland that night. Of course, it's all a spoof and the next real episode has everything back to normal.
  • Beast Wars tended to pull out the stops at the end of a season. According to the writers, they were never sure if there was going to be another season, so they wanted each cliffhanger to possibly be the end of everything.
  • Subverted beautifully in Frisky Dingo. An episode ends with an almost literal cliffhanger as a woman is hanging from a ledge of a tall structure. Then, in the "On the Next..." sequence, Killface says "Oh my God, she fell."
  • My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic does this with the two-parters at the start of seasons 1 and 2, both of which involve a supervillain escaping confinement and needing to be put down with the Elements of Harmony. Both endings are also directed in a similar way, which did not go unnoticed.
    • Season 1's first episode ends with the return of Nightmare Moon. The only forces capable of putting a stop to her plan are either inactive or nowhere to be seen. Resolved in part 2 when the Elements of Harmony are reactivated and used to save the day.
    • Season 2's first episode ends with Discord successfully mind breaking the mane cast (who cannot activate their trump card in this state) and establishing a reign of chaos upon Equestria. Resolved in part 2 when Twilight gets the gang back together, allowing them to put Discord back where he belongs.


Unresolved Cliffhangers[edit | hide]

Anime[edit | hide]

  • X 1999: Is Kamui really dead? No one but CLAMP knows, since the series has been on hiatus since 2003.
  • The end of The Tower of Druaga: The Aegis of Uruk has Neeba and Kaaya abandoning their parties to climb up the heretofore unknown upper half of the tower. Even after the second season has started, no one knows what's going on with them and some of those left behind.
  • At the end of the first season of Sekirei, Minato manages to help Haruka and Kuno escape, which was the focus of the last portion of the season, but the Sekirei plan/battle has just begun, and the ending shows a bunch of loose ends which have yet to be resolved. The main Big Bad and game master even mentions the game is far from over. Fortunately Season 2 has arrived, and covers the next portion of the series.
    • So it is now a resolved cliffhanger?


Film[edit | hide]

  • And let's not forget the movie The Italian Job (the original version) which ends with a literal cliffhanger that will never be resolved.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • Anthony Horowitz must have really wanted to piss his readers off when he was planning out the fourth book of The Power of Five series, where in the end Scarlett gets shot and it is revealed to the reader that all five gatekeepers, who need to stay together in order to defeat the Old Ones, are going to be separated by even greater distances than before.
  • Don Quixote uses a deliberately unresolved Cliff Hanger as a parody of straight ones. One of the early chapters ends with a vivid description of Don Quixote and a knight charging at each other... only to have the next chapter start with the narrator apologize that he doesn't have the page in the original manuscript that describes the fight. We do know that he loses.
  • 1920s movie director Frank Capra, in his autobiography "The Name Above the Title" (which is now discredited for its many self-serving lies and distortions), describes in detail a scene from his film "Tramp Tramp Tramp" in which actor Harry Langdon is stuck on a fence above a sheer cliff as the fence begins to collapse. Capra's description builds to the climax of this scene but then refuses to tell us how Langdon escapes, with Capra justifying the omission by reminding us that this scene is "a cliffhanger". But it's only a true cliffhanger if Capra was planning to tell us the answer in his next book. (He wasn't.) This evasion is doubly dishonest because it covers a dishonesty in the original movie: when the fence collapses over the cliff, the cliff magically changes into a steep hill, and Langdon rides the fence's planks downhill to the bottom.
  • Which was it? The lady or the tiger?!


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Soap's final ep ended on four cliffhangers. It is yet unknown whether the South American guerilla militia firing squad Jessica ended the episode in front of were Bolivian.
    • Later, in an episode of the spin-off Benson Benson was visited by Jessica's ghost, leading many fans to believe that, yes, they were Bolivian.
    • The final episode of Benson also ended on an unresolved cliffhanger. Benson is running for Governor, while incumbant Governor Gatling is running for re-election as an Independant making for a three-way gubatorial race. In the final scene, Benson and the Governor resolve their personal differences, then sit together watching the TV as a newscaster says, "And the Governor for the next four years is-"
  • Heroes de-facto series finale ended with Claire Bennett revealing her power to the world by jumping off the top of a ferris wheel and healing via news cameras; this was the beginning of the series' 6th Volume, Brave New World, which never came to fruition due to the show's cancellation by NBC in May 2010.
  • Usually, fans become quite irate when cancellation leads to a series ending on a Cliff Hanger, but for some reason, when Farscape ended this way, the fans took this as a bold statement by the makers, refusing to give in to the Sci Fi Channel's decision to cancel the show. Only a few people were annoyed that, given plenty of warning and knowing how unsatisfying such an ending would be, they didn't opt for a more graceful ending. On the up side, that season's main storylines were already resolved, with the last few minutes used to set up a new bit of drama for the cliffhanger. And we were eventually rewarded with a Grand Finale miniseries.
    • Plenty of warning? They'd already filmed the finale, and were working on pickups for other episodes when they found out. So much for a two-season pickup?
  • The series finale of FlashForward, instigated after the show was canceled, ended with the second blackout happening 14 minutes after the future caught up, Bryce finally finding Keiko, Simon and Demetri stuck inside the NLAP mainframe, Olivia and Lloyd kinda/maybe/sorta/probably ending up together, Aaron managing to reunite with his daughter and revive her, Janis being wheeled unconsciously from the hospital by one of the Big Bad's henchmen and the almost certain death of Mark as the FBI building explodes. Adding to this a series of disjointed flashforwards from unknown characters, excluding Charlie's one of her in the future, gives us next to nothing solid to finish up the story properly.
  • The series finale for Stroker and Hoop ended with the titular duo (Plus their friend "Double Wide") being dropped from a magnetic crane and over a giant cliff. Guess we're supposed to assume that they died.
    • A source states that Stroker and Hoop are killed in the fall and go to Hell. Coroner Rick and Double Wide have to die and get them out of hell. Supposedly, they do
  • The final episode of Alf ended with the title character preparing to return to his home planet, only to have him and his host family surrounded by government agents. This cliffhanger would be resolved in The Movie, Project ALF.
  • Invasion partially avoided this by wrapping up most of the series's plots in the last couple of episode, but still managed to end on a minor cliffhanger.
  • Surface ended with the sea levels rising and the world now apparently dominated by monsters, with most of the issues raised in the series (such as who created the monsters and why) still unresolved.
  • Cleopatra 2525 ended with three interconnected cliffhangers and two Reveals.
  • Joan of Arcadia was canceled in the episode where the series' Satan equivalent was introduced, gaining control of everything and everyone in Joan's life and poised to ruin it all.
  • Another revelation 'hanger: What turned out to be John Doe's final episode revealed William Forsythe's character to be one of the bad guys.
  • "How's Annie? How's Annie? How's Annie?"
  • Popular: We don't find out who Harrison chose, but more importantly the episode ends with Nicole gunning her car at Brooke, Brooke screaming as the headlights bear down on her, a fade to black, and the sound of sirens. Then the series wasn't renewed for the third season like TPTB said it would.
  • The first and only season of Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future ended with the death of a major character, the destruction of the good guys' home, and the remaining heroes stranded in the wilderness with a damaged ship.
  • The 2002 sci-fi series Odyssey 5 ends with astronaut Angela Perry abducted by the AI's and scientist Kurt Mendel being arrested on suspicion of killing her. Plus the mysterious Cabal, which the team assume have something to do with the AI's and the impending destruction of the Earth, turn out to be a government force trying to stop the AI's and who believe that the Odyssey 5 team are the traitors.
  • 10 Things I Hate About You had a pretty decent cliff hanger for the season one finale. Walter walked in on Kat and Patrick right after they finished having sex. Bianca and Dawn quit the cheerleading squad in protest over their friend Chastity being unfairly kicked off, only to find out that Chastity is transferring schools and they didn't have to quit. Bianca's boyfriend Joey had become a contestant on a reality show and she tunes in just in time to see him kissing another one of the contestants. Then the network decided not to renew the show and the season finale became an unresolved series finale. Though the series creator was nice enough to tell fans how things would have developed if the series had continued. Basically, Kat and Patrick's relationship would grow closer, though they'd eventually clash about college.(Kat wants to go and wants Patrick to go, Patrick doesn't think college is his thing.) We'd meet Patrick's mom and stepdad, and Walter would become a sort of father figure to Patrick. Kat's other possible love interest, Blank, would be around, but it wasn't quite going to turn into a full-fledged love triangle. Joey would get kicked off the reality show, causing him to lose a bit of his spark. His and Bianca's problems(from his cheating and bit of a personality change) would lead to Bianca confiding in Cameron, which would lead to a Bianca/Joey/Cameron love triangle. Chastity was going to be gone for good, since the actress quit the show, and Dawn would be given a bigger role to compensate.
  • Dark Angel ended with a huge Cliff Hanger. The world just got aware of the Transgenics, who were claimng their own part of the town and got under siege by the police.
  • The third series of Primeval ended with Danny trapped in the Pliocene, Connor and Abby trapped in the Cretaceous, and Sarah coming up with an unknown idea to sort things out. And then ITV announced there wouldn't be a fourth series. There is talk of a movie, however.
    • It's been renewed for a fourth and fifth season, so looks like Connor and Abby will finally get out of that tree.
  • Hotel Babylon got Cut Short after four seasons due to low ratings but ended on a huge cliffhanger (unusual for the show that previously had few story arcs) after Sam finds out Juliet, his ex-wife whom he had been dating again, had aborted his baby years ago he struggles to decide if he wants to continue their relationship and work past it or begin a relationship with Emily who he had been getting close to. No ending was ever written.
  • The final episode of the fifth season of Las Vegas ended with Cooper's plane having crashed with him onboard, and Danny & Delinda changing their wedding to a memorial service for him. After the musician plays a sad song, Cooper suddenly appears at the back, clapping, and Delinda goes into labor. The End.
  • In the last episode of the first season of Sledge Hammer!, the title character accidentally triggers a nuclear explosion in the middle of the city. Da Chief can be heard screaming "Hammer!" as "To Be Continued Next Season?" appears on screen. The second season begins with a Hand Wave explanation that the following episode(s) occurs five years before the explosion (regardless of the fact that Sledge met his partner for the first time at the beginning of the series—but this could be explained if we assume that there was a five-year gap between the final two episodes of the first season).
    • A bit of a subversion, really, as the series was not expected to be renewed for a second season - which is precisely why creator Alan Spencer had the bomb go off in the first place!
  • Power Rangers RPM ends with a glowing red light coming from one of the morphers - the trademark of Venjix, the Big Bad. Looks like he survived by downloading himself into it... but there's no next season, as RPM was the final season—until Saban bought back the franchise and restarted it with Power Rangers Samurai, which has yet to acknowledge or follow up on RPM in any way. If there had been a direct sequel season, this would instead be a Sequel Hook.
  • The last episode of the fourth season of iCarly ended with Sam kissing Freddie, whilst Carly watched in the window.
  • V 2009 ends with Diane murdering her mother, and her adopted child being able to give Humans Bliss.
  • Fastlane's season and, as it turned out, Series Finale had two major characters being taken over by Jay Mohr, and another jabbed with a potentially-fatal overdose of drugs.
  • The last episode of Sherlock season 2 ends with Sherlock stepping off a roof, appearing to have died, and then appearing in the last couple seconds as he watches John visiting his grave. Talk about evil.
  • "Santabarbaratown", the season six finale of Psych did this with an excellent Bait and Switch: Psych's season finales are always Drama Bomb Finales, but so far have always had everything resolved by the end of the episode (although the Yin/Yang trilogy had some suspenseful Foreshadowing and changes to the status quo to entice the viewers). This time they seemed to be following the same formula: an extra-dark, extra-personal, extra-high-stakes mystery that was wrapped up by the end of the episode...but then a loose end appears at the very last moment, with Shawn and Henry both simultaneously realizing that Henry's old cop friend who is discussing the case with him at the beach was a corrupt cop just like Henry's other two old friends who had been exposed earlier in the episode. The old friend promptly guns down Henry for knowing too much, and Henry collapses, fate unknown and with Shawn still miles away at SBPD headquarters.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • In the PlayStation 2 Game "Haven: Call of the King," the endgame is as follows: The eponymous protagonist is chained to a wall with no way out and left to die of starvation/thirst. The "Great King" who Haven spent most of the game trying to signal so he would return and save his people is dead, poisoned by the evil alien overlord Vetch--who has escaped after the final battle, presumably to go wreak further havoc on Haven's people. Even getting 100% Completion doesn't help: the game adds a teaser screen for the sequel, suggesting things would carry on from there without actually giving any idea of how other than saying that the king was definitely, finally, totally dead. Then the sequel was never made due to poor sales.
  • Wing Commander II ended with Prince Thrakhath bragging to the Kilrathi Emperor about the utter destruction of the Confederation's 6th fleet in Deneb Sector, with the last words on the screen being "To be continued in Wing Commander III".
  • Dino Crisis 2 ended with a cliffhanger, then the third game took off on a totally different tangent, Recycled in Space, and flopped hard, putting the nail in the coffin.
  • At the end of Driver 3, Jericho shoots Tanner with a Last Breath Bullet, then he is shown flatlining and the doctors try to defibrilate him. The next game will start with him in a coma.
  • In the sequel to Bionic Commando, also called Bionic Commando but for next-gen consoles, the game ends with the hero plummeting from thousands of feet into the sky, followed by a Post Credits Sequel Tease consisting of a morse code exchange referring to a mysterious "project", the second part of which translates into German (click here for more details). The studio then went under.
  • Because of its episodic structure, each level of Alan Wake ends with a cliffhanger. Yes, this includes the last level.
  • Soldier of Fortune: Payback. Since the game was a critical and commercial flop, it will probably be left unresolved.
  • Half-Life 2: Episode 2 ended with Eli Vance killed by Combine Advisors, and Gordon and Alyx about to depart for the Arctic to find the Borealis vessel and meet up with the Resistance members there. Episode 3, which was slated to resolve this, is allegedly in Development Hell, but as Valve seems to have a penchant for avoiding discussing it at all it's looking more and more like an unfortunate case of Vaporware.
    • An early-2010 interview with Valve had them saying that they hadn't even started working on it yet. This is one of scant few bits of news (and the only one with any real info in it) regarding EP3 to come from Valve since EP2's release all the way back in 2007.
  • Syphon Filter: Logan's Shadow ends with Mujari dead and Teresa and Logan critcally wounded in a surprise attack by Trinidad. Word of God says this is the end of the series.
  • Dirge of Cerberus, the canonical ending to the Final Fantasy VII series ends with Genesis saving the Big Bad Weiss, then saying "there is still much to do". Nobody knows what they had to do because SE seems to have no plans to continue making FFVII games.
  • The online game Wasted Youth Part 1 ends with a cliffhanger with the answer to one of the disappearances. The end of Part 1 also serves as a Downer Ending due to your character getting framed for being forced to take pictures of girls sleeping without getting to explain what really happened. Currently, the sequel seems be in Development Hell.
  • Double Switch: Eddie presumably snatches the Egyptian statue and causes the vault containing treasure to be sealed again. The ending seems to be a Sequel Hook, but no sequel has been made.
  • Dark Souls: Both endings are like this primarily because you never find out what the end result of all your struggle amounted to for the world.


Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • Fabuland Housewives second season opens up with a slew of new mysteries and a sudden murder of one of the main characters. It then ceased updating after the first episode.


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • My Immortal ended just after Ebony had cast Avadra Keduvra (sic) at Voldemort, and we still don't know what happened after that since the author, Tara Gilesbie, was locked out by a Hacker, talk about Laser-Guided Karma...
  • Space Boyfriend ends in quite the famous one. Ben finally confesses his love to Veronica, and the series was canceled before she could respond.
  • Gotham: The Series ends with Richard's mother, Elizabeth, attending the Nicole Miller fashion show and passing out leaving Catherine to call Richard to tell him that Elizabeth was rushed to the hospital. Elizabeth's fate is unknown. The series doesn't look like it's going to continue despite an Emmy nomination.


Western Animation =[edit | hide]

=* Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go! ended on a huge cliffhanger at the beginning of what would have been the main climax of the series. One more season of the show was intended, but Disney decided not to go for it, so everybody was left at the beginning of the final battle. As you might imagine, the fans were not amused.

  • Duckman ended with three characters—Duckman included—getting hitched, and his late wife Beatrice suddenly appearing alive and well at the end. Writer Michael Markowitz seems unwilling to divulge the ending, leaving it up to the fans to guess what may have happened.
  • Get Ed ends with Ol' Skool trapped in The Machine with Bedlam, and "sent away" by Ed. The series was not picked up for a second season.
  • The second season of Sonic the Hedgehog (the Saturday morning version) ended with Snively emerging from the elevator he hid in, proclaiming that, now with Robotnik seemingly out of the picture, he would soon wreak havoc on the Freedom Fighters, accompanied by his new partner who we only see here as a pair of glowing red eyes (Word of God later stated those eyes to belong to Ixis Naugus). Next September, though, the third season did not show up.
  • Re Boot season 4 ended with the main characters trapped in the Principal Office, which had been taken over by the returned, upgraded Megabyte, who infected Phong and Welman and captured Enzo. It does not appear that there will ever be a resolution, not helped by the death of Tony Jay, the voice of Megabyte.
    • An official online comic is currently showing some of the story, while a film is planned for either 2009 or 2010.
  • The very last shot of another Mainframe production, War Planets: Shadow Raiders, had the Beast looming over the helpless Planet Reptizar as it began to devour it.
  • The first episode of Pepper Ann ended with "To be continued...". Strangely, there was no second part to that episode.
  • The children's show Between the Lions has a segment called Cliff Hanger, which stars the cartoon protagonist of that name. At the beginning of each segment, the announcer always says "We find Cliff Hanger where we found him last... hanging from a cliff!" And of course, by the end of each segment he's always right back where he started.
    • Cant...hold...on...much...LONGER!!! (And that's why he's called Cliff Hanger.)
      • Subverted in one episode whent he author decided to finally get him off the cliff because he's tried of writing the books. This angers Lionel, and he asks that the author get him back on the cliff. Which he does.
  • In Danny Phantom's season 3, Valerie found out that her employer is half-ghost and that Dani is half-human, but after that episode, nothing was ever heard of this ever again. In fact, Valerie practically fell off the face of the earth for the much of that season.
  • We never do learn where Zuko's mother Ursa is at the end of Avatar: The Last Airbender despite Zuko confronting his father Ozai about it .
  • Undergrads ends with the love triangle between the main character and his two closest female friends still unresolved.
  • Spider-Man: The Animated Series: The series got Turned Up to Eleven for the last season with Mary Jane getting kidnapped by Hydro-man, Spider-Man gives chase, and gets his ass handed to him, but that's OK because MJ has Water powers now! but it turns out she's actually just clone, than Madam Web comes in and says that Spider-Man must take part in a 3 episode Story Arc based on the 80's limited series, Secret Wars, after that he teams up with alternate versions of himself from other dimensions, to stop an evil version of himself that bonded with the Symbiote from destroying reality and gets transported to our dimension where he meets up with Stan Lee after that Madam Web vows to help him find the real Mary Jane... and that's it, that was the end of the last episode.
    • From That Other Wiki "[producer/story editor] John Semper mentioned in an interview if he had continued on with the show, Spider Man would have gone through past time periods and found Mary Jane in Victorian England. Spider-Man would battle with the real Carnage portrayed as Jack the Ripper."
  • Season 1 of Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated ends with many loose ends. Fred goes on a search for his real parents after learning that Mayor Jones isn't his real father, Mystery Inc. is dissolved, Fred's engagement with Daphne is in abeyance, Scooby is being sent to an animal farm, Shaggy is being sent to military school, Daphne is taken home to commiserate, Velma is taken home to think about not coming forward about Angel Dyamite's real identity, and Professor Pericles has made off with the second piece of the Planispheric Disc. Season 1 ends with Scooby vowing to reunite the gang and track down Pericles.
  • Zig-zagged: a handful of Mighty Mouse cartoons from the late 40s and early 50s with Pearl Pureheart and Oil Can Harry open with the resumption of a cliffhanger, when a previous episode never did exist.
  • Fairly Odd Parents' Season 1 episode "Spaced Out!" ends with Cosmo losing his nickel. This ends with the screen zooming out with a narrator onscreen saying what happens next. Cue Yugopotamian aliens watching.
  1. Until next season, that is...
  2. Not resolved yet, but the show is renewed, so it will be