A look at some of the best cliffhangers of TV

Posted on Apr 3 2016 - 2:00pm by
American actor Larry Hagman played J.R. in the American soap opera “Dallas.”Hulton Archive/Getty Images

American actor Larry Hagman played J.R. in the American soap opera “Dallas.”

From “Lost” to “Law & Order,” several shows have offered cliffhanger endings that allowed viewers’ minds to run wild.

Sometimes, a good cliffhanger can cause more than just a ripple and even can be the source of enough suspense and new plot possibilities to revive a fading series.

Here’s a look at few unforgettable TV cliffhangers that left our jaws on the floor:

“Law & Order: SVU”

“Law & Order” is not the type of show that’s really structured to create a lot of cliffhangers. The long-lived police procedural typically features a plot that’s neatly wrapped up at the end of each episode.

Sometimes, though, the plots involving the main characters — the detectives — get a little hairy.

At the end of 13th season, audiences were left with a crazy cliffhanger. In finale, Captain Don Cragen wakes up with blood on his hands and a dead hooker next to him in bed with her throat slit.

Is it a dream? Did he black out? Was he framed? Viewers end up having to wait till the next season to get those answers.

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Dann Florek as Donald Cragen, who ended the 13th season in an uncertain place.

“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”

All supernatural shows involve a lot of close calls and magical resurrections, but at the end of the fifth season of the Joss Whedon series, the titular character seems very permanently dead.

Previously, the vampire slayer had been killed off briefly early in the series, but the fifth season death seemed more possibly final.

In order to close portals to other dimensions, Buffy sacrifices herself to save the world. Of course, eventually she comes back, but at the end of the season viewers are left unsure when or how or if that will ever happen.

Buffy Summers, played by Sarah Michelle Gellar, seemed to die at the end of the fifth season.Getty Images/Online USA/Hulton Archive

Buffy Summers, played by Sarah Michelle Gellar, seemed to die at the end of the fifth season.

“Orange is the New Black”

The third season of the vastly popular Netflix prison dramedy ended with a number of unanswered questions. Will there be consequences to basically escaping from prison en masse just to hang out in a lake? Will Sophia Burset return or is she stuck in SHU forever? What’s going to happen with the new rape-prone guard?

The real cliffhanger, though, is whether Alex Vause will survive. Throughout the third season, Laura Prepon’s character has been incredibly paranoid. She thinks the drug lord she worked for is coming to get her and just as it seems she’s been needlessly obsessed, we realize that maybe she should have worried more.

Alex’s paranoia was focused on the other inmates — but it was the guards she should have been worried about. In the finale, a new guard corners her in the greenhouse and by the time the show ends, we don’t know if she’ll live or die.

“Dallas”

Hands down, “Dallas” delivered the most famous TV cliffhanger of all time. In the season three finale — titled “A House Divided” — oilman J.R. Ewing, a popularly hated character, was shot, but the killer’s identity wasn’t revealed.

J.R. was such a nasty man and had screwed so many people over that the list of possible suspects was long.

The death kicked off an eight-month frenzy as the whole country wondered, “Who shot J.R.?”

“Dallas” fans kept wondering into season four because the question wasn’t answered until the fourth episode.

The cliffhanger was so well-known that it became the basis for a cartoon parody in an episode of “The Simpsons” titled “Who Shot Mr. Burns?”

“Friends”

The season four finale of the 90s hit sitcom left viewers with some major questions. Ross was supposed to marry Emily, but when they got to the altar things went haywire.

Instead of just saying the vows he intended to, Ross slipped up — he said, “I take thee Rachel” instead of “I take the Emily.” It was a cliffhanger that was hilarious, dramatic and stunning.

“Lost”

The ABC series was good at delivering bizarre and sometimes incomprehensible plot twists — and the end of season three was no exception.

The two-part finale, appropriately titled “Through the Looking Glass,” offered a two-in-one cliffhanger/plot twist. After watching what viewers assumed were flashbacks involving Jack and Kate, at the end of the episode it is revealed that those scenes were actually flash-forwards.

Other episodes relied on the use of flashbacks, but the finale changed the game when it ended with Jack trying to convince Kate to go back.

“Breaking Bad”

The massively popular show about the meth-making Walter White offered tons of cliffhangers, but one of the most memorable was the end of season three.

“Breaking Bad” offered tons of cliffhangers throughout its run.Ursula Coyote/AMC

“Breaking Bad” offered tons of cliffhangers throughout its run.

At the end of a tense and already bloody finale, Walt realizes that fellow meth chemist Gale may be getting groomed to be his replacement. Fearing that this means he’ll be killed, he begs Jesse to go kill Gale.

Crying as he does, Jesse visits Gale’s house and fires at the meth-maker — but when the episode ends we don’t actually know whether he’s been killed or not. It’s both a cliffhanger and a highly emotional scene.

kblakinger@nydailynews.com

Entertainment – NY Daily News

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