Unresolved Cliffhangers: The 10 Most Frustrating Last Episodes of the Decade

Frustrating cliffhangersAs we close out the first ten years of this millennium, it’s amazing how many great TV shows have been cancelled. Big as that list is, there are some that stand out more than others — mostly because they left us hanging. Here’s a list of 10 that deserved at least one more episode to wrap things up.

The 4400 — This show and The Dead Zone ran successfully for many years on USA. The ongoing mysteries of both shows kept viewers coming back for more each week. Unfortunately, the cable channel decided to be done with them in 2007. The shows and their viewers were left with unresolved cliffhangers. Of the the shows, 4400 seems a bit more tragic as it wasn’t on for as many seasons and Dead Zone fans have a freaky Christopher Walken movie.

Deadwood — It doesn’t matter whose fault it was — HBO’s or creator David Milch’s — this hard-talking Western remains one of the highlights of the pay-for-view channel’s history. For it to end without a finale is #$%^&$% unforgivable.

Which unresolved show upsets you the most?

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Invasion — Following the instant success of ABC’s Lost in the 2004-05 season, the networks thought that sci-fi was the key to success and brought us shows like Surface and Invasion. None of them caught on and Invasion left viewers hanging with a particularly frustrating set of cliffhangers.

Kyle XY — Sure, the show about the incredible kid without a memory or a bellybutton had lost some steam in the ratings but it didn’t deserve to go out with big cliffhangers. Considering that the series had one of the biggest premieres in ABC Family’s history, the show and its fans deserved one more episode to properly close the show.

Las Vegas — It’s one thing for a show to be cut off during its first season but it’s really annoying when a long-running show is denied a resolution. Should it have been cancelled? In its fifth and final season, Vegas attracted almost as many viewers as fellow Friday night occupant Ghost Whisperer; a series that’s still running on CBS. Bet NBC wishes they had Vegas’ ratings now.

My Name is Earl — You have to wonder if NBC’s current troubles doesn’t have to do with a little bad karma. In its heyday, NBC promoted the heck out of Earl but, when the ratings dwindled too low, they cut it off. Did Earl ever complete his list? We’ll likely never know.

My Own Worst Enemy — NBC pulled the plug on the Christian Slater series so that the last episode ended with a murder and a lot of unfinished business. Couldn’t they have made one more episode to tie things up or at least recut the ending?

Reunion — You probably don’t remember this FOX series. It was a drama about six high school friends and one is murdered at a 20 year reunion. While the mystery is investigated in the present, episodes flash back to the past to see how the characters changed over the years. It was an ambitious series but apparently no one considered the possibility that it could be cancelled before the end of the season. FOX pulled it after nine episodes aired and the loyal viewing audience was left hanging (sort of).

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles — It was no surprise that this series was cancelled but it still ended on a big cliffhanger — with John Connor travelling to a future that’s never heard of him. Couldn’t the story have been resolved somehow? Series creator Josh Friedman once conceded that the third season would have been the show’s best. Judging by the last episode, it appears he was right.

Vanished — Just one of many series from the 2006-07 season that revolved around ongoing sorylines and mysteries. This series, like The Nine, Six Degrees, Runaway, Drive, and The Black Donnellys, was cut off way too prematurely. We did learn kidnapped Sara Collins’ fate but so many other mysteries were left to the imagination. There was talk of revisiting some of the characters on an episode of Bones but it never happened.

What do you think? Are there other frustrating last episodes that you’d add to the list?

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127 Comments · Read them below or add one

  1. Russell says

    Look, network executives have always been fairly peabrained. I guess most of these shows got canceled due to declining ratings and all these execs can see is their wallets. Artistic vision and integrity escapes them completely. And they can’t think far enough into the future to realize that closing out a show with some dignity, clarity, and coherence would probably serve them well in the future in regards to distribution on DVD, Netflix, and via other channels. For instance, I’m thinking about watching Deadwood, but am hesitant since I don’t want to get invested in a good series only to be left hanging. If I knew HBO had finished it off the right way, then it’d be a no-brainer and buying it on DVD would be worth it. As it is, I may not even bother. Again, you can’t expect much in the way of intelligence from network execs.

  2. Nadine says

    Heroes and now Ringer, Flashforward, The Lying Game, Smash, The Secret Circle. I gotta stop watching shows cos I just keep getting disappointed. Especially about The Lying Game!!

  3. Lacey Jackson says

    I have two shows that should have one more episode to wrap up a conclusion. First we have Surface. It’s an amazing science fiction story bout genetic creations and mysteries! I was pulled into the series and series lot depressed to find ill never know how it was suppose to end cuz it was cancelled. Second, Terra Nova, a science fiction show based on time travel and Dino’s. I’m sure we all have seen out share of Dino shows where the graphics were kinda lame, but T.Ns was great. And the story line left you wriggling in ur seat to find out what’s next. These shows defintaly deserve a finale.

    • Anonymous says

      Totally in agreement about The Surface. Great show, SO MAD I spent all that time catching up.on season 1 only to discover that was all there was!!! Now what do I do??!! :(

  4. Colleen says

    John Doe. My kids and I waited all summer for the first and only season cliffhanger to be resolved. We moped around for days after we found out it was canceled.

  5. игорь says

    нам этот сериал дорог пожалуйста дайте нам кайла,нам его сильно не хватает.мы скучаем по нему,уже 4 года прошло,не разочеруте своих поклонников:(

  6. Judy says

    I purchased the 1st, 2nd and 3rd season series as I had never seen the show when it was on TV. What a great, enjoyable family show. How disappointed I am to find out that there was no final season 4… How typical. Just leave it up in the air. Shame on them.
    I so wanted it to finish properly as most series do.

  7. nasima says

    I know that kyle XY definately should be back! i mean there are millions of fans who really wish this would happen. The ratings are sure to rise even more because we just craving for it right now. hope it comes back soooon :(

  8. AFRM says

    Yeah, I agree with you JAY and especially the tv show KYLE XY , it was and it will be a good if they don’t begin doing a season 4 . Damit! I hate when they cancel something so great in the tv industry because of a low rating and I still wonder what could’ve happen. Oh well that a mystery to be unresolved for years. I hate when that happens!!!!

  9. FLR says

    Yeah ******* idiots,i just finished ‘LAS VEGAS’,******* upseting END and it said ‘to be continued’.Fuckers,they shouldn’t have said that if they didn’t make anymore episodes,at least one more episode would’ve been great.
    Another good series that was cancelled and left us only with our imagination is HEROES.
    I hate it when a good shows are cancelled.

  10. Jay says

    It’s annoying! So many good TV shows have been cancelled, only because their ratings are low in the US . But what about the ratings in the rest of the world? Shows like Kyle XY, Dark Angel and especially Flashforward have been absolutely sucessful in Europe. Doesn’t that count at all? Why can’t producers wait for the ratings of other countries or at least give shows like Flashforward a chance to gain more fans in the US after a second season? Some people need time to get enthusiastic about a TV show. And if ratings start to decline, I don’t ask producers to air these shows in prime time, but cutting a show off without a resolving end or a dramatic cliffhanger is upsetting, especially to all loyal fans! And if a show is cancelled before the end of the season, at least a last final episode should be shot!

  11. Michael says

    V! Veronica Mars! Stargate Universe/Atlantis! Dark Angel! Legend of the Seeker! There are so many… :(

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