Season finales and cliffhangers, oh no!

Disclaimer: I really don’t watch much TV. I don’t do reality shows. I watch hospital and CSI/detective shows with a very occasional sitcom so there maybe some other programming that is more “normal” but I doubt it.

The season finales for TV series programs are done. Yay! I hate them. The writers throw everything in it but the kitchen sink while trying to create some cliffhangers that will conclude in the fall. Bleahhh! Did this start with the “Who Shot JR” episode that left the faithful viewers wondering all summer long?

As for story lines, I think there is a plot book that writers use. The screen writers pick one of the following:

  • One of the main characters gets shot or dies or maybe not (is this about contracts?) — (Castle last year, Hawaii Five-0, CSI New York, Private Practice season 3, Grey’s Anatomy — many years)
  • Psychological fallout from a shooting or near death experience. This is a two-fer. It gives writers a basis for the following year. (Castle last year, Private Practice – Violet after the baby was cut out)
  • Something awful happens like a biological attack that will kill the entire city if not the world. Keep in mind that this is for an hour show (which is really closer to 40 minutes). (Body of Proof, Blue Bloods and I am sure NCIS-Los Angeles had some big disaster thing too)
  • Or maybe a plane crash, another good way to kill off someone who is leaving the series (Grey’s Anatomy)
  • Or a crazy person comes in and guns down some of the stars (Grey’s Anatomy – an earlier finale, ER many years ago)
  • Or dire illness kills off a regular (Grey’s Anatomy again)
  • The main characters get married (Private Practice 2011, Mike and Molly)
  • Or they have a baby (Bones, Private Practice – wow did they throw in the drama! There wasn’t a dry eye in my house)
  • One of the main characters kills someone (will they end up in jail????? Come back in September to find out!) (Mentalist last year, NCIS-Los Angeles this year)
  • Something happens so the group of regulars changes (NCIS a few years back, Grey’s Anatomy, ER)

After they select the plot, they weave in all sorts of odd stuff to try to make it fit the cast. Sometimes it doesn’t even make sense – no worry, it’s a finale. There is so much hype surrounding the show it just doesn’t matter.

For the beloved husband (who is much older than me!) it reminds him of the cliffhangers that they used to have at the Saturday afternoon matinée. You may remember — with the young girl roped down to the railroad track when the train is coming. You have to come back the next Saturday to see if she was rescued.

What’s hanging now?

Castle – Becket resigned from her police job. The bad guys have put a hit out on her anyway. The only good news is that she and Castle finally had the steamy kiss. If you are a Castle watcher, you will remember that last season ended with Becket getting shot (see bullet one above). Then in September, there was a recovery with serious psychological problems (see bullet two above). Oh well, the steamy kiss was worth it!

Hawaii Five-O – It ended with Kono getting tossed in the ocean, all tied up. Now what? I guess we can assume that she will figure it out. After all, she is a top-notch surfer. Another loose end is Danny – will he fight the custody battle to be with his daughter and oh yes, we finally know that Shelburne is Steve McGarret’s Mom! What’s that all about? Tune in for the new season in September.

Body of Proof – A viral epidemic! With boss Kate almost dead (she recovered by the end of the show) and the Peter’s girlfriend dead, what’s next for Megan Hunt. Fortunately, the series was renewed.

Grey’s Anatomy – This series really outdoes most. Some of the docs are in a plane crash and that’s where it ends. Some regulars are leaving. Whaddup? Contract disputes? The beloved husband calls it a soap opera. He has a point. I can remember an unhappy customer coming in and killing off half the staff. Then there was the time when Meredith fell in the water and almost perished. Then again, there was Izzy, who had cancer and almost died. Then she recovered and left the show for movies. How can so many bad things happen to one hospital? You couldn’t pay me to go there.

Mentalist – Enough with Red John already! Too many years and too many tears! Last year it ended with Jane shooting someone he thought was Red John. Turns out he was wrong. Good thing he wasn’t convicted. That would have been a deal breaker for the series.

Private Practice – Aside from the brainless baby it ends with Pete in jail and Sam proposing to Addison while Jake is on his way over for a date. Who will she pick?

I am glad it’s all over. I really prefer a show that has an ending the same day. If there is any message at all here, it’s not to work in a hospital.

Clipart by primatebonz via Flickr

21 thoughts on “Season finales and cliffhangers, oh no!

  1. Pingback: A short random five | Views and Mews by Coffee Kat

  2. I agree, most tv shows are too predictable now. And too many shows seem to copy existing formats rather than creating something new. Production teams seem to forget that the most successful shows are the ones doing something no one else is doing. “Lost” is a great example.
    I was a huge E.R. fan when it was on so I didn’t get into Grey’s Anatomy because I didn’t need another hospital show on my tv dinner plate. . . But I caught parts of some episodes last year on Lifetime while getting for work and finally understood the draw. I recently finished all but this last season on Netflix! Love Netflix for catching up on shows that I never got around to checking out.
    I’m also a fan of the Law & Order shows, ESPECIALY SVU! I think Christopher Meloni is one of the sexiest men on tv and never got enough credit on that show. I was really disappointed when they let him go last year. . . And that’s how I got into HBO’s True Blood. I never had interest in that show, and I didnt have HBO, but when I found out Christopher Meloni would be coming to the show (finally, this Sunday night!), I bought the first three seasons on DVD! It’s not a show for everyone, but the writing is so funny at times and the characters so interesting, I got hooked in spite of the gore.
    I agree with nrhatch, Person of Interest is a great show, well written and acted. I look forward to next season.
    I think my biggest pet peeve about the networks is not giving some shows enough time and worrying tooooooo much about getting the highest ratings. I really liked Pan Am but they canned it before the first season was over. I’m one of those that will catch something on Netflix or DVD and THEN decide I like it.

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  3. So on target! Did TV kick this trend into gear with “Who shot JR?” on Dallas? (The Simpson parody was great)
    Your last line says it all – the explosive over the top season endings are getting annoying ( and predictable)
    Wonderful post

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  4. Like you, I don’t watch much TV. One of my favorite cliff hangers was a parody of “Dallas'” “Who Shot J.R.?” That would be The Simpsons’ “Who Shot Mr. Burns?” The answer was a surprise and kept me returning to the show for quite a few years.
    I notice that some of the books I’ve been reading also feature cliff hangers at the end of each chapter. It is effective. I can’t wait for the next chapter.

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  5. We don’t have cable and I’m almost never free on week nights during the school year, so if I want to watch something I go to Hulu. Besides some of the current shows, they have lots of old ones, like me.

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    • Yes, but since you’re wearing your hula hoop while you’re watching the old shows on Hulu, at least you wiggle while you giggle. Sorry, couldn’t resist. Every time I see someone make a reference to Hulu, it seems I can’t help envisioning either hula hoops or grass skirts. or both.

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  6. I’m one of those annoying people who no longer watches any of these shows, but asks her friends to tell me what is going on in the plot lines! You have just filled in some important gaps! There is indeed a huge lack of imagination, isn’t there! Debra

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  7. I don’t watch much TV, except on Thursday night . . . Rules of Engagement, The Big Bang, The Mentalist, and Person of Interest. I like The Middle too.

    I don’t usually spend the summer biting my nails wondering what happened. 😀

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    • By September I don’t even remember what the cliffhanger is. No worries though. The first show will have 20 minutes worth of catch up. Bummer. The first show of the series is my second least favorite.

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      • One of my LEAST FAVORITE trends is this bahooey that they are doing these days where, before they go to commercial, they show a scene of Sally cutting fresh flowers in the kitchen and having a conversation with Karen, and just when Karen says something about Sally’s husband that causes Sally to drop the scissors in astonishment… cut to commercial.

        Then, after the commercial, they play the same damn scene all over again (supposedly to build the drama quotient), before they finally get around to telling us why Karen’s words made Sally drop the scissors. As it is, most hour-long shows are closer to 35 or 40 minutes anyway because of commercials, but now we have to watch the SAME SCENES BEING REPEATED as part of the regular programming? It annoys the bahooey out of me. Grrrrrrrrr.

        Thanks for letting me get that off my chest. Sorry for using your comments section as a soap box. Sometimes I think the television would serve a better purpose if I covered it up with a lace tablecloth and stuck a vase of flowers on top. But then I’d have to worry about Karen telling me something awful about my husband. 🙂

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  8. I had to laugh at this:
    “If there is any message at all here, it’s not to work in a hospital.”

    You’re too funny. I don’t watch any of the shows you listed, but they do sound pretty formulaic in their season-ending cliffhangers. A long while ago, I was an ER fan, and I loved the always-ascerbic House, and I usually like police drama or legal shows, but I just seemed to quit watching most weekly programming after West Wing went off the air. And even though I hate to admit it out loud, I’m a closet Survivor fan. Yes. (hangs head in mock shame) I enjoy the people dynamics – the social game – and the grit and determination aspect of the show. I was once almost rabid about watching it with a zealous fascination, but now it’s more in the “if I don’t have something better to do on a Wednesday night” sort of thing.

    My other major weakness is Bravo and the Food Channel. I love a variety of cooking shows (Chopped, The Next Food Network Star, or anything with Rachel Ray or Guy Fieri). Also like to watch the House Hunters shows, and some of those home improvement channels. Half the time I have the TV on in the background, as opposed to actually watching whatever is on.

    Your reference to the old cliffhangers with the woman tied to the railroad tracks made me smile. I suppose you have to be of a certain age to remember those nail-biting moments of sheer terror while we waited to find out if she would get rescued (she ALWAYS got rescued). LOL

    I especially like a show with smart writing, but it seems they are fewer and farther between these days. Several years back, I really liked the writing style of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, and I keep telling myself that one of these days I’m gonna ask my sister (who always buys me ridiculously extravagant gifts anyway) to get me all of them on DVD. Hmmm, my birthday isn’t too far away. Maybe I should put that request in writing. 🙂

    One final word … don’t fret about the season being over. We can all look forward to a summer filled with shows like Big Brother and other similarly challenging plots and twists and turns. I get bored just thinking about it. Time to get out in the garden.

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