Top 10: Greatest Television Cliffhangers

The hallmark of a great TV series is its ability to capture and keep viewer interest until the next episode, or the next season. Cliffhangers need to be shocking, daring and just plain unexpected. While there have been countless twist endings or plot threads left hanging for extended periods of time, some have better stood the test of time, having once occupied our thoughts for months on end. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Television cliffhangers. Consider yourself warned: this video contains major spoilers!
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Top 10 Greatest Television Cliffhangers

These left us gasping for air. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Television cliffhangers.

Consider yourself warned: this video contains major spoilers!

Number 10: Battlestar Galactica (Season 1)


Kicking off our list is the cliffhanger that literally ended with a bang! ‪You knew that pilot Sharon \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"Boomer\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\" Valery was a Cylon, even if she didn\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'t, but that didn\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'t mean that anybody saw this coming!‬ Upon activation, she shoots Admiral Adama while on the bridge of his ship. Wait, could Adama really be dead, what will happen to Boomer?

Number 9: 24 (Season 5)


Technically, every episode of “24” ends with a cliffhanger. But season five’s finale leaves Jack Bauer’s future in question. The last we see of Jack, he’s captured by the Chinese government and transferred aboard a cargo ship to Shanghai to answer for the death of a Chinese consul. We’re left worrying that Jack will be tortured for government secrets, or even worse, killed.

Number 8: Friends (Season 4)


In the season four finale of the hit sitcom “Friends,” the gang travels to London for Ross and Emily’s wedding. However, Ross makes the worst Freudian slip of his life. Well, at least Monica and Chandler get a happy ending.

Number 7: Lost (Season 3)


You know you were aggravated every time you saw the notorious “Lost” logo at the end of each episode. But the season three ending was just brutal! You think you know what’s going on, but the last scene is a game changer: in the first flash-forward, we see Jack and Kate back in LA, which leaves us with questions like “How’d they get off the island?,” “What happened to everybody else?” and “I’m sorry: why would you want to go back?”

Number 6: Alias (Season 2)


Apparently J.J. Abrams likes to torture us slowly by ending ALL his shows with killer cliffhangers. This spy series’ worst was season two: Sydney has a brutal fight with her longtime nemesis Allison that ends with Allison dead and Sydney unconscious. Next thing we know, Sydney’s awake with no scars and no memory of what happened, and her boyfriend is married to someone else. Oh yeah, and two years have passed.

Number 5: Twin Peaks (Season 2)


This David Lynch series only lasted 30 episodes, but we’re still trying to catch our breath after the unplanned series finale. With the mystery of Laura Palmer’s murder solved, special agent Dale Cooper visits an enigmatic realm filled with doppelgangers, ghosts and pure evil. Cooper saves himself and his girlfriend, but gets possessed by a demon in the process. At least we think he does. We’ll never know for sure.

Number 4: Dynasty (Season 5)


This nighttime soap had its share of cat fights and shocking moments. But there’s no contest for its most notorious cliffhanger. Just as Amanda and Michael are getting married, they are rudely interrupted by Moldavian terrorists who open fire on the wedding party as part of a military coup on their country. The entire show’s cast is left lifeless in the chapel, riddled with bullets. Does anyone survive the Moldavian Massacre?

Number 3: Star Trek: The Next Generation (Season 3)


“The Next Generation’s” first ever cliffhanger was its best. The U.S.S. Enterprise is sent on a suicide mission to prevent the unstoppable Borg from reaching Earth. The crew rallies behind Captain Jean-Luc Picard; but, when he is captured and assimilated, they’re left with little hope as their leader has become their greatest enemy.

Number 2: The Simpsons (Season 6)


Coming in at number two is the most talked about ending in animated TV history! The episode closes with Mr. Burns collapsing after being shot, and Simpsons’ fans are left guessing whodunit. To keep the secret, the creators produced many possible outcomes. Even though there were clues in the episode to alert the most attentive viewers, you know you had no idea who did it!

Number 1: Dallas (Season 2)


Taking top honors on our list is the grandfather of all TV cliffhangers. Throughout the summer of 1980, everyone was asking “Who shot J.R.?” after the show’s famous oil baron was gunned down by an unidentified attacker. An actors’ strike postponed the premiere even longer, and since J.R. had spent the entire season pissing off pretty much the entire state of Texas, everyone was a suspect.

With so many television cliffhangers, we’re sure we missed a few great ones. Which is your favourite?
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