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Top 10 TV Cliffhangers That Remain Unresolved

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Written by David MacIntyre. These shows never quite finished what they started and left us hanging. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down the top 10 TV cliffhangers that remain unresolved. For this list, we’ve narrowed it down to television series that were cancelled after airing an episode that left many questions unanswered, a character or characters in a dangerous situation or confronting a challenging predicament. These plot points remain unresolved to this day, or were resolved by their creators after the series had ended. Also, there will be some spoilers ahead, so SPOILER ALERT. Special thanks to our users Daniel John, Jerome Magajes, Donathan Rogers, arimazzie, Andrew A. Dennison, Lukas Elkemann and Fin490 for suggesting the topic using our Suggest Tool at www.WatchMojo.comSuggest
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Written by David MacIntyre.

Top 10 TV Cliffhangers That Remain Unresolved


These shows never quite finished what they started and left us hanging. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down the top 10 TV cliffhangers that remain unresolved.

For this list, we’ve narrowed it down to television series that were cancelled after airing an episode that left many questions unanswered, a character or characters in a dangerous situation or confronting a challenging predicament. These plot points remain unresolved to this day, or were resolved by their creators after the series had ended. Also, there will be some spoilers ahead, so SPOILER ALERT.


#10: “V” (1984-85)

After Diana and James are captured, Kyle stows away on a shuttle with Elizabeth. However he is completely unaware that Diana has left a bomb on the shuttle. Although, (or perhaps because) it was the most expensively produced TV series of its time – to the tune of $1 million per episode – this show only lasted one season during the mid-‘80s. A 2009 remake also suffered the same fate and gave only superficial nods to the original storyline, thus fans were denied a resolution of the earlier series and were stuck with a second, equally frustrating cliffhanger.


#9: “Avatar: The Last Airbender” (2005-08)

Fans of this much-loved anime series were left hanging in regards to the fate of Prince Zuko’s mother, Ursa. Ursa had been sent away from the Fire Nation Capital so that she could save her son’s life. She’s seen in a mirror in the show’s penultimate episode, but sadly that’s the last we actually get to see of her. In the finale, Zuko asks Ozai where his mother is, but we never find out.


#8: “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” (2008-09)

If ever there was a bad time for this series to have an epic new plot twist, it’s the series finale. Weaver and John Connor pursue John Henry into the future to escape assassins. They arrive there safely, but discover that John Connor’s name is completely unheard of. This is because the young John Connor’s original timeline is interrupted by his act of time travelling, thus he never grows up to become the leader of the resistance. To make things even weirder, his dad, Kyle Reese, and his uncle are both still alive and neither of them recognizes him either.


#7: “Samurai Jack” (2001-04)

Despite winning four Emmys, this series never received the conclusion it deserved thanks to a fourth season cancellation. Although the lead character Jack’s task in pretty much every episode is to find his way home, he never quite makes it despite the numerous epic battles he undertakes in his attempts to get there. Not only that, but we never find out if he returns the baby from the series finale back to his mother.


#6: “Stargate Universe” (2009-11)

This show’s cult following made it a perfect candidate for a TV movie or a straight-to-DVD ending to close it out properly. In the series finale, all the characters must put themselves put into stasis for three years; but one character, Eli Wallace, has a broken stasis pod and faces a potentially excruciating death if he’s unable to fix it. Fans were hopeful due to the fact that “Stargate SG-1” had two direct-to-DVD releases devoted to it that the same would happen with “Universe.” However, such a finale never materialized and we still don’t know whether or not Eli survived his predicament.


#5: “Angel” (1999-2004)

Some fans of this Buffy spinoff would argue that it ended too soon, but they can’t say the ending wasn’t action-packed. In the finale, Angel and his associates set out to assassinate every member of the Circle of the Black Thorn. They succeed, and a group of demon-like creatures appears to enact retribution. As rain pours down on them, Angel and his crew steel themselves for another grueling battle. Angel issues the simple declaration “Let’s get to work” signaling his unyielding desire to always fight the good fight. Sadly, we don’t get to see the battle at the height of its intensity.


#4: “Quantum Leap” (1989-93)

This show’s main character was constantly travelling to different dates and popping in on significant events from years past, so it was difficult to answer every question and truly end things satisfactorily. That said, this cliffhangerwas a pretty interesting one that thrilled about 50% of the fan-base and infuriated the rest – although it was never supposed to be the finale. We see Dr. Sam Beckett meet God or Fate or whatever’s been bouncing him around in time in the form of a bartender, who tells him he can return home whenever he wants. Next thing we know, text appearing after the final fadeout tells us that Sam never does return home, marking a depressing ending to an uplifting series.


#3: “The Sopranos” (1999-2007)

For many fans of this show, its series finale left more questions than answers; the biggest one being: does Tony live or die? The final scene takes place in Holsten’s ice cream parlor, where Tony awaits his family’s arrival. Throughout the scene people come in through the doorway and a bell chimes. Tony looks up nervously every time. The Sopranos’ son A.J. arrives and a mysterious individual enters with him, taking a seat at the counter; he glances knowingly at Tony’s table. We finally see Meadow Soprano park her car and approach the door to Holston’s, only for the screen to fade to black just as the bell jingles again. Beautifully rendered to the score of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing,” it gains points for artistry but loses even more for the sheer bafflement it caused.


#2: “Twin Peaks” (1990-91)

Not only was this show’s cliffhanger ending really frustrating, it was also pretty darn weird. Agent Cooper enters the extra-dimensional locale known as the Black Lodge in search of Annie, who’s been kidnapped by Windom Earle. Upon his arrival, Cooper suddenly gets possessed by Killer BOB, the demonic spirit responsible for Laura Palmer’s murder. The series ends with an evil Cooper ranting crazily about Annie’s wellbeing. There remains talk from cast members, over two-decades later, of the series returning, with reports that Netflix may be interested in bankrolling such a reboot – so maybe this one won’t stay unresolved forever.


Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honourable mentions:
- “Pokémon” (1997-)
- “Heroes” (2006-10)
- “My Name is Earl” (2005-09)
- “Earth 2” (1994-95)
- “Sliders” (1995-2000)


#1: “Lost” (2004-10)

As entertaining and thrilling as this show was, it was also incredibly confusing, with plot twists and unanswered questions galore – especially when it reached its end. Although the series concluded with Jack sacrificing himself so the others could escape, and Hurley protecting the island, we still don’t find out what Walt’s deal was, or what the light hole in the island was, or well… just about everything. It is implied that much of what took place in the final season may have happened in a kind of purgatory. This ending was particularly infuriating because this was precisely the kind of thing that fans had forewarned would be a completely unacceptable conclusion.


Do you agree with our list? What series finale left scratching your head and demanding answers? With new Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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