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  1. #1
    animalius
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    Enough with the cliff hangers already!

    First of all, this post is a little lengthy. I know a lot of you don't like reading posts that are more than a couple paragraphs long. Just so you know to skip over this one.

    I'm sick and tired of lazy story writing, especially lengthy drama or mystery stories. It seems to be a pretty popular theme these days. They get away with it every time by calling it a cliff hanger.

    Try to think of it this way. Have you ever tried to go through a maze either on a computer screen, in a picture, or an actual life size maze? Really complicated ones are fun because you know no matter how frustrating it could become there is a solution. Same with games. You spend a lot of time trying to solve puzzles and going about a storyline to finish the game.

    Now, imagine trying to solve a puzzle, maze, or game and then later find out there is no solution and you've been wasting your time all this time. Any bonehead could create a maze so complicated that it doesn't have a way out. Heck, I can just start drawing random curvy lines right now and call it a work of art. Takes very little effort. No need to think through how to put in an exit.

    Seems like a lot of tv shows and movies these days end with a "cliff hanger". And again, this term was created as an excuse for lazy story writing. Come up with a complicated plot. Make it more complicated. Keep adding complications on top of complications. And then end it with a cliff hanger.

    A long time ago, I watched a Chinese soap opera about a great detective in ancient China. All 30 hours of the show revolved around this storyline. So, a guy goes to the capitol to take a test. If he passes, he'll become an official. Well, he passes. On his way home to become a lord, he meets his long lost twin brother. The twin brother finds out that this guy is on his way home to receive fame and power. So, the long lost twin brother kills him and takes his place. So, the whole show was about the detective trying to solve this case. He runs into one dead end after another. Very frustrating. The very last episode when all hope is lost with solving this case, the emperor, who supposedly was a long lost friend of the detective that was never ever mentioned before, passes by the town and decrees that the detective is right. The bad guy is executed without any judicial process. The whole thing takes about 15 minutes of the last episode. The end.

    See how lazy story writing works? No need to plan out your story ark. Just pile random shit on top of each other and either add in a miracle or end the show with a cliff hanger. The end.

    What shows am I talking about? Persons Unknown. Surface. And just about every other tv series in the last 10 years.

    And these writers call themselves artists. They're more like bullshitters. Just throw some random shit together, make the plot really complicated, and end with a cliff hanger... or put a miracle in there at the end.

    I'm not saying every story should have a solution at the end. But ease off on the cliff hangers. Jesus H. Christ.

  2. #2
    I Run S.C. BFizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Enough with the cliff hangers already!

    This is a big problem for me with a lot of the shows I'm watching. Particularly Glee, where they seem to write the show one week at a time.

  3. #3
    Of Nightmares & Secrets. MoufOfKhaos's Avatar
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    Re: Enough with the cliff hangers already!

    Maybe shows get canceled before they get to resolve some of those cliffhangers, sending the writers into a last minute panic in trying to rewrite the script and try to close off as much of the story as possible? It happens a lot more often than you think - and some shows don't even get that luxury; they're canned before they can come back in the fall.

    One of the best newer examples of a show that had to scramble to "close off" their story arc is Veronica Mars, or at least, the only one in recent memory that mattered to me.
    Last edited by MoufOfKhaos; May 9th, 2013 at 10:37 AM.
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  4. #4
    animalius
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    Re: Enough with the cliff hangers already!

    Quote Originally Posted by MoufOfKhaos View Post
    Maybe shows get canceled before they get to resolve some of those cliffhangers, sending the writers into a last minute panic in trying to rewrite the script and try to close off as much of the story as possible? It happens a lot more often than you think - and some shows don't even get that luxury; they're canned before they can come back in the fall.

    One of the best newer examples of a show that had to scramble to "close off" their story arc is Veronica Mars, or at least, the only one in recent memory that mattered to me.
    I understand this as well. And I don't fault shows for ending with a cliffhanger because they got canceled.

    But some of the shows I'm pointing out were meant to have that many episodes and ended as they intended. Persons Unknown was meant from the beginning to only have 1 season. So was Surface. These shows weren't meant for a long life. Obvious from the beginning. Even the producers admitted they only intended to have so and so episodes.

    I mean if you want to see an honest to god good story writing where everything connects, watch Babylon 5. All 5 seasons were carefully written out years before the show was even shot. Every episode was somehow connected to everything else.

    Nowadays, just spend a couple hours throwing random shit together and end it with a cliffhanger.

  5. #5
    The nice guy from Nice. dpnice's Avatar
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    Re: Enough with the cliff hangers already!

    Living in France I tend only to get to see series that have been of some success in USA.

    I am afraid that your complaints will fall on deaf ears when you think of the millions of viewers who slump infront of their TV to watch whatever rubbish is served to them.

    It seems to me that the advertisers will be the final judges of a TV film or series rather than the general public.

    Your only real control or means of expressing your disgust is to change channels or switch the TV off.
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  6. #6
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    Re: Enough with the cliff hangers already!

    LOST cured me...maybe forever...of buying into the cliffhanger though The Walking Dead had me hanging there a few times so maybe I am not complely cured.

    I learned to hate the LOST writers... and the ending...what a fucking joke. If I am going to suspend my disbeleif...I want a payoff. I am not as likely anymore to do that and so the cliffhanger is no longer relevant in most cases.

  7. #7
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    Re: Enough with the cliff hangers already!

    Mouf is right. Some shows are cancelled at the end of the season after all of the season episodes are 'in the can'. Some, if they're lucky, get notice mid-season and at least have a chance to wrap things up. Unfortunately, that often leaves fans wanting because they don't have enough time to do justice to the programme.

    Stargate SG-1 was one of those programmes which failed to satisfy. Others, like M*A*S*H, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and Newhart, wrapped things up on their own accord and had time to write very satisfying series finales.

    And then there's The Sopranos.

    Cliff hangers are meant to keep viewers interested and to make sure they come back when the new season begins. It's not their fault that they don't always come back. (I'm still waiting to find out how Jessica Tate escaped the firing squad! Grrrr!)

  8. #8
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    Re: Enough with the cliff hangers already!

    Again, I may just be "weird" like this. But I never have any trouble with cliffhangers or crappy plot twists. I mean, yeah, I'll say "Well, that sucked" and maybe stop watching the show. But I never consider the show to be anything but writers playing with action figures. Moving them this way and that. You know how on South Park, Kenny dies (or used to) every episode? But he's back in action at the start of the next one? Same idea. To me, none of it "counts". I like watching the writers play with the action figures, and if I don't like what they do with them at some point, I'll just say "Well, that was dumb" and start playing with them myself. I've taken characters from shows and written two, ten, twenty more season's of stories in my head. Sometimes I kill them all off, sometimes they all live happily ever after, sometimes they're stuck in existential limbo, sometimes I do all of the above. Then I put the action figure back in the box until next time.

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  9. #9
    animalius
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    Re: Enough with the cliff hangers already!

    Quote Originally Posted by eastofeden View Post
    LOST cured me...maybe forever...of buying into the cliffhanger though The Walking Dead had me hanging there a few times so maybe I am not complely cured.

    I learned to hate the LOST writers... and the ending...what a fucking joke. If I am going to suspend my disbeleif...I want a payoff. I am not as likely anymore to do that and so the cliffhanger is no longer relevant in most cases.
    Yes, LOST was another show that had every resource available to them. Ratings were high. They had plenty of fundings. And yet they couldn't hire writers good enough to not entangle themselves in puzzles they themselves couldn't solve?

    Edit.

    The nature of the walking dead actually makes it acceptable to end with a cliffhanger, unless the whole thing turns out to be a dream.
    Last edited by animalius; May 9th, 2013 at 11:21 AM.

  10. #10
    animalius
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    Re: Enough with the cliff hangers already!

    Quote Originally Posted by gsdx View Post
    Cliff hangers are meant to keep viewers interested and to make sure they come back when the new season begins. It's not their fault that they don't always come back. (I'm still waiting to find out how Jessica Tate escaped the firing squad! Grrrr!)
    If they think they'll get canceled, then don't put in cliffhangers. End the bloody story arc at the end of the season.

    B-5 and stargate sg-1 managed pull it off for years and years without putting in cliffhangers at the end of the seasons. In either of these shows, you could literally end the show at the end of any season. They knew better than to end their season with a cliffhanger.

    Star trek voyager always ended a season with a cliffhanger. But that's ok, because they knew they had a whole 7 years without any chance of it getting canceled.

    Star trek DS9 also knew they had a whole 7 years. But they decided not to end any season with a cliffhanger.

    It's not that hard to not leave the viewers in the cold.

  11. #11
    Do I dare to eat a peach?
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    Re: Enough with the cliff hangers already!

    Babylon 5 was the very best.

    If there weren't cliffhangers most people would have no incentive to get through the week.

  12. #12
    Kien
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    Re: Enough with the cliff hangers already!

    Cliff hangers are used to keep viewers anticipating what will happen next.

    Sometimes it could just be bad writing, but in other cases when a series or movies ends on a cliff hanger, it's to leave the ending up for interpretation by the viewers, and numerous interpretations could be made. In those cases, it is very artistic.

  13. #13
    美しいヨーロッパ Scealle's Avatar
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    Re: Enough with the cliff hangers already!

    Tv shows are meant to be that way. They need the viewers to keep indulged and wondering what would happen next. Also so the producers can continuously earn money.
    This also apply to games, animes and comics. I can't believe Naruto is already more than a decade old lol. I stopped following it when I went to college though. I admit some cliff hangers kills me So these days I prefer to watch the shows when the whole season is released.

  14. #14
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    Re: Enough with the cliff hangers already!

    Quote Originally Posted by animalius View Post
    stargate sg-1 managed pull it off for years and years without putting in cliffhangers at the end of the seasons.
    There were a few:

    Seasons 1/2 - Within the Serpent's Grasp & In the Serpent's Lair
    Seasons 3/4 - Nemesis & Small Victories
    Seasons 5/6 - Exodus & Enemies
    Seasons 6/7 - Full Circle & Fallen (sort of)
    Seasons 7/8 - Lost City Parts 1 and 2 & New Order Parts 1 and 2

  15. #15
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    Re: Enough with the cliff hangers already!

    thing is it depends on the shows sometimes they just have no clue how to end it.. another reason is that the ratings are up so they wanna keep going and the story loses it's starting appeal, this is actually a huge issue with modern on-going anime.. but then other reasons might include that the writer has his or her own agenda and wants the audience to kill themselves with anticipation, an example I would say is Game of Thrones.. there are plenty of episodes that leave you thinking wtf just happened, holy shit, that was fucking awesome. then some other shows just wanna keep building that suspense with the sudden plot twists..

    In my opinion writing up a series is a very delicate thing, you don't wanna put too many twists and turns to make the viewers think okay, this is bullshit. and also you don't wanna make it too complex that you just go along with it until you have no clue how to end it or that the ending you choose ends up being disappointing.. but at the same time you don't wanna put too little as to make the viewers lose interest..
    Last edited by kindabikindagay; May 9th, 2013 at 07:16 PM.

  16. #16
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    Re: Enough with the cliff hangers already!

    Even worse are cliffhangers on stories (books, novels) which are in the process of being written, and posted to writing sites. I have a **good friend** who was writing a very cool story (intended for children of all ages), a science fiction type thing, and I made the mistake of getting into the story. BECAUSE: right in the middle, without warning, he entirely stopped writing it. Those are some hours of my life that were wasted.

    There wasn't really a cliffhanger in its classic meaning - it's just that the story suddenly stopped without warning, which is just as bad.
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  17. #17
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    Re: Enough with the cliff hangers already!

    damn I so misread this.... is there a low hangers thread I can pop into???



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