In ancient days; where a show ran from September to June and the months of July and August were made up of ‘re-runs’, ending a season with a ‘cliff hanger’ .
The term means that the show ends with some question; ‘will this one live?’ or ‘will that event happen?’ or something which is supposed to make you count the days until the programme returns and solves the mystery.
Today, seasons are much shorter, breaks are much longer, and there really aren’t re-runs.
Yesterday I watched episodes of different dramas which ended with ‘cliff hangers’. Considering that I watch a lot of shows, I don’t remember what happened before, and the sudden ‘revelation’ is kind of a ‘huh?’ more than a ‘wow!’
Take Empire; it opens with Lucius Lyons standing by a coffin. One kind of assumed it was Hazeem as he was shot at in the last episode. That was the ‘cliff hanger’.
So much started to pour from this first episode of the new season. I could scarcely recall the last one.
Another show was NCIS – New Orleans.
I didn’t recall the last episode of the previous season and what was happening made little sense. To get the whole story I’d have to go back, watch that epi and then see how this one ties in.
I watched Grey’s Anatomy which didn’t end with a ‘cliff hanger’, so I was able to slide right in and follow it, as the characters were redeveloped, for the writer seemed to catch the fact that people don’t go into suspended animation at the end of season 5 and don’t come out until season 6.
The new watcher or occasional watcher, would not be captured by these first epis. They wouldn’t know who was who or what was what. A regular viewer, as myself, has a lot of review to go through to remember who was who and what was what.
Better to close off a season with possibles and conclusion then to think a viewer is going to hang on the edge of their seat to see what happens next.