The End is the beginning is the End...

Posted by DGN on 2:26 PM in
When I was a younger DGN, I was (and still am) a huge fan of "Spider-man". No matter what was out there, I would make sure to watch anything that had Spidey in it. This included the VERY hard to find and under rated "Spider-man and his Amazing Friends", "The X-Men" featuring a guest apprearance from everybodies favourite web slinger, and even the very very short lived "Spider-Woman" which featured Spidey every now and then. Two of the series that I enjoyed the most though were the 1994 "Spider-man" and "Spider-man: The New Animated Series" in 2003. It was when I was going through some old DVDs that I realized that both these shows had one thing in common outside of subject matter. They both ended their runs with a cliffhanger!

For those uninitiated: "A cliffhanger or cliffhanger ending is a plot device in which a movie, novel, or other work of fiction contains an abrupt ending, often leaving the main characters in a precarious or difficult situation, or with a sudden shock revelation. This type of ending is used to ensure that, if a next installment is made, audiences will return to find out how the cliffhanger is resolved. (from wikipedia).

Now, I can see why this is done from the standpoint of a writer or producer. Obviously, the goal is for people to come back and watch. But if this is the last episode of the series, it is absolutely terrible to the viewer.

In both cases of the shows I mentioned, the viewer is left wondering what's happening next. In "Spider-man", Peter Parker sets out to find his wife Mary Jane who missing for most of the season. I remember waiting to find out what happens next, only to see the pilot the next day. Confusion and anger set in. Similarly, with "Spider-man: The New Animated Series" the final episode shows a defeated (emotionally!) Peter Parker throwing his outfit into the sea, promising never to be Spidey again. This is how you end the series???!! REALLY??!! (Sorry, I really love the webhead).

The same can be said about a few other shows. "Las Vegas" abruptly ended last season on a cliffhanger and was then cancelled by NBC. Though I believe that may have had to do more with the writers strike than anything else. "Angel", a spin-off of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" ended with the beginning of an epic battle that left us wondering who lived and who died. MTV is notorious for these cliffhanger series finales. Along with the aforementioned "Spider-man: The New Animated Series", the smartly written "Clone High" was cancelled in this fashion as well. WB teen parody "Popular" ended its two season run similarly, with one of the characters being hit by a car. The list continues, I'd suggest checking out wikipedia for more info.

The question here is what can be done to resolve this. I understand network business means that if a show is not profiting either through advertising rates, or at the very least Golden Globe/Emmy fare, then it is too expensive to keep on air. However, if it has had a successful run, is it not possible to give it a proper send off for the fans of the show? Lets go back to the shows I was talking about. In the case of the "Spider-man" series, chances are we will see our favourite super hero in some other incarnation. The MTV series was supposed to originally lead into "Spider-man 2". The same goes with "Angel", who from what I've heard, continued its run in comic book format. Some of the characters in "Las Vegas" may return on NBC's new "Knight Rider", which share the same production team. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for "Clone High" and "Popular".

I would say the least that could have been done in cases like that is there would have an extra on the DVD. If the show was popular enough to warrent a fan following (and searches on the 'net will show that there are), then chances are there is money in putting an episode together for DVD. Granted this is much easier to pull off for an animated series rather than a live action, but it seems like something that could be done. "Family Guy" is a great example of success via DVD sales. Hell, it's even a reason to buy the DVD considering all the different ways we have access to reruns these days.

I don't know... perhaps I'm still bitter about not knowing where Mary Jane is, or what made Peter put on the tights again, but I think if you've devoted the time into watching a show over a long period of time, the least they can do is give it a proper ending. But maybe that's just the fanboy in me!

On that note...I know I'm about five years late, but still can't hurt..

Comments? Any shows that you have on this list? Would love to hear em!



I was never an avid comic book reader, but I did enjoy the "Spider Man: The Animated Series". I didn't realize that they never resolved of where MJ went, and the circumstance of Peter Parker after feeling defeated with the loss of his true love. What a way to end the series!
I only watched half of the series and probably got distracted with the Power Rangers. lol

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