Today I’m doing a joint post with my awesome buddy Christina!
Say hi, Chriss.
Hey! (Check out her blog here. Her lines will be represented by a bold italic)
We’re going to talk about a very important aspect of-
Not your celebrity crushes, again, Vee!
*nudges Christina awkwardly* Chriss, remember the script?
Oh yeah. Oppsie.
Every story has a motion which is characterized by different components. One such that we are going to type about today is : Cliff Hangers.
CLIFFHANGER is a word any regular TV viewer is familiar with. Most show producers today find cliffhangers to be very useful in gaining a huge audience for their show, thus increasing their ratings. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the word, a cliffhanger is when an episode comes to an abrupt end and the words “to be continued” flashes on the screen. Cliffhangers are mostly used for season finales, or for 2 part episodes aired in the middle of the season.
Cliffhangers create a sense of curiosity for the viewer. The viewer is left hanging, eager to know what happens next. Cliffhangers thus guarantee viewers for the following episode. If the season finale of a show ends in a cliffhanger, the viewer has to wait months until the premiere of the next season to know what happens next. The writers of the show ensure that it ends on a high, leaving the viewer asking for more.
The TV show Castle is the epitome of cliffhangers. Its creator Andrew Marlowe has not failed to leave the fans in a state of anxiety after every season finale. The season finales of seasons 3, 4 and 5 have been about some or the other major event in one of the main characters’ life.
The finale of season 3 was a rather emotional one, with the death of Captain Montgomery. As if that wasn’t enough, it ended with Beckett getting shot in the chest; and just when Castle says the words Beckett and everyone else was waiting to hear (“Kate, I love you”), BAM! The screen fades to black with the words “to be continued” appearing in an annoyingly neat manner. Of course, it was frustrating, but season 4 premiered with a bang, with the number of viewers higher than ever.
The finale of season 4 wasn’t as brutal, thankfully. It ended with Castle and Beckett getting together finally after 4 years. Happy ending, you would say. I, being a fan, beg to differ. After four WHOLE years of waiting, your favorite on-screen couple FINALLY gets together, and the moment is just cut short.
The recent season 5 finale reached an all-new level of extremity. Not going into detail, because I don’t want to spoil it for those of you who haven’t watched it yet.
Apart from the finales, there have been two-part episodes right from seasons 2 to 5. The wait for the continuation of these is not as long, but it still has the desired effect of gaining more viewers.
I just watched Supernatural (Season 8)’s season finale. As you know – season finales are always full of ‘em. For those who watch Supernatural will know The Winchester Brothers and their tactics and adventures – saving the world and apocalypse, what not. In this season’s finale, not only did they have to close the gates of hell, have one brother close to dying, cure a demon of being evil and well, maintain their sanity through it all – they had another twist in the tale – angels, like their title, should behave like one. Only in this case they don’t. They kill, they’re greedy, and they want to rule heaven and earth and blah blah, same usual stuff. What makes this cliff hanger worth the watch is not seeing Angels turn into evil ass-hats (As Dean says), but seeing them lose their grace and turn human. What’s more fun is to watch them fall from heaven, literally (picture above)
Of the many shows that include cliffhangers, the ones I’ve watched are “How I Met Your Mother” and “Pretty Little Liars”.
The former has been a cliffhanger for almost the entire series, with fans dying to know who the mother is. The mother is revealed only after eight seasons, with a whole lot of fans losing interest in the show over the years. But there were viewers who continued to watch, determined to know who the mother was.
Your best friend ending up kidnapped and dead may not be enough. Add a little spooky messages from a person with the alias A who knows all your secrets – and that gives you Pretty Little Liars. The main reason for it to be one of the most watched show is the clothes they were, of course. I’m kidding … PLL, like any other show, offers a story and a mystery – a dead girl and a killer who could be your neighbor. But the cliff hangers always, as usual, is getting close enough to knowing who is this mysterious ‘A,’ but not quite.
Four seasons of Vampire diaries has never failed to end with someone dying. Season two ended with Damon dying. Elena died at season 3. And now the most recent, season 4 rolled the credits with a scene of Stefan being locked in an iron chest, pushed into a water fall, yet again dying.
Dying is a good cliff hanger – Not, if you keep using it again and again. The audience/ readers are not dumb – they know you wouldn’t kill off one of the very main (And I stress on main) characters of a book/show.
The effect of a cliff hanger is a lot connected with curiosity. They work hand in hand. One of my favorite cliff hangers is from the book–
Which ends with, “Then the shouting began.”
For someone who has read both the books will know why this line comes as a shock. Everything seems solved out – the erudite are seemingly defeated. The information is saved. Tris and Tobias are still alive (catch a breath, fan girls) and that should be a conclusion on a whole. Veronica tied up her first book and second together quite neatly. But we all know that the series is a trilogy – and with this last line, you don’t know what the hell is going to happen.
And that’s what keeps the peeps hooked. If you succeed in creating a relationship between the characters and the audience – they’ll want to know more. Coz that’s the way we function. And the best way to keep them hanging is not by killing (though it works) but by introducing a possibility they never thought about – .Because more than curiosity – it’s the awe that keeps them pumped up. If you can make them say, “I didn’t see that coming,” more than making them wail over a dead-body-character or worse a dead plot – then you for sure know your cliff hanger lived up to it’s name.
Remember, cliff hangers are not rescue life jackets – you cannot use them to drag your story.
Vee, I think they get the point.
Really? We did well. *pats Christina on the back*
Well … Our job’s done here! Wanna watch the season finale of Golden Boy?
I’d love to! I wonder what cliff hanger they’ve got there
See yah around folks!
*Christina and Vee walk into the sunset*