Sorry for the length, but I didn't have time to write a short blog.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A Word about Endings

++++++++++++++++++++++++++WARNING SPOILERS+++++++++++++++++++++++++++

So as this television season ends and I ponder the deep questions like, "Why doesn't Person of Interest not help people anymore" or "I remember when Grimm was a show about hunting bad monsters among us and not a soap opera" I have one complaint: I am really tired of cliffhangers.

If a show is good, it doesn't need a cliffhanger.  I am still wondering what happened on Alphas since the series was cancelled following one of these cliffhangers.  This is also true for The Tomorrow People which ended on an unfinished plot and then was cancelled.  Honestly for any show that is only in its first of second season, cliffhangers are unfair to the fans especially if the show is clearly on the cancellation bubble.

On the bubble shows shouldn't end on a cliffhanger but then again good ones don't need the device.  It is trite, cheap and over-used.  And, yes, I know even Star Trek The Next Generation used this device, but it was hardly as common then and the Borg really did deserve two episodes, but it could have been the last two episodes of the season just as easily.

Let's face it.  Virtually no show needs to be set up like it's a remake of the Fugitive or with a catch phrase like "Who Shot JR?" Does it really make such a difference in ratings to hang the fans?  Why not just lie? I mean Criminal Minds did it. On their season finale the network advertised that "one would fall" making it sound as if they were going to NCIS a main character.  They didn't.  A relatively new team member left the series.

It seems common place for series to do this.  Anytime an actor decides it is time to leave the series, the network "Says, 'Goodbye'" as if they were dying.

Then there is the cliffhanger where a character may or may not be dead.  Is Detective Quentin Lance on CW's Arrow dead?  We know they killed Arrow's mom, but now another series regular may die too.  Oh no.  Whatever will we do?  Well, we could take solace in the fact that Paul Blackthorne who plays the detective has been at post season CW events.  Hmmmmm?

And what of NCIS: Los Angles? Will we lose Hetty? How many times have the producers used this ploy.  We may lose a favorite character.  I think, if memory serves, this is not the first time NCIS: LA has used this ploy with Hetty.  Now unless Linda Hunt wants out of the series, it would be a horrible idea.  They lose Hetty.  They lose viewers.  The simple truth is, unless an actor or actress wants to leave a series, they are seldom if ever killed or written off.  There are exceptions Zach on Bones, for example, was written off.

The season cliffhanger on Bones was so stupid I thought about not even discussing it. I cannot, however, in good conscious let it go past.  It was clearly set up in its advertising with the, "Will Seeley Booth die?" Apparently, the entire episode was set up that way but at some point, someone had a thought that everyone else was threatening to kill off characters.  We apparently avoided that particular canard.  So instead this super-secret organization has destroyed Booth's career and now an obviously corrupt FBI agent has him arrested in his hospital bed for killing the guys who were going to kill Booth. This is probably because Bones couldn't get away with one more cliffhanger using yet another super-smart, super-resourced serial killer.

Then there was the cliffhanger for Grimm.  Nick has lost his Grimm powers and, you guessed it, Captain Renard may die. Whaaaaat? Wait...Renard has a potion which can save Nick but the potion is destroyed. When did Renard suddenly get the ability to mix potions?  He certainly couldn't do it in the first two seasons.  There is also the slight problem that all the monsters in Grimm live in fear of Grimm powers.  Yet if the witch clan apparently had the ability to remove these powers. Why didn't they?  Problem solved.  No more Grimms.  This is really one of the dumber cliffhangers.

Person of Interest has not only left its original premise which is why people watched, but its cliffhanger was narrated by a character who has basically taken over the series, Root. Root is not only rapidly stealing the show, but also the psychotic character has, I think ruined the series.  The season finale: team is broken up and now hiding from another 'machine' and we seem to have forgotten that Person of Interest was once upon a time about trying to keep people from killing each other.

The true winner of stupid cliffhangers though is Castle.  We cannot just end on a happy note after the trials of Beckett and Castle trying to get married.  Not only did the episode use one of the most over-used tropes ever - Beckett, a NYC detective, suddenly becomes stupid and believes that a Vegas wedding is not a real thing - but the episode ends on the twist that just before the wedding, Castle is run off the road by a menacing black SUV and then Beckett sees Castle's car on the side of the road burning.  Oh no! Has the series killed off a main character?  Has the series killed off the TITLE character?  Will we have to rename the series Beckett?  Isn't Beckett a play?  The answer is we must wait and find out next season.

I suspect that Castle is still alive.  After all, the evil Senator is only in jail and the evil Triple Killer (3XK) who is one of those TV serial killers who seems to have unlimited resources despite having no way to support these resources are both still capable of mayhem. I mean, why would anyone at the network actually want to complete a plotline and have a nice wedding?
Proof cliffhangers are not needed.  NCIS, who has used their fair share of cliffhangers, ended with a simple tribute to actor Ralph Waite who play the father of Gibbs on the show.  It was exciting, awesome, and moving.  I look forward to NCIS next season, and what is more I don't have to try to remember what happened.  By far, a classy way to wrap up the season and what is more, such a rarity on TV, no cliffhanger endings seem original.

It's time perhaps for TV productions recall that cheap writing tricks will never replace well written.