5.1k voters

17 Shows That Were Canceled On Major Cliffhangers

Updated January 25, 2021 16.8k votes 5.1k voters 477.0k views17 items

List RulesVote up the most heinous cliffhangers shows ended on.

Some TV shows seem like they've been on forever. CSI survives by endlessly spinning off into city in the US, and The Simpsons will probably still be on air long after humans have gone extinct. But, most aren't lucky enough to survive for anywhere near that long. It's even worse when they're canceled shows with no resolution. As cruel as it is, there are so many shows canceled on major cliffhangers.

Some TV shows canceled before their time manage to tie things up, more or less. There are also rare examples of shows ending deliberately on a cliffhanger, like The Sopranos. Rare because, you know, it kind of sucks for the fans. But there are far more examples of shows that ended without finishing. The most frustrating TV cliffhangers are agonizing for fans because, no matter how many explanatory interviews the showrunners give, they'll never really know what happens next.

  • 1
    Photo: NBC

    Hannibal stars the brilliantly-cast Mads Mikklesen as Dr. Hannibal Lecter, the therapist with a ghoulish taste for human flesh, and Hugh Dancy as FBI agent Will Graham, whose darker side is teased out by the seductive doctor.

    Their twisted obsession with one another is brought to an operatic conclusion in the Season 3 finale. The pair embraces on a clifftop, having taken care of a psychopathic murderer together... right before Will decides to plunge off the cliff with Hannibal. It's certainly poetic, though frustrating; showrunner Bryan Fuller had another season all planned out before NBC killed the show, leaving the fate of its two lead characters up in the air.

    More Hannibal 

    12 Reasons Why Mads Mikkelsen Is The Best Hannibal Lecter#48 of 344 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time#104 of 271 The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time

  • Photo: ABC

    Created by Bryan Fuller, this quirky series follows a pie-maker with the power to raise the dead with just a touch – and to kill them again with second contact. It warmed the hearts of many viewers... just not quite enough to warrant ABC keeping it on air for more than two seasons.

    The second season ended with skittish protagonist Ned still unable to find a way to consummate his relationship with Chuck, his childhood crush who he'd brought back to life. The last scene sees Chuck reveal herself to her mourning aunts just before the credits roll. Hopefully that musical Fuller keeps talking about actually happens so fans can get some closure.

    More Pushing Daisies 

    #468 of 508 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time#53 of 59 The Best Teen Sci-Fi And Fantasy TV Series#38 of 113 The Best Dramedy TV Series

  • 3
    Photo: NBC

    With Eric Kripke (creator of Supernatural) at the helm, Revolution was expected to last a lot longer than it did. This NBC series is set in a post-apocalyptic world that has been plunged into technological darkness for 15 years. Sick of living in uncertainty and war, one ragtag group hopes to overthrow the shady powers that be – powers that are later revealed to have secretly caused the blackout using nanite technology.

    Though the show manages to tie up most of its loose ends by the Season 2 finale, it also sets up an entirely new one: a rare, single source of electricity. The series' cancelation leaves this potentially intriguing plot unexplored (in TV form, at least).

    More Revolution 

    #117 of 133 The Best High School TV Shows#87 of 277 The Most Overrated TV Shows Of All Time#14 of 20 Fans Answer: Which TV Show Started Out Great, But Later Got Too Ridiculous

  • Photo: FOX

    Set after Terminator 2, this spin-off series stars Lena Headey as Sarah Connor, endeavoring to keep her son, John (Thomas Dekker) – the future resistance leader – out of robo-hands. The two are aided by an unlikely ally: Summer Glau's Terminator, Cameron.

    The show abruptly concludes with the Season 2 finale, at the worst possible time. John is zapped into a future in which his name has been mysteriously erased from everyone's memories – and then the show ends.

    More Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles 

    #205 of 320 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years#386 of 631 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch#42 of 538 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time