Some TV shows seem like they've been on forever. CSI survives by endlessly spinning off into city in the US, The Simpsons will probably still be on air long after humans have gone extinct, and Supernatural seems to be as unkillable as the Winchester brothers themselves. 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.
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).
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.
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.
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Featuring the legendary Ian McShane, HBO's Deadwood runs for three seasons of glorious cowboy cussing and violence before getting the chop. Its last season ends with one character's death covered up and another getting killed by a mysterious stranger.
Though the episode is supposedly intended as the series finale, the cliffhanger ending makes this seem either highly unlikely or like the showrunners wanted to stick a big middle finger up at the fans (the latter would actually be fitting, given the tone of the show). Fans will be pleased to know that HBO has a two-hour TV movie in the works to give Deadwood a proper send-off.