TV

Don't Leave Me Hanging!

Note: If you haven’t seen any of the shows I mention (check the tags at the bottom of this post)  or you’re in the middle of watching them, there are potential spoilers.

One of the best things about keeping viewers hooked to a TV show is a cliffhanger at the end of the season. There have been some terrific nail-biting cliffhangers, such as the recent season 4 cliffhanger of Dexter. This caught many fans, such as myself, caught unaware and flabbergasted. This was executed terrificly.

However, there are shows which have cliffhangers, then get axed by the TV studios at the last minute, or given a small amount of episodes to tie everything up, which never solves anything.

The most recent edition to this scenario is Happy Town. This show has been compared to Twin Peaks meets American Gothic. A mystery/horror show which started off well, but within 2 episodes, tanked in the ratings. ABC didn’t give it much of a chance as it had too many twists and plot turns. You could tell that if you started to watch this, you’d be in for the long haul.

There were bits and pieces where they’d hint at some solution, but by the end of an episode, they would add more questions or plot lines to confuse the crap out of you. What kept me watching was Sam Neill as a mysterious vintage cinema memorabilia collector who props up shop in the middle of a quiet town, and Lauren German, who was a highly cute woman with an odd tattoo on her shoulder, which was the same symbol that represented the unknown town kidnapper/killer “The Magic Man”.

The show was bumped after 2 episodes, which were moved to a summer time slot, about after 4 were broadcasted, the last 2 episodes were released online (and geoblocked). The final episode does reveal who the Magic Man is, but other questions are not answered, such as “Why?” (to pretty much everything else that happened in the show).

HBO’s Deadwood was brilliant. Grade A cast, violence, racism, sex, drinking and swearing galore that puts The Sopranos to shame. Based in the gold rush era of the 1870s, where Deadwood was a small western town in Colorado where there was no major authoritative. Every man was for themselves. As the town grew bigger, a committee and council was established, as well as law & order.

It wasn’t until Season 3, Trixie, a well known hooker, attempted to kill wealthy and powerful businessman George Hearst, failed. Hearst demanded the hooker was to be killed for her actions. However, Trixie, was a popular person, so a look-a-like was murdered in her place and the body was used. Once Hearst acknowledged the death (he never got a proper look at Trixie in the first place), Hearst rode off into the sunset, leaving the town of Deadwood to carry on their ways. It was an ending. Not a complete ending, but the writers didn’t know if the show was going to be back or not. One story arc was wrapped up, but there was more to go.

Would Sheriff Bullock and Al Swearengen remain mutual friends? Would Trixie and Sol Starr eventually marry? Would Calamity Jane get her lesbian on again? E.B. Farnum be a backstabbing wanker? Mr. Wu end up learning another word than “cocksucker”? The show was an unfortunate victim of production costs, but HBO promised to make 2 telemovies to tie up the loose ends. By the time it would’ve been made, most of the actors had already moved on in other shows and films. Plus, reports as well that the set, which was built on private land, had started to deteriorate and was pulled down.

Lois & Clark: The New Adventures Of Superman, made the 2 main actors, Teri Hatcher and Dean Cain, household names through the 1990s. The producers made great usage of the technology that was available at the time, and made Teri Hatcher a sex symbol. the first 2 seasons were ratings winners, but once the writers hooked Lois and Clark up for a wedding, it started losing momentum.

Warner Brothers wanted to tie the show in with the comic book releases, where Lois and Clark were going to marry at the same time the comic book versions were. But due to some really odd timing issues, the wedding story arc in the show was thrown out of whack and made Lois a frog eating clone, while the real Lois was kidnapped by the non-dying Lex Luthor (who eventually dies finally, after believing in the quote “If you love them, set them free..” before he’s crushed by an underground lair cave-in). This way, they could pad out some time until the comic book versions of themselves would sync up with the show properly. Once done, viewers lost interest.

In the final episode, Lois’s parents and Clark’s parents eventually came together for a big happy family reunion. All the talk about Lois needing to have a baby was thrown around, until right at the end, when a knock on the door reveals a baby being dumped out of nowhere, with a note for Lois & Clark saying the baby is theirs. The writers were lead to believe from Warner Brothers that there was going to be a 5th season, but the show was cancelled a few episodes near the end, without any room for a decent wrap-up.

Teri Hatcher’s career went up, while Dean Cain went to B & C grade movies. Lucky, for Superman fans, they could continue reading the comics, knowing how Lois & Clark turn out.

In 2007, a huge writers strike happened in the US, where show writers wanted their terms and conditions renewed to adapt to today’s technology and access. Long story short – old contract stated that writers get a substantial percentage from video releases, but bugger all from DVD and online releases. TV companies didn’t like that, so the writers went on strike. No writers, no actors to perform. No actos, no show. A few shows were a vicitim to this strike. Some swam (if there’s a show with only 1/2 or 3/4 of a season, then that’s a scar), some drowned.

Welcome to Las Vegas. Sin City. Babes. Money. Parties. Writers Strike victim.

Set in the heart of the fictional Montecito Casino, you have an ex-CIA officer who is in charge of running the casino and security, an ex-marine who is 2IC, a mathematical nerd in charge of technology, a floor manager, a casino host, and the daughter of the boss. It had everything a guy could ask for. Special celebrity appearances, gambling, women in bikinis, action, drama, special effects… etc. It was an expensively produced show, but it gelled quite well together.

There was always twists and turns in the show, where one would sleep with the other, while another would be jealous. But I always noticed that the Casino would change ownership as much as shuffling a deck of cards. The writers would always have a link to associate with a present characters past or another type of relation.

On the final cliffhanger, Danny, who is now the head of Security, has a soon-to-be-born child with Delinda, the daughter of his old boss, Ed Deline, who went into hiding at the start of Season 5 for murdering Mary’s abusive father at the end of Season 4. Mary, was the childhood sweetheart of Danny, but went their separate ways when he was enlisted in the marines. Ed took Mary under his wing and treated her like a daughter. Mary, also went into ‘hiding’ at the end of Season 4. The new and current owner, A.J Cooper, is assumed to be involved in a plane crash at the end of Season 5, only to return at his wake, alive, frightening onlookers. After a live performance from James Blunt, during that exact time, Delinda complains of stomach pains, then realises she’s bleeding, hinting that it may be a miscarriage. Danny walks off the stage to assist Delinda, then the words “To Be Continued…” appear.

But it never does.

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Matt
Owner and Operator of Wireless Fodder. Lover of Australian pop culture, comedy, and obscurities. Works in Australian media, enjoys a beer or three. Happily married to an American.

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