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Tropes and genres
Synonym(s)cliffie, To Be Continued
Related tropes/genresBolivian Army Ending, Downer Ending, Left Hanging, Thriller, WIP
See alsoWikipedia Page, TVTropes page
Related articles on Fanlore.

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A cliffhanger occurs when something ends abruptly without resolving the issue. This is frequently seen in television shows (usually between seasons or episodes) and fanworks (usually between chapters when an author wants to hear feedback), although it has also been seen in a few films as well. In serialized fiction, cliffhangers are intended to entice the reader/viewer into returning for the next installment.

In American television, prime-time TV series, episodes were originally self-contained so that they might be shown in any order, especially in re-runs. The cliffhanger technique tying together episodes within a season only became popular with the introduction of continuity in the 1980s in shows such as Hill Street Blues. Season-end cliffhangers encourage viewers to return after the summer hiatus. However, if the show is abruptly cancelled, this means that the plot remains permanently—and frustratingly—unresolved.

Associated with cliffhangers is EPDN (short for Executive Producer Douglas Netter) which came from Babylon 5 fandom and describes the feeling you have when realising the episode has ended on a cliffhanger as the credits start rolling.

Fanfiction reviewers sometimes refer to cliffhangers as 'cliffies as in, "Oh you horrible person, you. Another cliffie!?"[1]

Examples of Series that Ended on Cliffhangers



  1. ^ september-ninth, Dreaming-of-Sunshine by Silver Queen - Review for chapter 72 Posted 18 March 2014.