6 Unresolved Cliffhangers That Ruined Great TV Shows

#3. Stargate Universe -- Eli Will Freeze to Death in Two Weeks

MGM Television

Stargate Universe debuted in 2009 under the ground-breaking premise, "What if we did a Stargate show that wasn't completely dumb?" The overarching plot of the series is about the crew of the starship Destiny trying to find a way back to Earth and the various misadventures they get into along the way, sort of like Lost in Space, but without the annoying robot.

MGM Television
And with an awkward version of Will Robinson that better reflects today's sci-fi-watching audience.

The show gained a cult following made up of widowed Battlestar Galactica fans and was enthusiastically praised in Wikipedia's "critical reception" section, saying: "Metacritic summarizes the response as 'generally favorable reviews'."

The Cliffhanger:

A main character will suffer a slow, painful death.

There's an unspoken rule that all Stargate shows must end in a TV movie: Stargate SG-1 got not one but two direct-to-DVD offerings after it ended, and when Stargate Atlantis wrapped up, another film was announced. So when Universe was cancelled, the writers apparently got a little overconfident and left a central character in the worst possible position: about to die all alone in a cold, empty universe.

In the last episode, all of the crew members in the ship are forced to put themselves into stasis for three years ... except one guy, Eli Wallace, whose stasis pod is broken. Eli has two weeks to fix his pod before the ship's life support gets turned off to preserve energy for the remainder of the trip, and the show's final scenes show him calmly walking around the now deserted ship, when he should have been freaking the fuck out, trying to think of a way to save his ass.

MGM Television
"So, uh, that pod looks like it can fit two people ..."
"Sorry, I like to sleep diagonally."

The plot would have been resolved in the traditional postmortem TV movie, but that movie never happened (the Atlantis one was canned too). So that's where the series and the franchise ended, with Eli having days to fix up a broken pod made from alien technology that he has little experience with repairing or rebuilding. At some point, the rest of the crew will wake up to find a frozen Eli corpse jammed into the ventilation system, forever hugging the last Twinkie found in the ship's kitchen pantry.

Tragic, but then again, the mortality rate in the Stargate program has always been pretty high if you aren't Richard Dean Anderson.

#2. Soap -- Everyone Is About to Die

Sony Pictures Television

Soap, the iconic late '70s sitcom, had a tendency to flip-flop between satirizing soap operas and just being one, with its sprawling storylines about love affairs, amnesia, and murder. Also, alien duplicates who have sex with your wife and spawn flying babies (you never see that on Dynasty). The show also had the distinction of being the first one ever to piss off absolutely everyone before it even aired, from Catholic anti-slander groups to the gay community.

Sony Pictures Television
Yes, that's Billy Crystal in drag. Pleasant dreams.

The Cliffhanger:

Everyone's gonna die. Not eventually. Like, in two seconds.

As we mentioned, Soap had long, soap-opera-like storylines, and you knew that if someone got killed in this show, they actually had the sense to remain dead. By the end of Season 4, main character Jessica Tate wound up being put in front of a firing squad in South America, while her ex-husband Chester was about to kill his son Danny after catching him hooking up with his stepmother. And on that semi-incestuous note, the show ends.

Sony Pictures Television
The best outcome for both stories would be someone shooting blanks.

The last thing we see is Jessica being shot at by the firing squad and closing her eyes. That's how this mostly light-hearted sitcom ended its run: with the main character less than a second away from a painful death. Holy shit, Soap beat The Sopranos by 30 years! Sure, the writers could have probably pulled something out of their asses to get Jessica out of that situation in the next season, but the point is, that never happened because the show got cancelled.

Apparently, Soap's main sponsors dropped their support shortly after the episode aired. Combine this with the outrage the show constantly generated and the series became more trouble than it was worth, so ABC just pulled the plug. The only survivor was the butler character, Benson, who was starring in his own sitcom at this point.

Sony Pictures Television
Marking the first time a black character was the only one to avoid a senseless death.

#1. Wolverine and the X-Men -- The Bad Guy Takes Over the World

Marvel Studios

In this incarnation of the X-Men franchise, Professor X is exploded into a coma in the first episode and Wolverine steps up as leader of the team, because who the hell is gonna say no to that guy? The Professor then contacts Wolvie from the future to tell him that everything is fucked: the world will be taken over by giant mutant-killing robots, and it's up to our favorite bicentennial Canadian to reunite the scattered X-Men and stop this disastrous event from happening.

Marvel Studios
By stabbing as many people as possible, naturally.

The Cliffhanger:

Everything is even more fucked.

In the Season 1 finale, Wolverine and his team finally succeed in preventing the bad future ... only to be contacted by Professor X, who tells them that their victory has given rise to a WORSE one. Instead of a future where mutants are oppressed and stomped by giant metallic boots, the world is now under the control of the ancient mutant Apocalypse and his cronies, major creep Mr. Sinister and an evil version of Cyclops, who is now an actual cyclops.

Marvel Studios
After a horrific accident involving a bathroom mirror.

The last shots of the series are of the grim, pyramid-littered landscape of the Age of Apocalypse, and that's where it ends. The series was reportedly cancelled because of "issues with the show's funding," which is TV-executive code for "We spent all the money on coke."

While shitty futures are nothing new to the mutants of Marvel (as things go to hell for them pretty much every time someone steps on a caterpillar), considering the Mengele-style genetics obsession Apocalypse had in the comics, we're going to go ahead and say that they were probably better off with the flying Nazitrons.

Marvel Studios
Say what you will about flying Nazitrons, at least it's an ethos.

The next season would have shown the X-Men trying to prevent Apocalypse's apocalypse, although we prefer to think that it would have simply revealed the future Professor X to be senile and unwittingly sending his delusions to the past via telepathy. Think about it: The guy is pretty old in the present, how the hell is he even alive decades into the future?



Anyone interested in seeing more of Henrik's work, but with pictures, can check out his webcomics over here: http://www.drunkduck.com/Twisted_Mind_of_Stranger/.



Related Reading: These cliffhangers are insane, but not nearly as insane as Steel Justice- the show about a flamethrowing metal tyrannosaurus robot. And have you ever wished you could watch the Golden Girls, but without Bea Arthur and with Cheech Marin? That show totally exists! And, oddly enough, it isn't nearly as racist as the shows on this list.

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