Analyse whether the use of cliffhangers in popular television series and their seasons, such as Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead, is a shallow attempt to maintain returning viewers or if it is an effective plot device.
Also, does the "shallow attempt" work? If it is considered as such, does this sort of basic viewer manipulation alienate viewers, or are they hooked regardless? – JimEis5 years ago
This sort of tactic is poignant to a degree and definitely expected from mega-popular series, and really any television show is going to leave at least some things unanswered by the end of the episode or season because that's basically how you keep viewers engaged. But I think after a certain point the manipulation becomes too obvious and it can be alienating for viewers because it takes them out of the moment and forces them to realize they're being toyed with in a sense. It would be interesting to see a piece about this that uses specific examples and the reactions from fans. – darapoizner5 years ago
Though cliffhangers are absolutely infuriating, they act like a drug that leads the viewer needing more and more of it. When everything is tied up in a nice bow, what is going to push the audience to impatiently await the start of the next season?
I do view it as means of maintaining returning viewers, as well as acting as an effective plot device. Now, for clarification sake, it is an effective plot device when it is well thought out, drives the plot further, and serves a purpose in the show. Those cliffhangers that rely on pure sensationalism to "hook," the returning viewer, while leaving he or she with no real substance, is a shallow attempt to maintain returning viewers. Nice topic...I would like to see what is done with this. – danielle5775 years ago
It might benefit the topic, which is presently binary, to ask when is it effective and when is it manipulative, shallow, or unfair? – Tigey5 years ago
Very interesting idea. Cliffhangers are the ultimate catch 22. They might seem like a trope, but it is important to keep people interested. Plot is sometimes underestimated. – cbell5 years ago
In defense of GoT, there are too many story lines to not leave any one cliffhanger at the end of a season. Things just don't line up like that. As for the Walking Dead, as a consumer it did feel a bit cheap. In shows with only one real story line season ending cliff hangers don't inspire me to keep watching because everyone knows it'll all get resolved in the first bit of the next episode. Cliffhangers today need more depth, more layers to keep people interested, not just "oh, which one of these pre-determined people dies?" There's cliffhangers vs plot twists, and cliffhangers are the easier of the two. – Slaidey5 years ago