It's been a couple of weeks since we lost the de facto inventor of the season-ending cliffhanger, Larry Hagman. That "Who Shot J.R.?" is the stuff of legend.

Well, now we don't have to wait for the end of the season for that cliffhanger anymore. I know three shows, off the top of my head, that have devised either the mid-season finale (The Walking Dead), the fall finale (Revolution), or the winter finale (Once Upon a Time).

Gotta call foul on that last one.

Uh, December 2nd is still fall. But why carp?

We now get nail-biting cliffhangers midway through a program's season. But there's a catch. These shows take long breaks before returning in the new year. And...you may not necessarily bite your nails.

 

YouTube

On Once Upon a Time--a clever ABC fantasy about fairy tale characters cursed to live in modern-day Maine. And let me clarify, Maine fans. It's a curse because they're in 2012, not because they're in Maine.

Let me also clarify about Once Upon a Time. Although fairy tale characters--and the occasional literary character--populate the series, it's hardly the most kid-friendly show that ever existed. It's a creation of the folks who brought us Lost. And like Lost, it rambles through a series-long storyline with no apparent end in sight.

It will be off a month after last Sunday's "winter finale."

 

 

On Monday, November 26th, NBC's first new fictional series hit in a long, long time--Revolution--offered up its "fall finale" in which--SPOILER ALERT--power was restored to an attack helicopter in a world where there is no power--electric, battery, you name it. That's a decent, albeit not unexpected, fall cliffhanger.

Revolution will leave fans wanting for about four months. Its return is scheduled for March 25th.

 

 

Then we have the best of the bunch, The Walking Dead. Its "mid-season finale" wasn't one of those "shock to the system" affairs that often define the cliffhanger. But it was very meaningful and revealing. The episode was one of the show's best, and I'm a huge fan of all of it. I can't help but wonder how long the series will last considering the graphic novel series sports more than 100 installments. I'll watch--or read--'em all if I need to.

The Walking Dead is taking a break until sometime in February. I'm already crossing off days on the calendar.