Television shows get canceled and storylines get thrown out, while fans are left in an aftermath of carnage and destruction. An excellent TV series affects us in the same way a great book does (for those that still read books), by providing an escape from daily life. We become invested in our favorite characters and want to know their back-story, hookups, crimes, heroics, and most importantly, how their storyline ends.
Understandably, it costs a lot of money to produce a TV show and sometimes cuts and cancelations are inevitable. However, now and then, there’s a storyline left in limbo that leaves fans beyond disappointed and frustrated.
It’s like not making a Return of the Jedi after Empire Strikes Back, or wondering if the kids in Goonies retrieved enough gems to save their parents homes from the evil corporate goons.
After investing incredible amounts of time to watch every episode, it’s devastating to be left with unanswered questions. Yet despite the recklessness of it all, we fall in love with another series and hope it doesn’t leave us stranded again.
From active storylines and canceled shows to lazy writing, here are the 20 Unresolved TV Storylines That Make Us Lose Our Minds.
20. Morales – The Walking Dead
Not all unresolved storylines come from TV shows that are no longer with us. The Walking Dead, with its eighth season premiering on October 22, has shown how lazy writing can lead to frustrated viewers.
Morales, his wife, and two children were part of the original Atlanta crew that separated in season one. Fans were instantly drawn towards the family due to Morales being one of the “nicer” survivors that had natural leadership abilities.
While their return has been speculated over for several seasons, the reappearance or whereabouts of Morales and his family has never happened. Did they survive? If killed, was their death quick or gory?
19. The John Connor Question – Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
In 2008, FOX TV premiered Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, with creator Josh Friedman sitting at the helm. Much like the news of a new Terminator coming to movies in 2018, fans were ecstatic to get a TV series.
While it didn’t bring in ratings like Lost, the die-hard’s showed up every week and put up with Sarah Connor ─ waiting for the next John Connor scene came around. This, of course, only made things worse when the show ended on a huge cliffhanger. John goes to the future to escape assassins, and it turns out nobody knows who he is. What?!?
Josh Friedman has stated numerous times that he made a vow never to reveal any possible endings. Most likely he’s holding it as an ace up his sleeve, just in case Terminator was ever to hit a revival period. Might be time to break out that ace, Josh.
18. Galactic Bounty Hunters – Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Disney has done an amazing job of making Star Wars a household name once again, but unfortunately there were casualties. Before Rebels, The Force Awakens, and Han Solo standalone films, die hard Star Wars fans had The Clone Wars animated series.
Next to Ahsoka, one of the greatest storylines to come from The Clone Wars was the story of young Boba Fett and the ensemble of galactic bounty hunters. What Dave Filoni and Pablo Hidalgo started, was too good to be forgotten. So much in fact that three years after the cancelation, during 2017 Star Wars Celebration, Filoni treated fans to an unfinished clip of a cowboy style shoot-out between Boba Fett and Cad Bane.
There are even rumors that a young Boba Fett could get his own solo movie. Our hearts may have been crushed when The Clone Wars ended abruptly mid-season, but the stories may yet still live on.
17. The Last Italian Supper – The Sopranos
Never has there been a season finale and series ending like The Sopranos. It’s been a decade since millions of fans lost their minds when the TV screens went black. Supposedly the execution of mob boss Tony Soprano took place, but was never shown ─ seriously!?
Most can remember where they were during traumatic world events like 9/11 and the assassination of President Kennedy. The ending of The Sopranos was so disheartening that fans still remember that evening too, as their worlds were shattered by fictional characters.
Despite creator David Chase insisting the ending was intentional, fans still haven’t forgiven HBO for that experience and are praying something similar never occurs again in their lifetime. One can only hope that the ending for Game of Thrones won’t follow The Sopranos example.
16. Mystery Mantis Eggs – Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Buffy the Vampire Slayer has become a cult classic, much in part to its amazing first season and enormous following. The episode “Teacher’s Pet” introduced substitute biology teacher Natalie French, also known as She-Mantis, who Xander had the hots for. Buffy naturally kicks her butt, and the storyline looked as if it would live on with the shocking reveal of dozens of mantis eggs stored away in her closet.
Considering that the She-Mantis enjoyed devouring the heads of male virgin victims, it would have been cool to have seen an infestation of these creatures throughout Sunnydale.
Ironically, She-Mantis was referenced in six other episodes. Whether her eggs ever hatched or not has become a long-standing mystery, as the storyline was left unresolved. Perhaps Xander found them later on and finished them off with his machete as a way of taking out his sexual frustrations.
15. Ned and Chuck – Pushing Daisies
Pushing Daisies was, unfortunately, aired during the WGA strike that started in the fall of 2007 and lasted until February of 2008. What was an instant hit on ABC with 17 Primetime Emmy Award nominations and seven wins, fell to the wayside during season two and was cut 6 episodes in.
Bryan Fuller did an amazing job of introducing two characters who were in love with each other, but could never touch. Ned had brought Chuck back from the dead, but touching her again would have left her permanently dead. While there may have been a loop-hole discovered at some point in future episodes, viewers were only left to imagine and wonder.
Would they ever get to hold hands without gloves or kiss without plastic wrap around their faces? Fuller never gave up on the series as he’s attempted to have a comic book published and raise funds to bring the show back on another network.
14. Lost Childhood Friends – Lost
The series Lost has more than a few unresolved storylines and plot-holes, but the worst of them is the relationship between Ben and Annie.
Annie is introduced in the episode “The Man Behind the Curtain” as Ben’s only childhood friend. They were so close that she made Ben a wooden carved doll for him to remember her by for his birthday.
Not only did Ben keep the doll into his adult years, but Lindelof and Carlton Cuse mention on a DVD commentary track (from “The Man Behind the Curtain”) that Annie would have a major role in future storylines to come.
Providing back-stories that give depth and revelation into what makes a character tick is essential for a series like Lost. Expanding on those stories makes for great TV. Yet for reasons unknown, Annie’s character never returns and officially becomes lost forever.
13. A Hannibal Cliffhanger – Hannibal
Bryan Fuller seems to be lacking in the luck department when it comes to having his TV series’ canceled. As the creator of the show Hannibal, Fuller saw a chance to reintroduce the character Hannibal with an adaptation that viewers had never seen before.
Bryan knew his new show could be canceled at any moment, based on previous experience, so he always ended the series of Hannibal with a cliffhanger and a possible ending resolution in case it got cut. At the end of the third season, Will and Hannibal are seen killing the Great Red Dragon. When the task is complete, they embrace lovingly and fall off the edge of a cliff together.
As the credits roll, Bedelia is shown sitting at a dinner table with what appears to be her leg as the main course for the evening. Is Hannibal there with her? Did Will survive? Only Bryan Fuller knows, but he did hint during an interview after the shows cancelation that Hannibal was with Bedelia.
Talks with Bryan Fuller and TV executives have resumed about the potential revival of Hannibal.
12. The Short Lived Series – My So-Called Life
The huge hit My So-Called Life was a ’90s teenage drama that left fans pulling their hair out when it was canceled after just one season. Featuring Jared Leto and Claire Danes, the series ended due to supposedly low ratings. However, the roar heard from fans after its cancelation showed that there was a target audience being neglected.
The final episode left many storylines hanging, such as the love triangle between Jordan, Angela, and Brian, as well as the marital problems between Patty and Graham. Jordan and Angela walk away leaving Brian behind while Graham is on his way to hook up with Hallie Lowenthal.
11. Finding Drama – Finding Carter
Best known for his beautiful hair and man bun, Max from Finding Carter found his way into fans hearts almost immediately. However, it wasn’t enough to get MTV executives to sign off on a third season, citing poor ratings as the reason for the cancelation while leaving multiple storylines without a proper resolution.
In the season two finale, Max kills Carter’s boyfriend Jared and turns himself in, while Ben is left for dead on the side of a road after getting the crap beat out of him. Let’s not forget about Bird’s abortion or Crash telling Carter he loves her when everyone wanted Max and Carter to end up together ─ especially after their hot hookup in Max’s truck. Sigh, drama at its best.
10. The Unfinished List of Earl Hickey – My Name Is Earl
My Name is Earl was a classic slap-stick comedy with no real storyline other than Earl’s list. After winning $100,000 on a lottery ticket and then getting hit by a car, Earl Hickey started a list of all the things he’d done wrong in life to correct his Karma. Each episode revolved around Earl’s list as he crossed items off and constantly added new ones.
The worst part about his unfinished list is that producers knew in advance that the show was likely not to get a fifth season. So, instead of wrapping things up neatly for fans, they threw in cliffhangers, hoping NBC or another network would pick it up.
9. Great Depression – Carnivale
Carnivale was a brilliantly written TV show on HBO that was set during the 1930s, depicting the age old tale of good versus evil. The series was originally planned to run for six seasons, but was cut after just two because of declining ratings. While the finale for season two provided resolution for the first main storyline, there was no way for the writers to give it a proper and true ending.
The series won five Emmys out of fifteen nominations in 2004 and received numerous other nominations and awards for its second season. Carnivale is still worth watching if you can get your hands on it, despite its unresolved storyline. There’s still hope that HBO will revive this amazing story one day, similar to the recent Twin Peaks revival on Showtime.
8. Demons and Angel – Angel
Created by Joss Whedon, in collaboration with David Greenwalt, Angel was a spin-off series from the hit Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The series saw an increase in the ratings during its last season, plus it had a loyal cult following. So what happened?
Whedon went to the WB executives and asked for an early renewal to give his team time to develop the main thread of season five and wrap it up in season six, except six never happened because WB didn’t want to commit early on to an older show when they had a plethora of new shows launching.
This decision left fans losing their minds as a string of major storylines never got resolved, including Angel, Illyria, Gunn, and Spike being swarmed by demons with Angel swinging his sword as the screen goes dark. The sixth season was later written out through the comic book series, but it’s just not the same.
7. The Short Revival – Southland
Southland had an interesting back-story, as it was originally dropped by NBC after its second season, only to be picked up by TNT who cut it after three more seasons. For fans of the cop drama based on the streets of LA, this news was devastating, but also frustrating since the finale for season five ended with a cliffhanger.
Sammy found out about Ben’s dark side, and John Cooper gets shot by the cops for beating on his neighbors because he hasn’t recovered from being kidnapped. The final scene shows Cooper laying in the street bleeding out before going black.
Michael Cudlitz, who played Cooper, would later tell fans in an interview that his character survived ─ which was nice to know ─ but it also re-opened wounds for those still dealing with the shows abrupt cancelation.
6. Advertisers Get The Last Say – Teen Titans
Teen Titans was a superbly well written animated series that began its run in 2003 on the Cartoon Network. The show was originally scheduled for four seasons, but had a fifth added on due to its immense popularity.
However, for reasons still unknown to this day, a sixth season never happened. To satisfy fans who were losing their minds, the movie Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo was released to supposedly wrap up the unfinished storylines. In 2103, a spin-off was created and titled Teen Titans Go! However, it wasn’t anything like the original.
One major rumor floating around about Teen Titans cancelation was that executives were upset over the show accumulating a large female fan base, taking them away from other shows that had ads targeted towards young teenage girls.
5. The Un-Western Ending – Deadwood
Before the days of Westworld, fans got their western fix through the HBO series Deadwood. Running for three strong seasons while also having decent ratings, Deadwood’s season three finale ended with a cliffhanger only to not return for a fourth season.
What infuriated fans the most, was that the show was canceled because it cost a lot to produce and that David Milch was working on a new series for HBO. Instead for having the foresight to resolve possible issues, they gave the cast an option to pursue other endeavors which put the stake in the heart of Deadwood ─ but maybe not permanently as HBO is looking into doing a Deadwood movie.
4. Puppets Taken Down Too Soon – Alf
For those too young to remember, Alf was a classic ’80s sitcom that had a furry alien living with a typical suburban family. Running off the coat-tails of Jim Henson’s success with The Muppets, Alf had a loyal fan base that tuned in every week.
The show ended in its fourth season with Alf getting arrested by the US Alien Task Force, in what would be the shows final cliffhanger. For a comical show, the finale took on more serious tones which made it getting cut even more frustrating.
3. The Final Time Travel – Quantum Leap
Quantum Leap was an amazing Sci-Fi TV show from the ’90s that was way ahead of its time. Featuring Scott Bakula as the time traveling Dr. Sam Beckett and Dean Stockwell as Admiral Al Calavicci (Sam’s womanizing and cigar-smoking best friend), the series had five incredible seasons.
NBC decided at the last minute to cut the show leaving producers scrambling for an ending to wrap the series up. The result was horrible ─ producing more questions than answers, while leaving fans completely distraught.
The finale ended as a blank screen with text saying that Sam Beckett never returned home ─ except they spelled Sam’s last name wrong by only putting in one “T.” This style of lazy and sloppy writing was never seen before on Quantum Leap, leaving fans wondering: what the hell just happened?
2. Cartoon Discourse – Avatar: The Last Airbender
Avatar: The Last Airbender was an amazing animated show for all ages that ran on Nickelodeon for three seasons. The show dealt with personal growth and overcoming obstacles directed towards a target audience of teenagers facing similar issues.
Season three’s finale was two hours long, but still felt very rushed while not wrapping up a bunch of supporting characters storylines. The shows ending left so many fans upset that Nickelodeon created another series called The Legend of Korra where re-runs can be seen today on Nicktoons. The Legend of Korra picked up the storyline 70 years from where Avatar: The Last Airbender left off and proved to be another great animated series in its own right.
While it provided small insights and resolutions for some of the original and now old characters of Avatar, it still didn’t make up for the untold stories left behind from an animated series that should have had a run of six seasons.
1. The Crying Call – Las Vegas
In the realm of prime time soap operas, Las Vegas was a guilty pleasure that viewers would fall head-over-heels for. Full of beautiful men and women working in a casino, the series was full of relationship drama with bits of action thrown in for good measure.
Las Vegas managed to stay alive for 19 episodes into its fifth season before getting chopped, leaving loyal fans furious. Despite the laziness of the writing, viewers were heavily invested in Danny, Delinda and their future baby. Instead of providing a quick resolution, executives just threw the ax and left everyone wondering if the baby would survive.
Due to the uproar left in the wake of the carnage, NBC announced that the famous couple and their baby would appear in the background of the then new Knight Rider reboot, but that never happened because it too got canceled.
Can you think of any other TV storylines that still drive you crazy? Let us know in the comment section!
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