Quotes: Cliffhanger Copout

If they'd shown us that last time, I wouldn't have spent all week worrying about him.

The purpose of the cliffhanger has become lost over the years. A cliffhanger was a reference to the short serials that were shown before each feature, and which almost always ended on a moment that was overly dramatic or life threatening to the hero of the serial. The point, you see, was to encourage audiences to come back each week to find out what happened next. The happy byproduct of that was, of course, increased ticket sales for films in an era that had no television or internet to use as advertising mediums.

With the birth of television and, eventually with it, the concept of programming breaks, the cliffhanger was put to good use ensuring that viewing audiences would be invested in picking up where they'd left off after weeks or months of no new content. And, much like with the movie serials, fans came to identify which shows deserved continued viewing through the magic of quality storytelling..."Collateral" though...well, if we were deciding whether a show deserves to stay on the air based on the strength of its follow through on promises, Smallville should immediately be shoved in a burn bag and promptly forgotten.