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Quotes / Cliffhanger Copout

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"With one bound Dick was free!"
— A 1940s catchphrase referencing the ease with which the main character of Dick Barton – Special Agent would always wriggle out of tight spots, with all the peril of his previous cliffhanging situation apparently forgotten.

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 ...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.

Joe Ford: Meh. In amongst all of this what is David Tennant doing?
Simon Harding: Nothing. Serving drinks.
Joe: There’s that massive idea of the TARDIS dying but they don’t really do much with it, do they?
Simon: They blow up the set and then find a light and the Doctor blows on it and hey presto it will be recharged in 24 hours. What? Why even bother if it was that easy? Plus he’s so over dramatic about every here – ‘we’ve reached the nowhere places…oh no wait it’s the Earth’ and ‘the TARDIS has died…oh no wait its alive again.’ Chill out, Doctor.


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