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The Unreveal / Live-Action TV

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Unreveals in live-action TV.

General Examples

  • In one episode of Are You Being Served?, the staff chips in (a grand total of £6.25) to buy a birthday gift for Mrs. Slocombe. She takes the top off the box and exclaims, "It's just what I've always wanted!" It's passed around to the rest of the cast, who all comment on the gift ("I've had one for years myself", "I wish I'd had one in the desert", "I've never actually seen one before"). Mr. Humphries then turns to the audience and says, "We're not going to tell you what it is, it's a secret."
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  • In Barney & Friends, we for some reason neither see Baby Bop, BJ, and/or Riff emerge from their, um... ...home dimension nor see Barney turn back into a doll.
  • The original Battlestar Galactica uses centons as units of time. A character asks "What is a centon?" Cut to another scene.
  • Bob from Becker told a story about why he never turns on the light when he gets dressed. The rest is never revealed but the characters are shocked and disgusted by the story.
  • Played with in an episode of The Big Bang Theory, where Sheldon finds and reads the contents of an envelope that Howard got from his long-estranged father on his 18th birthday. Howard destroys the envelope and demands that Sheldon never tell anyone, himself included, its contents, but later is clearly wracked over not knowing what it said. Eventually, the rest of the characters work out a compromise whereby they'll each tell Howard a different version of what was inside the envelope, but not which of them is telling the truth. Which version was true is never stated, but it's definitely not what Sheldon claims it to be (a pirate treasure map), and probably not what Raj says it is (a birthday card with a fairly bland message, with Raj spending more time talking about the card itself than the message).
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  • In the final episode of Blackadder Goes Forth, just as the men are about to go over the top, Baldrick tells Blackadder that he has a cunning plan. After asking how cunning it is, Blackadder wistfully observes that it will have to wait, although it was surely better than his own plan of pretending to be mad. Then the whistle blows and they all go over the top.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Who was Adam before he was turned into the "Tri-borg" human/demon/cyborg Adam? "Not a man among us remembers."
  • None of Charlie's Angels know what Charlie looks like, but they've come close to finding out.
    • Their client in one episode was a former co-star of Charlie's in a theatre production. She agrees to show them a picture of him in costume. When she does, it turns out he's playing Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream and is wearing a donkey mask.
    • The Angels went undercover in a magic show. At the end of the episode, Charlie compliments them on their performance as he was not only at the show, he gave Kris a pen to use in the act. The other two start to question her about Charlie's appearance. Unfortunately, poor Kris doesn't remember.
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    • The Angels work with an old associate of Charlie's who does know what he looks like. But when asked, she deliberately gives them a contradictory description.
  • In El Chavo del ocho, we never get to hear El Chavo's real name, nor who he lives with in apartment number eight (most people think he lives in the patio barrel). He does get asked a few times, but whenever he's about to say it, another character enters the scene and interrupts him.
  • Cheers: Vera Peterson (Norm's wife) never appears until the famous Thanksgiving episode. At the end, she arrives for their Thanksgiving dinner and the gang is thrilled to finally meet her. Then Diane tries to hit Sam with a pumpkin pie, hits Vera instead, and she remains The Faceless.
  • Chuck: Agent Sarah Walker's real name. We know that she went by an alias as early as high school. At least a couple times characters who know it tried to say it but she interrupted them. At one point Chuck asks for her middle name. She said it was "Lisa", but Chuck had already left, so only the viewer heard. There are some hints about her name, but they may be lies.
  • Community parodied the Pulp Fiction example and ultimately subverted the trope in the episode "Critical Film Studies". The group throws a Pulp Fiction themed birthday party for Abed and one member of the group gets him a briefcase like the one in the film. Chang goads Troy into opening it and seeing what's inside. He opens it and is awed by what he sees as a golden glow emanates from the briefcase. Then we see what's inside: a light bulb and a certificate of authenticity revealing that it's the actual prop used in the film... which Abed later debunks.
  • In one episode of The Conditions Of Great Detectives the solution to the murder-trick is never revealed because Tenkaichi said it would be far more interesting if they never found out the truth (and because he didn't want to admit that his solution was wrong).
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Doctor's real name:
      • In "The Trial of a Time Lord", episode 2, when exploring ruins with Peri, the Doctor lists the name of an archaeological paper he could author on their findings, and caps it off, "by Doctor..." — at which point Peri interrupts him.
      • "Forest of the Dead": In order to get the Doctor's trust, River Song whispers his real name in his ear. The audience of course doesn't hear it.
      • "The Wedding of River Song": During the titular wedding, the Doctor whispers something in River's ear and announces that he's just told her his name. Later in the episode, a flashback reveals that he actually said "Look into my eye", cluing her in on his plan to cheat death.
      • "Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS": In the TARDIS library, Clara finds a history of the Time War with the Doctor's name in it. At the climax, she tells him that she found this out, but he shushes her before she can say it, and the pushing of the Reset Button to save the day ensures that she does not retain the knowledge.
      • "The Name of the Doctor" does not reveal the Doctor's real name either. With the Doctor being the only person capable of seeing/hearing the person who opens the door — River Song — her opening of the door is left inaudible, though even if it hadn't, the Doctor screaming, "please!!" at the top of his lungs would have likely drowned it out regardless.
    • There is... something… in "Midnight", that possesses the passengers and turns all of the Doctor's strengths against him. Nothing is revealed about this entity, nothing is even implied about its past, not even its name. Even the name for it on the TARDIS Data Core Wiki, "Midnight Entity", is a name given to it by fans. On top of all that, it's not even revealed whether this entity survived or not. At least we know what the Weeping Angels, Silence, and Vashta Nerada are; here, literally nothing at all is revealed about this creature. Not even the Doctor knows what it is.
    • In "The Lodger", we never do find out who it was that was trying to build a TARDIS. It's later implied to have been the Silence's doing.
    • "The Big Bang": We're never actually told who was behind the plan to destroy the universe by blowing up the TARDIS. All the episode does is set this up as a plot point for the next series. The implication is there, but that just raises even more questions.
    • "The God Complex" has as a plot point a Hell Hotel that has a room with every tenant's worst fear. The Doctor opens the door to his room, we hear the TARDIS's Cloister Bell going off, and the Doctor mutters "Of course, who else?", but we never actually see what's in the room. The events of "Amy's Choice" would imply that he saw himself, however, although it has also been speculated the he saw the Valeyard (who has also been surmised to be the source of the "Dream Lord" seen in "Amy's Choice"). Given who the Valeyard is, there's arguably no difference between the two. In "The Time of the Doctor", we find out that it's actually the crack in time and space.
    • "Listen" never reveals whether the person under the bedsheet was one of the creatures the Doctor is hunting, nor whether the creature he's looking for actually exists.
    • "The Tsuranga Conundrum": Early in the episode, senior medic Astos notices something odd in the Doctor's medical information, which he points out to his colleague Mabli. In the confusion of the ambulance ship being attacked by a hostile entity, it's never revealed what he saw.
  • The Drew Carey Show: Mimi's allergic reaction to her experimental brand of make-up requires her to go without the garish stuff completely for a week. After covering up for the whole episode, she comes up with a flashlight that will cast the colored light pattern on her face. Notable in that the following episode of Whose Line Is It Anyway? featured Mimi's actress, Kathy Kinny, as a contestant, sans make-up.
  • Firefly:
    • All through, Shepherd Book acts much like a preacher out of a western, but occasionally shows skills with hand to hand combat and firearms, and once flips a badge to some Alliance guards. In The Movie, Book is talking to Mal about how government assassins operate. Mal comments that for a preacher, he sure seems to know an awful lot about that world. Book replies "I wasn't born a Shepherd". Mal says to him: "You know someday you'll have to tell me about that." Book pauses... and replies firmly "No, I don't."
      • It was revealed in a follow-up comic that Book was with the Independence, and joined the Alliance as a mole. He was dishonorably discharged after an attack he led was ambushed. Book helped plan the ambush, and while the Alliance was unable to prove that, they strongly suspected it.
    • There's also the question of what Saffron's real name actually is. In a rather satisfying scene, Mal asks Saffron what her real name is, and when she hesitates, he gives her a Pistol-Whipping in the face, and mutters "You'd only've lied anyhow."
    • Exactly what happened to Earth-that-Was?
      • In the role-playing game it's revealed that there's no FTL travel (the 'Verse is just a very large solar system) and that people originally reached the 'Verse via generation ships. As a result, Earth-that-Was is simply too far away to go back to. Also, Earth-that-Was was abandoned because it was rapidly disintegrating (overpopulation, pollution, unrest) at the time. Opinions are divided over whether the migration completely emptied out Earth-that-Was or not.
  • The Flash (2014) episode "The Once and Future Flash" ends with Savitar removing his armor in front of Killer Frost in order to convince her to ally with him. We are shown the armor segments coming apart and someone stepping out, except all we see are the legs and Frost's reaction.
  • Frasier: A season 4 episode has Frasier worrying about whether he should advise Niles to reconcile with Maris. He decides that if he wants to know what Maris thinks he's going to have to "go to the source". Cut to him in Cafe Nervosa, apparently waving hello to a thin, well-dressed blonde woman... who walks straight past him. He's actually there to meet Maris's housekeeper, Marta.
    • In Episode 11 episode "No Sex Please, We're Skittish", Roz tells Niles she slept with Frasier. Niles, understandably, is shocked. Later, Frasier tells Niles to "brace himself", and tells him that he slept with Roz.
      Niles: (feigning shock badly) NO WAY! You and ROZ?
  • On "The one in London" on Friends, Joey never got to explain how he met Duchess Fergie.
    • Season 8 - We never get to hear Joey's sex story that starts about him going backpacking through Western Europe.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • During the third episode of season 6 it appears as if the show is about to reveal what Ned Stark saw at the Tower of Joy during one of Bran's visions. However, prior to the revelation being made The Three Eyed Raven stops Bran from seeing anymore and tells him (and the viewers) "enough for one day".. This was not a major plot point in the show prior to this episode, but was of major interest to fans of the original book series because of how it relates to the popular fan theory that Jon Snow is the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen.
    • Shae is vague and mysterious about her past. When Cersei corners her and demands details about her life, Shae starts, "When I was thirteen..." but gets cut off.
  • Heroes:
    • Sylar, in disguise, is talking with Sandra Bennett about the then-unnamed HRG. Sylar says that he never saw "Mr. Bennett" as a dog person. Sandra responds by wondering why everyone always calls him Mr. Bennett, then says "I've always known him as..." before being interrupted by her dog Mr. Muggles licking Sylar's feet.
    • The creator commentary for the first-season finale has the creators talking loudly over the reveal of HRG's name. Possibly intentional, but hilarious coincidence if it isn't. Eventually they reveal his first name to be Noah. Which sort of makes this a case of the Un-Unreveal.
    • The Haitian, whose name isn't revealed for the first three seasons, but suddenly everyone's just like, "Hey, Réné.".
  • Wilson, Tim Taylor's neighbor in Home Improvement, always has the lower half of his face obscured from the viewers, usually by the fence which separates his yard from Tim's. In the few episodes when a full body shot of Wilson is shown, he is only shown from behind. There was even one episode where Wilson attends a party at Tim's house, but in every close-up of his face, there is always some other item in front of him to prevent the viewers from seeing the lower half of his face. In one instance, the lower half of his face is revealed, only for the top part to be covered with a mask. In another, he's painting a self-portrait, but when he shows it to the camera he's only finished the top half of his face. Eventually lampshaded in the title sequence, which by the end of the series had a whole series of bizarre obstructions of Wilson's face animated in.
  • Horatio Hornblower: Much of the drama in the second series revolves around the question of how Captain Sawyer fell, and who pushed him if anyone did. There are a number of suspicions, accusations, and cryptic silhouettes, and it seems that it will be revealed at the end of "Retribution" when Hornblower is asked at court. His honour would grant a truthful account. All the audience ever knows for sure is that Sawyer remembered who did it, but his mental powers were weak even before he fell. Midshipman Wellard wasn't sure about his involvement, but came to the conclusion that he didn't do it, and he seemed to believe that one of the lieutenants was guilty, but he wanted to protect them. That leaves Hornblower, who was accused by Buckland in court, and Kennedy, who confessed to it — but in all probability falsely — before Hornblower could answer the charge. In Hornblower fandom, this is a true Riddle for the Ages.
  • How I Met Your Mother loves this trope.
    • On one episode, Ted teases his kids about what a goat did during his 30th birthday party. When he finally gets to it at the end, he realizes that it actually happened on his 31st birthday, and drops the subject. Sure enough, Ted revealed what happened on an episode broadcast a year later.
    • The Pineapple Incident. At the end of the episode, Ted admits that he never found out where the pineapple came from.
      • In fact, it's revealed in episode 10 in Season 9 (so, 8 seasons later), what happened and he remembered it as well. So he still should have know it by the time he told his kids about the accident.
    • Barney's job. We know where he works and that he has his own office; we just don't know the specific job title. When asked, he simply replies "Please!" In season nine, it's revealed that his title is Provide Legal Exculpation And Sign Everything.
    • The biggest, repeated Unreveal of them all: the identity of the mother. About twice a season, the writers set it up to reveal her identity, and then pull out at the last second. We have managed to see her umbrella, her college class, her roommate, her apartment, her foot, and later, her musical instrument. In season nine, she made her appearance onscreen and how she and Ted meet. But at the end of the show, it turns out that she's Dead All Along and Ted is telling the story as a way to ask his kids their permission if he can go after Robin.
    • At least twice, Future Ted has deliberately withheld the Reveal because he's telling this story to his kids and he's trying to censor it for them:
      • While Ted's dating Victoria, the gang relates the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to them. Victoria starts her story, then we cut to an all black screen. Future Ted says "Kids, I know I tell you a lot of off-color stories, but there's no way in Hell I'm telling you this one."
      • Barney once told Lily a joke. But when he tells her the punchline, Future Ted says it was the most vile thing he'd ever heard and offended Lily so much she stopped hanging out for a few weeks. note 
  • iCarly: In iThink They Kissed, Carly asks Sam and Freddie if they enjoyed the kiss. Before they answer, Spencer interrupts them, and the question is never answered.
  • Part of the point of the game "Spill Your Guts or Fill Your Guts" on The Late Late Show with James Corden is that one of the players has to eat the disgusting delicacy placed in front of them if they either can't answer the question or don't want to answer the question they're being asked. So, when James is asked who his least favorite passenger on Carpool Karaoke has been - something he has an answer for - he, naturally, eats cat brains instead. There's a story somewhere...
    • What happens during Celebrity Noses, "the best bit in late night"? We may never know, as Hilarity Ensues every time James tries to get the game started. (From what we can tell, it's just pictures of celebrities' noses, but again, we may never know for sure).
  • On Jack-of-All-Trades, Captain Brogard once had the opportunity to rip off the mask of "the Daring Dragoon" and reveal his secret identity... except that Jack was wearing a second mask underneath the one Brogard ripped off!
  • In Leverage, Sophie's real name fails to be revealed several times. In the finale, we finally find out that it isn't Lara.
  • Lost. There are naturally a number of elements that have remained unexplained for a long time, but there have been a few instances where the reveals seemed to be coming and were withheld.
    • At the end of season 1, Locke finally blew open the hatch, but what was inside was not revealed until the season 2 premiere. Though the fact that the hatch blew open mere seconds before the ending of the episode should've been a great hint that it would be a cliffhanger.
    • Locke's paralysis. After his first flashback episode revealed he'd been in a wheelchair, viewers spent his next few flashback episodes expecting to learn how he got there. By the time this was revealed in "The Man From Tallahassee", it was completely unexpected. In one flashback Locke gets hit by a car, causing the viewer to immediately expect to see him in a wheelchair afterwards.
    • Jack demanding to know who his wife Sarah is cheating on him with. If you were a hyper-paranoid Lost fan, you probably imagined it was someone we had seen before or someone important to the overall plot. In the end it was just some guy played by an extra with no lines.
  • Partial version in the Magnum, P.I. episode "I, Witness". Magnum's friends were present at a robbery, in the course of which they apparently lost their clothes. They recount the robbery to him "Rashomon"-Style, but what he's especially curious about is the clothes. They eventually do explain that the robbers made everyone strip to deter them from giving chase...but that that's not the end of the story. What happened after that? The episode ends, so we (and Magnum) will never know.
  • Malcolm in the Middle:
    • In the finale, Malcolm is (naturally) the valedictorian of his class. He's introduced as "Malcolm—" (microphone feedback). It was initially planned as "Wilkerson" (Francis wears a badge with this name in the very first episode) but then they decided to get rid of it to leave the family's ethnic origin less clear. "Nolastname" appears on Francis's nametag in the last episode.
    • Where they live exactly is never revealed, either.
    • Jamie's gender was originally kept secret, with "It's a beautiful baby..." (ambulance siren), he was eventually revealed to be a boy in the next season premiere when he peed on Hal.
    • Hal was once given a choice whether to keep a hospitalized neighbor alive or disconnect his life support. Eventually, he takes a third option, but we're not told what it is. All we know is that it was obvious to Hal when he found out the man was a bird lover and all he needed could be found at Radio Shack...except the hat.
  • Married... with Children: We never see Peggy's mother, except in shadow form descending the stairs as Al and his friends look on in horror (after learning she is the voice of "Butter", the phone-sex operator Griff has fallen in love with).
  • Mayday: Rare.
    • It is known that South African Airways Flight 295, the subject of "Fanning the Flames", was brought down by an on-board fire. But whether it was accidental or the result of Apartheid Era espionage remains unknown.
    • Subverted with "Death and Denial", about Egypt-Air Flight 990. The episode presents the case that the plane was deliberately brought down by the First Officer, and that the Egyptian government's official explanation of mechanical failure was made due to Arab culture's aversion to suicide rather than the facts. Therefore, the cause of the crash is known, yet cannot be officially determined because of the differing politics and social mores between the U.S. and Egypt.
    • And then again with "Pushed to the Limit", about SilkAir Flight 185. Like in "Death and Denial", this episode presents the case that the plane was deliberately brought down by a crew member (this time, the Captain), and that the Indonesian government's official explanation of mechanical failure was made because the entire Boeing 737 line, at the time of the incident, had been dealing with a mechanical issue with the rudder's control unit that had previously caused the crash of two other 737s (which themselves were profiled in the episode "Hidden Dangers"). Again, known cause of crash, no official determination.
    • Played straight in the case of Reeve Aleutian Airlines Flight 8, in which a propeller fractured and damaged the aircraft. Since the incident happened over water, the missing piece of the propeller was never found, so investigators could never determine what caused it to break.
    • Similarly, Northwest Flight 85. In that case, investigators could tell that the cause of the rudder hard-over was metal fatigue, but they were never able to determine why the metal in that particular unit wore down so quickly.
  • The entire series of Merlin is made of this trope. Nearly every episode sets up the reveal to King Arthur that Merlin has magic... Five seasons on and the reveal still hasn't come to pass, despite ample opportunities, hints dropped and full anvils being dropped on Arthur's head as to the nature of his servant Merlin. Until the very last episode.
  • One season of Mira Quién Baila (a Spanish analogue of Dancing with the Stars) featured Blue Demon Jr., a famous masked luchador whose face has never been seen in public, as one of the contestants. The judges docked him some points because they couldn't see his facial expressions, which led to a long and tense debate about whether he should remove his mask. Toward the end of the season, he finally conceded and said he would show his true face. He dramatically removed the mask to reveal... another mask. It was quite an emotional episode.
  • Geraldo Rivera's infamous TV special The Mystery of Al Capone's Vaults, in which Rivera and his crew conducted an excavation of a "secret vault" purported to contain Al Capone's treasure. When the vault was finally opened, it was found to be empty apart from debris and broken bottles. Rivera held one of the bottles up to the camera, excitedly proclaiming that it once contained "bathtub moonshine gin".
  • A rare real-life version of this happened with the National Geographic Channel's highly-publicised television special in 2003. Supervised by leading Egyptologist Dr. Zahi Hawaas, the show was a first-time stunt in the history of TV - The television crew and Hawass' expedition used a robot to peer into a narrow shaft that opens into the queen's chamber of the Great Pyramid - Within the shaft Hawass found another stone block, possibly a door, and Hawass was made a laughingstock in front of live TV audiences from 140 countries. Poor guy.
  • In an episode of NCIS, Abby is upset because she thinks Gibbs forgot her birthday. Toward the end of the episode, Gibbs not only assures her that he remembered, but was able to slip her gift in her desk drawer when she wasn't looking. She opens the box, and all the viewers see is a glow on her face as she whispers, "That's so Pulp Fiction!" There have been other Pulp Fiction references in the episode.
  • On The New Adventures of Old Christine, Richard finds out that Matthew and Barb once made out. For security, they demand to know one of his secrets. He responds by telling them about an incident from his high school wrestling days. The audience never hears what exactly his story is. We do, however, see Matthew and Barb's thoroughly Squicked reaction.
  • In the first episode of Power Rangers Super Megaforce, Gosei gives the team the Super Mega Morphers and the Ranger Keys. Jake, the Black Megaforce Ranger, notices his Super Mega key is green and asks what's up with that. Gosei's response is to say "There's a very good explanation for that..." and gets cut off by explosions. We never find out the reason.
  • Played for Laughs on the April Fools' Day 2011 episode of The Price Is Right. Throughout the whole show, host Drew Carey hypes up a "10,000th something", which at the end is nothing.
  • The Prisoner (1967) is rife with them, even aside from those "answered" in its infamous Gainax Ending. Word of God said that anything meaningful enough to answer has been, and everything else, like who ran the prison or the specifics of Number Six's resignation, are utterly unimportant.
  • When Chelsea and Raven get stuck in a vault in Raven's Home, Chelsea reveals a secret to Raven under the guise that they might die in there. The secret is cut away from, however judging from Raven's angry reaction it wasn't anything positive.
  • Red Dwarf Series 8 ended with a substantial cliffhanger, followed by a decade-long hiatus. The returned series was set nine years later, and the resolution of the cliffhanger was not addressed at all. Finally, at the end of Series X, the cliffhanger was mentioned with Rimmer claiming credit for its resolution, only to be interrupted before he explained how he did it.
  • At the end of Remington Steele, Steele asks his father what his real name is... only to find that his father has just died.
  • Saturday Night Live:
    • The "It's Pat" sketches from the early '90s were built around repeatedly Unrevealing Pat's sex to both the other characters and the audience. In only one sketch do the characters learn Pat's sex, but the reveal is interrupted by a fake news bulletin. This extended all the way through The Movie of the sketch. Fans have pointed out that Sweeney tilts her head to the side in a feminine manner during one sketch, suggesting that Pat is female.
    • When Hugh Laurie hosted one time, he sang a folk song about the world's problems in one sketch. In the chorus, he says there's a simple and obvious solution. But when he goes to say it, he instead mumbles while looking nervous.
  • Seinfeld:
    • In "The Seven", we never do find out why Jerry's girlfriend always seems to be wearing the same dress.
    • In "The Pie", we never find out why the girl wouldn't taste the pie.
    • The audience never finds out why Kramer was discharged from the Army.
  • An interesting In-Universe example for Sesame Street: For the first fifteen or so years of the show, Big Bird's best friend Mr. Snuffleupagus was seen by the bird, some Muppets, and, of course, the viewers. However, whenever Big Bird tried to introduce Snuffy to his adult friends, something always prevented them from meeting him.
  • Sherlock:
    • We never found out which pill was poisoned and whether Sherlock was right in "A Study in Pink".
    • "The Reichenbach Fall" ends with Sherlock very convincingly committing suicide, then attending his own funeral, forcing fans to come up with crazy theories for how he did it. "The Empty Hearse" starts by finally revealing how he did it... you think. Turns out the whole thing is an Imagine Spot - of fans of Sherlock's work in-universe, who don't want to believe he's dead. Later in the episode, they do finally reveal how he did it... NOT. It's another Imagine Spot. You'd think we wouldn't fall for it the second time. Then even later, Sherlock explains how he did it, making it seem like we were finally getting the real story... but while it was the most plausible explanation, the character he tells it to realizes that he might not be telling the truth. Word of God says that what Sherlock told Anderson at the end was true, making this an arguable subversion. The correct answer is given, it's just delivered in such a way where it's not immediately clear that it was the correct answer.
  • The Sopranos — The Series Finale had all the makings of a high tension close... only to fade to black without anything being resolved. What really happened? No one knows, but Word of God later squashed many of the free floating theories and all of the violent ones.
  • The real name of the protagonist of Spartacus: Blood and Sand has been almost revealed several times, with responses ranging from "I don't care, you're Spartacus now" to "every girl in town knows who you are" (from his future wife).
  • On Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the finale arc had a few characters wondering what the Breen really look like under those armored suits they always wear. At one point, a Breen is shown taking off its helmet... only to reveal that it's actually Kira disguised as a Breen.
  • Several times on Star Trek: The Next Generation Beverley Crusher really has to tell Jean-Luc something... but we never find out what. (We assume it was "I love you"...)
  • The rather infamous series finale of Star Trek: Enterprise did not reveal the "historic speech" made by Archer that supposedly impacted the founding of the Federation, as it was presented as a holographic recording aboard the TNG's Enterprise, and cut to Riker and other TNG characters commenting about it after the intro.
  • On Step by Step, J.T, Cody, Dana, and Karen decided to see who could go without sleep the longest. While J.T, Dana, and Karen started showing signs of fatigue, Cody started to develop sharper mental faculties. At the end of the episode, the family comes back from a baseball game to find that J.T, Dana, and Karen have all fallen asleep and suddenly, Cody realizes the meaning of life. He starts to announce it, then he too falls asleep.
  • In the Supernatural episode "Croatoan" (S02, Ep09), Dean twice almost tells Sam what their father whispered to him before John died: once when he thought Sam was infected, but was interrupted when Dr. Lee returned, and then again at the end of the episode creating a cliffhanger.
    Dean: He told me something about you.
    Sam: What? Dean, what did he tell you?
  • Teen Wolf: "Hey look! They're showing us the Alpha transforming into a human? ...Oh wait. You can't tell who it is with that shadowy silhouette."
  • That '70s Show makes a point of never revealing Fez's name or what country he comes from.
  • The identity of The Stig from Top Gear is a closely guarded secret at the BBC. In one episode, he did reveal his identity by removing his helmet during an interview with Jeremy Clarkson. It's Michael Schumacher! Then, at episode's end, they allow him to take a lap in their Reasonably Priced Car. The lap is a disaster. (He stalls it off the line, goes off track twice, goes through the tires the wrong way, and ultimately gets lost.) After seeing this, Clarkson says "You know, I don't think [he] is The Stig after all."
  • TV Total had a distinct voice talent narrating clips or interviewing people who was never seen, aside from his arm holding the microphone. The Grand Finale finally saw him make a cameo as the studio announcer, but with his face mostly obscured. Later, when Studio Amani aired in the same time slot, several of TVT's staff members made guest appearances, with this guy's face being blurred.
  • The Walking Dead Season 6 finale "Last Day on Earth" The new Big Bad Negan makes his appearance and chooses one of the protagonists to kill, but the screen changes to first person as blood leaks down the screen, so we don't know who got killed." This ending was criticized strongly by fans and critics alike for being a cop-out and not having the same graphic brutality as the comic book panel.
  • In the Series Finale of Warehouse 13, all the agents share their favourite memories of the Warehouse. Mrs. Frederic shares three memories, but only Steve is present and the audience only sees the last one. Both other times, we cut back to them as Steve is reacting, saying "You were there for that?" for the first and "So that's Mr. Frederic." for the second.
  • Xena: Warrior Princess. The episode where there was a 20th century reporter running around. His camera runs out of tape just as Xena & Gabrielle were about to reveal the true nature of their relationship.
  • The X-Files: The whole show was set-up as two honest people who fight against The Conspiracy, and the show's runner Chris Carter kept promising mind-blowing finales, both in season finales/season openers (done fairly successfully) and the final truth was supposed to be incredibly huge, shattering and breath-taking (done less successfully). Later it was revealed that the authors had not planned anything specific and just kept adding more and more Myth Arc elements as the show kept going. The finale was a case of No Ending with conspiracies and dark secrets not exposed to the general public. The Earth and human race is still endangered by the upcoming alien invasion, and nobody has a chance to prepare themselves for the (implied) final show down.
  • In the "Science" episode of You Can't Do That on Television, Alistaire discovers the secret ingredients to green slime. He reads the list on the air... but the closing credits play over it so we can't hear him. We do see Moose standing next to him acting progressively more and more disgusted as the list goes on. After the credits, Ross saunters onstage, tells them that the credits kept anyone from hearing the list, and then eats the list. (We did learn the first ingredient, though... it's water! SPLASH!)

Sound-Effect Bleep

  • In one episode of Father Ted, Mrs Doyle's full name is spoken out loud several times in quick succession, but each time her first name is obscured by a loud noise.
    "Do you know a Mrs. Doyle, first name (ringing noise) Doyle?"
    "Do I know a Mrs. Doyle, first name (glass breaking) Doyle..."
  • Agent 99's real name in Get Smart was never revealed. Even during her wedding, the name remained hidden from the viewing public — a conveniently-timed gunshot went off right as the preacher was reading that part of the vows.
    • In another episode, Max tries to console 99 after the Chief is shot.
    Max: Don't worry Ernestine; he'll be all right.
    99: Do you know, that's the first time you've ever called me "Ernestine"?
    (Max nods)
    99: I wish it were my name.
  • The same happened with Dr. McCartney in Green Wing — at his wedding in the very last episode, everybody coughs right at the moment when his first name is spoken.
  • Malcolm in the Middle did this as well. When Lois' new baby was just born, the question came up on what the baby's gender was, where it was revealed to be- *ambulance siren*. To add more to the mystery, the baby was ambiguously named Jamie. The series continued to tease the audience on what Jamie was until the kid eventually grew and it is finally confirmed he was yet another son.
    • This was also done with the family's last name. Various tricks are used to keep the viewer from ever learning it throughout the show's run. In the final episode, a character finally speaks it into a microphone, but a feedback whine makes it impossible for the viewer to hear.
  • Scrubs
    • The Janitor's real name, which was revealed as Glenn Matthews during the finale, until they found out the show was renewed for another season on a different network. Multiple episodes reference the fact, and the Janitor has said his name to at least one person (although knowing him, it was probably a lie). Apparently the show creator has thought up several names, but lets the actor playing the Janitor disapprove of any ones he doesn't like.
    • Lampshaded in one episode when the Janitor tells J.D. that he doesn't even know his name. J.D. takes a quick look at the Janitor's name tag but he quickly covers it up with his hand. In another episode his nametag actually says "The Janitor".
  • That '70s Show: We can't hear Fez introducing himself over the school bell, so he remains a No Name Given character.

End of Episode Cutoff

  • An episode of the Batman TV show which had a cliffhanger with Batman and Robin in a literally impossible trap to escape from. Cut to next week, they open with Batman and Robin speeding away in the Batmobile, with Robin declaring "I'll never figure out how we were able to escape that one!", and Batman declaring "Just be glad we did, Robin!"
  • Doctor Who: The final moments of "Revelation of the Daleks" have the Sixth Doctor telling Peri that their next destination is "B...", with most of his word cut off by a freeze and sudden cut to end credits. (The Doctor was actually filmed saying "Blackpool", setting up what would have been the next season premiere — "The Nightmare Fair" — but at the time the show's creators were uncertain whether or not the next season would air. It didn't.)
  • Good Luck Charlie: Occurs at the end of "Dress Mess":
    Doctor: The new baby is going to be a — (Cuts to end logo)
  • In the series 4 finale of Hustle, the group are stranded on a dinghy when Danny says "I've got a great idea" as an homage to The Italian Job.
  • The Grand Finale of JAG features a variation of this; after nine years of Will They or Won't They?, Harm and Mac finally resolve their UST and get engaged. Slight problem; Mac has been reassigned to head the San Diego JAG office while Harm has been promoted to a position in London. As they announce their engagement at the JAG team's favorite bar, they decide to flip a coin; heads, Mac would resign her commission and join Harm in London, tails, Harm would resign and join Mac in San Diego. The show ends in mid-flip, the coin suspended in the air.
  • Law & Order:
    • In the Law & Order episode "Vaya Con Dios", prosecutor Jack McCoy takes a murder case involving a Chilean colonel all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. As the court clerk approaches McCoy and D.A. Adam Schiff with what they say must be the court's ruling, the episode fades to black. We never find out what the court ruled.
    • Done very efficiently in one SVU episode: all available bits of evidence on the case-of-the-week are gradually revealed in the court, and then the episode ends with the jury verdict: "The jury finds the defendant -" - fade to black, credits. Only then do we realize that we (the audience) are supposed to be the real jury in this case - and we feel helpless because we don't really know. Which is totally like what Real Life jurors go through.
  • At the end of the Las Vegas episode of Lie to Me, Cal is given one million dollars in chips as a thank you for solving the case. He promptly bets it all at a roulette table, but the episode ends before it is revealed whether he won. However, since Status Quo Is God, and everything is seemingly back to normal in the next episode, one can assume that he lost.
  • The Saturday Night Live recurring sketch "What Up Wit' Dat?" always has three celebrity guests and the third is always Lindsey Buckingham (played by Bill Hader). They never get to him because the host always breaks into song in the middle of interviewing the first guest. One sketch has the real Lindsey Buckingham show up alongside the Hader one and the host expresses surprise at there being two of them. Real Lindsey tries to explain why there's two of them, but the host ends the episode due to being out of time.
  • In the Supernatural episode "Death's Door" Bobby Singer is in a coma after being shot in the head. At the end of the episode, a Reaper tells him he has to make a choice, to accept his death and move onto the afterlife, or remain in the mortal world as a vengeful spirit. The episode ends right before Bobby gives his answer. The next few episodes continued to tease this, but it was eventually revealed that he became a spirit.
  • One episode of Without a Trace involves the separate abductions of a white girl and a black girl. Near the end of the episode Jack Malone gets a phone call stating that one of the girls was found dead, but doesn't say which. The last scene has Jack walking up to a bench where the two mothers are waiting... and fades to black.
  • The X-Files: In-universe addressed its most flagrant gap of logic in this way. A young agent who is a fan of Mulder and Scully's asked them how they got out of Antarctica (after being stranded there half-dressed without any vehicles or anyone knowing where they were) in The Movie; they started to explain, quibbled over a minor detail, then were cut off by the end credits before we found out anything. This was a multi-layer joke: the character asking the questions the show's fans had so often asked was herself a fan, a Shout-Out to a popular fanfic author who had died just a few months prior.


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