The Best and Worst Cliffhangers (Nu and Classic)

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RoseyT
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The Best and Worst Cliffhangers (Nu and Classic)

Post by RoseyT »

I've just finished Episode 3 of Colony Of Space which may have the worst cliffhanger I've seen yet in the classic series. It made me wonder what are everyone's biggest stinkers and hitters.

Stinkers

Colony In Space Ep 3 - Jo looks shocked at the camera. That's literally it.
The Hungry Earth - A reveal of a big city is not a cliffhanger.
Time Of Angels - I loved the build up with the speech but the exploding of the gravity globe didn't leave me on tenderhooks, it just looked ridiculous.

Hitters

Inferno Ep 6 - Honestly for me the best cliffhanger of the entire show. I really wasn't sure how they'd get out of this one and the stakes were incredible.
Deadly Assassin Ep 2 - The Doctors Psychedelic Freakout in the matrix is for me one of the most terrifying sequences of the entire show.
The Stolen Earth - I mean The Doctor literally starts regenerating. How do you beat that?

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CharlieTheWhovian
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Re: The Best and Worst Cliffhangers (Nu and Classic)

Post by CharlieTheWhovian »

One that springs to mind that's not necessarily a cliffhanger was the moment Rose came back in s4, but then to be fair, we did spend the rest of the season wondering what was going on...

The Turn Left one was also excellent. See also: Virtually any RTD era 2 parter... (although the End of Time is a bit of an odd one...)

As far as misfires go, I struggle to think of any standouts in the revival besides the ones you mentioned and my memory of classic ones is far weaker.
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skifflebits
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Re: The Best and Worst Cliffhangers (Nu and Classic)

Post by skifflebits »

Classic: Androzani 3. "I'm not going to let you stop me now!"

Clunker: Dragonfire 1. "Oh, here's a cliff. Let's hang from it, shall we?"
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Doctor Gamer
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Re: The Best and Worst Cliffhangers (Nu and Classic)

Post by Doctor Gamer »

Hitters: Bad Wolf, Army of Ghosts, The Stolen Earth, Silence In The Library, World Enough and Time, Utopia, Sound of the Drums, Heaven Sent, Spyfall

Stinkers: The Impossible Astronaut, Time of the Angels, The Rebel Flesh

The other new who cliffhangers are good but not notable enough.
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Spannerintheworks
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Re: The Best and Worst Cliffhangers (Nu and Classic)

Post by Spannerintheworks »

In addition to ones already cited...(and trying to go down some less travelled roads)...

Best:

The Mind Robber Episode 1. We know the deal, but imagine trying to figure out what the hell was going on at the time!

The War Games Episode 10. Not merely a cliffhanger, an END OF SEASON cliffhanger. Again, we know the deal, but....wow. So much Classic Who wraps up on a "Nice adventure, on to the next" note. This one almost conforms to the modern TV playbook: Origin revelations, cast members are given a tearful farewell, and everything as you know it changes for the lead. (And unlike other shows even now, it's done so naturally...)

The Invasion of Time Episode 4. This is easily the best thing about this story. So much else is lacklustre, but again, it's a twist more in step with modern television than anything at the time.

City of Death Episode 2. Again, loses something when you know the overview. Is Scaroth a time traveler? What is his plan? It's almost surpasses a Moffat level twist and satisfyingly the pay off, er, pays off.

Earthshock Episode 1. Imagine if we didn't see the Cybermen for 7 years. And no press told us to expect them. (For comparison, I remember press & fandom geeking out about their role in "The Next Doctor" after a TWO year break. We've been lucky to get more than a year off since.) Once upon a time, there was no guarantee your Doctor GOT a Dalek episode. Or one with the Master, or the Cybermen. They probably had started to look like the Ice Warriors by '82 in terms of a return, so this had be a bigger surprise than we can understand.

The Curse of Fenric Episode 3. Or, to quote my first viewing "Wait, who the *#@! is THAT now??!"

Utopia - Honestly, I didn't know how they'd get out of it, and the preview actually bothered to keep me in the dark too.

The Pandorica Opens. Again, though I'd guessed who the Imp of the Pandorica was ages before, I couldn't see the connective tissue of potential escape. Perfect.

Under the Lake. Again, so straightforward but entirely unclear with its resolution. This one remains satisfying too because of how the explanation actually works with everything we know.

The Pyramid at the End of the World. Yes, the conclusion is more interesting with regard to the Doctor-Missy relationship than the story at hand. But I remember a US based review site comparing this to more serialized shows, praising the narrative and Character development/consequences for fuctioning on a level the show had often avoided. (For example, 10 rarely enjoys consequences from being a jerk. See Series 3 in particular.)

Worst:

Planet of the Giants Episode 3. Uh, the scanner won't work. Tune in next week!!! ;)

The Celestial Toymaker 1-3. I mean, "Saw" this is not. I dread Monopoly invitations more than these game invites. This is totally execution though; You get a feeling if this was done like "The Mind Robber" it'd be creepy or have some dread/drama.

The Time Monster Episode 1-2. It's "The summoning is the cliffhanger" twice; It doesn't really come off the first time, and then the second attempt is with the LEAST intimidating cast member appearing instead. (Excluding Stu.)

The Stones of Blood Episode 1. Ok, so the script says "Doctor (but not really) pushes Romana off a cliff by surprise". Ok, sure. Then your lead refuses to do the deed, saying it makes the Doctor look bad. (Mind, he was ready to gun down Louise Jameson last year and will appear to bash in Romana's head next story, but whatever.) So you decide to shoot it in a way that makes it look like an illusion of the Doctor we can't see is pushing Romana off the cliff. Tricky, but could be very creepy if you pull it off. (Spoiler: They don't. )

Time-Flight Episode 1. I know this probably looked better on the page in concept, but....come on. A big Snake taxed the effects team beyond their ability just a couple stories earlier. The minute the Plasmaton costume was finalized someone should've pushed a "plan B" rather than had the whole cliffhanger hinge on it.

Also, this story legit could've ended with Nyssa and Tegan encountering "Adric" with a rewrite or two. Talk about a missed opportunity.

Every "Trial of a Timelord" closeup on Colin Baker. The worst aspect of this is, there are legitimately dramatic events that justify a good cliffhanger but they're all cocked up by zooming in on Colin OR bypassed for a Colin reaction.

The Sontaran Strategem. The war chant looks silly. I'm sorry, but it does. Imagine if that was the sole cliffhanger. But no, instead we end the episode yelling "BREAK THE WINDOW YOU IDIOTS", knowing full well how "The Poison Sky" will kick off.

A Good Man Goes to War. Seriously, if you hadn't figured THAT out, well....I guess your ability to enjoy Series 6 easily overtakes mine.

Ascension of the Cybermen. By the numbers, and in a way where everything was undercut. Wanted a tense Cyberman thriller? No. Interested where we take Ashad? He's second priority at best now. Are the stakes higher than ever? No. Gallifrey is already dead, so no stakes. The surviving humans are basically non-characters and barely any importance is assigned to their survival, so no stakes. 13 won't die, and the character work on the companions didn't really help any fear for me in their regard either. No stakes.

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Deborah J
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Re: The Best and Worst Cliffhangers (Nu and Classic)

Post by Deborah J »

I'm just ready to fight anyone who says anything bad about the daleks nice new flooring in Death to the Daleks
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RoseyT
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Re: The Best and Worst Cliffhangers (Nu and Classic)

Post by RoseyT »

You know what. I'm glad to see the Ascension cliffhanger getting criticised. So many of my pals though it was incredible but actually The Master reappearing came out of nowhere and totally took us away from who should've been the main villain of the finale, the Cybermen and 100% Ashad, one of the coolet characters in years!

RoseyT
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Re: The Best and Worst Cliffhangers (Nu and Classic)

Post by RoseyT »

Deborah J wrote:
Fri Jan 29, 2021 12:07 pm
I'm just ready to fight anyone who says anything bad about the daleks nice new flooring in Death to the Daleks
I was waiting for you to post this, just in the back of my mind I had a feeling.

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Deborah J
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Re: The Best and Worst Cliffhangers (Nu and Classic)

Post by Deborah J »

RoseyT wrote:
Fri Jan 29, 2021 12:08 pm
Deborah J wrote:
Fri Jan 29, 2021 12:07 pm
I'm just ready to fight anyone who says anything bad about the daleks nice new flooring in Death to the Daleks
I was waiting for you to post this, just in the back of my mind I had a feeling.
I have an image to uphold
*Carey Blighton music intensifies*
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DalekCheese
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Re: The Best and Worst Cliffhangers (Nu and Classic)

Post by DalekCheese »

The Invasion of Time when the Sontarans are revealed is quite something.
As to worst... hmm, a bit harder, probably the immortal “Oh no, Peri!”.
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