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TV's Best Cliffhangers of All Time

by AOL TV Staff, posted May 19th 2010 4:01AM
What are television's best cliffhangers of all time? We count 'em down!

Top 20 Best TV Cliffhangers Ever

20. Sylar Traps Peter, <a href='http://www.aoltv.com/show/heroes/942757/main' target='_blank'><FONT COLOR='#2864B4'>'Heroes'</font></a>

<B>Where It Left Off:</b> After pinning Mohinder to the ceiling, evil Sylar pounced on good guy Peter Petrelli and was about to cut open his head and steal his powers.<BR><B>How It Came Back:</b> Sylar "killed" Peter with a shard of glass to the head, and Mohinder took his dead body back to his family. But drawing from past experience, Claire removed the shard -- and Peter came back to life. No doubt, 'Heroes' has more cliffhangers in store.

19. Cons Run for Their Lives, <a href='http://www.aoltv.com/show/prison-break/422516/main' target='_blank'><FONT COLOR='#2864B4'>'Prison Break'</font></a>

<B>Where It Left Off:</b> Michael made good on his elaborate escape plan to free his innocent brother, Lincoln, from prison. Their band of convicts tried to reach a flight out of the country, with the cops hot on their heels.<BR><B>How It Came Back:</b> Lawyer Veronica, who found evidence which could have cleared Lincoln, was killed by the team of conspirists. And a federal agent assigned to capture the fugitives started to close in on the trail.

18. J.D. May Be a Dad, <a href='http://www.aoltv.com/show/scrubs/182884/main' target='_blank'><FONT COLOR='#2864B4'>'Scrubs'</font></a>

<b>Where It Left Off:</b> After just two dates, J.D.'s new doctor girlfriend, Kim, announced she was pregnant.<br><b>How It Came Back:</b> After learning that it was his baby, J.D. confessed to the gang (in one of the funniest 'Scrubs' moments ever) that he never actually had sex with Kim.

17. Vaughn Isn't Vaughn, <a href='http://www.aoltv.com/show/alias/69699/main' target='_blank'><FONT COLOR='#2864B4'>'Alias'</font></a>

<B>Where It Left Off:</b> As Vaughn and Sydney drove up to Santa Barbara for a relaxing weekend, he turned to her and confessed, "My name's not Michael Vaughn." Then, another car crashed into theirs.<BR><B>How It Came Back:</b> Vaughn is kidnapped by a fake rescue team. Meanwhile, Sydney discovers she's pregnant and vows to discover Vaughn's true identity.

16. The Chinese Kidnap Jack Bauer, <a href='http://www.aoltv.com/show/24/157907/main' target='_blank'><FONT COLOR='#2864B4'>'24'</font></a>

<B>Where It Left Off:</b> Jack was captured by the Chinese government, who held him responsible for the death of their consul. The season ended with Jack being carted away on a cargo ship.<BR><B>How It Came Back:</b> After enduring two years of torture in a Chinese prison, Jack was released in exchange for information on a Middle-Eastern terrorist.

15. Gunmen Fire on Bartlet And Staff, <a href='http://www.aoltv.com/show/the-west-wing/55977/main' target='_blank'><FONT COLOR='#2864B4'>'The West Wing'</font></a>

<b>Where It Left Off:</b> As President Bartlet and his senior staff left a town hall meeting, shots were fired. But who was hit?<br><b>How It Came Back:</b> Senior staff awaited the status of Bartlet and staffer Josh Lyman. They later found out the gunman was a white supremacist who was not aiming for the President, but his aide, Charlie, a black student dating Bartlet's daughter.

14. Jim Kisses Pam, <a href='http://www.aoltv.com/show/the-office/152542/main' target='_blank'><FONT COLOR='#2864B4'>'The Office'</font></a>

<B>Where It Left Off:</b> Jim applied for an opening at another Dunder-Mifflin branch, while Pam planned her upcoming wedding. Before leaving town, Jim revealed his love for her and surprised her with a kiss.<BR><B>How It Came Back:</b> After moving to the other office, Jim started dating one of his co-workers. A case of cold feet compelled Pam to call off her wedding.

13. The Carver Slashes Christian, <a href='http://www.aoltv.com/show/nip-tuck/334756/main' target='_blank'><FONT COLOR='#2864B4'>'Nip/Tuck'</font></a>

<B>Where It Left Off:</b> A knife-wielding maniac known as the Carver raped and slashed Christian because his practice had been performing corrective surgery on Carver victims.<br><B>How It Came Back:</b> Christian survived the vicious attack with little physical scarring, but he endured profound emotional pain. He was slow to return to plastic surgery.

12. The Others Steal Walt, <a href='http://www.aoltv.com/show/lost/113094/main' target='_blank'><FONT COLOR='#2864B4'>'Lost'</font></a>

<B>Where It Left Off:</b> After building a raft, Sawyer, Jin, Michael and Walt sailed away to get help. "The Others" showed up in a boat, announced "We're going to have to take the boy" and blew up the raft.<br><B>How It Came Back:</b> Sawyer, Jin and Michael managed to swim back to the island, only to get captured by people who turned out to be fellow Flight 815 survivors.

11. Revolutionaries Target Royal Wedding, <a href='http://www.aoltv.com/show/dynasty/99558/main' target='_blank'><FONT COLOR='#2864B4'>'Dynasty'</font></a>

<B>Where It Left Off:</b> Almost every main character was present for the royal wedding of Amanda Carrington to Prince Michael of Moldavia. Unfortunately for them, the nuptials took place on the eve of a military coup. Terrorists stormed the chapel, opening fire on the entire wedding party.<BR><B>How It Came Back:</b> Survivors of the massacre were held hostage after the revolutionaries overthrew the government. Archrivals Krystle and Alexis were released after Blake paid a $5 million ransom.

10. A Cylon Shoots Commander Adama, <a href='http://www.aoltv.com/show/battlestar-galactica/120616/main' target='_blank'><FONT COLOR='#2864B4'>'Battlestar Galactica'</font></a>

<B>Where It Left Off:</b> After Lt. Sharon "Boomer" Valerii blew up a Cylon basestar, she returned to Galactica. Just as Commander Adama was congratulating her, Boomer shot him in the chest.<BR><B>How It Came Back:</b> Adama went into surgery and survived. Boomer was taken in custody as a Cylon sleeper agent.

9. McDreamy Is McMarried, <a href='http://www.aoltv.com/show/greys-anatomy/426427/main' target='_blank'><FONT COLOR='#2864B4'>'Grey's Anatomy'</font></a>

<b>Where It Left Off:</b> Addison arrived at Seattle Grace, telling Meredith, "You must be the woman screwing my husband."<br><b>How It Came Back:</b> Meredith knocked back a LOT of tequila and learned Addison had cheated on Derek first. Meanwhile, Derek found out Addison was moving to Seattle to work on their marriage.

8. Who Shot Peter Campbell?, <a href='http://www.aoltv.com/show/soap/62753/main' target='_blank'><FONT COLOR='#2864B4'>'Soap'</font></a>

<B>Where It Left Off:</b> This daytime soap opera parody ended its first season with Jessica being convicted of the murder of her lover and step-nephew, Peter. But before the credits rolled, the announcer revealed her innocence and pointed a finger at five other main characters.<br><B>How It Came Back:</b> Jessica was cleared after her husband confessed. He was sent to prison but later escaped.

7. Palmer Is Poisoned, <a href='http://www.aoltv.com/show/24/157907/main' target='_blank'><FONT COLOR='#2864B4'>'24'</font></a>

<b>Where It Left Off:</b> At the end of season two, President Palmer worked the crowd after a riveting speech and shook assassin Mandy's hand. Later, she pulled a clear plastic film off her palm. Palmer collapsed.<br><b>How It Came Back:</b> Palmer survived. Season three showed him returning to Los Angeles for the first time three years later.

6. Who Shot Mr. Burns?, <a href='http://www.aoltv.com/show/the-simpsons/62653/main' target='_blank'><FONT COLOR='#2864B4'>'The Simpsons'</font></a>

<B>Where It Left Off:</b> After making enemies with everyone in town, Mr. Burns -- Springfield's most powerful resident -- took a shot to the chest. Viewers were asked to write in and name the culprit.<br><B>How It Came Back:</b> Burns awakened from a coma. It turned out his gun had fallen out of his pocket and shot back in his direction after he tried to steal candy from baby Maggie.

5. Ross Says the Wrong Name, <a href='http://www.aoltv.com/show/friends/49924/main' target='_blank'><FONT COLOR='#2864B4'>'Friends'</font></a>

<b>Where It Left Off:</b> "I, Ross, take thee, Rachel -- Emily." A confused priest responded, "Shall I go on?"<br><b>How It Came Back:</b> The wedding did go on, and after a terrible reception, Ross headed to the airport in the hope that Emily would meet him there. He bumped into Rachel and invited her to Greece. As they boarded the plane, Ross spotted Emily and ran after her -- leaving Rachel alone.

4. Buffy Dies, <a href='http://www.aoltv.com/show/buffy-the-vampire-slayer/237244/main' target='_blank'><FONT COLOR='#2864B4'>'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'</font></a>

<b>Where It Left Off:</b> To save her sister, Buffy sacrificed herself to close a portal to hell.<br><b>How It Came Back:</b> An increasingly powerful Willow used a magic spell to raise Buffy from the dead. But the resurrected Buffy wasn't too happy to be alive again.

3. Picard Becomes a Borg, <a href='http://www.aoltv.com/show/star-trek-the-next-generation/233784/main' target='_blank'><FONT COLOR='#2864B4'>'Star Trek: The Next Generation'</font></a>

<b>Where It Left Off:</b> The Borg abducted and assimilated the Enterprise's captain. He reappeared to announce, "I am Locutus of Borg. Resistance is futile." First Officer Riker ordered the ship to fire on the Borg.<br><b>How It Came Back:</b> The crew rescued Picard and found a way to disable the Borg ship before it destroyed Earth.

2. Sydney Wakes Up Two Years Later, <a href='http://www.aoltv.com/show/alias/69699/main' target='_blank'><FONT COLOR='#2864B4'>'Alias'</font></a>

<B>Where It Left Off:</b> Sydney's best friend, Francie, was killed and replaced by an evil murderous clone. Sydney was knocked unconscious after a vicious fistfight with Not-Francie and woke up two years later in Hong Kong.<BR><B>How It Came Back:</b> Sydney found out she was kidnapped by a terrorist organzation and brainwashed into thinking she was an assassin. In the meantime, her boyfriend, Vaughn, had gotten married.

1. Who Shot J.R.?, <a href='http://tvshows.aol.com/show/dallas/SH0011460000/main' target='_blank'><FONT COLOR='#2864B4'>'Dallas'</font></a>

<B>Where It Left Off:</b> The show's second season literally ended with a bang. An unseen gunman shot J.R. Ewing, the greedy and conniving oil baron. The phrase, "Who shot J.R.?," instantly became a part of of pop culture.<BR><B>How It Came Back:</b> In what was one of the highest rated episodes in TV history, viewers learned that J.R.'s sister-in-law capped him in a fit of rage.

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You made a mistake, #3 should be in the #1 spot. Finding out who shot someone else isn't nearly as huge as facing the elimination of your entire species. As soon as they were facing off with their former captain, against a race that had the potential to destroy them without their captains help, that's when the viewers heart sinks with the thought of, "Oh no, we're screwed!"

June 12 2010 at 10:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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