As the traditional TV network season dies down, many shows will conclude their seasons with memorable finales. Many sci-fi, fantasy and horror shows have had some of the most-talked about finales that included thrilling cliffhangers, WTF revelations and dramatic game-changing developments. WARNING: Major Spoiler Alerts Ahead.
9. “How To Stop An Exploding Man” Heroes (Season One); the show fell apart after its terrific first season but many episodes from that season are still great including the season finale that featured several super-powered heroes confronting the power-stealing villain Sylar.
8. “Zero Hour” Star Trek: Enterprise (Season Three); the conclusion of the season-long Xindi arc finds Captain Archer and the Enterprise crew on a last-ditch, desperate gamble to prevent the alien Xindi from destroying Earth. Aside from all the action and ship battles, the episode had a surprise ending which unexpectedly stranded our heroes on an alternate Earth during World War II.
7. “Over There, Part 2” Fringe (Season Two); Olivia Dunham and Walter Bishop continue their mission in the parallel Earth to retrieve Peter Bishop. Viewers are treated to a fascinating look at another Earth with doppelgangers, advanced tech, quarantine zones and many alternate cultural Easter eggs, plus a nefarious plot to destroy our universe. The cliffhanger was pretty nifty too with Olivia trapped in the parallel universe while her sinister double takes her place.
6. “Die Me, Dichotomy” Farscape (Season Two); the show’s main character, lost-in-space astronaut John Crichton, had a neural chip implanted in his brain by his enemy Scorpius in order to access Crichton’s hidden knowledge about wormholes. Throughout the episode, Crichton battles himself as the chip asserts control of his mind and makes him attack his friends and results in the death of his would-be lover Aeryn Sun. After a doctor finally removes the chip, Scorpius appears, takes the chip and leaves behind a helpless, broken Crichton on the operating table so he can live with the agony of what happened.
5. “Chrysalis” Babylon 5 (Season One); this season finale would prove to be the swan song for the show’s main character Jeffrey Sinclair (replaced off-screen in season two by John Sheridan) as ominous events unfold. Sinclair’s station security chief unsuccessfully attempts to stop a conspiracy to assassinate the Earth Alliance president. His efforts leave him shot and in critical condition. Meanwhile, the mysterious aliens called the Shadows emerge and attack an outpost of one of the major races, thus setting the stage for a deadly galactic war. Towards the end, Sinclair’s ally D’Lenn undergoes a physical transformation to fulfill a prophecy as Sinclair laments elsewhere that “nothing’s the same anymore.”
4. “Lay Down Your Burdens, Part II” Battlestar Galactica (Season Two); fleetwide presidential elections are held pitting President Roslyn against the enigmatic Baltar. An issue of the election and the series itself is whether or not the fugitive humans should abandon their quest to find Earth and settle down in a discovered habitable world. The episode jumps ahead more than a year later and shows how miserable the humans are living in their makeshift shanty towns. Things get much worse when their enemies, the robotic Cylons, arrive on the planet and the humans’ new leader Baltar surrenders the colony to the Cylons.
3. “Through The Looking Glass” LOST (Season Three); the final minutes are a true game changer for LOST. The castaways are trying to find their way off the mysterious island as flashbacks show a despondent Jack Shephard back in L.A. at the end of his road. For a while it was the standard format for the series, feature flashbacks on certain characters while advancing the present-day plotline. However, aside from the foretold death of a popular character, LOST stunned fans with the revelation that the episode’s flashback was actually a flash forward and that Jack was desperate to return to the island.
2. “Call To Arms” Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (Season Five); the peaceful Federation goes to war with the Dominion in this exciting season-ender. This development is a first for the Star Trek shows, which often preached peace above all. Viewers were treated to an effects-laden spectacular as hordes of Dominion ships attacked the Deep Space Nine space station. The episode ended with so many outstanding closers, each of which would’ve sufficed as any show’s final moments. For example, the episode could’ve just ended with Captain Sisko’s speech to his Bajoran colleagues that he will return, or with Dominion lackey Gul Dukat being “welcomed” to the station, or with Dukat’s discovery of Sisko’s baseball indicating that Sisko and company are coming back. The episode then topped itself with a final breathtaking scene of Sisko’s Defiant warship joining a vast Starfleet/Klingon armada ready to do battle.
1. “The Best Of Both Worlds, Part 1” Star Trek: The Next Generation (Season Three); this was the first and best cliffhanger shown on Star Trek: The Next Generation. The cybernetic and invulnerable Borg race begin an invasion into Federation territory with the goal of reaching Earth. Despite their best efforts, the Enterprise and its crew are nearly powerless to stop the Borg, which leads to a crisis of confidence faced by Captain Picard. Meanwhile, First Officer Riker has to contend with an overly ambitious officer/Borg specialist who is out for his job. The tension runs way overboard as Picard is kidnapped by the Borg but the true jaw-dropping moment comes when the Enterprise crew attempt a rescue. They find that Picard has been horribly transformed into a Borg, who then coldly orders the Enterprise crew to surrender. Equally as chilling was Riker’s three-word response, which ends the episode…to be continued.
“Besides The Dying Fire” The Walking Dead
“Redemption” Star Trek: The Next Generation
“The Jem’Hadar” Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
“Basics, Part I” Star Trek: Voyager
“The Parting Of The Ways” Doctor Who
“Shock Theater” Quantum Leap
“The Fall Of Night” Babylon 5
“The Day We Died” Fringe
“Evil Is Going On” True Blood