Cliffhangers

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Cliffhangers

Updated June 10, 2012 – 08:56 am

The Saturday afternoon serial was a staple of my youth, though being a peripatetic Army brat, I was rarely able to learn how any of the good guys escaped certain doom.

I was reminded of that age last Sunday when two cable channel series ended their inaugural seasons with a final scene surprise which will require a resolution.

I am surprised that I even "got into" HBO's "Game of Thrones" as I've never been much on the "sword and sorcery" genre.

But it was compelling viewing from the start due to the full realization of author George R.R. Martin's ancient fantasy world, right down to the language spoken by the bellicose Dothraki.

There were multiple story lines, mystical ele­ments, lots of action, terrific characters and some surprising deaths along the way... star-billing did not make one safe from a grisly end.

But it was the final scene of a resolute Emilia Clarke standing before her husband's funeral pyre telling those who've stood with her:

"I am Daenerys Stormborn of House Targar­yen of the blood of old Valyria. I am the dragon's daughter and I swear to you that those who will harm you will die screaming."

I believed that young woman! Absolutely!

And when the next morning soot-stained and naked, she arose from the cooling ashes of the pyre with three newly-hatched dragons about her, I couldn't wait to see what she will wreak on her enemies next season.

Institutionally, I don't like HBO, but damn!, they've come up with some outstanding series... "The Sopranos," "Deadwood," "Six Feet Under" to cite but a few.

Meanwhile, over on AMC...

...with which channel I am still greatly vexed over the cancellation of "Rubicon" last Winter, they ended the first season of "The Killing" with a twist that no one saw coming!

Well, at least no one unfamiliar with its Danish source material, "Forbrydelsen," anticipated.

A deliberately-paced police procedural set in Seattle with odd similarities to David Lynch's seminal "Twin Peaks," at the very end of 13 episodes, just when we learn "who killed Rosie Larsen" (as opposed to "Laura Palmer," we see that we've been flim-flammed and that the big pay-off may be bogus.

Okay, so it's not a Ford coupe hurtling off a cliff with an unconscious "Dick Tracy" inside, or "Tim Tyler" trapped in a dungeon beneath a jungle temple with spiked walls closing in, but it's no less a cliffhanger!

The big difference between "then" and "now" is that we can't come back next week to see how the hero escapes, we have to, as they used to say in Brooklyn before '55, "wait'll next year!"

That is, unless some network suits, as hap­pen­ed with "Rubicon" and "Terriers," cancel it.

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