World Cup Tournament World Cup of 80s Soap Cliffhangers - Round 2, Week 8

Angela Channing

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The poll is now open for you to choose which cliffhangers you would like to win each of the two matches to go through to the next round. By cliffhanger I mean the dramatic ending to the final episode of a season which either concludes a storyline or leaves the audience in suspense. Either way, they make viewers anxious to see what happens next. The cliffhanger can comprise one or more scenes.

You may vote for a winner of either match or for both matches but remember you are voting for your favourite cliffhanger, not your favourite episode or favourite soap opera.
Stating the reasons for your choices is encouraged as this makes the contest more interesting and may help others in making their decisions. However, this is entirely optional and you can just state your chosen winner of each match if you prefer.

I've prepared comic strips to remind everyone what happened in each of the cliffhangers but please add your own comments if you think I've missed out any key cliffhanger moments.
 
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Angela Channing

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There is a bit of a Carrington-Colby overload in the matches this week but that's how they came out in the random draw.

Match 1
Knots Landing Season 13
(Meg is missing and Pierce returns from the dead) vs Dynasty Season 3 (Krystle and Alexis are trapped in a burning cabin)





Match 2
The Colbys Season 2
(Fallon is abducted by aliens) vs Dynasty Season 4 (Alexis is arrested for the murder of Mark Jennings and Fallon drives towards an oncoming lorry).





The poll will close at midday on Tuesday 12th April 2022.
 
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Angela Channing

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As this is the first vote, I will go first so everyone can see how they can participate.

Match 1
Knots Landing was on it’s last legs by season 13 and I wasn’t particularly interested in the Pierce Lawton storyline and when his body wasn’t found after he fell in the water a previous episode I kind of expected he would show up at some point in the future so this ending didn’t have the impact that it might otherwise have had. I thought Mary Robeson kidnapping Meg to be more interesting cliffhanger in this season of Knots Landing.

In Dynasty, I thought there were more interesting elements to its cliffhanger: who was the arsonist, who were they trying to kill, what was their motivation, who would survive the fire and how would they escape. So my choice for match one is:

Dynasty season 3

Match 2
This is an easy choice for me. The Colbys alien abduction was one of the most ludicrous and far-fetched cliffhangers in any of the 80s prime-time soap operas and therefore one of the most memorable. It had pretty good production values too, not quite in the league of Close Encounters of the Third Kind but far better than 1980s Doctor Who special effects. I can’t help but admire the nerve of the writers and producers to end the series in this way. Although I liked Alexis being marched into a prison cell in an evening dress and full makeup and hair in Dynasty season 4, my winner for match 2 is:

The Colbys season 2
 

Carrie Fairchild

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Match 1: Dynasty Season 3 - I love Knots and while well past the show's peak, I've a soft spot for those latter seasons as they were the ones being shown on UK Gold 2 when we got Sky installed in the early 00's. In saying that, the Dynasty season 3 cliffhanger was a much more memorable one from a show that was just coming off the back of it's creative peak, so I'm voting for that.

Match 2: The Colbys Season 2 - Alexis being dragged off to prison in an evening gown is great but it's no spaceship landing from the sky into what was a pretty level-headed show up to that point. Love it or hate it, Fallon's UFO encounter is one of the cliffhangers of the genre that's still talked about today.
 

Richard Channing

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Match 1: Dynasty season 3

Knots Landing was getting a little tired at this point whereas Dynasty was still in it's prime. I didn't like the resolution of Dynasty's cliffhanger in early season 4 but the cliffhanger itself was a pretty good one.

Match 2: Dynasty season 4

A bit more of a difficult decision as The Colbys cliffhanger is pretty iconic, but something about it felt a little desperate too, like they new they were facing the axe so they went with something so outlandish it would at least get people talking about the show. Dynasty's season 4 was a very patchy season but it did gain some good momentum near the end and their cliffhangers felt a bit more high stakes than in previous seasons.
 

James from London

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Knots Landing Season 13 (Meg is missing and Pierce returns from the dead) vs Dynasty Season 3 (Krystle and Alexis are trapped in a burning cabin)
That thrilling final scene of KNOTS is pure TWIN PEAKS — a wild-haired, dementedly smiling Pierce emerging from the back seat of Paige’s car as if he were Killer Bob’s younger brother (he’s even borrowed Bob’s denim jacket) as Paige emits a weird, slowed-down animalistic howl of terror.

However, DYNASTY's Season 3 finale scene combines several classic soap tropes — two female adversaries trading catty insults ("You're a master of disgust, Alexis!"), the show's main baddy attempting to bribe the show's main goody into leaving town (which goes right back to JR attempting to buy Pam off in the first episode of DALLAS) , characters trapped inside a burning building (Southfork would catch fire two weeks later) and a whodunnit ("Who set the fire?" replacing "Who shot JR?") — to create a quintessential end of season cliffhanger. So DYNASTY Season 3 it is.
The Colbys Season 2 (Fallon is abducted by aliens) vs Dynasty Season 4 (Alexis is arrested for the murder of Mark Jennings and Fallon drives towards an oncoming lorry).
These two were pitted against each other on Willie's Colbycats thread under the banner of 'The Inexplicable Disappearances Of The Fallons' so I'll cut and paste here what I wrote then: Both disappearances are nutty-great, but DYNASTY Season 4's sheer audaciousness at making an end of season cliffhanger out of thin air gets my vote.
 
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Willie Oleson

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DYNASTY Season 4's sheer audaciousness at making an end of season cliffhanger out of thin air gets my vote
As opposed to the UFO descending out of thin air? And if DYNASTY's Fallon was flying too close to the sun then THE COLBYS Fallon was literally flying too close to the stars.
The spin-off always went the extra mile, I guess that's what Charlton Heston meant when he said they were the only soap with real sweat*.
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*recently contradicted by Morgan Fairchild who said that Patrick Duffy was sweating like an ox due to Texan hot and humid weather conditions.
 

Mel O'Drama

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Round 1 - Week 1





Match 1

In Knots, that final shot of Pierce with its accompanying siren is memorable enough, while Karen being theatrically overwrought in a checked shirt is evocative of Season Four's finale in the best possible way. Ultimately, though, this episode doesn't hit the dramatic or emotional heights and feels almost perfunctory. For me episode is more retrospectively interesting for being the final episode of both Joan Van Ark (as a series regular) and Larry Riley, but neither really got the send-off they deserve,

Dynasty's fire is comparatively simple, but it proves the adage that less is more and - as James said - it has all the key ingredients of an exciting cliffhanger.


Dynasty - Season Three






Match 2


That final scene of The Colbys is probably the only one of these four cliffhangers that would spring to mind for those who were casual viewers in the Eighties. And for all the wrong reasons. Along with The Moldavian Massacre and Bobby's Good Morning, its imagery has become a symbol for the increasingly wild cliffhangers soaps were feeding us past the mid-Eighties in a bid to shock and get attention. All of which ultimately tarnished the reputation of US prime time soaps as shallow, frivolous and worthy of ridicule. No matter, it got people talking and speculating which is a part of a cliffhanger (the laughing not so much, but this was never viewed or discussed by anyone I knew without a few chortles). The effects were very impressive for a show of this kind, and the anticipation was also a big part of this. In the UK, we all knew it was going to end with this scene, and I still find the foreshadowing earlier in the episode - with radio reports of strange lights in the sky - very effective in creating a few little butterflies of excitement.

It also has to be said that the episode overall is a very exciting season finale, with multiple little cliffhangers that left us wondering (forever, in a couple of cases). And it seems they didn't blow all the budget on the spaceship, because the helicopter chase/car crash earlier in the episode is a genuine thrill. It's just a shame this is all overshadowed (negated even) by the arrival of E.T.

Dynasty has a lower key kind of iconography with the women prisoners baying and barking at Alexis in her Nolan Miller while the screw runs her keys teasingly over the bars. I also never fail to be amused by the various women flapping round Fallon to prepare her for her wedding like the mice in Cinderella. It throws in a thunderstorm (always a plus for dramatic atmosphere) and that haunting final scream that echoes into forever.

With it having so few chances to appear and this being an exciting episode, I'd love to include The Colbys. Were it a choice between TC2 and Dynasty Season Three it would be score one to the spinoff. Unfortunately for them, Season Four just happens to be one of my favourite Dynasty finales...


Dynasty - Season Four
 

Angela Channing

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These are amazing, and I can't wait to collect them all. Thanks for the work you've put into them.
Thank you. It was fun putting them all together, even though it took a lot longer than I anticipated. The main difficulty was finding the right 4 screenshots to use to accurately represent each of the endings and I probably missed some important details on a few occasions. Hopefully, they will still give participants an essence of what happened in each of the cliffhangers.
 

Angela Channing

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I hope the strip for Dallas S7 (Bobby gets shot) includes this cryptic reveal of an extra reflected in the glass...

I wonder if Katherine noticed as she passed?

View attachment 37112
I always thought the reflection was of Leonard Katzman directing the episode.
 

Mel O'Drama

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It was fun putting them all together, even though it took a lot longer than I anticipated.

Well I'm glad you enjoyed it. The finished results are well worth the toil (easy for me to say since it wasn't me doing it).




The main difficulty was finding the right 4 screenshots to use to accurately represent each of the endings and I probably missed some important details on a few occasions. Hopefully, they will still give participants an essence of what happened in each of the cliffhangers.

I'd think for most of us it will be a little refresher, but it'll be fun to see if anyone comments on the screenshots for an episode they haven't seen. For some of the Falcon Crest ones I may be seeing them for the very first time.


this cryptic reveal of an extra reflected in the glass...
I always thought the reflection was of Leonard Katzman directing the episode.

It looks suspiciously like Raoul to me. Could he have been doing double duty in order to earn that night off he was once permitted?
 
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