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

Angela Channing

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The voting has now closed and the results are as follows:

Match 1
Falcon Crest Season 3 - 11 votes
Dallas Season 11 - 5 votes

Match 2
Dallas Season 5 - 10 votes
Return To Eden season 3 - 6 votes

The winners going through to round 2 are Falcon Crest Season 11 (an aeroplane being flown by Chase and carrying most of the main cast crashes)) and Dallas Season 5 (Cliff attempts suicide by taking a drug overdose).



Thanks to everyone who voted in last week's matches. Details of the final week 2 matches will be posted on this thread tomorrow.
 

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 next 2 matches to go through to round 2.

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.

Match 1

Dynasty Season 9
(Dex and Alexis fall through the first floor banister and Blake is shot) vs Dallas Season 9 (Pam wakes up from her dream to find Bobby in the shower).



 
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Angela Channing

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Match 2

Flamingo Road season 5 (Constance falls through the first floor banister) vs Falcon Crest Season 9 (Angela’s soliloquy ending in her toast to Falcon Crest).





The poll will close at midday on Wednesday 15th June 2022.
 

Englishboy

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Match 1

I’m voting Dynasty Season 9 simply because the Dallas Season 9 cliffhanger was a ”Jump the shark” moment and just about the single biggest mistake producers ever made. Dallas lost all credibility after that. So, it has to be Dynasty season 9

Match 2

I’m voting Flamingo Road Season 5
 

Jock Og

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Match 1: DYNASTY season 9.

As much as I like the DALLAS 'Blast From The Past' cliffhanger I'm opting for DYNASTY 'Catch 22'. TPTB for the Texas set saga were stuck between a rock and a hard place, as to how they would bring back Bobby. The dream was shocking by all accounts and sadly it ended up tarnishing the brand. The series ending for Alexis, Blake, Krystle et. al was action packed without the sleeping. Who somersaults?

Match 2: FALCON CREST season 9.

Given that Jane Wyman returned and compiled the soliloquy to finish the show off respectfully I'm giving this cliffhanger (series wrap up) the thumbs up. It might not be everyone's cup of tea. 'Home Again' wasn't a very typical FC season ending but the bottle needed corking.
 

Victoriafan3

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We don’t know it was a dream when Blast from the Past aired so that’s not really fair to let that tarnish your voting. This episode was still a real humdinger of a cliffhanger with Sue Ellen blowing up, Jamie blowing up, Pam’s beautiful wedding and people squealing and cheering in their homes at Patrick’s face on the tv screen. This was Dallas’ last real ‘what happens next?’ cliffhanger to me. While I enjoyed Dynasty’s balcony season (that should have been the final freeze frame scene, Blake getting shot was boring after that) my vote definitely goes to DALLAS here

I’ve not seen either of these other two episodes but I’m going to vote with FALCON CREST
 

Angela Channing

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Match 1

The Dynasty cliffhanger was a good one. The argument that lead up to the fight did seem a little forced and contrived but it served it's purpose to start the fisticuffs between Adam and Dex even though Adam's reaction was totally disproportionate to what went before it. Alexis and Dex falling slow motion over the balcony and Blake being shot was the last we would see of them in the normal series and their lives were all in jeopardy.

Over in Dallas, I hated that they brought Bobby back from the dead but at the time it wasn't 100% certain that it was him thanks to a closing credit listing his character as "???". The Angelica bombing spree for me was the best part of the cliffhanger. JR pulling off one of his typical stings, tricking a confession out of Angelica while Harry McSween is listening next door and Angelica's defiant "It's too late" as she is dragged away by the police foreshadowed her impeding attacks. The target for both her bombs were missed and innocent people (Jamie and Sue Ellen) were caught in the explosions instead which I thought was great drama. Because the realisation that this was all a dream wasn't confirmed until the beginning of the next season, I can look more favourably on this cliffhanger than I otherwise would. My winner for match 1 is:

Dallas Season 9

Match 2


Flamingo Road had another falling through the banister to a possible injury or death finale, they really need to stop making the rails out of balsa wood.

I know it was a bit cheesy but the Falcon Crest finale is one of my favourite conclusions to any long running TV series because it wasn't about tying up loose ends of storylines or going out with a dramatic and suspenseful ending but about doing something for the fans of the show. Just having Jane Wyman back for the ending was enough for me to love it and I liked how Angela wore white to someone else's wedding. The final scene was a positive one, everyone seemed genuinely happy and Angela and Lance had made peace with Richard. Angela's speech name checked all the main characters that didn't appear in the finale and it was nice that they found a way to include them. My winner for match 2 is

Falcon Crest Season 9
 
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colbyco

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We don’t know it was a dream when Blast from the Past aired so that’s not really fair to let that tarnish your voting. This episode was still a real humdinger of a cliffhanger with Sue Ellen blowing up, Jamie blowing up, Pam’s beautiful wedding and people squealing and cheering in their homes at Patrick’s face on the tv screen. This was Dallas’ last real ‘what happens next?’ cliffhanger to me. While I enjoyed Dynasty’s balcony season (that should have been the final freeze frame scene, Blake getting shot was boring after that) my vote definitely goes to DALLAS here

I’ve not seen either of these other two episodes but I’m going to vote with FALCON CREST
- I like it. The show opened with Blake in the very first scene and ended with him. Also this staircase and this mansion were a character of its own - it was so tragic to see
Blake from above in this never before seen camera angle
 

Willie Oleson

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Match 1: my last TV Dynasty cliffhanger vs. my first TV Dallas cliffhanger
even though Adam's reaction was totally disproportionate to what went before it
I'm not so sure about that.
The last time you're going to hit me!
And maybe it was also the boiling point in Adam's last story arc: his disloyal wife, the treacherous Atkinsons, his ever-mistrusting father, Dex' sanctimonious attitude regarding Adam's exposure of Virginia's past. And even his own mother could never be trusted.
I'm sure the balcony wasn't supposed to break just like that, maybe I remember it the wrong way but I think they mentioned the rot in the woodwork?
it was so tragic to see
Blake from above in this never before seen camera angle
Yes! yes! yes! It seems appropriate that the drama on the most iconic staircase in 80s SoapLand would get the final freeze frame.
Then there's Fallon and Krystina trapped in the tunnel while Dennis Grimes, candlesticked and shot by Fallon and buried under the rubble, regains consciousness.

I love Angelica's revenge/outfit and the confusion of not-dead-Bobby (and not-alive-Mark). All very exciting stuff but this unplanned Dynasty finale has had the biggest impact on me in all my years of soap watching. It's absolutely ruthless and relentless in the way it builds up to its climax, and I'm still having nightmares about it.

Match 2: It's THE COLBYS season 1 cliffhanger if Sable had been telling the truth. The hurricane setting adds to the dramatic atmosphere (and no Cluedo game, thankfully!).
FALCON CREST wraps things up as if it were a novel instead of a soap and it also has a sense of "mission accomplished". Everyone who tried to "steal" her land is DEAD and now she can play the fairy godmother in her darling little soliloque bubble. You've got to love the cheek of this soap.
Even if I wanted to vote for Falcon Crest I couldn't vote against a soaptastic staircase moment.

Match 1: DYNASTY Season 9
Match 2: FLAMINGO ROAD Season 1
 

Carrie Fairchild

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Match 1: DYNASTY Season 9 - I enjoy the drama of the Dallas finale. The wedding, the undoing of Anjelica, the explosions. And the final shower scene is up there alongside Fallon’s UFO and Michael Tyrone’s resurrection in the pantheon of WTF soap twists. However, I have much more love for the Dynasty cliffhanger and have watched it over and over again throughout the years. First up, the balcony fall is high camp drama. As Alexis herself points out, Dex’s father to be speech is vomit inducing but the sniping between her & Sable is excellent. The slo-mo fall with the visible stagehand ready to catch Joan is a hoot as is Adam, Sable and Monica’s slo mo shocked reactions. Blake’s final scene brings things back down to earth a bit but it’s poignant that the final scene sees him possibly dying on the steps of the show’s most iconic set piece.

Match 2: FLAMINGO ROAD Season 1 - Angela’s soliloquy was a nice way to wrap up the series but it felt more like an ending or a full stop, as opposed to a cliffhanger in the traditional sense. I haven’t watched the final season, so I’m not sure how the end scene fitted into the grand scheme of the storylines that preceded it but as a wrap up for the entire series, it was well done. Constance’s staircase fall on Flamingo Road was simple but much more cliffhanger-esque. You knew she wasn’t going to die but you also knew that there’d be hell to pay for Field and Lane in the fallout and this is what made it so delicious.
 

Mel O'Drama

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Round 1 - Week 10




Match 1

One good thing about Dynasty's abrupt cancellation is that the series ended on a cliffhanger - and a series of cliffhangers at that - which means it's comfortably a contender for me here. Not only that, the series bowed-out on a high, with its Ninth Season one of its best. This tells in the cliffhangers which are mostly outcomes of ongoing stories. Yes, there's the unexpected woodworm-infested banister in The Carlton, but even that's foreshadowed in earlier dialogue about the hotel falling to bits (or something along those lines). Dynasty is known for its witty banter and this episode is rife with little zingers ("Does the name Adolf Hitler ring a bell?", taunts Alexis as she lowers the boom regarding the Nazi plunder that's come to light. While Sable's pregnancy news gives rise to endless quips about her "change of life" baby "Perhaps we can all have the pick of her next litter."). There's a nice gothic air at times, perhaps best embodied by the mini carousel which leads Fallon to channel Nancy Drew (how very PSM of her) and sleuth her way by torchlight into dusty, claustrophobic, atmospheric underground entrapment with a dangerous man. . With Krystle's spirit ebbing slowly away offscreen, Blake seems even more vulnerable in that final scene. He's historically found his way back from the brink of death thanks to Krystle's love. Without that, what's to stop him simply giving up and accepting his fate? The aerial shot already mentioned reinforces this vulnerability. Are we actually now watching from the point of view of Blake's soul as it leaves his body? Or perhaps even Krystle, awaiting her transcendental reunion with her husband? We'll never know.

Because the UK had fallen so far behind, I remember this Dallas cliffhanger being released on VHS ahead of time. The UK has never been shy about spoilers and the text on the front of the VHS screamed "Bobby's back" in block letters, complete with a picture of that final shot. I don't think I bought the VHS until a couple of years later, but I was aware of it and it really got my mind racing. As mentioned, though, there was still speculation about just who Patrick Duffy would be upon his return. The idea of Bobby returning was such an anathema that "long-lost evil twin brother" was the theory-of-choice on my local radio station, and indeed amongst most people I spoke to who mentioned the subject. As mentioned by others, it's fair to judge this cliffhanger on its own merits. It did succeed in getting tongues wagging, and people did tune in to see what the hell was going on. As a season finale, this is a cracking episode, with a sumptuous wedding, lots of sunny location shots and plenty of sinister and mysterious goings on. There was that lurking ranch hand who reminded us of someone and who seemed inwardly obsessed with the Ewings. The gum-chewing waistcoat guy might have been annoying as hell, but the exploding Lotus Esprit - with poor Jamie inside - was thrilling. Likewise, Angelica's threats and Sue Ellen walking into another explosion at one of Dallas's most iconic locations was certainly a ballsy move. The thing was, though, there was no real buzz about these cliffhangers. Everyone just wanted to know about Bobby (or "?"). It could be argued that it added excitement and oomph (which is usually the view I take), but it could also be seen as gilding the lily. Big events - even characters' lives in jeopardy - in Dallas aren't as important or significant as they were a year or two earlier. Easy to say with hindsight, but even the structure of these cliffhangers foreshadowed the end of days. Still, it's a terrific, exciting instalment, and I rewatched it far too many times back in the day.

This isn't a no-brainer for me, but my view having reflected upon it does match up with my first instinct upon seeing these choices...

Dynasty - Season Nine










Match 2


Two finales I've never watched. How exciting.

Flamingo Road's cliffhanger has some great iconography. I love that aerial shot of Constance in her blue mac lying on the ground, looking small and broken with the shattered pieces of banister surrounding her. Objectively, the cliffhanger itself doesn't look the most inspired. This is the kind of thing that happens mid-season in any number of soaps (Dynasty and Sons and Daughters both spring quickly to mind). That's not to say it's not great. It might also suggest a kind of confidence in a character-driven drama. Perhaps Flamingo Road was bubbling nicely away and didn't particularly need an OTT cliffhanger to bring viewers back. Perhaps that's not what it's about. It's all guesswork on my part, but perhaps educated guesswork based on the dialogue which suggests this is already a crucial, pivotal moment for these characters even without the fall. Whatever the case, I'm sure I'd be back for Season Two had I watched this.

Falcon Crest's finale gets mentioned from time to time as one of the best endings of the Eighties prime-time soaps. However, as mentioned by Carrie, it is an ending. There seem to be some happy ever afters, resolutions and closure. For me, it looks like it is indeed a great series finale, but it's also the opposite of a cliffhanger, and seems even more neatly tied than Knots Landing's series finale. And since I excluded that one on the same grounds, I have to be consistent.

Besides, I'm glad of the opportunity to opt for a series that hasn't previously received my vote...

Flamingo Road - Season One
 

Willie Oleson

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I’m not sure how the end scene fitted into the grand scheme of the storylines that preceded it
It doesn't look particularly relevant and perhaps it was more about giving Jane Wyman the opportunity to bow out. And I imagine they thought this was the kind of ending that the European fanbase would appreciate.
The pursuit of happiness has always been one of the main ingredients in soaps but at the same time these soaps made it very clear they were having none of it.
It doesn't make sense that all those soap trope obstacles would suddenly disappear, as if everything that had happened before was only "much ado about nothing".
 

Angela Channing

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Keep your shirt on, don't panic, there is still time to vote in this week's matches. The contests are between Dynasty Season 9 (Dex and Alexis fall through the first floor banister and Blake is shot) and Dallas Season 9 (Pam wakes up from her dream to find Bobby in the shower) and between Flamingo Road season 5 (Constance falls through the first floor banister) and Falcon Crest Season 9 (Angela’s soliloquy ending in her toast to Falcon Crest).

The poll will close at midday tomorrow, Wednesday 15th June.
 

James from London

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Dynasty Season 9 (Dex and Alexis fall through the first floor banister and Blake is shot) and Dallas Season 9 (Pam wakes up from her dream to find Bobby in the shower)

Just as DYNASTY’s pilot episode addressed "taboo" topics the other ‘80s soaps scarcely acknowledged, much less spoke about in such irreverent terms, such as race ("At the upper management level, there are no Blacks, no Jews, no Eskimos and no women"), gays ("Give a cheer for a queer”; "The Steven Carrington Institute for the Treatment and Study of Faggotry") and even female masturbation ("Women have sexual fantasies just like men, except mine were always about you, Matthew"), it’s fitting that the series’ penultimate ever scene (reunions and reboots notwithstanding) should include Soap Land’s first ever reference to the menopause, with Alexis smirking about Sable’s “change of life baby.” The Alexis/Sable/Dex/Monica/Adam punch-up-cum-bitch fest at the Carlton is just so much fun. It may be the end of the series but everyone’s too busy spewing invective at each other to notice — at least until Adam’s blow that sends Dex and Alexis crashing through the railings (accompanied by some thrilling slow-motion screams). There’s something pleasingly traditional about this cliffhanger — it feels like a throwback to the great Falling Down epidemic of ’81 when Constance Carlyle, Kristin Shepard, Sid Fairgate and Jason Gioberti all plummeted off either a balcony or a cliff towards death or paralysis or, in Sid’s case, both.

The final seconds of the episode, following the staircase shoot-out which leaves both Blake and the crooked Captain Handler wounded (possibly fatally), are also interesting. Zorelli goes to Blake’s side and carefully takes the gun out of his hand without leaving any fingerprints on it. He then passes it, along with his own gun (which might or might not have fired the shot that hit Handler), to his former partner Rudy. Zorelli may no longer be a cop, but he clearly hasn’t forgotten police procedure. The same cannot be said for Rudy who simply grabs the guns, instantly putting his own prints all over them. It's an illogical moment on which to the end the series, and therefore a very DYNASTY one.

The traditional Soap Land cliffhanger is one where the drama steadily builds and builds, culminating in one event that somehow seems both shocking and inevitable — "Who shot JR?" being the classic example. At the end of the 85/6 season, however, both Ewing-verse finales deviate from this blueprint. Nothing that’s gone before prepares us in any way for what we’re presented with at the end of KNOTS and DALLAS. Karen Mackenzie awakens in a darkened cellar with no idea how she got there. She tries to escape when she hears a man call her name. Meanwhile, having remained offscreen since we watched him die a year earlier, Bobby Ewing is suddenly standing in Pam’s shower, smiling and telling her good morning. Just as there is no cutaway to the man speaking to Karen at the end of KNOTS, there is no reaction shot of Pam before the freeze frame, no clue as to how she, and therefore we, are meant to process this moment. As cliffhangers — and probably television moments in general — go, it simply has no precedent. The only downside, of course, is that this moment was heavily spoilered. One can only imagine the impact it might have had had we not been primed for Patrick Duffy’s return. The closest I've come to experiencing that would probably be the out-of-body sensation I felt when Kathy Beale suddenly appeared without warning with a “Hello, Phil” during the live 30th anniversary episode of EASTENDERS. Mind you, she’d been dead for nine years rather than Bobby's one.

DYNASTY!

Flamingo Road season 5 (Constance falls through the first floor banister) and Falcon Crest Season 9 (Angela’s soliloquy ending in her toast to Falcon Crest)

FLAMINGO ROAD’s first season finale is a bit of an odd fish. Hurricane Michelle hits town, leading a motley assortment of series regulars and comedy bit players to seek shelter at Lute-Mae's wholesome whorehouse. Somewhere amongst them is the hitman who’s been on Lane Ballou’s trail since the series began. To identify the assassin in their midst, Lute Mae (in that Mae West wannabe way of hers) has the genius idea of dancing with all the men in turn in order to distinguish those with a holster strapped to their shoulder from those who are just pleased to see her. It's kinda fun, in a "Winds of Vengeance" meets THE LOVE BOAT sort of way, but altogether wackier than one might have expected from a Soap Land finale. After the briefest of shoot-outs, the bad guys are either all dead or under arrest and the episode is looming dangerously close to anti-climactic happy-ever-after territory as Lane is reunited with her true love Field. Fortunately, Constance Carlyle — the Sable to their Jason and Francesca — is on hand to renege on her promise to grant Field a divorce. A last minute fight between husband and wife at the top of Lute-Mae's staircase leads to Constance pre-empting DALLAS's season finale by a few weeks and DYNASTY's series finale by eight years by taking a slow motion dive through a broken railing to the floor below. Thus is regular Soap Land service resumed.

I kind of feel the opposite about Angela’s speech in the FALCON CREST finale to the way I do about Bobby’s return in the shower. Each comes at the end of a very atypical season for their respective show and is an attempt to restore that show to its more familiar self. Because I struggled with DALLAS’s generically nice, Bobby-less year (the only time I came close to giving up on the show) I welcomed his return — or more specifically, the subsequent dream explanation that wiped out the previous thirty-one episodes — with open arms. In contrast, I loved the mad, bad, completely unpredictable darkness of FC’s ninth season so I wasn’t crazy about having everybody hastily making nice and burying hatchets in the final ep to ensure a happy ending. It's not that I mind Angela’s ethereal eulogy in itself; rather, I find the events that pave the way for it somewhat underwhelming compared to the total insanity that had gone before.

Parts of Angela's eulogy dovetail with moments in the KNOTS season finale that aired the same week. Just as Angela looks back (“I think of all the people who have passed through these vineyards. There’s Chase, Maggie, Cole and Vicky — and that feisty Melissa Agretti”) so does Karen Mackenzie (“When you’re young, your whole life is new things, first times — your first date, your first prom, the first time you fall in love — and then one day, you look up and your life is full of last times.”) In the same way that Angela is aware of the pitfalls of nostalgia (“The past has its place, but I’ll keep looking to the future”) so are Val and Gary (“We can’t go back.” “So let’s go forward.”) As his wife Pat is disconnected from a life-support machine on KNOTS, Frank Williams quietly sings an old spiritual song: “Soon I will be done with the troubles of the world … I’m going home to live with my Lord.” For Angela, that home, that Higher Power, seems to be the land itself. “Always the land. People come and go, but the land endures,” she concludes. But ultimately, nothing endures like a soap character falling through a broken railing so …

FLAMINGO ROAD!
 
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Willie Oleson

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The hurricane setting adds to the dramatic atmosphere (and no Cluedo game, thankfully!)
To identify the assassin in their midst, Lute Mae (in that Mae West wannabe way of hers) has the genius idea of dancing with all the men in turn in order to distinguish those with a holster strapped to their shoulder from those who are just pleased to see her.
Well, almost Cluedo then.
 
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