Cliffhangers are the point when the audience decides to keep buying— when, as the cinema-studies scholar Scott Higgins describes it, “curiosity is converted into a commercial transaction.” They are sensational, in every sense of the word. Like porn or horror films, they aim for a physical reaction. Historically, there’s something suspect about a story told in this manner, the way it reaches across a pause and tugs the customer to the ledge. Nobody likes needy.
Via The New Yorker
- Emily Nussbaum traces the history of the cliffhanger from its literary roots and examines its influence on television: http://nyr.kr/SPLk1P