We don’t ask a lot from our television shows. The main thing we’re looking for is a compelling storyline. Preferably one in which the questions posed are, you know, answered. Sometimes, though, either the writers just forget about some of those questions, run out of time to actually answer them, or just like screwing with their audience.
By Jeff Kelly
(Obviously, there are tons of spoilers here if you haven’t seen these shows, but you should go ahead and read anyway.)
8. So wait, was Rawls gay? (The Wire)
If you’re a fan of The Wire – and chances are if you’ve seen the show, you’re a fan – you remember Rawls. He was the foul-mouthed jerk who really hated Jimmy McNulty. Well, everyone on that show was foul-mouthed and most of them hated McNulty, but to be more specific, Rawls was McNulty’s Major from the Homicide Division. And apparently, he was also gay. Fans will remember the one random scene in season three when a character ventures into a gay bar, and just before the scene ends, we see our favorite obnoxious Major sitting at the bar having a good ol' time.
And then…it’s never mentioned again. It was a complete one-time thing, a random scene that you could almost argue was inserted for shock value. Only the writers of The Wire did absolutely everything for a purpose. We’re just not sure what the purpose was this time. Maybe all of that hate and aggression toward McNulty was just the grown-up equivalent of a schoolyard crush. After all, McNulty was just oh so pretty.
7. So did Logan Echols get whacked, or what? (Veronica Mars)
There are other major questions unanswered thanks to the premature cancellation of the cult hit Veronica Mars, like what happened to Keith Mars in the sheriff’s election or how did Wallace get a basketball scholarship when he was seriously like five feet tall. But the one we’re going with is this: what the hell happened to Logan Echols after he beat up a mobster’s son?
In the series finale, Logan beats wholesale ass on a douchey frat boy who happens to be the son of a violent Russian mobster. The mobster’s son, after being pummeled, promises Logan that he is going to die. Since the series ended, we never found out if our favorite self-destructive, stinking rich surfer wound up chopped into little pieces and dumped in the Pacific. But at least if he did die, he died doing what he loved: making a jackass out of himself in front of Veronica.
6. So did any of Angel Investigations actually, you know, live? (Angel)
Source: Mutant Enemy
Another show that suffered from being canceled way too early, Angel followed one of the primary characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer in a spinoff that was arguably better than the original. Luckily, the writer’s knew that the show had been canceled and threw us a bone by giving us all sorts of closure. Oh wait, that’s pretty much the opposite of what they did. Our bad.
The ending, while about 10 different kinds of awesome, was also one of the biggest cliffhanger endings in recent television history. The surviving members of Team Angel, battered and bruised, are in an alley with an entire army of devils, demons, dragons, and lord knows what else marching straight at them. Angel rallies his shorthanded troops, says “Let’s go to work” and…cut to black. So what the hell happened? Did anyone live? Fortunately for devoted fans, Joss Whedon has penned an Angel comic that carries on the story. But seriously, doesn’t that feel more like fan fiction than an actual resolution?
5. So wait, who was Shepherd Book, again? (Firefly)
Source: Mutant Enemy
Hey, look, it’s another Joss Whedon show that was canceled before its time. This time we’re talking about the space western Firefly, which lasted for one very short season and provided very few answers to the numerous questions it posed. One of those questions, of course, was about just who the mysterious Shepherd Book was before he became a man of faith. There are hints abound that he used to work for the Alliance, with the popular theory being that he was an Operative, like the one the crew faced in the movie.
Oh yeah, that’s right, we almost forgot. After the show was canned with all of those unanswered questions lingering, at least we got a movie that finally revealed what or who Book really was. Except we totally didn’t, because Whedon decided that he wanted to punish the fans that had made the movie possible by killing off his most mysterious character before revealing just what his real background was. Thanks for the giant kick to the sack, Whedon.
4. So what happened with the Russian? (The Sopranos)
Now if there’s anything that this list can teach us, it’s apparently that storylines either scripted by Joss Whedon or dealing with Russian mobsters are never allowed to have conclusive endings. In this case, we’re talking about those pesky Russian mobsters from The Sopranos. This one is regarded as one of the most frustrating unanswered questions in TV history, in large part because the writers took the time to introduce a villain that even scared the pants off of Tony Soprano himself, only to never mention him again.
The character of Valery is a man who puts the fear of God, bears, and borscht into Tony Soprano when he survives multiple attacks that would have killed any normal man about five times over and escapes to presumably tell his Russian mobster friends that they have a war to fight in Jersey. Oh, maybe that’s the problem right there, actually. He told them they would have to go to Jersey and they told him it just wasn’t worth it. Well, mystery solved!
3. Hey, any of you guys seen Behrooz lately? (24)
Source: 20th Century Fox Television
The show 24 moved at a ridiculously brisk pace, and for good reason. After all, you have to cram an entire season’s worth of storylines into a 24-hour timeframe while leaving out the normal everyday stuff that wouldn’t get very good ratings, like Jack Bauer having a sandwich or taking a dump. Probably at the same time, because it’s more efficient, and Jack Bauer is nothing if not efficient.
But sometimes the show is going at such a fast pace that we think even the writers forget just what the hell they’ve been doing and drop storylines without even really thinking or realizing it. Such is the case with Behrooz Araz, a 17-year-old kid from the show’s fourth season, who was handed over to some terrorists in an exchange for Jack (it was all part of a larger scheme to take down the terrorists, of course). Of course things don’t go remotely to plan, the terrorists escape with Behrooz and…well, that’s the last we ever hear of him.
2. How the hell do you move an island? (Lost)
Okay, so we could have made an entire list out of the show Lost, but that would have gotten a little redundant and, for fans of the show, probably extremely maddening as well. Instead, we’ll just give the top two spots to the show that introduced more questions and provided fewer answers than probably any other show on TV history (other than Gilligan’s Island, of course…seriously, why were the Howells on that crappy little boat instead of their own yacht?).
During the course of the show, we learn that you can actually physically move the island. Now, unless your name is Superman and you’re thwarting Lex Luthor in an underwhelming reboot movie, we don’t see how the hell this is actually possible, particularly since it’s discovered there are actually two islands, and they move together. There’s some big frozen donkey wheel deep in the heart of the island, and apparently turning it makes the island disappear and “move.” Where does it go? How does it get there? And how the hell does a freaking donkey wheel control it? Just one of the many questions that’s never answered by the writers. But at least they answered all of those questions about the characters, right? Oh, wait…
1. What’s so special about Walt? And Hurley? And Aaron? And Miles? (Lost)
Seriously, there are more superpowers going on in this show than in an X-Men comic, and we never really get anything remotely resembling an explanation as to why. Let’s start with Aaron, because he’s the youngest. On the surface, there’s not much special about Aaron. However, babies aren’t supposed to be born on the island, but he was. And the Man in Black seemed to have his eye on the little tyke from the get-go. Why? Who knows? The writers certainly don’t seem to, anyway.
And then there are Miles and Hurley, who can interact with the dead. Hurley actually sees them manifest and can chit-chat with them, while Miles can pretty much sense a dead person’s “thoughts” anytime he’s around where they’re buried or if he’s around anything of importance to them. Last but not least, there’s Walt. Or as his father preferred to call him, “WAAAAAAAAAAALT!” It’s established early on that Walt is a very special little kid with magical powers. But why? Well, unlike the other characters, they had the opportunity to let us know but instead decided to Behrooz the poor kid, sending him off the island to basically never be seen or heard from again. We can only presume that’s because he boarded a train for the American version of Hogwarts shortly after arriving back in the states.