The fall season finales are just a few weeks away and, as with every year, fan expectations run extremely high. They worry about what their favorite characters will face, who will survive, or will there be closure or freedom with their favorite relationship pairs. Will the plots that writers set up for fans leave them feeling satisfied, or just provide a whirlwind of mixed emotions for the seemingly endless months in between the next season. It's hard to know what is in store for show fans, but with every season finale, fans know what they pine for, and when that result doesn't come to fruition, the summer can seem so sour. Coming from a fan's perspective, they want heightened drama and intrigue, an unexpected twist, a way to keep them tied to their favorite couple, and a look into what to hope for next season. Here's a way for show runners to please the masses and keep them guessing.
Whether your favorite show is a comedy or drama driven show, fans want something or some one to cheer for. You have to always keep them rooting, for the good and the bad guy. So whatever plans they set up in the season finale, they have to be able to roll over into next season for the fall. Give fans a reason to keep holding on. Maybe it is a character who has always been around but takes more of the spotlight finally, or maybe it is an existing character that leads to a new revelation, either way fans need to cling to someone they can root for. Starting something new in the finale can take away from what fans have loved all season, or seasons, from a show they are invested in. There has to be something or someone already in place, a champion perhaps, that fans can cling to during the hiatus so that they have a reason to invest themselves next year.
Amp up the mystery and drama that can surround a show, give fans something to keep them chattering for four or five months. Buzz needs to keep feeding the show during its downtime so that when fans pick back up with the program they will have something set in their minds that may or may not live up to their expectations which have had months to percolate. Let the anticipation of the return and all of the possibilities give them fodder for their social media accounts that will hype up both the show and the stars that play within them. Increasing both the drama and intrigue most definitely will not leave fans speechless, and the maximizing of gossip and chatter, can be a major asset to any television program. All of the types of social media are just about everyone's mistress nowadays, so shows will be guaranteed to have their name talked about in a variety of ways if they provide fans with a voluminous amount of intensity with their season finales.
Stick in a character or plot twist fans may never see coming. With fans having those exact expectations they have built up, throw them a curveball. Dangle a carrot or two and then snatch it all away. Perhaps include a shocking moment as if you were pulling a rabbit out of a hat. It most certainly will blind side fans and either have them sitting with bated breath or leave them shell-shocked. Either way the thrill of what has happened will radiate and drive them into a frenzy of anticipation and confusion until next season rolls around. It's all about not knowing what may come next, and I don't mean give fans a cliffhanger. Cliffhangers only annoy and nag, but unexpected twists throw fans off guard as well as light fires in fan's bellies and brains and fuels their cravings for more from their favorite shows.
Entice fans entire faculties of emotions and senses. Don't placate with what can tug a heartstring or two, bring on a full on war. Be bold, brazen, and unabashed by throwing down a gauntlet for fans to accept the challenge. Make season finales powerful and poignant, and let the fans be enraptured with every single moment. Do not waste any time, dive right in with the heat, and never let the flames dwindle. Television shows only have so much time to work with storylines during the show's airing, so leave enough time to cover all bases (especially with large show casts) so that every single minute is well worth the watch.
Season finales are both a time to inspire and propel fans into a new year. When fans can feed off of a show and keep the gossip swirling during the desolate hiatus months, television show runners know their work was well received. Making finales from start to finish matter, that is a tough challenge, but one that is a necessary evil. At the end of a season if a fan has been changed by a show or character, you've left them back at square one ready to do it all over again next season. And that is the ultimate triumph.