The Cancel Hanger

Are you about to start a new show on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon? Heard great things only to find out it was canceled? Did the writers know it was coming and have enough time to conclude the story on their terms or did it all end on a cliffhanger? The Cancel Hanger hopes to have the (spoiler-free) answer.

The Pilot

A couple weeks ago I tweeted:

Is there a site that you can enter the name of a tv show and find out if it was cancelled on a cliffhanger? If not, there should be.

Turns out there wasn’t. That night I bought the domain name and slept on the idea. Two days later I had a few hours to myself to see if I could build a working proof of concept.

The Cliffhanger

Spoilers: I did. It was ugly but it worked. Searches hit the Cancel Hanger database first, if a match isn’t found, it searches TVRage. It will also do a background TVRage search if the search terms aren’t an exact match for an existing show.

It took another week or so of piecemeal tweaks to the search logic to get it where it is. Previously successful search terms are stored to speed up subsequent searches. Results are sorted by premiere date. It tries to be smart about shows from the same series like Star Trek, Law & Order, or Doctor Who.

TVRage can tell us if a show is ongoing or ended but when a show is canceled it doesn’t make a distinction between concluded or cliffhung. That’s where you come in! Whenever TVRage thinks a show was canceled (I’m almost positive The Sopranos and Lost were not canceled) you can sign in with Twitter and vote for concluded or cliffhung. And if you don’t know, there’s a handy Ask on Twitter link in case your friends and followers might.

The design is super bare-bones. I didn’t want users waiting for (relatively) huge JavaScript, CSS, or web font files to download for the answer to what is essentially a binary question: concluded or cliffhung?

The Finale

About a week ago I tweeted:

Built a thing piecemeal with stolen moments here & there. Now I want to release it but I just don’t have the time to support it right now :\

While that’s still mostly true, Retro Game Crunch released the complete version of Brains & Hearts on Thursday, so if this site blows up and takes down my entire server (unlikely but…) I should have a little bit of time over the next week to do something about it.

So check it out. And, if The Cancel Hanger doesn’t know if a show was concluded or cliffhung, don’t be shy about sharing the link on Twitter to get some answers!

The Designologue Archive
Shaun Inman
October 19th, 2013 at 12:57 pm