Ahh, the good old cut-to-black: the quintessential element of TV-tropedom. It keeps us glued to our screens, hearts palpitating on the edges of sofas across the globe. Its most common application is as a cue to cut to a commercial break; it's a friendly reminder from The Advertisement Company that your kettle needs boiling and you should leave the room with all haste, carefully averting your eyes from the hypnotic flashing images draining your bank account. Over at the Fox network, the good folk there use an automated prompt that cuts to the commercial feed as soon as the picture is completely black for more than one second. Cult show creator Joss Whedon got in trouble for using the technique heavily in his shows, prompting unwanted commercial cues for the confused computers. Somebody needs to send these guys more money. But what is it about the cut-to-black that leaves you hanging on for more? Well, almost invariably it is used to cut on a cliffhanger, either pre-commercial break, or at the end of an episode, leaving you frantic in anticipation for the resolution of whatever drama has unfolded. Cut-to-black is used so often these days that it is pretty difficult to identify any that you could class as truly 'great', but hell, I'm going to give it my best shot and see what I come up with. Obviously, there will be others unmentioned, or simply overlooked, but here is a list of the best eleven (OK seventeen including honourable mentions) that came immediately to mind. Oh and by the way, clearly, a SPOILER WARNING is in effect. You've been warned.
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