The great benefit of the TV medium compared to movies is the sheer size of the canvas with which stories can be told, allowing writers to weave more complex, labyrinthine, character-driven narratives awash in rich detail.
But that doesn't mean that every TV show wants to use its extended time to resolve every lingering plot thread and answer every remaining question you might have.
Hell, sometimes important characters might even have their ultimate fates left up in the air forever more, either because the writers clearly didn't know what to do with them, or to generate fervent discussion between fans online.
And then sometimes a writers' strike comes totally out of nowhere and screws everything up.
Whatever the reason, these 10 TV characters, from flat-out protagonists to memorable supporting fixtures, all waltzed off into the ether without a clear indication of precisely what was waiting for them.
While in most cases you can make an educated guess about how things turned out, the fact that there's no canonical resolutions for these characters - dead, alive, in jail, or maybe free - remains a massive sticking point for fans...
10. Troy Barnes - Community
Proving that even the most hilarious comedies can deliver savagely agonising cliffhangers, Community saw Troy Barnes (Donald Glover) literally sail off into the sunset - or so it first seemed.
In his final appearance in season five, Troy takes the late Pierce's (Chevy Chase) sailboat on a round-the-world trip with his childhood icon LeVar Burton, as is a requirement for him to receive all of Pierce's shares worth around $14 million.
While this initially seems like a happy ending for Troy, a blink-and-you'll-miss-it news ticker later in the season mentions that Burton and his "non-celebrity companion" were taken hostage by pirates in the Gulf of Mexico.
The fact that Community's final episode aired over five years ago without Troy's fate ever being addressed has effectively left the character in limbo - was he killed by the pirates, or perhaps ransomed?
Though fans continue to cross their fingers and toes that Dan Harmon might be able to get the much-discussed Community movie off the ground soon, it's probably sensible not to expect anything more than a quick explanation of Troy's fate given how busy Donald Glover is these days.
But as it stands, Troy's fate is totally and utterly up in the air.