OK, there is one that comes from the first time I have watched it (I was about 13 year old or so). It goes like this : (Zach Powers) did it. He, as the evil guy, hired all the equipments, planned the whole scheme, and kidnapped the pretty girl (Fallon). Maybe to ask for a certain ransom, maybe to make her crazy, I didn't really get that.
After years later, I read what's supposed to be the very much known one : It was a stunt, pulled by the writers, to stimulate media interest in the show to save the series from cancellation. Actually the poor ratings with the expensive budget (Each episode cost approximately $1 million to make) pushed it to the edge of end. Yet the writers were there, so why not to fabricate a cliffhanger unprecedented in any soap opera. And the rest can be dealt with by whatever (they made a whole season of another series a dream, didn't they ?!). However, while winning being the series' most-watched episode at all, there was no "rest", and the Colbys reached the final station, not the crossroads.
Then, another theory of mine, much wiser than the first : the writers saw all of that coming. And with the abundance of else lavish melodramatic parties at the same time (Dynasty, Dallas, Knots Landing, Falcon Crest,..), noticing that the American TV channels were numbered, it was obvious that the cancellation is the fate. So they did end the show with a bit fair endings. Look at the words of (Katharine Ross) to (Charlton Heston), at their last scene, concerning family, the importance of it,..etc. the script is concluding there more than planning for more. But, since the writers were leaving so early (at the second season; namely shorter than any of the aforementioned, all running, series at the moment) they just wanted not to leave without a BANG. Thus they designed what should be the most outrageous, and somehow the most funny, cliffhanger ever written as their own finale (or revenge for that matter !) where their prime time soap opera meets Close Encounters of the Third Kind !! And with more seriousness in carrying out the scene (the orchestrated music was incredible), comes more funniness. So, no matter what the point of view towards it was : weird, stupid, ..etc. it managed to be impetuous, rather insane, and that was the point I think.
It is not only too-odd-it's-unforgettable moment in my childhood, but also in the life of TV. Some say it's one historically desperate move to keep a show on air (harmonizing with the 1980s, as the E.T.'s era). But I say it's a historical disport the writer did to laugh at the ABC or themselves hysterically; and maybe that's where it did work.
P.S : following the cancellation, (Fallon) returned to Denver and to Dynasty, the parent series of The Colbys, and the aliens story turned out to be a helluva practical joke from some funny people !
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