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These fall TV finales are game-changers

Several notable network series have ended their fall seasons and won’t return until early next year.

Some of the so-called “fall finales” — a growing trend in network TV — were cliffhangers, while others (that’s you, “Riverdale”) continued their crazy storylines leading to God-knows-what.

Here’s a look at some of the notable fall finales and what could be in store when the shows return for their winter seasons.

“This Is Us” (NBC) | Fall finale aired Nov. 27; returns Jan. 15

The hit series ended the first half of its season with a plot twist that promised rich storytelling in 2019. Jack’s (Milo Ventimiglia) brother Nicky (Michael Angarano), presumed dead in the Vietnam War, was revealed to be alive and living in a Pennsylvania trailer park, while Randall (Sterling K. Brown) refused to concede that he lost his bid to be elected a Trenton councilman — throwing his marriage to Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) into jeopardy.

As adept as creator Dan Fogelman is with executing stories of souls lost and found, he seems to have found himself in a rut with Kevin’s twin sister Kate (Chrissy Metz), who’s unable to get out of bed without having some kind of setback or catastrophe. She’s nearly 40, and can’t get a job or hold a job. It’s always “Let’s Feel Sorry For Kate Day”; three seasons in, it should be more like “Let’s Have an Episode Without Kate Day.”

“Riverdale” (The CW) | Fall finale airs Dec. 12; returns Jan. 16

Never has a “teen” drama been less interested in typical teen issues like school and crushes. Instead, the titular town is filled with gangs, murders and cults. The first half of Season 3 let family drama take a backseat to the mile-a-minute plot, which has featured underground prison fight clubs and two different cult-like entities, including a mysterious ghoulish figure called “The Gargoyle King.”

In its second half, “Riverdale” will pivot to more family drama, with Jughead’s (Cole Sprouse) long-lost sister and mother finally showing up. In typical “Riverdale” fashion, his mom will be played by throwback star Gina Gershon, while Hiram’s (Mark Consuelos) mistress will be played by Consuelos’ real-life wife, Kelly Ripa.

“New Amsterdam” (NBC) | Fall finale aired Nov. 27; returns Jan. 8

The freshman medical series is off to a fine start in telling the story of Dr. Max Goodwin (Ryan Eggold) who, after accepting a job running a revolutionary New York City hospital, is diagnosed with cancer. The fall finale ended with Max collapsing on a dock and his pregnant wife (Lisa O’Hare), screaming for help.

Lisa O'Hare as Georgia Goodwin and Ryan Eggold as Dr. Max Goodwin on "New Amsterdam."
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Lisa O’Hare as Georgia Goodwin and Ryan Eggold as Dr. Max Goodwin on “New Amsterdam.”Francisco Roman/NBC

“The Good Doctor” (ABC) | Fall finale airs Dec. 3; returns Jan. 14

We’ve seen the progression of autistic surgeon Dr. Shaun Murphy (Freddie Highmore) this season as he’s gained a roommate (Paige Spara) and bonded, in his own way, with patients and colleagues. Shaun’s mentor, Dr. Aaron Glassman (Richard Schiff), has continued to decline (memory loss, confusion) following his brain-tumor surgery — which should make for a rocky road in the second half of Season 2.

“Manifest” (NBC) | Fall finale aired Nov. 26; returns Jan. 7

The drama’s first nine episodes teased the mystery around a flight that took off and landed five-and-a-half years later, giving the people on it a telepathic connection. The second half better start delivering some answers.

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