Remember serials? I don't, because I'm too young, and by the time I began going to the movies, it was already the practice for cinemas to stick to single, self-contained, feature-length fare. With the way screenings are arranged today, scheduled so that both theater owners and studios can get as much money from as many showings as possible, there's just no room for any accompanying shorts, especially the kind that don't end in a conclusive manner.
I'd probably be okay with being left out of that experience from the moviegoing past, but each time another Indiana Jones movie is released, I can't help but think I'm at least a little less appreciative of George Lucas' intent than some of the older folk in the audience. When Lucas thought up the original Raiders of the Lost Ark, he partly meant the film as homage to the serials he remembered from his childhood.
Yet Raiders didn't end with a cliffhanger, as most serials had on a weekly basis. And with the third sequel to that film, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, arriving in theaters this week, I still wonder why at least two installments couldn't have been connected with the serializing device. Lucas had already somewhat shown us, through the uncertain ending of The Empire Stikes Back and continuation/resolution beginning of Return of the Jedi, that it could be done.