My dad is a HUGE Trekkie. When BoBW part one originally aired, it was still at a point when it wouldn't be out of the question for them to kill off Picard. I was down in my room playing video games at the time and I remember hearing him suddenly shout "NNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" And then he raced downstairs into my room blathering on incoherently about "Riker told him to fire! Riker told him to fire!"
Karl: If you had a neck and I had hands I would squeeze your brain which is your body right out of the top of your head which does not exist! Zorak: That's some great hair. Karl: Thanks, it's not real.
Being an accomplished Star Trek: TNG fan, I've got to point out something interesting about the cliffhangers. At the end of the third, fourth, and fifth seasons, we had "The Best of Both Worlds," "Redemption," and "Time's Arrow," respectively. Part two of all three of these episodes was written AFTER the summer hiatus. So, in essence, the writers of the show knew no more about how it would end then the viewers did. As TNG was quite popular when it originally aired, the obvious reason for this was to comepletely eliminate story leaks WAY before part two aired and to make sure it was as well-thought out as it could possibly be. This avoidance of leaks was most important on tBoBW, but was carried over to the other two season-ending cliffhangers in question as a sort of studio tradition. The sixth season cliffhanger, "Descent," had its second part written before the hiatus, mostly because the writers were afraid of not being able to get it done in time.
I keep forgetting to mention this, so here you are. Monday I start a new (real) job working full-time for VERITAS Software as a Sr. Tech Support Engineer for their NetBackup Unix product. There it is. Now you know.