TV Series Finales – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

It’s that time of year again – season and series finales are going on and some long-running shows have come to an end. It started me thinking on what have been some of the best and worst series finales that I have seen over the years. Two things to keep in mind before you read this list: 1) I am only doing series that I watched, thus MASH, Dallas and Breaking Bad are not going to make the list, as I never watched them…so no need to tell me all about who shot J.R. or Walter White’s phenomenal acting in the comments. 2) Most of these shows have been off the air for years, but I will warn you: Spoilers are completely unavoidable, so if you see a show you haven’t watched, or someday plan to Netflix on a rainy weekend, STOP READING.

TV Series

The Good:

1. The Wire

It gets top billing from me because I think it is the best written and acted show of all time. All. Time. For those not familiar, The Wire is a crime drama and not for the faint of heart. It concentrates on the corruption in Baltimore – corruption in the school system, politics, police force, journalism, and shipyards. It takes a hard look at drug culture and poverty, following characters on paths of both destruction and redemption. The finale did what all good finales should – tied up loose ends, continued a high standard of storytelling and acting, as well as included a few shocking conclusions.

2. Dawson’s Creek

It was always going to be Joey and Dawson right?! Heck, it’s called Dawson’s Creek – he’s gotta get the girl right? Nope, sorry folks, but I’ve always been #teampacey so I was thrilled with this finale. Dawson does get to be a big shot TV producer so at least he gets that dream. And Jen’s dying message to her baby girl? “Be a dreamer…and remember, to love is to live…” It’s one of the best TV speeches I’ve ever seen and even my heart of stone was breaking.

3. Friends

She gets off the plane. Thus we get to see the Rachel and Ross saga continue – nothing was ever easy with them so it was an appropriate culmination for her to say goodbye and head off to Paris….and then come to her senses. And it all ends in the apartment – an apartment all of them at some point had lived in and where almost every big event in the show’s history happened…Well played.

The Bad:

4. Gilmore Girls

I needed more laughs, more tears and more of the quick-wit dialogue the show had been famous for in the finale. I also need to see a little flash forward…give me a hint about Luke and Lorelai, or even Rory and ….gasp… Jess. It has to be Jess. If there was ONE show that I would ever donate a dollar to Kickstarter (Veronica Mars-style) in order to make a movie, Gilmore Girls is it. I didn’t hate the finale, but I thought it could have been much better.

5. The Sopranos

I know, I know, some people loved it. And some people hated it. And that’s why it lands in the “Bad” and not the “Ugly”. The infamous fade to black was the ultimate in either artistic integrity or total cop-out. I lean towards the hate it crowd, as I like loose ends tied and a feeling of resolution when a fictional story is coming to an end.

And the Ugly:

6. Lost

I already wrote one rant featuring the hours I lost watching Lost, but I have to say it again: The ending was awful. It made everyone that said “They were all dead” seem like they were right and gave no explanation as to why they were wrong. Heads up: It was a sideways, alternate timeline at the end, and they were NOT in purgatory the entire show. The island was there, the beginning seasons happened, they were not dead the entire time. The finale refused to tie up loose ends/island mysteries and that left people confused and disappointed.

7. Seinfeld

Ugh, I hated this series finale. It was a smart show that was funny even though a lot of the characters weren’t very likeable. And the finale featured them on trial (for not stopping a crime) and it felt like they were just trying to find a vehicle to show 100 cameos. I’m not super sure how to make this finale better, but I know this is one of the worst conclusions of an amazing show I’ve ever seen.

8. How I Met Your Mother

If I close my eyes and concentrate really hard, I am pretty sure I can hear my friend Hope, 150 miles away, STILL ranting about the injustice of this finale. Personally, I would never have put this in the “Ugly” if the final season hadn’t taken place. The show needed to end a few seasons ago, but since they dedicated the ENTIRE final season to Barney and Robin’s wedding…and then have them divorce in the first 16 minutes of the finale…that felt like a waste of time and really annoyed me. I don’t mind where the characters ended up, but I do mind how they got there.

HIMYM finale

And that’s my list! If you’re interested in purchasing any of the seasons of my favorite TV series finales…click on the DVD photo and it’ll take you straight to Amazon!

What are you some of your favorite TV series finales? Do you agree with my choices and/or the categories I put them in?

 

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9 thoughts on “TV Series Finales – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

  1. Rachel says:

    I rarely have the staying power to watch a show’s series finale (#commitmentissues). I usually think the show is ruined by the producers/writers/directors/#whoeverIcanblame long before it ends (ahem, #Bones, #LawAndOrder, #GoT, and now #TheMentalist).

    #Lost I really enjoyed but I didn’t love the series finale, but wasn’t committed enough to care and try to figure out what it meant by that point. But I’m glad to know others think it sucked and it wasn’t just because I was brain-dead after 5,215 minutes on #Netflix. The season finale’s for #Lost were probably good, but I also didn’t have to wait however many months until the next episode came out.

    #OnceUponATime does season finales well, as does #WalkingDead (usually, there were one or two in there that I didn’t think were great). I’ve just started watching The Wire (which you’ve been telling me is the best of all time for A WHILE) and it’s good, but I think I need to get in to Season 2 before I’m sold.

    I totally agree about Seinfeld – although I didn’t start watching it until 12 YEARS after it ended – the series finale still sucked. I hated it. And since I was watching #TBS reruns, I’ve seen the finale a couple times. Like my book choices, my tv viewing is heavily influenced by what you recommend, so I naturally agree with you 😉

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