The Best Series Finale

The Best Series FinaleI recently wrote about The Office series finale. I liked it.

In the comments of that entry, 519 Rob had a great idea: an entry about the best series finales.

My personal favourite is the series finale of Six Feet Under, but I also loved the finales of The Wire and, although I wasn't sure I loved it at first, The Sopranos.

What's your favourite series finale of all-time?


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Comments (42 - click here to join in!)

519 Rob

I guess I better get in here and comment!

I said on that previous post that my fav was Cheers, and obviously still is.
The finale for Fresh Prince was funny in a gimmicky way.

I really didn't like the ending to Weeds. I think they would have been better to end at the second-last episode, with Nancy screaming for...well...I won't ruin it if you haven't seen it.
But as fas as Weeds goes, I'd have been just as happy if they ended it at season 3 where Nancy is drving away on the Segway.


May 27, 2013 @ 3:36 PM

Speysidephil

Definitely SIX FEET UNDER, but I can't wait for the finale of DEXTER.

May 27, 2013 @ 3:39 PM

McNulty

I think you're off on the Sorpranos. I still say the ending was a cop-out. It is made worse that David Chase is so indignant about it.

I think the Office was near perfect. The Wire was fantastic. Six Feet Under's last 5 minutes was awesome.

I would add Star Trek The Next Generation, Quantum Leap and obviously MASH.

Lost and Seinfeld were really underated.

Newhart made me angry when I was a kid. I never watched the Bob Newhart show and the ending didn't make sense. My mother laughed and laughed and laughed but I never got it. Years later I realise now how it was probably the best finale ever. Sheer brilliance that has never been achieved since.

May 27, 2013 @ 3:40 PM

Mississauga Phil

how bout M*A*S*H* - - Obviously I watched it after the fact (I was 3 when it went off the air)..but I loved the "Goodbye" at the end...

May 27, 2013 @ 3:42 PM

Mississauga Phil

I think I was posting at the same time as McNulty - agreed on TNG as well, "All Good Things" was a great way to see the show off...

May 27, 2013 @ 3:43 PM

Andrew

Newhart - hands down.
I don' think that surprise ending would ever be able to make it in this day and age, but I loved that show.

Favourite line from all of it:

Dick Loudon: You should really wear more sweaters.

Classic!

Cheers,
Andrew

May 27, 2013 @ 3:45 PM

Wayner

I too like the Sopranos because it left you with the impression that the stories/life continues the only difference being is that we’re not there to watch…

As a rule I don’t like finales because often times they go over the top and end up being unrealistic…also I don’t like the “finality” of the situation

That being said the Newhart finale was one of the best… which of course invalidates my argument above

May 27, 2013 @ 3:49 PM

Lorne

Babylon 5 had TWO of the best endings-- Season 4, when the series was effectively cancelled and they put together a satisfying conclusion to the series-- and Season 5, which was the actual ending.

Being Human (UK original) has one of the most fucktastically depressing endings ever. Especially when it hits you, you search online, and find out that yes, indeed, the series is over. =(

Unfortunately so many of the shows I watched got cancelled early and suddenly, and never get a satisfying conclusion. I do think it should be international law that TV shows aren't allowed to have cliffhangers during their first season.

On the other hand, there's Cop Rock.

May 27, 2013 @ 4:06 PM

Gary

I agree about Newhart and Star Trek: The Next Generation. I also liked Star Trek Voyageur Finale, but I think my favourite of all time was The Fugitive. (No, I'm not that old. I like classic TV)

Some honourable mentions:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (I'm a geek too)
Mary Tyler Moore
MASH


Really looking forward to Dexter.

May 27, 2013 @ 4:09 PM

Sam Dixon

I like how if you watch the last sopranos episode/series again, the clues are there...like where Tony and Bobby Baccala are talking about what its like to get shot and one of them says that it probably just goes black, or where silvio is having dinner with somebody who gets shot and says he didnt realise it had happened til after it happened. Or the little clues liketony appearing to wake up in a coffin at the beginning of the last episode- its clever and i went from thinking it was a cop out to thinking it was an absolutely brilliant and well set up finale.

May 27, 2013 @ 4:11 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

Two finales I'm looking forward to:

Breaking Bad
Mad Men

I hope they don't suck.

May 27, 2013 @ 4:15 PM

Gump

I've loved many last episodes.
Like most people my age, the last episode of MASH was the first *big* television event. I certainly don't remember much from the Vietnam war (let alone the Korean War) but that scene of the woman and the 'chicken' will never leave me.
I enjoyed the last episode of Cheers (although I can't remember it at all), ER, Bob Newhart (the 2nd one), ST:TNG, Friends.
Seinfeld's was a big disappointment.
But for me, the 'best' final episode was St. Elsewhere's (autism and the snow globe). It changed how I watch television and I truly believe that it helped start the 'alternative' TV shows that are now standard (i.e. available on HBO, Showtime, etc.). It demanded you think instead of just entertaining you.

May 27, 2013 @ 4:53 PM

Ben Vidal

@ Mike: Unfortunately Mad Men sucks without having a series finale. I would put it at the top of the most overrated, boring shows ever. You get a pass though because of Breaking Bad.

May 27, 2013 @ 4:58 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@ Ben Vidal

I absolutely love Mad Men... but I do also enjoy Breaking Bad.

Last night's Mad Men was another great episode.

May 27, 2013 @ 4:59 PM

ET

X-Files without any doubt. At least the real series finale was Year 8 when Mulder & Scully had the baby & were ready for a new life but apparently they extended it to a 9th season without Mulder which was a crock. TV Execs, greedy bastards.

Best dam show for its time before all this copycat crap.

May 27, 2013 @ 5:02 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@ET

I loved X-Files and never missed an episode.

May 27, 2013 @ 5:03 PM

dsscpu

I really liked the ending to 'The West Wing' as it brought full circle a small but important part of the plot that was first seen in Season 2. Remember, the show ended in Season 7 and considering how botched Season 6 was, the ending to Season 7 was very appropriate. Also, even though it had a short run, the final 4 episodes for 'Studio 60' and especially the last 10 minutes of the last episode was appropriate. Compare that to 'Entourage' which felt forced or the endings for 'Las Vegas' or 'Sportsnight' which both had a cliff hanger since they thought (hoped) that they were coming back...

May 27, 2013 @ 5:06 PM

dsscpu

519 Rob, I agree with you about Weeds. From Season 4 onwards it was hard to watch. The ending to Season 8 really was meant to bring the show full circle and didn't do it, although the feel good moment in the last few minutes of the show was just that.

May 27, 2013 @ 5:08 PM

dsscpu

One other show, 'That 70's Show', the premise for the final episode was predictable and by that point the final season had just fell right apart. I didn't really like the way they brought the plot points home and they tried to sugar coat it too much.

May 27, 2013 @ 5:10 PM

Andrew

@Gary,

Agree with you about Buffy - wife and I are huge Buffy and Angel fans. Buffy would be in my top 5, however, I was so pissed off with the ending of Angel. I thought in the 4th season it really started to hit it's stride, but then it went and got all weird and the ending blew.

I just loved the whole 'surprise' ending of Newhart - it wasn't Dallas J.R. style, but I couldn't stop smiling at it, because as someone who works in TV, I kept thinking the bastards pulled it off!

Cheers!
Andrew

May 27, 2013 @ 5:37 PM

Elba

@519Rob re: Cheers: It was a good ending - I read once that the person standing at the bottom of the stairs was supposed to be Bill Clinton. Does anyone know if there's any truth to that? Likely not.

I enjoyed Lost's finale only because I got closure from the final island scene. I also loved the added scene only on the DVD copy with Ben and Walt.

I also agree with Gump re: St. Elsewhere. For me, that was the first series that I had to think about its ending, kind of like a great discovery.

I loved West Wing, but I cannot for the life of me remember the finale.

I'm probably one of the very few who actually liked the finale of Seinfeld. Kind of like they got what they deserved.

May 27, 2013 @ 6:09 PM

Paul

The " House " finale was good, and consistent with the cheery bleakness of the whole show. Worst finale ever, without hesitation: The Wonder Years.

May 27, 2013 @ 6:54 PM

david

Game 7 in Boston a couple of weeks ago.

May 27, 2013 @ 7:12 PM

Claire

The last episode of the British series of The Office (I think it was the Christmas Special, rather than series 2 ep 6) was pretty much perfect as far as TV, and a fitting ending to a superb series goes...

May 27, 2013 @ 8:46 PM

Tron

Also really liked Cheers and Star Trek TNG

Does anybody remember Dinosaurs (early to mid 90s), it was a strange Jim Henson production, it's like Simpsons meet giant dinosaurs puppets. It ended with well a pretty realistic way of how real Dinosaurs ended. I think there was a warning for viewers before it aired. Still haven't really figured out if it was the worst or best ending every.

May 27, 2013 @ 8:53 PM

Alison in Ottawa

Hands down Six Feet Under...I have high hopes for Breaking Bad, loved West Wing too.

May 27, 2013 @ 9:06 PM

Rosie

Claire... TOTALLY AGREE... The finale of the British version of the Office was SO GOOD ... Perfect way to end it, was so satisfying.

The finale of Seinfeld was a big disappointment. So was the way Entourage wrapped up, agree it felt forced.

May 27, 2013 @ 11:29 PM

Mississauga Phil

@ Andrew - Not to sound like too much of a nerd, but they did continue the Buffy and Angel story lines in trade paperback (they are considered cannon). I've never read them myself, but I have heard good things. Check out Buffy "Season 9" and Angel "After the Fall"

May 28, 2013 @ 8:16 AM

Argie

@Gump
I don't agree with you often but you hit the nail on the head re: St Elsewhere.

Terrific show which seemed to raise the bar on TV dramas. It had its comedic moments. Yeah and that final episode was great.

May 28, 2013 @ 8:22 AM

Mark H

My favourite finale was probably The Wire. I don't think a finale has ever truly encapsulated the feeling of the show the way the last episode of the The Wire did.

Perfect.

May 28, 2013 @ 8:23 AM

Glen

I wish Deadwood and Carnival had a chance at a series finale.


I pictured the finale with Nick Stahls character Ben facing off with the devil in New Mexico. The reason I have them there is in real life the US Army was testing a nuclear device called Trinity in 1945 before they detonated one over Japan. How else can you kill the devil?

May 28, 2013 @ 8:31 AM

519 Rob

@Elba
Thats funny - I'd heard that too about Clinton. I'm glad it wasn't, that ending didn't need a gimmick.

May 28, 2013 @ 8:47 AM

519 Rob

@dsscpu

I didn't dislike the last 5 seasons of Weeds, but the first 3 were magic.

May 28, 2013 @ 8:53 AM

Franco

The Damages series finale was pretty haunting.

May 28, 2013 @ 9:02 AM

Andrew

@ Mississauga Phil,

My lovely bride is a Joss Weadon nerd - she has both series in comic form, but I just couldn't do it.

My Tuesday nights were never the same. I actually stopped watching serial TV after the end of Angel - just couldn't be bothered to watch anymore. I see so much TV at work that I rarely turn it on at home.

I do miss them though... maybe I should read them.

Cheers!
Andrew

May 28, 2013 @ 12:17 PM

dlauthor

Agree with most of the assessments here, except for Seinfeld which still annoys the heck out of me. It'd be like ending Louie on a preachy note.

I would also add the final episode of Blackadder Goes Forth, and the TV-movie finale for Homicide. Both of those ended the series effectively while emotionally wrecking me (although Six Feet Under does and always shall take the cake on that front).

May 28, 2013 @ 1:06 PM

dsscpu

@519 Rob,

Yes, first few seasons were really well done. Then, the show became meh. It went from a must watch to an off and on.

@Elba,

Ending to The West Wing, aside from Jimmy Smits' Matt Santos character being sworn in as new President and sitting in the Oval Office with Josh (Bradley Whitford) and Sam (the returning Rob Lowe), Martin Sheen's character of Josiah Bartlet was flying back to New Hampshire and was gifted from Mallory O'Brien (played by Allison Smith) the napkin that was first shown in the first episode of Season 2 that said "Bartlet for President". Given the untimely death of John Spencer, it seemed like a perfect final scene to end the series, since John Spencer's character Leo McGarry was the one who gave it to Bartlet and used it to convince him to run for President.

I think at some point someone will try to re-boot the franchise, given how long it was on TV and the fact that it seems any TV show that had any sort of success seems to get a reboot now-and-days. If they could convince Rob Lowe to be the main character (either running for President or already being elected as the President following the Santos administration), then I think it could have a chance for success. Of course, that would be ironic since originally the show was written for Rob Lowe to be the lead and he wound up leaving in Season 4 when his character was getting less-and-less face time on screen.

May 28, 2013 @ 1:15 PM

JasonS

Season 5 of SUPERNATURAL, which wasn’t the series end, but it was the intended ending according to the original writer. (I’m glad the series has continued btw).

Other than that, maybe NEWHART, where “it was all a dream”. Classic.

>>I wish Deadwood and Carnival had a chance at a series finale.

Yes! Deadwood, Carnival, and Millennium all deserved endings.

May 28, 2013 @ 6:16 PM

Gary

JasonS - you are right on Supernatural. That would have been the perfect finale. I`m glad that is has continued though.

May 28, 2013 @ 10:44 PM

Elba

@dsscpu - thanks for the recap; that does sound like a great final scene for WW.

May 29, 2013 @ 8:46 AM

Roshan

Star Trek The Next Generation
Star Trek Deep Space 9
Babylon 5 (one of the saddest)
Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Friends
Corner Gas

May 30, 2013 @ 12:05 AM

519 Rob

Another show that didn't get a finale was Married...with Children.
Too bad. But they do keep hinting that there might be a made-for-TV movie as a send off.

May 31, 2013 @ 10:26 AM

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