Monday, March 23, 2009

The Best TV Finales Ever

This is my list of the best television series finales. Yes, I'm sure I am missing some. Heck, I haven't even existed for the entire span of TV's fleeting reign as king of the American household. It is rare precious in television's illustrious history though, that it actually lives up to it's ruling class status, and gives us something truly golden. Those are the times we live for. Television can make us laugh, scoff, cry and often fumble for the remote. But we have relationships with the shows we love the most, and when they sign off, they can leave us feeling angry at not having lived up their potential (I'm looking in your direction final episode of Seinfeld), full of longing for more, or in the most rare cases a sense of all encompassing satisfaction.

I was guzzling down a potent cocktail of emotions during the Battlestar Galactica finale on Friday night I can tell you. I was reduced to tears at several of the show's heart wrenching moments, and was literally perched on the edge of my seat for some of the hardest hitting action of the entire series (seriously AMAZING). I didn't want to tell my friend, while she was still in the afterglow that night, but I did take issue with the very very end. There was lots of ending. I loved how they gave us time to really relish and experience the characters at the end of their journey, but I think they may have taken it a single step too far. Without giving anything away, I felt like they abruptly changed the tone to make a point which didn't really hit home for me. All in all though, an epic science fiction opus.

Ahhh, Alan Ball's emotional masterpiece. I can't actually fathom ever seeing a TV show end in a more satisfying way. They truly gave your closure on a show that will have no doubt weaseled it's way deep into your heart by the time you view the final episode. If you haven't seen the show, it's very hard to describe the intensity and richness of the finale. I can only tell you my reaction was openly weeping, for I don't even remember how long. I've always wanted to watch it again. At first I didn't think I could handle a return to that flood of emotions right away, now I am waiting for just the right time.

I will always be a fan of this show, the heroine, Veronica, was just too bad-assed-witty-girl-powered for me to ever let her slip out of my heart. I will admit though that the show did start to go down hill a little in the last season, redeeming itself only with a spectacular series finale.  I wrote a full review of the episode when it aired, which you can check out if you'd like. Really I would suggest at least watching the entire first season of this show if you haven't seen it, you don't know what you're missing, this ain't no teeny-bopper detective agency.

I included these amazing series finales in one entry because they are both the brain children of writer and lead, Ricky Gervais. They also both end in probably the most satisfying format you can give your fans, the two hour TV-movie. In each of these finales the characters are given even more of a chance to breath and be real, veering into the comic then tragic then back again. Not many other times have I laughed so much, and then cried at the most touching of moments. We'll have to wait and see if the American version of The Office lives up to it's namesakes example when it ends, hopefully not for a long time.

We all  had to live through High School, and no other show has ever been able to capture all the agony and all the elation that the trials of adolescence can bring. (I also think Judd Apatow has yet to top this, his first project.) Lindsay, the main character, runs the gamut from mathlette, to bad-girl in the course of the show, constantly trying to make sense out of who she is. In the end, she breaks free from her home town and embarks on a journey to truly find herself.

Nothing wins me over like pure unadulterated funny. This finale pulled together all the loose ends of the series, and some you didn't even know existed. You finally learn who the real "man" behind the curtain is and many more dysfunctional Bluth family secrets. This one is a must watch, must re-watch, and must quote. "Nope, you're looking at balls."

Well that's my list. Did I forget any?


Tamarinara said...

nice. very nice list. ill let you know if there are any you missed.

MJ said...

Not a bad list, I don't agree with em all though.

1) Six Feet Under

Probably the best series finale I have seen, better than MASH. Gave closure to all the characters, you felt like you were with them after the showed end. It was nice and sad to see all their happiness and sorrow. I think this is the gold standard all finales should be judged in my opinion.

2) Battlestar Galactica

Was awesome for 2 hours and then the last 10 minutes let me down. The people in charge of editting and cutting should have told the director to end it on the high note, not that stupid robot preaching thing he did at the end. Ramos is the best actor in the show and I felt like they hand cuffed him emotionally at the end. In previous episodes he showed us just how emotional he could be and we felt his pain and happiness. With a proper ending this would have been up there with Six Feet Under, but it is a tier below.

Veronica Mars finale was awful in my opinon, I felt robbed and cheated and thats all I will say except FUCK YOU WB.

Freaks and Geeks was good but I saw Jason Seagal last week say they were canceled after 2 months. They probably had the season finale filmed and thus didn't write it as a series finale. As a season finale it was good, a series finale it was very lacking. By the way, Seagall is bringing back the Muppets! Check him out on hulu or youtube.

MJ said...

I meant Olmos, not idea why I got his name wrong. I blame the robots.

Tamarinara said...

what about who's the boss?

Tamarinara said...

what about Walker Texas Ranger?

Tamarinara said...

What about Home Improvement?

pjb said...

The office finale was far better than the best episode in the series x 10! I have to disagree with mj and say that the VMars and the Freaks and Geeks endings were awesome.
How about the worst/over-hyped season finales?
Friends. seinfeld.

NiNa* said...

pjb you are so right! The Friends and Seinfeld finales were abysmal! Maybe it's time for a new list...