Finales hold a special place in the hearts of TV watchers, especially when an entire series is ending. There is something extra about watching a series finale, knowing a very limited amount of time remains to resolve any issue. Emotional attachments heighten as the end draws near and we try to accept it is almost time to bid adieu to characters who are hardly fictional at this point. Stakes are high too as these spectacles are tasked with portraying the ending to a story, which is arguably the most important part.
A good series finale, you know, the kind that provides both closure and a little mystery, is unforgettable. With that being said, the bad finales are often just as memorable as the good. Viewers spend countless hours of their lives wrapped up in someone else’s, hours that can never be returned. A good finale validates all the time spent catching an episode here and there, presenting there was never any time wasted. A bad finale on the other hand can discredit the overall quality of the entire series, upsetting viewers to not only the ending, but the fact that they devoted so much to what they may now see as a tainted series.
Based on my research - which was actually quite fun - here is a list of 5 of the best and worst finales of all time, in no specific order. These lists were compiled after researching critic and viewer reactions from a multitude of highly credited sources. There are many reasons these shows were placed in their respective categories, some more obvious than others. What do you think?
(Warning: spoilers follow)
Parenthood – After enduring the heartbreak of losing the family patriarch, the flash-forwards during the family baseball game showed us that life goes on. All the feels.
Mad Men – One of Don Draper’s escapades leads him to come up with the best brainstorm he has ever had, and truly proves him as the shows protagonist. Well done, AMC.
Parks & Recreation – The future is revealed for every beloved character, and honestly, we’re ready for Leslie Knope to be the next president #VoteKnope
Six Feet Under –Watching a now elderly Claire reflect on her life & go into the light is more tender and satisfying than we could’ve imagined, especially for a death themed show. Bravo.
Friday Night Lights – Seeing Coach Taylor choose his wife and family at the end showed us some things are more important than football, even in Texas.
How I met your Mother – We waited 9 seasons to finally meet the mother who then dies and Ted reveals he still loves Robin? The show should’ve been called “How I met your mother who died and I got back with Aunt Robin who I loved all along”
Dexter – Viewers watched to finally find out the fate of the beloved vigilante, who…ends up as a sad lumberjack? When Michael C. Hall (Dex himself) didn’t even watch it, you know it’s rough.
Lost – Viewers watched the series at the edge of their seats waiting for many answers, and the finale delivered only one, which made almost no sense. Are we being punked?
Seinfeld – After watching the misadventures of these friends for almost 10 years, they simply end up in jail. Plus, they don’t even hug each other goodbye.
Weeds – In its glory this was a great show, however, it hadn’t been in its glory for a while. This ending would’ve been much better placed, and come off far less reaching, seasons ago.
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Whether or not you were satisfied with the finale of a beloved show, there is one thing that seems to be agreed upon across the board. Like our favorite books, we, the fans, will remember the final chapter.
What shows would you add to these categories?