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Series Finales

Posted: May 21st, 2015, 9:27 am
by movieman1957
With so many shows ending their terms and understanding that tv series didn't really have the kind of wrap up episodes until probably the 70s I wondered what were some of your favorite finales and some of the worst. I don't remember too many of the bad ones but several were quite memorable.

The recent finale for "Justified" was quite satisfying. (I doubt it will make a best list but enjoying the show as I did I thought it worked well.) Among the more famous (and enjoyable for me) were.....

MASH (too long but well done.)
The Mary Tyler Moore Show. I didn't get to see it the night it aired but caught it later.
Newhart - I think maybe among the most inspired moments in television came in that last two minutes. All that came before was pretty good too.

Never having seen "Breaking Bad" or "The Sopranos" or "Mad Men" (never mind "Seinfeld" or "Friends" as I didn't find them funny) I'll leave the those to the rest of you.

Re: Series Finales

Posted: May 21st, 2015, 12:14 pm
by RedRiver
CHEERS was a good one. I heard BARNEY MILLER was good. Didn't see it. I was disappointed in MASH. It had once been my favorite show; for a while anyway. Later seasons failed to maintain that high quality. The finale re-hashed several plot elements from previous stories. Sent one character away, then brought him back. Featured a lot of talk about whether to say goodbye and how to do it. I didn't mind Hawkeye going crazy. But even that did nothing speed up the pace.

The one thing I really liked was Klinger's decision to stay in Korea! He'd fallen in love and married a national. Of all people to choose NOT to go home...Klinger? I'd like to know how HILL STREET BLUES and ST. ELSEWHERE wrapped up. Those were good shows. But I was working an evening shift at that time, and never watched TV before midnight!

Letterman's farewell show was downright tedious. You can't expect much from a talk show, but please...

Re: Series Finales

Posted: May 21st, 2015, 12:32 pm
by movieman1957
I was not a big fan of "St Elsewhere" but I did hear about the ending and it is certainly an interesting way for it to have ended. (There is probably a Youtube thing on it.) I don't know enough about the characters and to mention what little I know might be wrong.

Re: Series Finales

Posted: May 21st, 2015, 6:33 pm
by Professional Tourist
I thought Frasier had a nice series finale.

Likewise for Northern Exposure, which seemed to have two finales, one when Dr. Fleischman left, and another at the end of that last season.

The Waltons didn't really have a finale at the end of its ninth and final season, but the last episode of season seven could have worked very well to wrap up the series.

Re: Series Finales

Posted: May 25th, 2015, 5:17 pm
by kingrat
The St. Elsewhere finale was a disaster, in my opinion. Apparently the entire show had been in the imagination of an autistic boy. No, I didn't make that up. Considering how raunchy the show sometimes was, that was completely unbelievable.

I didn't like the finale of White Collar, though it wasn't bad. To me, the ideal finale would have been for the annoying Mozzie to be killed, which would make Neil realize that he needed to go completely legit and work with Peter.

Re: Series Finales

Posted: May 25th, 2015, 6:43 pm
by Lzcutter
I really liked the finale to Mad Men and wrote about it in the 2014 TV shows thread. I know some folks who have voiced dislike with the it but I thought it stayed true to Don and the characters.

My favorite series finale is probably Six Feet Under which came off a few wobbly seasons (another show that stayed too long at the fair as I like to say) to end on the perfect grace not with Claire in command of her future and then we see in the final minutes how the characters lives play out.

Another favorite was Breaking Bad which also ended the way I was hoping it would end. Don't want to say too much more than that in case folks want to go back and binge watch it in the future.

Series finales are tough to do. They walk a very thin line that can quickly turn to unbelievablity or schmaltzy on the turn of a dime. Very few go out in ways that make the viewers happy to have been on the ride.

But the ones that do that, here's to them for achieving the top of the pyramid.

Re: Series Finales

Posted: May 26th, 2015, 8:38 am
by Rita Hayworth
M*A*S*H Finale
Goodbye, Farewell, Ahem

From Wikipedia:

Goodbye, Farewell and Amen is a television movie that served as the 256th and final episode of the M*A*S*H television series. Closing out the series' eleventh season, the 2½-hour episode first aired on CBS on February 28, 1983. Written by a large number of collaborators, including series star Alan Alda, who also directed ...

I've cried so hard when it's came on for the 1st time when this 150 Minute Episode came on air and I was sadden by the joy of this beloved series came to the close in it's 11th season and it's was a beautiful written show and I remembered like it was yesterday. I just loved the last 30 minutes of the Show - Sergeant Klinger's Wedding to Soon-Lee was priceless and with full of joy and emotions and most of all a startling twist of fate for him. Everything about it was serene and Winchester encounters with the Chinese Men was Excellent with their taste of music.

Those were the highlights of the show - the Breakdown of the Camp was unreal, the closing of the SWAMP of which Hawkeye resides for 11 years was taken down - so many great memories in that hut.

I have the DVD that I got from Amazon recently and I cried all over again and I felt that 150 minute show was just right and most of all - I just loved the respect of Hawkeye and B.J. to Colonel Potter and his last ride of his beloved horse Sophie.

The finale of M*A*S*H is one of the best of the best that I've seen ...

Re: Series Finales

Posted: May 26th, 2015, 12:18 pm
by RedRiver
LZ Cutter, I'll respond on the TV SHOWS thread. Anybody who hasn't seen MAD MEN by now probably won't care about spoilers!

Re: Series Finales

Posted: May 29th, 2015, 12:21 am
by Lzcutter

How could I forget one of my favorites!

The series finale to Lost!

I loved the show the first season and then after that, it started to go off the rails. It started to become the same old, same old.

They introduced a new character, Ben Linus (a wonderful actor, Michael Emerson) and that character held my interest.

But Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse did the totally unexpected- they set an end date for the show and after the season 3 season finale (which was great), Through the Looking Glass, the show improved dramatically.

It suddenly found its footing again and dramatically became the show that the first season had promised.

Though the last season was a bit hit and miss, the series finale was one of those touchstone moments in the internet.

You either loved it or hated it.

I love it and wrote about my love for the show here:

I binge watched the show during my tenure in San Francisco and realized just how much it all circled back and all the homages to all that had come before.

It is one of my favorites and always will be.

And the soundtrack across all the seasons by Michael Giacchino is a work of art!

Re: Series Finales

Posted: May 30th, 2015, 1:51 pm
by rohanaka
Several really good ones have already been mentioned. I especially loved the Newhart one too. COMPLETELY unexpected.

Two that stand out for me: Magnum PI (wow.. what a grueling lead up w/ the those last few episodes) and I also really enjoyed pretty much the whole last season (and the last several episodes) of The Closer too. It was a great way to wrap up things for Brenda's character AND lead into the new spin off series Major Crimes. Even if it was hard to see Brenda Leigh go.. It was a "win-win" sort of ending.

Re: Series Finales

Posted: May 30th, 2015, 2:28 pm
by RedRiver
The St. Elsewhere finale was a disaster, in my opinion. Apparently the entire show had been in the imagination of an autistic boy

You're serious, King Rat? This is not April Fools Day? That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard! People made fun of DALLAS for attributing one season to a dream. The entire series? That's ridiculous. I probably did hear about this many years ago. I don't see how I could have missed it. In any case, it's still preposterous!

Re: Series Finales

Posted: May 30th, 2015, 4:01 pm
by movieman1957
He's right.

Re: Series Finales

Posted: June 1st, 2015, 6:55 pm
by mrsl
I couldn't believe the final show of Dave Letterman. During his entire tenure he did and allowed crazy and wonderful things. I expected a re-hash of some of the more nutsy moments, like some of the kid scientists (they pulled some good ones), and NO WILD ANIMALS!%? I really looked forward to that so-called hunter who barely knew any facts about the animals he brought on. To dig back 30 years, I'm sure they could have found some real knee slappers that some of us had never seen. In the beginning his list of ten was always sharp and on edge but this final one was like taking a sleeping pill - actually the whole show was.

I agree with Rohanaka that the final Newhart was brilliant, and such a shock, it will forever stand out as the best of the best. After 5 years or whatever it was with Fran, to end up with the Glorious Suzanne Pleshette was award worthy.

Re: Series Finales

Posted: May 15th, 2016, 1:01 pm
by Professional Tourist
I had started binge-watching The Good Wife a few months ago, and then watched the last few episodes of the seventh and final season in 'real time'.

Although the fans were advised in advance that not everything would be 'tied up in a bow' and that some would love while others would hate the ending, I found that there was no real 'ending' at all. For the most part it unfolded like a typical season-ending cliffhanger episode, rather than a series-end. Only one big issue came to a conclusion -- everything else was open-ended, leaving the viewers to speculate or guess at what they think most likely to happen to these characters.

I wasn't looking for happy endings for everyone or every situation, but I would have preferred if the writers had brought most of the story-lines to some sort of conclusion, happy or otherwise. I think that's part of their job, and they basically shirked it.

Perhaps they wanted to keep things open-ended for spin-off potential, and there is some talk of a spin-off series for Christine Baranski's 'Diane Lockhart' character, but to my thinking, and as the australians would say, that is not 'fair dinkum'. :x