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What are the BEST TV series finales of all time?

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outdoorcats
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What are the BEST TV series finales of all time?

#1

Post by outdoorcats » July 4th, 2020, 1:17 am

(Inspired by me finally finishing The Americans)

People complain about TV series having disappointing finales all the time, but don't talk as much about what finales they actually love. Which TV series, for you, stuck the landing and ended on just the right note?

Some of my faves, ranked:

1. Cowboy Bebop: "The Real Folk Blues (Parts 1 & 2) (Episode 25)
-> "Bang."

2. The Americans: "START" (Season 6, Episode 10)
->Without spoiling the final trajectory of this slow-burning, psychologically rich Reagan-era spy thriller, the finale delivered on all the show's greatest strengths, amplified tenfold, and is a great show's greatest chapter. Alternately nail-biting and heartbreaking, eerie and elegiac, surprising yet satisfying.

3. The Sopranos: "Made in America" (Season 6, Episode 21)
->I was never the biggest fan of The Sopranos. Perhaps because of that, I had enough emotional distance to not be infuriated with this infamous ending, and appreciate the final episode for the work of art that it is. Abrupt endings and open-ended stories are common nowadays, so it's also easier in hindsight to see past the gimmick and appreciate all the finely-tuned moments that sum up each character perfectly in this seemingly uneventful final chapter, which alternates between existential absurdity and paranoia. The final scene, once seemingly universally hated, now seems iconic, both widely parodied and obsessively analyzed over, and the last word I can say about it is

4. The Leftovers: "The Book of Nora" (Season 3, Episode 8)
->After spending its final season being one of the most batshit crazy shows to ever exist, The Leftovers abruptly settled down for a quiet, unhurried, and perfectly constructed epilogue which both stands on its own as a self-contained story about love and lies, and a perfect final chapter which, like a magician, somehow ties all the impossibly disparate threads of the story neatly into one thematic whole.

5. Angel: "Not Fade Away" (Season 5, Episode 22)
->An unusual case in which an abrupt cancellation helped craft the perfect ending for this Buffy the Vampire Slayer spinoff which trafficked in uncomfortable moral ambiguity and sudden beloved character deaths before it was cool. From beginning to end, this is probably the most exciting finale on this list.

6. Hannibal: "The Wrath of the Lamb" (Season 3, Episode 13)
->Bryan Fuller's masterful psychological art horror was cancelled before its time (though, to be fair, it's unbelievable this show ever aired on NBC, was ever greenlit even--let alone renewed for two additional seasons). Series finales that aren't sure if they'll be series finales or not have an impossible task, but somehow this haunting and epic climax forms a perfect conclusion.

7. Person of Interest: "Return 0" (Season 5, Episode 13)
->The bittersweet and explosive culmination of years worth of story from the most philosophical dystopian action/thriller on network TV had a lot to live up to. The final season in particular is noteworthy in that all but 2 episodes have a 9.0 rating or higher on IMDb. It didn't seem possible that the final episode could seem appropriately climactic in a series which kept setting a higher and higher bar for itself, but Person of Interest somehow delivered.

8. LOST: "The End" (Season 6, Episode 16)
->Haters be damned. This is, and remains after many viewings, the most moving finale of all time. If we're parsing degrees of perfection, I only put it this low on the list because the on-island story wasn't quite as exciting as previous season finales, which has more to do with what a crazily high bar the show set for itself than anything.

9. Parks and Recreation: "One Last Ride" (Season 7, Episode 12)
->Sitcom finales get a lot of hate, so it's special to see one as universally loved as this one. Incredibly moving and, in tune with the rest of the show, proudly idealistic in a way that gets even cynics like me wondering why we give naivete a bad name.

10. Monster: "The Real Monster" (Episode 74)
->74 episodes worth of dense story came to a surprising conclusion--as surprising for what it didn't do as for what it did. While one part of the story is left ambiguous, the culmination of the show's philosophical themes of the nature of evil was not. The final haunting image is burned into my brain.

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#2

Post by mightysparks » July 4th, 2020, 1:28 am

Didn't actually like the ending of Bebop that much. I do love the Lost finale though. Some of the other shows there I haven't finished (and others I haven't started). Others I'd put up there would be Breaking Bad, Six Feet Under, Extras (if the 'special' counts as the finale).
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#3

Post by outdoorcats » July 4th, 2020, 1:37 am

Extras and The Office [UK] both had great finales, yeah. I was disappointed in the end to Breaking Bad though (but the final season as a whole is amazing).

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#4

Post by Traveller » July 4th, 2020, 5:46 am

The Leftovers, LOST and Person of Interest finals would be on my list, too. Six Feet Under's was emotional as well. The series finale of Carnivale, even though not completely concluding, was phenomenal. There are probably more, but out of my head I can't remember much of the finals of some favorite shows. The best series finale is that of The Shield, though, and while the show wouldn't make my top 10, the finale was just gut wrenching.
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#5

Post by brokenface » July 4th, 2020, 7:59 am

Six Feet Under. And Twin Peaks (both of them)

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#6

Post by AdamH » July 4th, 2020, 9:36 am

Breaking Bad, The Office (original) and Six Feet Under.

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#7

Post by tazz_85 » July 4th, 2020, 11:04 am

I used to watch a lot of series from 2005 tot 2015, but i'm more into movies since then :p
altough i watched a lot of series there are still some popular series from that period i have never seen

Some of the best i can remember:
- Battlestar Galactica (2003 remake)
The final jump from Starbuck, still remember that scene :wub:
- Breaking Bad
- Carnivale
Been a while now, but the whole series was awesome
- Fringe
- Lost
The final season was 'different', i liked the whole Dharma initiative mystery back then. Still remember after every episode the endless discussions and hours of analysis that was done after every episode
- Mr.Robot
This one is more recent, that last season was one of the best i've ever seen
- The Man In The High Castle

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