You do realize that it was JMS himself who pulled the switch?
The last six minutes of the series Six Feet Under were excellent.
Best ever series with the best ever finale: The Wire, of course! Just the sort of dizzying montage they’d avoided throughout five seasons (other than Cutty’s jog / election coverage from season 3) has quite an impact at the very end.
The football game and video (followed by the monologue over the credits) at the end of Generation Kill was pretty great, as well. My biases are showing.
The Shield. I still feel damaged inside just from VIEWING it. It’s doubley great if you can count the last 10 minutes of the 2nd to last episode too.
If not thebest, the ending of Blake’s 7 was at least dramatic.
Battlestar Galacitca - I loved it, actually.
The series finale of “Angel” felt rushed, but the very last line uttered at the seemingly hopeless battle made it awesome.
I’m not sure how it holds up after all these years, but the final episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show at least deserves honorable mention in this category. Back in the '70s, it was remarkable for the producers (including Mary Tyler Moore herself) to pull the plug on their own show rather than milking it for every last drop. By planning their own exit, they were able to give the cast a proper send-off, another rarity at the time. The final episode managed to be touching without forgetting to be funny. At the time I thought the idea that executives would fire the entire station staff except for the least competent employee was funny because it was absurd. Now it’s funny because it’s true. And the post-show curtain call, although something of a cliche now, seemed like a classy way to go out at the time.
I Married Dora ran for half a season (1987) and would have been entirely unforgettable except for the “very special episode” that wrapped up the series. In the final few minutes, Dad boards a plane that will take him away from his wife and children for two years. But in a surprising last-minute twist, he returns to his family.
Dad: It’s been canceled.
Wife: The flight?
Dad: No, our series!
The camera pulled back to reveal the cast and crew on stage, bowing and waving to the studio audience. (This was not a show that had previously broken the fourth wall or played around with television conventions.) In its own small way it was as brilliant and unexpected as the Newhart finale, with the difference that I was the only one who saw it and had no one to talk to about it with.
Hated the overwrought and maudlin MASH finale, but I was not a big fan of what the show had become in its final years anyway. There was nothing wrong with the characters in Seinfeld getting their comeuppance, but there was a great deal wrong with the clumsily contrived manner in which it happened.
I meant to second this. It’s amazing that an absurd and cynical comedy built around contemptible characters managed to pull off something like that in its final few minutes. If I had read about it before seeing it I would have thought it was incredibly cheesy, but somehow it worked wonderfully.
Not even close. The endings of seasons 1, 2, and 3 were much more in keeping with the established tone of the series.
I expected something other than a clip show.
Ah, this was also excellent. Buffy’s was good, but Angel’s finale seemed even better to me.
“Personally? I want to slay the dragon…let’s go to work!”
Yep, that was quite a good one, especially the last line before going over the top:
“Who would have noticed another madman around here?”
(alright, technically that wasn’t the last line, but whatever…)
My favorite series end of all-time (to my favorite series of all-time): The Wonder Years. The closing narration gets me every time.
Yeah, no doubt. There was never a clearer, “You are in Hell.”, moment. It was especially brilliant because all the bad shit happened to everyone else.
The Sopranos is a good runner up. With it’s, “Is he dead? Is he not dead?”
The final episode of Dinosaurs nearly matches Blackadder for poignancy.
The dinosaurs have screwed up the environment, and it ends up snowing – showing an ice age is coming. You have the characters of the show sitting at home waiting to die. Really surprising for something that was considered a children’s show.
There also was the “finale” of Sledge Hammer, where he blows up himself and most of the city by trying to defuse an atom bomb. The producers assumed the show would be canceled, so want to go out with a bang. But ABC renewed the series, so they had to work around it (with Sledge Hammer, the Early Years.
Six Feet Under has got to be the best I’ve ever seen. Sopranos comes in at a close second. I’m glad Chase did not compromise his vision and went for something different.
I would also agree with both Angel and The Shield. My sig is actually a quote from the final episode of the Shield. It’s my favorite line from the show.
How about “St. Elsewhere”? The group hug and shuffle to the tissue box. The fat lady sings. Patient #4077 (Henry Blake, injured in a plane crash.) “I don’t understand this autism thing, Pop. Here’s my son. I talk to him. I don’t even know if he can hear me, because he sits there, all day long, in his own world, staring at that toy. What’s he thinkin’ about?” The snow globe. The Tommyverse. The ending credits. And dang NBC for that promotional voice-over on top of the theme music.
Can we get some descriptions of the endings for us youngn’s? What is Newhart and what happened? And I don’t have HBO so I don’t know how Six Feet Under ended like
Six Feet Under showed the soap opera lives of a family that owned a funeral home in California. The finale had the youngest daughter leaving for college in New York. As she’s driving she starts listening to the song Breathe Me by Sia. They then start showing the future and how all the characters eventually die. That is a very flat description of a very moving finale.
Spoiler follows for Newhart, in which Bob Newhart played a writer who took over a historic bed and breakfast in Vermont. He had a blond, busty wife who wore a lot of well-fitted sweaters and they had wacky neighbors and staff.[spoiler]Events in the final episode became increasingly bizarre until “Dick” wakes with a start, and explains to his wife that he just had a bizarre dream about being an innkeeper in Vermont. Normally ending a long-running series this way could piss a lot of people off, but in this case his wife turns over and is revealed to be Suzanne Pleshette (“Emily” from Bob Newhart’s earlier series), meaning that “Dick” is actually
Bob Hartley. Now a call-back to any old series might have been cheesy, but Bob and Emily were still remembered with much love, and the audience went wild.
(The producers had recreated the “Bob Newhart Show” bedroom set in the studio, but kept it and Pleshette hidden until it was time to shoot the final scene, so the audience reaction is real.)
Boy, this many responses and no one mentions The Fugitive? One of the few shows from the sixties with a Final Episode, and one that tied up all the looses strings.
They finally did get the one-armed man
Or what about Barney Miller?