This week, the Heave staff was asked:
In honor of Dexter wrapping up last night and Breaking Bad drawing to a close on Sunday, what’s your favorite or least favorite ending to a TV series ever, and why?
Deadwood is simultaneously my favortie and least favorite. The series (as short as it was) was fantastic, but since they ended not knowing they’d be canceled, the ending leaves so many unfinished plot hooks that weren’t meant to be. Sol Starr, I just want you to be happy and now I’ll never know if you were*!
*I mean, I could always read about the real Sol Starr, but since Deadwood is about as historically accurate as Back to the Future III, it really isn’t going to tell me anything.
Favorite ending to a TV series might still be Six Feet Under. Any show that gets you that invested in these marvelous characters and then ends the series fast-forwarding to their moment of death while Sia’s “Breathe Me” plays over it is sure to leave you bedridden for a few days, until you eventually work up the courage to reintegrate yourself into society. Compared to Michael C. Hall’s role there, Dexter is an absolute joke!
Favorite ending is basically the greatest ending of any TV show of all time, the Newhart finale where he wakes up from a dream into The Bob Newhart Show. Nothing will ever beat it.
There aren’t actually a lot of shows out there that I’ve watched to completion; Firefly comes to mind, but that’s almost too easy because it only had the one season. That being said, I think that the ending to that season was pretty phenomenal. Everyone involved knew that the show was being canceled by the time the last few episodes were created, and “The Message” (which wasn’t originally aired on television) is a beautiful farewell. I also don’t feel like the show leaves viewers feeling incomplete, which is kind of an accomplishment considering that nothing is wrapped up in the end.
Like Meghan mentions, every once in a while a series has a really great accidental finale if it gets cancelled too soon. In particular, the last episode of Freaks & Geeks might be painfully abrupt, but it’s a perfect ending to a show about uncertain, wayward teenagers. Everybody’s lives are rotated in strange directions at once, which is pretty much how high school works. That said, as planned finales go (at least until the end of Breaking Bad on Sunday), my favorite is still the end to The Shield. For all his sins, Vic Mackey gets a punishment worse than death: he’s sequestered away as a desk jockey, bereft of all the power he did so many terrible things to attain.