Saturday, January 23, 2010

12 Great Endings to TV Series

To allow people to avoid spoilers to endings they do not want to see in advance, I set the font colour to white when describing endings. Using your mouse, hold the left mouse key down and scroll over the invisible text you want to see.

Note that this is purely on the merit of the endings, not the shows as a whole. The Sopranos, Buffy, Angel, etc. are among shows that I liked as a series but didn't particularly like the final episode(s)

1. Action
Premise: a corrupt Hollywood executive works on a new film
Ending: The film not yet completed, his right hand woman walks out on the project, basically saving her soul.

2. American Gothic
Premise: A town is ruled over by a demonic sheriff.
Ending: The sheriff, who'd been buried alive by someone with the same first name as the CBS executive who messed with the airings of the show, escapes and confronts the guy. He tells him "You buried me before I was gone" and forces him to hang himself. Then he continues in the corruption of his son.

3. Babylon 5
Premise: Adventures on a space station that becomes a symbol for hope.
Ending: Friends from the space station have a reunion years later to reminisce. One of them passes away peacefully and the station is destroyed.

4. Fonz and the Happy Days Gang:
Premise: In this cartoon three characters from the TV series and a dog are sent through time due to a mishap by a time-traveller.
Ending: They wind up in the Bermuda triangle in the proper time period (1957) and opt to sail home rather than risk another time trip.

5. Forever Knight
Premise: A vampire cop in Toronto
Ending: After another cop is killed, the vampire's lover confronts him with a possible way to restore him to human so they can be together. when his possibly kills her, he asks his mentor to stake him so the two lovers can be together. The mentor raises the stake and the sun starts to rise.

6. John Woo`s Once a Thief
Premise: Two ex-thieves and a cop are hired to work for a shadowy organization
Ending: Their arch nemesis`attempt at revenge is fairly successful, as all three of them die in an explosion during an attempt to rescue one of them. Unfortunately this ending is changed for the DVD and VHS release ("Brother Against Brother"). UPDATE: The complete series set restores the original ending.

7. Oz
Premise: Life in an experimental prison facility.
Ending: Acts of revenge and love cause the deaths of more than a few inmates. When evacuation becomes necessary, we hear "This move is only temporary. We'll be back."

8. The Prisoner (original series)
Premise: A secret agent finds himself in a mysterious village after resigning. He tries to escape while people try to figure out why he resigned
Ending: Although he finally escapes with a few others, the final shot is the same shot as the beginning of each episode, suggesting he is either still trapped or about to be a prisoner once more.

9. Quantum Leap
Premise: A scientist finds himself lost in time trying to change people`s lives for the better.
Ending: After a stay in a mysterious bar, he realizes that no matter how badly he wishes to return home, he is still needed and opts to continue time-travelling, knowing that his next missions will be more difficult.

10. The Shield
Premise: A terrible act by a corrupt cop sets off a significant chain reaction
Ending: The cop either betrays or is betrayed by everyone he cares about and, a man of action, finds himself stuck to a desk job.

11. Six Feet Under
Premise: The lives of a family of morticians
Ending: One of them either somehow finds out or imagines how everyone will eventually die.
12. Star Trek: The Next Generation
Premise: The continuing voyages of an exploration spaceship
Ending: The captain has visions of events in his past and future that are interconnected.


Jordan said...

Not sure if you're interested in animation, but my pick for best finale would be Cowboy Bebop, by a mile. I haven't come across many endings as perfect or as powerful as that. Still leaves me in awe, years later.

Andy E. Nystrom said...

Haven't seem that show, but there is one cartoon on my list, an animated version of Happy Days. Back in the 1980s cartoons usually just ended so I was pleasantly surprised that they actually wrapped things up.

Sidney said...

If you revise this list in a year, I can guess one show that WON'T be on it. Lost. There's no way in hell that claptrap will have a satisfying conclusion.