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April 13 2007

Six endings worth emulating. "Television isn't always clumsy about closings. USA TODAY spotlights six particularly fond farewells". Buffy the Vampire Slayer's finale makes this very short list!

This is a short side bar to USA Today's main piece entitled, Why doesn't TV know when (or how) to BOW OUT? (

The Angel finale was no slouch either. It was quite excellent. One or two seasons premature but excellent.
Yeah, agreed. Not exactly a 'fond farewell' (though Spike's 'poetry slam' was pretty, well, effulgent ;) but a great way to go nonetheless.

I'd add 'Cheers', reckon that had a pretty decent ending (in fact, I suspect one of the reasons I didn't get on with 'Frasier' was that I preferred to think of the whole gang hanging out at the bar, basically forever).

And also 'Star Trek: The Next Generation'. Picard finally sitting down to play with the crew he'd set himself apart from for so long is a lovely moment (the whole of "All Good Things" is pretty good IMO). Also, "And the sky's the limit" ? Great last line, basically captures all of Trek in just a few words.

Unfondest ? Hmm, 'Quantum Leap' left me pretty pissed off for a while. It wasn't really a show about the darkness (quite the reverse) but that's how it ended up.

And X-Files but that'd ended for me long before they finally took it round the back of the barn.
Six Feet Under's finale left me in a sodden heap.

I loved NYPD Blue at one time but I don't even remember the finale since I'd stopped watching long before.

Despite the jarring start into Season 2 of Beauty and the Beast, the last five minutes of the show couldn't have been more fitting as Diana shot Gabriel with Catherine Chandler's gun, and made sure he knew that. And the very ending gave you a feeling of hope that the tunnel dwellers lives would go on with a sense of joy.

[ edited by Tonya J on 2007-04-13 18:41 ]
Oh, Saje, don't even get me started on our beloved Sam Beckett leaping for an eternity! Cuz after years of 'hoping each time that his next leap would be the leap home'...I really didn't need a 'life sucks' ending for our hero! *sniffles*
I really liked the very end of Frasier. Although the episode as a whole was not up there with the heights reached in the first few years, it concluded on a really pleasant twist, and then just left the audience hanging from it.

Angel ended exactly right - with Angel finally in the fight that matters, the fight that counts. Trying to make a difference - that was one of the central themes from the very start, and it leaves the audience to determine whether or not he ultimately succeeds. Every season had ended on a bit of a cliffhanger anyway, so it fit with the previous finales as well.
The Angel finale was perfect -- the kind of ending that actually makes me *not* want to see anything more (i.e. sequelly) just because it would diminish the moment.

Alas, I was quite disappointed by "Chosen" (and much of the last 2 seasons), and still feel that the real BTVS finale is "The Gift," which, to me, is a perfect ending to the story. (Yes, I know I'm overusing the word "perfect"). But I know there are many who disagree.

I actually quite liked the finale for "Quantum Leap," despite the fact that I'm still not quite sure what the heck was actually going on.
No Six Feet Under? Might be my favorite finale of all time.
Also with the Quantum Leap love. Dawson's Creek, though -- I mentally erased that from my mind. If a take Serenity as the series finale to Firefly, that was my favourite.
Six Feet Under is definitely the greatest finale ever made, followed very closely by Angel and M*A*S*H. They're all brilliant, beautiful finales which had me in tears.

I also think "Chosen" gets too much flak from the fandom. I thought it was a simply brilliant way to close the series...and now that it's back in comic book form, has proved an excellent starting point.

Most utterly satisfying finale? Arrested Development. Yeah, the show's cancellation was years premature, but could you possibly ask for more from "Development Arrested"?

And yeah, gossi, I would agree with that...but that's, like, cheating. Don't tell me it's over! ;-)
Didn't realise 'Chosen' got flak, I thought it was almost as perfect an ending for BtVS as NFA was for 'Angel'. Silly flakkers ;).

"Dawson's Creek" ? Tell me they went with the killing spree ending, please ?

No, no, no, you 'Quantum Leap' end likers, you are all maniacs of the first water. Err, in the less strident, good way ;). Sam ended up leaping forever, alone. And it wasn't like "Personally ? I kinda wanna slay the dragon" leaping, he'd had enough, he was losing it, his life was in tatters. Needlessly dark ending that was almost entirely against the tone of the series IMO.

Plus, the God guy annoyed me. Yo, God dude, you've already tried 'cryptic', look where it's got us !
I loved the ways "Buffy" and "Angel" ended.

But one of my favorite series enders that no one ever talks about was the final episode of "Homicide: Life on the Street." The whole final season, and some of the season before it, went a long way to negating all that was good about the show, but the final episode brought the show full circle with Detective Bayless exiting the way he'd entered, carrying a cardboard box full of his stuff. A completely changed man. Of course they could have just as easily ended with the Season 6 finale and spared us the pain of Season 7.
Life On Mars finale. One of the best finales ever. Very few shows come close.
Loved the "Chosen" ending. What a wonderful Mona Lisa smile SMG was wearing, and how perfect was the "Sunnydale disppeared into a pit, but that sign gets a final line" moment?

I've always thought the "Angel" ending was good - considering that they'd had the rug pulled out from under them - but (for me) it always had a pervasive flavour of "Well, damnit, we're dying too young so let's really go whole hog and show you what final and widespread all-the-stops-pulled-out, all-around deep-dish termination in your face looks like" - with just the right dash of "possibility about the future" sprinkled on top... allow for continuing stories, which I look forward to seeing/reading...

Many of the TV shows I like don't get actual endings (resumes bitterness about Wonderfalls and Firefly and Studio 60, ad infinitum, ad nauseum...)

ETA: bitterness about the fact that 1) BBC America has ceased showing Life on Mars and 2) it was slashed-and-cut to ribbons here in the U.S. anyway because apparently we're not old enough to see a bit of skin or hear a swear word on TV...

[ edited by QuoterGal on 2007-04-13 20:38 ]
Cliomuse, me too. Ah, "Homocide." Sigh. That was a cool ending, but nothing could make up for the damage they did to that show in Season Seven. Except maybe, "The Corner."
I've always enjoyed the finale to Sports Night, there is something meta and brilliant about the line "Anyone who can't make money off Sports Night, should get out of the money-making business", so take THAT ABC! Plus, the idea of these people inspired to work together as a family, the love they have for what they do, and the pure elation and being able to do it together is something I love about it.

I quite enjoyed Chosen believe it or not, the moment when the girls fight back, the music kicks up (Rob Duncan-Chosen), and Buffy stands to fight for, what I thought, would be the last time was simply brilliant and quite the inspirational moment to me. It says something about who Buffy was that she was able to stand up when others would sit down, and thats why she is a hero to me. I kinda have to ignore what came before mind you, but if I do, it's still a pretty solid ending in my book. Of course, I am a sucker for the inspirational music and the call to fight scene from movies and television shows, see Braveheart or 300, so I am cool with that.
Well count me among the chorus of Angel finale supporters. "Not Fade Away" was as close to a perfect series finale as television has ever seen. Much better than the end of BtVS in my opinion.
Life On Mars finale. One of the best finales ever. Very few shows come close.

I agree completely. Or I disagree vehemently. I'm not quite sure yet, needs to percolate (literally just watched it). But one thing it definitely was, was what it was.

And in this day and age of focus groups and demographics bold TV is getting thin on the ground so well done to the BBC for that.

(and I can't think of much in the way of flesh or swearing QuoterGal - nothing much beyond bastard anyway. You're allowed 'bastard', 'shit' etc. surely, so long as it's broadcast late enough ? - over here it's on what we call 'post watershed' i.e. after 9 pm when it's accepted that programmes will be more adult oriented)
gossi -- "Serenity" slipped my mind, even though I've thought of it as the Firefly series finale too. I don't think it trumps "Not Fade Away" as an ending, but it's close. The final conversation between Mal and River, the music, and the burst through the clouds and into the sunlight....yeah, pretty darn perfect.

Hmm. I think there's a difference between "best series finale" (as in, best entire episode to end a series), and "best ending" (as in, the best final moment, final image, final mood to end a series.) There was much that I didn't like about "Chosen" as an episode, but I agree that the little coda of them all standing at the edge of the abyss that was Sunnydale, and Buffy's slight uptick of a smile...yeah, that was pretty good too.
Reportedly, BBC America cut it down to insert commercial breaks, but they always pick out the more "adult" bits to excise. When I've purchased British shows and seen what got cut for airing here in the U.S., I am always amazed at what got removed - so ridiculous.

And it's infuriating to watch the average movie here - even on cable - and watch them cut out every time someone says, "Jesus" or mentions pot in an offhand way.

And yeah, we've got some "evening hours" where the standards differ, and we have standards that are different for "cable-vs. network" - but when I went to England a couple of years ago and watched a Ricky Gervais standup show on the BBC, I realized that about every other word would have been cut here in the U.S.

Oh, yeah, and titties-and-bums are right out, unless you're paying for cable-porn, in which case, no holds are barred, as it were.
By complete coincidence, I happen to be listening to "The Final Fight" from "Chosen" right now. There were a lot of things I really liked about the episode... the battle to end all battles, the nod to the first season and the core group. But as already stated, the smile at the end said it all.
How could they ignore Six Feet Under?
I think it’s the best way to show life goes on, and yet not have it be an open ending.
I thought the Angel ending was better than Buffy's. *shrug*

@urkonn--that was a great ending. it was so sad, but uplifting at the same time. it was great to see david and keith together, though. :)
Seinfeld ended with its worst episode, so that is *not* the way to do it--by betraying the characters and the whole concept of the show.
Maybe they'll end Lost before they alienate every viewer from the first season.

Too late for me, though.
Unfondest ? Hmm, 'Quantum Leap' left me pretty pissed off for a while. It wasn't really a show about the darkness (quite the reverse) but that's how it ended up.

I liked the last episode up until, you know, the final title card thing... I think they were going for an Angel "the good work never stops" thing but just came off as a mega-downer.
Must agree with those cheering for Six Feet Under's finale. Absolutely amazing.

Sometimes, I wish "The Gift" were the Buffy finale, because I felt that it was an incredibly poignant ending.

But then I remember that I wouldn't give up OMWF for all the Chocolate Hurricanes in the world.

By comparison, "Chosen" falls short for me, but because by that point the show had gone to a place I didn't love as much (the comings and goings of random potentials, plus Buffy's over-speechiness, turned me off a lot). While I of course enjoyed the nods to the origin ("The earth is doomed", etc.), I was so ready for the speechifying to be done that I almost didn't care HOW it ended as long as it ENDED.

But then I remember that I wouldn't give up Giant Dawn for all the anchovy pizza in the world. So color me one big ball of hypocrisy. (;
Also with the 6 Feet Under finale love. Classy and classic (and yes I wept through it).

I also like the Star Trek Voyager final, though I know that series doesn't get so much respect around here.
This one hits close to the heart. I must admit that "Six Feet Under" had the most impacting series final. I wasn't happy with the last two seasons, however that was a grand final. I was crying hard when Claire was feeling her brother running along beside her and, as she left him, I completely lost it.

Still, nothing can take away from that Buffy's smile of hope. When she looked over her shoulder at the unknown road.....
Another vote for 6 Feet was amazing. I still have the series finale saved on my TIVO. Made me cry and cry. Chosen I liked, but it really needed two hours....and some tweaks.
I thought Chosen was pretty good, but Not Fade Away blows it out of the water. I love seeing determination in the face of hopeless odds, and those are the most hopeless odds yet.

Other favorite finales include Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars and, if I may leave North American televison for a moment, Revolutionary Girl Utena and Cowboy Bebop both had awesome endings.
plus Buffy's over-speechiness, turned me off a lot

Um, isn't that kind of meant to be the case ? We're not meant to like Buffy for a fair bit of season 7 IMO. Then, when all seems lost, she pulls it back (with a little help from her friends). Just like, y'know, always ;).

I also like the Star Trek Voyager final, though I know that series doesn't get so much respect around here.

Nah, not a fan though I thought the ending was not bad. Only thing ? I really wanted to see Harry meet his parents and Tom showing his father his newborn daughter. I know they'd sort of shown them arriving on Earth (in the future) but I wanted to see it for real. And I wasn't even that invested in the characters so for a real fan it must've been worse.

(i'd watch the odd episode here or there. Used to apply what I called the 'rule of seven' i.e. if I flicked over and 7 of 9 was onscreen i'd give the episode 5 minutes to hook me, otherwise I just flicked on by. Shallow, moi ? ;)
Saje, we value your opinion greatly. Why don't you try that again. For me, pretty please?
'hatter, I swear, if I knew what you meant even half the time, i'd still be flummoxed the other two thirds. Dig that thing you do though ;).
Heh,heh! That makes two of us. I'm just bitchin' about the world in general. Sorry about the trouble:)
Oh my God.

I forgot to mention the Christmas specials that ended the UK Office. I was laughing and crying and my guts were busting and my tear ducts were hyperventilating was amazing.

Now if Ricky Gervais' planned Christmas specials for Extras can be as good as that, maybe he can make up for the underwhelming second season...

(By the way, I find it interesting that Angel, my least favorite Joss series, has far and away the best ending. But all Joss shows are better than any other shows.)
Over time I've come to like Chosen a lot more than I did at first, I do think it belongs on this list. Minor nitpick about the article .... Buffy didn't exactly save the world by herself, Spike sacrificed his "life" for it & Willow finally overcame her walk on the dark side and contributed the magic that made it all possible. But I guess it would be too much to expect that they go with "Buffy, Spike and Willow saved the world":)

Adding my Six Feet Under finale love, how could they possibly leave that out?
Add me to the Life On Mars finale fans.

Would also like to add the final episode of 7th Doctor era Dr Who. Remember that it was supposed to be the end of the show as a whole, so I think that it counts.
Simon, you must tell me about "Life on Mars". Completely missed that one.
Yep, slept on it and watched the end again and I concur. The 'Life on Mars' finale was brilliant and beautifully affirmative. And it's all down to John Simm's smile just 'before' (trying to avoid spoilers), what a performance.

To those that've seen the finale, what do folk think of the spin-off idea ? I'm kind of ambivalent but i'm gonna give it a chance.

Also, good call UnpluggedCrazy, the end of 'The Office' was lovely, especially considering it wasn't really a show about happy endings. I really liked 'Extras' series 2 though, thought it might be even better than the first 6. 'Little Fat Man ...' ;)
I loved Chosen as the ending for Buffy in Sunnydale despite all the air time the Potentials got. The smile Buffy had at the end, while standing with her family, was priceless. The music and fight scene that Jerry described earlier is also my favorite moment. Buffy stands up in slow motion with that look on her face, what a powerful moment. Will the real slayer please stand up?

Not fade away would have been a fabulous season end but as a series end, it wasn't all that for me. Could be because I was so bitter about it not coming back but it just didn't touch me the way Buffy did, but then nothing ever has.

Other memorable finales. Cheers, friends and ER.
cheryl, amen.

'Chosen' really resonated for me at the time. I felt genuinely happy to see Buffy go off and well, bake herself silly, at last.

But this S8 comic malarkey has opened my eyes to the fact that she created an almighty hole for herself- and I ain't talkin' Sunnydale.
I CERTAINLY don't begrudge the new comics (hell, no!) but I feel that the whole 'happily ever after' smile, in hindsight, was a bit of a crock. (Albeit a beautiful one.)

And the feminist in me remains peeved that after all the girl power messages, it took Spike wearing a necklace to save the world in the end. (And even THAT was a bit of a fake ending, for him. See 'Angel' S5. )

And 'Not Fade Away' was awesome. I can say, it's the best first part of a series finale that I've EVER seen.
So, just when are we gonna get the rest of it??!!

In other news, I hated the Seinfeld ending at the time, but now love the delicious irony and the parade of old characters.

And I'm kinda looking forward to the 'Lost' finale. You know, since I didn't actually get one with Wonderfalls, Hex OR Dead Like Me...
So, here's a question not yet asked...

What makes a great series finale, in your individual opinions?
One of the BtVS critical books (Dusted overall the one I like the least) said "OMWF" would have made a good finale. I actually see their point. Then again, I'm such a roamntic softie part of me would like to stop it in the opening teaser of "Buffy vs Dracula" before the rain started. Since we don'
t live in a world of what Lerner and Lowe called "hahppy ever ahftering" ending things witha shot of thee happy couples enjoying a day at the beach would have ahd it comepsnations.
Tha having been said, the whole visual of,a fter allt hsi time of being "the one" we have the sight of (to apraphrase Phillip Jose Farmer paraphrasing Edgar Rice Burroughs) "exit Buffy, smiling." So, yes it had its good side.
And I do like the whole putting paid to "one girl in all the world;" that takes it out of Silver Age comic book teritory and puts the Buffyverse back into the Gothic and occult traditions where it really belongs.
Me like Chosen. Buffy sets her people free.

Not Fade Away good but felt a little contrived with everyone getting their one perfect moment.

Life on Mars good but in retrospect

[ edited by Simon on 2007-04-15 00:44 ]
Or perhaps "The gift".
Really think you might want to edit that out or invisotext it hayes62 or plenty people no happy you ;).

A good finale can be a lot of things but the most important thing for me is that it's in keeping with the tone of the show. If your show's generally light and upbeat, don't choose the finale to make your big statement about how bleak life can be, conversely if it's dark and morally complex, don't 'happily ever after' everyone into suburban bliss or whatever.

(which is why NFA and 'Chosen' are both so good - they're the endings both their shows/protagonists 'deserve')
Really think you might want to edit that out or invisotext it hayes62 or plenty people no happy you ;).

Oops! Feeling sorry and dumb. Where's the edit button? All I can find in tips is how to post.
Ah, it should say '[edit]' just beside your name under the post, you can click there and change the text. If it doesn't, err, i'm stumped.

Help us Moderators Wan Kenobi, you're our only hope ! ;)
Not Fade Away.

Best. Series-finale. Ever.
I really liked Chosen and thought it was a great series finale.Had a great ending point with real change for the Buffyverse while leaving the door open for the future and a new chapter which we are now getting with the season 8 comics.NFA,I was greatly disappointed in.I thought it would of been a great season finale which it was originally intended to be but as a series finale,I was let down.Plus,despite what Joss says,I still feel the series ended on a cliffhanger.

Star Trek The Next Generation had a perfect series finale.Back then,I talked to people who felt that the last episode should of been the first Next Generation movie and
Star Trek:Generations should of been the last

But the finale was a much more intimate story and really brought things full circle for all the characters and using Q as he appeared in the first episode.The movie by it's very nature had to be more broad and a bigger scale.
Oh, crap, crap, crap, I saw that Life on Mars thingy.

My eyes, it burns. Maybe if I see a hypnotist, I will forget it... (and quit smoking at the same time.)

Bugger, bugger. I'm usually so good at skipping threads where that might happen, but I was totally unsuspecting...
New posters get to edit their posts a few days after signing up. Anyhow, I've invisiblised the pertinent text.
Buffyfanatic -- that's funny, I used to tell my friends that I thought that All Good Things should have been the movie and Generations should have been the finale. Funny.

But I agree with you -- AGT was a much better, more intimate ending (and so steeped int the minutiae of the characters that it wouldn't have had crossover appeal). And Generations just isn't all that good....
That list ain't legit without Six Feet Under on it.

I know a portion of fans weren't happy with Seasons 4 & 5 (or 4 only, or 5 only, or some Season 3), but I felt it only stumbled a bunch in Season 4 in places and then returned for a devestatingly excellent fifth and final year. When I finally watch it as a whole, the weaker elements of Season 4 (mainly Claire's arc and some of the more riduculous soap opera-style reveals---believe me, "soap opera" is a pretty insulting term to use toward SFU and I don't use it lightly) probably won't bother as much.
Used to apply what I called the 'rule of seven' i.e. if I flicked over and 7 of 9 was onscreen i'd give the episode 5 minutes to hook me, otherwise I just flicked on by.
Rule of seven. Heh. I like that.

Shallow, moi ?
Not really, considering that 7 of 9 was far and away the most interesting character, and what made the show interesting. The first two seasons were pretty dismal, but once they got rid of Kes, (maybe the worst regular Trek character, ever, followed closely by Tuvak) and brought in Seven, the show made a quantum leap up in quality. That is what you're referring to, isn't it, and not just the fact that Jeri Ryan looked really hot in a skintight jumpsuit, right? : )
Btw, if you've never seen the episode where the Doctor has to hide out in 7's body and takes over control, Jeri Ryan is hysterically funny channeling the Doctor.

[ edited by barboo on 2007-04-15 19:45 ]
What I liked best about "The Chosen" as season finale, was the "Welcome to Sunnydale" sign falling into the crater.
Ha, no I almost entirely meant the jumpsuit thing (did the woman live on a stair-master ? ;). BUT she was also the most interesting character and brought out one of the things I liked about Voyager which was Janeway being very un-Star Trek at times, almost dictatorial and a long, long way from Picard's 'philosopher king'. Plus, i'm a sucker for the whole 'build a human' character arc that Trek did so well (Spock, Data, Seven, the Doctor etc.).

(and I did see that episode and thought Jeri Ryan gave a hilariously well-observed performance)

It's also one of the reasons I really enjoy 'Dexter', on the face of it a totally different show but still with that underlying question of 'how many pieces can you take away and still have a human being ?'.
Whoa whoa whoa... UPC. You're telling me Angel is your least favorite Whedon series? *faint* Our honeymoon may be over.

Slightly late on the bandwagon - but I have to put my vote in for Not Fade Away.

Perfect end to the TV show? - Yes

End of Angel's story - No:)

I think it ended the ideals of the show brilliantly, but I'm extremely glad we are getting a continuation of the story, because if the final message of the show is 'the fight never ends', then I am glad we are seeing this as Angel's story is continued in the comics.

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