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March 20 2011

26 Great TV season finales. one of our favourite TV shows make the list!

What's your verdict on the list?

It's a pretty good list. I would have liked to see some others shows make the list though, like The Shield (Season 5 finale), The Wire (Season 3 finale) and Breaking Bad (Season 2 or Season 3 finale).

[ edited by Wyndam_ on 2011-03-20 01:34 ]
I think Supernatural "All Hell Breaks Loose" should have been on there, that was an awesome finale.
I agree about Supernatural

Supernatural seems popular-based on its ratings and convention turn outs-but underrated. It just isn't a show I ever hear people talk about on websites I frequent. This seems true of a lot of my favorite shows though(like Chuck)

Supernatural always delivers great finales though I think. There's a lot of good stuff on that list, but some stupid stuff too like the Friends' pick and I generally turn my nose up at most reality tv shows so I have nothing good to say about the Survivor pick
Another week, and another TV list.

What I absolutely hate about these lists is that it is all subjective based on the reviewers own personal opinions, yet they are always presented as definative.

I thought this list was crap. Any list of season cliff hangers that omits Blakes 7 season 2 (Star 1) or Babylon 5 season 3 (Za'Ha'Dum) is crap.

Sean
Wrong finale for West Wing. But really this list is only annoying because it reminds me of all the shows I've yet to see, for however much I try and claim I'm well-versed in the medium.
I thought a lot of the picks were great. The Gift is, of course, amazing. The Alias S2 finale did end on an amazing cliffhanger that made my jaw hit the floor. The Office S2 finale was also fantastic with the Jim/Pam kiss etc. Sure, it probably could have included a few more finales, and excluded things like The Amazing Race, but overall I thought it was pretty good.

And I gotta say that I didnít even realise those Friends and Sex and the City episodes were season finales! Iíve only ever caught both shows on TV reruns so I never experienced either series with the hiatus. I gotta say that what I always liked about BtVS is that each season finale was so epic and mind-blowing that you really knew it was the conclusion of a season, aside from Restless which was epic for entirely different reasons. Iím always slightly underwhelmed when TV shows end a season with a whimper and not a bang.

I'm going to throw out a (probably) unpopular opinion, but I also think The OC S1 finale should have been included on the list. I remember how much that ending gutted me the first time I saw it. I still think that was a very underrated show.

[ edited by vampmogs on 2011-03-20 04:35 ]
I'm with Jobo on West Wing -- "Two Cathedrals" instead, am I right? But this list does seem to focus on cliffhangers rather than on simple brilliance.

"Babylon 5" did one better with a character falling off a cliff for a finale, but as much as I used to love that show, I think it's upstaged by "Becoming," "Two Cathedrals," or almost any of the finales from "The Wire."
Good list in general, didn't hate being reminded of the jaw-dropping OMFGness of the 'Farscape' season 2 finale (Crichton really was so screwed at that point). Course that was before 'OMFG' so at the time I just sat there, adrift without an abbreviation, wondering how i'd possibly convey what I was feeling should a communications medium arise where I had to do so in 140 characters or less.

(the season 4 cliff-hanger was good too but I couldn't enjoy it because I knew at that point that the show had been cancelled)

Also, 'Best of Both Worlds I', 'The Gift' (of course - though at the time I didn't know the show was coming back so half-wondered if that was it), 'Alias' and 'Dallas' for sure but most of the list deserve to be on there IMO. I'd maybe add the "season" finale of 'Space: Above and Beyond' (which, annoyingly, turned out to be the series finale too since it got cancelled). More recently, the first series finale of 'Luther' was pretty decent (and happily, we should get a resolution since it's coming back for some feature length specials). Oh and the finale of 'Sherlock'.
Although I didn't get into Buffy until years later, I have to credit 'The Gift' with initiating my first watch of Buffy. I remember hearing Buffy had died but the show was coming back, and having never watched it (nor fantasy or sci-fi of any kind up to that point), I was curious how they planned to bring her back from the dead. So, the first episode of Buffy I ever watched was 'Bargaining'. I recall watching the first few episodes of season six, but at that time I was a poor 19 year old with no VCR, so I couldn't keep up. Still, good stuff.
Not one of my favorite Buffy shows, loved the end of season 2 much better. I agree that Supernatural should have been on the list, but my favorite show ending ever was season 1 of The Vampire Diaries, where there were 7 cliff-hangers. This show packs more into each ep than a lot of series do all year. The CW does have some excellent series...see above SPN. And of course Smallville that James Marsters has been in many times.

[ edited by rehabber on 2011-03-20 14:37 ]
vampmogs, in terms of pure heartbreak maybe but that finale has always annoyed me. The reason I love The OC is how the show dotted little moments throughout so the finales never had a huge impact (granted I've watched it in marathon a few times). Stuff like Seth as Spider-man in S2 and uh, other parts around are better. Or not? I think I might just be a Sethummer shipper so I watch the show through that lens. I do love parts of the S2 finale as well, with Imogen Heap's "Hide And Seek" playing - good stuff.

The Gift, and arguably Chosen, were two fantastic season finales in my mind. Both applicable as series too!

I think Mad Men ended its fourth season in a remarkably strong way, so I'm kind of dying for that to (hopefully) return. Breaking Bad as well, for different reasons. I still have the last shot of S3 of that show in my head - and have since the screen went black all them months ago. Most of the finales of The Sopranos click with me on some level, but I think the first season finale is my favourite one. Hmm.
I think the Alias season 2 finale is insane! There's so much going on at the same time, I remember being in awe when I first saw it back in the day.
Bugger. Really shouldn't read a "Best season finale" list, when in the middle of watching an older show. In the middle of season 4 of The Sopranos right now. Ah well, it was pretty obvious it would happen at some point. At least it didn't include Za'Ha'Dum from Babylon 5, as suggested by SeanHarry, as I'm only two episodes away from watching that one.

I liked a lot of the choices, but to be contrary, I would have picked Restless from Buffy. Brings together all that has gone before and sets up all that is to come, whilst also being a brilliant divergence from what is to be expected of a season finale.
I'm with rehabber. Definitely not my favourite Buffy season finale. That would be the season 2 finale, closely followed by that of season 4/3/7/1 (in that order). I do prefer it over the season 6 finale though.
My personal favorite whedonverse finale is Angel Season 3... but I get why they chose that one, it was pretty good.
The Gift is far and away my favorite season finale of all time. The perfect ending for the most perfect season of the best show in the history of TV. IMHO, of course.
I really do love 'The Gift'. Its really weird that this article is up because I'm in the middle of a re-watch and that is the last episode that I watched last night! Its a turvy topsy world out there.
I hate The Gift, I really really do. Not just because it was such a bad episode, but that so many people like it that makes it really sting. Alias season 2 is my favorite season finale, it was such a shocker, you couldn't wrap your head around it. Supernatural deserves to be on the list, Lost season 3 was a great one. X-Files was a good one too. Fringe & 24 were solid choices too.
I'm not sure I have ever heard anyone say they really hate the episode, so I am just curious, SEERMAGICX...

What exactly do you hate about 'The Gift'?
Some really bad lines (I know Xander had a few).
The huge plot hole of her closing the portal, she isn't the key, so that makes no sense.
A slayer committing suicide. She didn't do it to save the world, she did it because she wanted out.
I will admit, the one thing that really bothered me about 'The Gift' (anyone feel free to chime in here and tell me how wrong I am) was how selfish Buffy seemed to be by sacrificing herself. I understand wanting to protect her sister (even if she wasn't really), but Dawn was ready to die to save the world. Whether or not another Slayer would be called when Buffy died, there had never been a Slayer as good as her. She outlived the average Slayer and most likely saved the world more than any others. Buffy sacrificing herself put not only her friends in future danger, but Sunnydale, and of course, the world as a whole. In my honest opinion, although Buffy may have used saving Dawn as her reason for dying, I feel in the end she either didn't think about the big picture consequences of her decision, or she didn't care about all the lives she would have saved if she had let Dawn sacrifice herself.
It's not the same thing, of course, but it reminds me of how much I wish Superman would kill Lex or Batman kill The Joker. I know it goes against everything they believe in, but they would have saved so many lives if they would just get over it and kill them off.

As for Buffy not being the Key, I thought the reason Buffy could close the portal was because Dawn and her shared the same blood, and it was blood that both opened and closed the portal.

Other than that, I always enjoyed 'The Gift'. I always get teary when Buffy says her speech to Dawn and then leaps off the tower. It becomes a full blown cry when I see the reaction her friends (and especially Spike) have to seeing her body at the bottom.
I disagree that it was selfish. I think if Buffy had figured out that her blood could close the portal, but let Dawn die anyways just so she could live, THAT would be selfish. Buffy doesn't have to be concerned with who'll save the world - there's always going to be a slayer. The world made it as far as it did before her, it'll continue on after. She has no proof that she's the greatest slayer ever. Frankly, I don't think I'd like or appreciate a Buffy whose head was that big.

Not to mention, it was her little sister who was at stake. Dawn had only been alive a few months and never really had the chance to live. I don't see how Buffy giving her that chance could be considered selfish.

And finally, I'm not sure how long she exactly had to think about "the big picture". The whole world was ending around her and she had about thirty seconds to make a decision. I think she made the right one.

I am with you on the Superman/Batman thing. Though, I guess if they killed their nemisis, there really wouldn't be a story.
I think if Buffy had figured out that her blood could close the portal, but let Dawn die anyways just so she could live, THAT would be selfish.

Exactly. Death is her gift. And as one myself, i'd struggle to understand an elder sibling that would feel like they had a choice in that situation to be honest.

Also, it makes sense to treat every apocalypse as if it's, y'know, the end of the world ;). You don't hold back in that situation and if Buffy was constantly second guessing herself because of considerations about what might happen at some unknown point in the future then she wouldn't be as good at her job.

[ETA:]That said, some see her sacrifice as partly about fulfilling the Slayer death wish Spike talks about and though i'm not sure I agree, that seems a perfectly valid take on it to me. So maybe an element of "subconscious" selfishness.[/ETA]

Re: Batman/Superman, the point is they have a line they won't cross for any reason, that's both their burden and what ultimately sets them apart from the people they're fighting. Killing their enemy would definitely be the pragmatic thing to do but Superman isn't a moral pragmatist, he's an absolutist and idealist and Batman's only a pragmatist up to a point (because he understands that without a line - and murder's as good a line as any - he's just the same as his enemies). It's not like it hasn't occurred to them of course, there've been numerous stories over the years examining the issue, either as "elseworlds" stories or set on Earth 2 or one or two where they only think they've killed someone but haven't.

[ edited by Saje on 2011-03-21 10:52 ]
Pretty good list, with one exception. Leaving out Babylon5 season 3 finale, Z'ha'dum, is unforgivable.

I guess if you were watching BtS as it was originally aired, The Gift would have packed a bigger punch. But since I discovered the show late and knew there was at least one more season coming up, not so much.
I'd have preferred seeing either Becoming pt2 or Restless as the Buffy offering.
I can just never get over the blowing up the high school at the end of Season 3. Plus, the whole thing of Buffy starting out as the loner/outsider at Sunnydale High, to having the entire graduating class fighting by her side, Willow's best day ever, Cordelia staking a vamp for the first time, and Angel's walk into the smoke and shadows...

Best season finale of any series ever.
Yeah, when the parents panic/scatter and the kids stand up and throw off their robes ready to fight it's kind of the show in a nutshell, graduation seen through the metaphorical lens and a lovely moment of becoming. 'Graduation Day Pt 2' is "only" my third favourite season finale now but before 'The Gift' and 'Chosen' aired it was top of the heap.
I think that list likes cliff hangers a little too much for my taste (X-files: Was Mulder really dead, West Wing: Who got shot, Dallas: Who shot JR etc etc) - imo a season finale should round things off and give story telling satisfaction, rather than try to force people to return to the series next season with a crazy plot twist that's resolved in an episode or two anyway next season. I'll come back because I want more stories about the characters and the stories. Buffy's season finales always gave that feeling of closure, even though they weren't all happy endings.

I don't think I can give The Gift its due since I was spoiled with Buffy's death on the front page of a Buffy fan site (worst spoiler of my life - still hurts today), but season 2's Becoming is the best season finale ever imho - what a great two-parter, the perfect unravelling of Buffy's life.
Buffy sacrificing herself in "The Gift" didn't put the world in exceptional danger. As we see in "Becoming" her friends were doing a pretty good job guarding Sunnydale -- any team that inclues Giles, Spike, and Willow is got a lot going for it. And if push had come to shove they could have done what Wesley eventually wound up doing: fetch Faith.

Me, I like a little bit of "what happens next?" combined with "Wow, that wrapped things up nicely!"
Well, considering once the demons realized Buffy was gone they decided to take over Sunnydale, I would say it almost immediately put her town in danger at the very least. I thought i read somewhere that another Slayer wouldn't be called if Buffy died again. If that's true, than there wouldn't be a Slayer to protect the world until either Faith died, or at least until she broke out of jail on Angel.
I actually really like how Joss does season finales. With Buffy especially just about any season could have been the last season of the series, and the finale would be satisfying. Major season-long arcs are wrapped up, but the characters go on. I agree that I'm not a fan of cliff-hangers, which especially suck if a show gets cancelled on them. In some cases (certain Star Treks, for instance) the writers obviously haven't planned the resolution, so write themselves into a corner, and then the first episode back, which must return everything to the status quo immediately, is ultimately disappointing (with the exception of the awesome opening 6 eps of DS9 season 6).

That said, Farscape season 2 was just plain awesome. If you're going to do a cliff-hanger, that's the way to do one. And I agree that Supernatural needs to be on the list. They have some terrific season finales. And Z'ha'dum from Babylon 5, probably the best season finale I've ever seen - OMFG really does explain it.
Wrong finale for West Wing
Can I say the same, but about Sopranos? The 1st and last season ends were great, in totaly diferent ways.
Also good to see STTNG in the list and X-Files, even, to me, the best clifhanger/series finale should have been "One Son" that is only the 12th. episode of the 6th season.
with the exception of the awesome opening 6 eps of DS9 season 6

Man those were great...

Suppose I should rewatch Z'ha'dum (I'm afraid to say I don't really remember what happens in that one, it's been a long time since I watched Babylon 5) and I suppose I should throw in the Farscape S2 finale too for good measure (and then go on to finally watch the series to the end.)

@sasja
re: cliffhangers: I generally agree with the sentiment, but I do feel a silly need to point out that The West Wing S1 finale (though not my favourite finale of the series, really all the Sorkin ones were outstanding) felt like more than just a cliffhanger and as compelling storytelling of its own (IMO the same goes for the season 4 finale.)
BTW I completely agree about Becomming part II.

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