Over the past year or so, I’ve seen plenty of shows come and go and I have to say, many of them, as new or old as they were, their finales never seem to come up to par with some of the best series finales that have aired over the past… well… past while. I did research this and I have to say, there are a couple that I do completely agree with, while others just make me mad. So check out this list and let me know what you think.
1.Six Feet Under – Pure perfection. The episode titled “Everyone’s Waiting,” is the best of all series finales I’ve ever seen for a VERY simple reason, the show ends. Everyone makes their final decisions to close out their stories and then something else happens that just puts the icing on the cake. Claire, who is now driving to New York, envisions the destiny of every character on the show. In the fashion of the way every episode started (with a death), that’s the way the series ended. You see a quick scene depicting the event of their death and that’s it. The final death of the sequence is of course Claire’s. And then you get the faded out white screen. What a GREAT way to complete the story of every character. You can’t get much more closure than that.
2. Friends – Happily Ever After. The episode titled “The Last One: Part Two” almost makes it more dramatic than it really was. Again, this episode was an excellent example of how you end a series. Every story was complete. Phoebe is with Mike, Chandler and Monica have their twins. Ross and Rachel FINALLY get back together, and Joey heads out to LA. And the Pièce de résistance or the cherry on the sundae was the final scene. The whole cast is standing in the empty lavender apartment and each cast member returns a copy of the key to the apartment. They head out for a last cup of coffee and of course Chandler says, “Where?” You get a last glance at the empty apartment and the final scene fades out on the lavender door.
3. Charmed – “Forever Charmed” really is the ONLY way to describe the final episode of this series. The writers did the best thing in the world and kept the action and adventure up until the last 5ish minutes of the episode. They even manage to take away and return LEO twice in a one episode span. All the sisters have their men, everyone is safe, Billie officially becomes apart of the family and the demons are left for the next generation to worry about. And right when you thought it was over, they pull you back in! Every sister tells their end of the story and naturally you end with the oldest sister, Piper. And as so fitting as it was, it’s her great-granddaughter that uses her powers to close the door in the final shot showing the house.
4. The West Wing – The world goes on. In the title episode “Tomorrow,” President Elect Santos is being inaugurated and announces his plans to nominate Eric Baker as VP. Bartlet pardons Toby as the final act of his presidency. CJ writes a note to Josh saying “WWLD.” When she leaves she is approached by tourists who ask if she works there. Her response, “No.” Josh, Sam and Donna all return to the White House with new President Santos. Bartlet gives Charlie his copy of the Constitution of the United States. In the finale scene, Bartlet is on Air Force One, opens a wrapped gift only to reveal the “Bartlet for America” napkin in a frame. And as fitting as it seems the final line of the show is delivered by Bartlet. “What are you thinking about?” “Tomorrow.” Thank you Aaron Sorkin!
5. M*A*S*H – The end of war. In the title episode, “Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen” the staff of 4077 MASH Unit still have drama going on in their hectic lives. Hawkeye is institutionalized, Winchester finally has people who also like classical music , and Father Mulcahy is now permanently deaf. They have their moments of goodbyes when they give their farewells and you can’t help but laugh when Hawkeye says, “I can’t say I’ve loved you all, either… but I’ve loved as many of you as I could.” In the final scene Trooper rides off on his motorcycle and Hawkeye goes up in a helicopter. The camera spots on the ground where a message simply reads, “GOODBYE.” Now that’s what I call a series finale.
6. ER – County General keeps going. In the title episode, “And In the End” Neela left to work with Ray, Rachel Green (Dr. Green’s daughter) visits County General, Carter opens up his clinic for the underprivileged, and Sam gets a birthday present from her son Alex and Dr. Gates. Thank You ER for still keeping up all the drama until the very last second of air. In the final scene, the ER gets a call that there was an explosion and they should expect at minimum 8 burn victims to come in. The entire staff waits outside the entrance for the ambulances to show up. When they do, it’s almost as if nothing has happened over the past 15 years and everyone is doing what they do best. The scene pans out as the easily recognized original theme song plays through the credits.
7. The Nanny – Movin’ on up. In the title episode, “The Finale: Part 2” CC and Niles get married, Fran has the twins, CC finds out she’s pregnant, the comedy of errors will keep you laughing through the entire episode! That is, of course until Maggie and Brighton leave for Europe. The airport is the final scene for the whole Sheffield family. You can always tell when the tears are real. With the two oldest gone, the rest of the family take their final preparations for the move. In the final scene, Fran is standing alone in the house, a montage plays clips from the very beginning of the series, she walks out the front door, runs back in to get her purse and leaves once again. All I can say is… *tear*.
8. Sex and the City – In the title episode, “An American Girl in Paris: Part Deux” Carrie is not having as good a time in Paris with Alexander as she thought she would. Charlotte and Harry find out they’re getting a baby girl from China. Samantha finally has a man she can be jealous over. Miranda learns to live with Steve’s mom Mary and Mr. Big finally realizes that he can’t live without Carrie. In the final scene, Carrie and Big are walking across a bridge laughing. Big tells Carrie she’s the one and they kiss. How fitting for such a journalistic writing type show.
9. Boy Meets World – Bring on the water works. The title episode, “Brave New World: Part 2” makes everyone want to cry more than any other series finale EVER. With our favorite couple married and their friends moving on with their lives, the fun-loving cast go see Mr. Feeny for a final heart warming goodbye. As a last piece of advice, Mr. Feeny says, “Believe in yourselves. Dream. Try. Do good.” As each of the kids say goodbye, Cory is of course, the last one to leave saying “You’ll always be with us. As long as we live okay?” Mr. Feeny looks around his classroom one more time simply to say, “I love you all…Class dismissed.” YOU’RE BREAKING MY HEART!
10. Happy Days – Wedding bells are ringing! “Passages: Part 2” Not gonna lie, I saw this on reruns, obviously, and it wasn’t just the wedding that caught my eye but it was the little boy (Danny) that suddenly came into the life the famous womanizer Fonzie. Talk about changing a character completely from one persona to another. In the final scene we get to see our overly cute Happy Days couple Joanie and Chachi get married and in the back we get a shot of the newly adopted Danny with Fonzie.
Runner Ups: The Cosby Show, Will and Grace and LEVERAGE