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Best and worst TV series finales, and where does GoT rank? *Spoilers*

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I think there’s something to be said for something a bit divisive. At the time I liked Breaking Bad’s, but looking back at kinda ... boring. It’s just, “oh, he did it. Well done Walt”. Did he deserve that win? Sopranos on the other hand got me thinking, still thinking about it weeks afterward. And for what it’s worth, I don’t see it as ambiguous at all, there’s not an ounce of fat on that last scene - everything is geared toward telling you what’s going on.

Lost gets a bad wrap when the last episode wasn’t to blame. Anyone who loved the sixth season would’ve loved the finale, it’s the solutions (or lack of) that bothered people.

Six Feet Under, fuck yes. Loved that one.

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25 minutes ago, Consigliere said:

GoT without a doubt ranks down there with Dexter as one of the worst finales ever. The two shows actually followed the same quality trajectory. Seasons 1-4 good and seasons 5-8 shit with season 8 being the worst and a travesty of a finale. 

Best finales: The Shield and Six Feet Under. 

I personally like GoT 5 & 6. They gave us Hardhome, The Door, Battle of the Bastards, Winds of Winter...but yeah 7 & 8 were a mess. Especially 8. 

Agree with your 2 for best finales though. Nothing else I’ve seen even comes close those. 

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Yeah I have to also go along with the ‘lost and BSG finales were not that bad’ crowd.  Not because I liked them, mostly I didn’t.  But a bad finale for me will be one that betrays everything that comes before it and ruins a show that was building up to something great.

Lost and BSG had already shown themselves to be on big downward slopes in quality, and so a disappointing finale was in keeping with their previous episodes.

Ill probably think the same thing about the GoT finale tonight as it’s already been established that the show isn’t going to hit those first few season heights again.

 

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5 minutes ago, Nictarion said:

I personally like GoT 5 & 6. They gave us Hardhome, The Door, Battle of the Bastards, Winds of Winter...but yeah 7 & 8 were a mess. Especially 8. 

Agree with your 2 for best finales though. Nothing else I’ve seen even comes close those. 

Seasons 5&6 and some good episodes but that is also when the quality of the writing took a massive nosedive.

I just find it amusing that critics and fans issues with season 8 are the exact same issues that were blatantly apparent since season 5 yet they still display a remarkable level of cognitive dissonance when it comes to seasons 5-7. No, season 8 is not where it all went wrong; it's merely a continuation of the rot that had set in since season 5. 

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6 hours ago, Mark Antony said:

Tonight’s is one of the worst I’ve seen for sure.

The Shield, Justifed, Sopranos. My favorites 

Those are all great endings, don't leave out The Wire and Six Feet Under, tho.

 

I'd say that GoT would have one of the worst along with BSG but GoT has been such utter trash for years now that it's hard to even get worked up about it anymore. 

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1 hour ago, Consigliere said:

I just find it amusing that critics and fans issues with season 8 are the exact same issues that were blatantly apparent since season 5 yet they still display a remarkable level of cognitive dissonance when it comes to seasons 5-7. No, season 8 is not where it all went wrong; it's merely a continuation of the rot that had set in since season 5. 

Yeah I find it odd that the issues they have, that they never saw them coming. The writing has been on the wall for most of the events that have happened, and the speed at which time moves now in the show means that there was never going to be a satisfactory resolution. I don't know how anyone could expect anything more than we got.

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Lost and battlestar galactica had endings that retroactively made the whole show worse which is what i count as a truly awful finale. Shows like Dexter had bad endings but it didn't affect the good seasons. I'm not even sure if the x-files did end it just seems to keep on going.

Leftovers had a great finale. The wire did. Avatar the last airbender and legend of korra had string finales too. In general it's a lot easier for non SFF shows to have good conclusions because they usually haven't sold the story as a mystery where there's lots of weird and wonderful ways a show can end.

In that sense GOT is fine for me. At least it has ended and while i do think it was rushed as a season i don't think the finale was. I don't think i'd have particularly wanted a season out of the last two episodes either. And i was really dreading

some time travel shit from Bran that could have retroactively made things worse.

I think the thread is interesting enough without having to include GOT in the discussion.

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Worst:

Dexter - Did they expect there will be a possibility of a spin off show?

Legend Of Kora - 2 straight characters becoming lesbians at the last minute :lol:

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Best - Parks and Rec, The Americans (why has no-one mentioned this yet?) Orphan Black (maybe not perfect but it delivered everything i wanted and needed).

 

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BuffyAngel, Blake's 7Quantum LeapStar Trek: TNG and DS9Babylon 5Orphan BlackAvatar: The Last Airbender/Legend of KorraLife on Mars/Ashes to AshesParks & RecreationThe Office (the original one) and Cowboy Bebop all had good to excellent endings.

BSG's ending was thematically nonsensical, fitting a show that often used cool imagery but didn't know what it was trying to say (this really was a major issue from Season 3 onwards). Some good stuff in the finale, great acting, a solid final battle etc, but really the bizarrely Luddite ending itself was dogshit.

Lost's finale was okay. The problem was more the entire Season 6 "flash-sideways/temporally-dislocated afterlife" stuff which was presented and executed badly. There's actually a fan edit which removes the entire storyline from the season which works quite well. The actual on-Island storyline was fine and the show ended reasonably well. Far more amusing is the phenomenon (still on full display to this day) of people asking why questions were never answered, when those questions were answered on the show as early as Season 1.

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12 hours ago, KiDisaster said:

The Sopranos has my favorite ending of any TV series. 

Dexter had the worst. 

This.  The Sopranos pissed everybody off on first viewing.  I, like most, thought my cable went out.  But upon repeat viewing - and especially if you believe Tony was shot by Members Only Jacket - it's actually incredibly genius.  And while Chase refuses to confirm that, he essentially has.  There's thousands words analyses on that final scene, and it's actually worth the read.  Plus, the rest of the episode was good to great, Phil's assassination was particularly memorable.  So, I think it's appropriate that the greatest show ever probably deserves the title of greatest finale ever.

About Dexter, I've said this before, but I literally thought when he's carrying Deb's body out in that storm, I was like "this has to be some weird dream sequence."  Nope, just THAT stupid.

I agree with others on this thread that LOST was a middling finale.  Surprised to see that be the consensus - it's often framed as a "polarizing" finale, and when I talk with friends about it they usually loathe it for one reason or another.  For me it was "meh."

6 hours ago, DaveSumm said:

I think there’s something to be said for something a bit divisive. At the time I liked Breaking Bad’s, but looking back at kinda ... boring. It’s just, “oh, he did it. Well done Walt”. Did he deserve that win?

Always thought this was a fair criticism.  The finale almost felt like fan service in how wholly he redeemed himself.  I don't think it should have been that way.  His fall should have had more consequences - or at least consequences that he could not repair.  I suppose they still did, in a way, but I think Gilligan's perfectionism made him wrap it up a little too tight.

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4 hours ago, Gronzag said:

Worst:

Legend Of Kora - 2 straight characters becoming lesbians at the last minute :lol:

?????

Is this a troll because I don't know if you heard, but bisexual people are real.

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4 hours ago, Gronzag said:

Worst:

Dexter - Did they expect there will be a possibility of a spin off show?

Legend Of Kora - 2 straight characters becoming lesbians at the last minute :lol:

They didn't though. There was at least a season of hints. Or do you mean the cop-out of only confirming in final scene.

1 hour ago, Werthead said:

BuffyAngel, Blake's 7Quantum LeapStar Trek: TNG and DS9Babylon 5Orphan BlackAvatar: The Last Airbender/Legend of KorraLife on Mars/Ashes to AshesParks & RecreationThe Office (the original one) and Cowboy Bebop all had good to excellent endings.

BSG's ending was thematically nonsensical, fitting a show that often used cool imagery but didn't know what it was trying to say (this really was a major issue from Season 3 onwards). Some good stuff in the finale, great acting, a solid final battle etc, but really the bizarrely Luddite ending itself was dogshit.

Lost's finale was okay. The problem was more the entire Season 6 "flash-sideways/temporally-dislocated afterlife" stuff which was presented and executed badly. There's actually a fan edit which removes the entire storyline from the season which works quite well. The actual on-Island storyline was fine and the show ended reasonably well. Far more amusing is the phenomenon (still on full display to this day) of people asking why questions were never answered, when those questions were answered on the show as early as Season 1.

I think if "lost" had ended with season 5, I'd have no complaints. I'd probably encourage people who have never seen lost to stop there, or if they have to watch a fan edit of season 6 that doesn't include any sideways segments (i think they exist)

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Chuck's bittersweet finale wasn't that great, and not really in tone with the overall show. The season 4 finale was much better.

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2 hours ago, DMC said:

Always thought this was a fair criticism.  The finale almost felt like fan service in how wholly he redeemed himself.  I don't think it should have been that way.  His fall should have had more consequences - or at least consequences that he could not repair.  I suppose they still did, in a way, but I think Gilligan's perfectionism made him wrap it up a little too tight.

Wait, he redeemed himself? I always felt that he'd finally come to terms with what he'd done, if nothing else. 

Anyway, I'd rank Breaking Bad at the top definitely. 

The Trek spinoffs offer some nice comparisons from "good" to "excellent" to "abysmal". TNG was really classy and was a huge event at the time (I remember they showed at the Skydome!). DS9 was more emotional and bittersweet - it maybe trends too much into outright nostalgia (the montage), but it always feels earned. It did have some budgetary constraints that were unfortunate. Voyager was okay - too much time travel, too much more defanging of the Borg, and an ending that avoids all semblance of sacrifice. Enterprise, which never gelled for me as a show, had an insultingly bad - and cheaply made - ending. 

Sitcoms are quite variable. Friends and Frasier were good, but both shows were on too long. I actually like the Seinfeld finale, even though it has many of the same problems as the last two seasons. But it also gave rise to the wonderful running joke on Curb Your Enthusiasm about how the reunion show would "make up for the finale". 

I thought the US Office was really great, almost making up for the quasi-mess of the Michael Scott-less seasons. 

And I actually kinda liked BSG at the time - but haven't watched in a long time. Fairly bananas though.

I think overall GoT worked pretty well for me, though it absolutely felt rushed. I'm not sure how I would have extended it, but there was a feeling throughout these last two seasons that the writers have been working from GRRM's ever sketchier outlines. 

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1 hour ago, red snow said:

They didn't though. There was at least a season of hints. Or do you mean the cop-out of only confirming in final scene

Cop-out. Reminds me of what J.K. Rowling is doing now, declaring various characters gay after the series has ended.

As for the hints, I admit I haven't noticed them. I binged the entire series in less than a week, and watched it only for plot and action.

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No mention of Blackadder yet? Definitely one of the best finales in my opinion. Total tonal whiplash but it works.

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Posted (edited)

I dislike the BSG finale a lot less than most people do, but yeah, there was some bullshit in it.


GoT was just terrible. I might hate it less with time but I doubt it. There was one scene I didn't think was dreadful, and even that basically took up space from more important stuff that should have been being dealt with.



The Wire's final season was a weakpoint of the show but the finale and wrap-up itself worked really well, imo.


The West Wing's ending was phenomenal but it didn't have a true finale episode in the usual sense, because it was one of the few shows brave enough to acknowledge that when you've spent that long with a set of characters, more than fifteen minutes of cooldown can be good.


The UK Office's Christmas special was a pretty legendary ending.


But the one that takes the whole cake and all the biscuits is Blackadder Goes Forth's Goodbyeeee. Best ending ever.

eta: ninja'd.

Edited by polishgenius
vagueing up even more what could be a spoiler for GoT

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