Ranking the Series Finales

JUSTIFIED, which I love, is heading into its final stretch. This brings to mind the series finales of other TV dramas that I have been hooked on, over the years.

Three notes:
1. I was never a DEXTER watcher, so it’s not here. Same with SIX FEET UNDER.
2. I’m limiting my list to series that had a true final chapter, true finales. LAW & ORDER, for example, did NOT. Neither did DALLAS.
3. I’m a fifty-something white guy. I’ve spent my life as a TV watcher watching fifty-something white guy shows. I don’t give a rip about DeGRASSI, or MY SO CALLED LIFE, or whatever.

Of the shows I’ve watched religiously since 28 Feb 1983 (the series finale of M*A*S*H, the first TV show I truly loved in an adult way), what were the best series finales?

• BREAKING BAD. Perfect show, perfect finale. Walter White looked upon all his works and died.

• LOST. Illogical, emotionally resonant, sweet and satisfying.

• FRINGE. Like LOST, but not quite so much.

• THE SOPRANOS. The last few episodes were a bloodbath, until Leotardo got what was coming to him. (Think: watermelon.) You think Tony will emerge, unscathed and unchanged, and then … nothing.

(I believe the explanation for the final frames that David Simon has supposedly confirmed off the record; the guy in the nylon jacket came out of the restroom and splattered Tony’s brain all over the onion rings. The blacked out screen was Tony’s perspective as he died, like a light switch being turned off.)

• NYPD BLUE. After Jimmy Smits left, the show never really recovered. But the finale was surprisingly strong, and Sipowicz come full circle.

• THE WIRE. Should’ve ended a season earlier.

• BOARDWALK EMPIRE. Should’ve ended a season earlier.

• THE BRIDGE. Never lived up to its promise; too complicated, too many twisting plot lines.

• THE X-FILES. They should have ended the series two years earlier, and spun off Dogget and Reyes.

• St ELSEWHERE. Absolutely ripped off the viewers who’d devoted so many years (and so much vocal support) for the show.

• CHEERS. Not a drama, but a great show. Final season was a total mess. Finale even more so.


Ok, so what did I miss?

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