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Nailed It! - The (Good) Series Finale Thread
#1
With more shows beginning, it is only natural to assume that more shows will be ending. And frankly, tv has a better track record of starting something, say Lost than it does with finishing something, say...also Lost. But we have not come here to endlessly relitigate the series finale of Game of Thrones, I think that's what literally every other thread is for. No, let this be a place to discuss the rare show that stuck the landing, that nailed it, for they are fewer and far between. And when one knows a show ends well, it's a better ride in our binge-watching culture. So toss out recommendations! Tell us about your favorite series enders; we come to praise, not to bitch! (well, maybe a little bitching)

To start off: The Americans - one of the best shows of the modern era also gave us one of the best enders. Where fireworks were expected, no one saw has quiet and fraught the tale would finish as. It broke many relationships while remaining true to the characters and all that came before, and finally puts the two forces together in what is my favorite confrontation in a show littered with them. Plus, an absolutely stellar use of U2's 'With or Without You' in a great climactic sequence. 

What are some of yours?

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#2
BLACK SAILS

The first season is admittedly shaky (a little too much wheel spinning), but the show takes off once the second season starts and is on rails from that point forward. The series finale brings all remaining story arcs to very satisfying closes while also setting up the storyline that will eventually be handled in TREASURE ISLAND. The ending for Flint's character is genuinely moving.

If you're looking for a show to binge-watch, this is a good one. Gut your way through season 1 (which isn't bad, it's just padded) and you'll be in for a fun ride. Overlord will recommend skipping several of the middle episodes but I personally disagree with this; there's a lot of character work in there that you kinda need to know in order to make storylines in S2 and beyond pay off correctly.
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#3
Quick question -- do series wrap-ups released years later (El Camino, Deadwood: The Movie) also count here for the purposes of this thread, or does a finale have to have been aired during the original broadcast-run proper? Though I guess in BrBa's case, that show essentially got TWO finales instead of just one.
"These guys are pros, Michael. They're gonna push the tension 'till the last possible moment before they strip."

 
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#4
Breaking Bad immediately comes to mind. A near perfect capper to a near perfect series. Any issues I had with the lack of closure for Jesse were eventually resolved with El Camino.

I really need to do a complete series re-watch.
Mangy Wrote:TCM 2 is like sentient cocaine.
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#5
SPARTACUS is another good one.

Similar to BLACK SAILS, it starts out a bit shaky. When you watch that first episode, you'll probably be convinced that the show will be garbage...a 300 ripoff with lots of tits and fake blood. I personally would have given up on the show after that first episode if others on this site hadn't told me to give it 3 or 4 episodes. They were right...the show finds its groove around episode 3 or 4 and starts to turn awesome. Heck, by the time I finished S1, I thought I was watching one of the best shows ever.

Unfortunately, the lead actor (Andy Whitfield) got sick. To buy time for his recovery, the producers punted S2 and did a prequel season instead. He didn't recover and they had to recast the role of Spartacus with a new actor, Liam McIntyre. He's good but he's different from Andy (who unfortunately died). You'll need to get used to his take on the role but seasons 2 and 3 are overall excellent. S3 is particularly strong, providing an appropriate ending for everyone that more or less follows historical events.

It's a great show to binge. Again, you MUST be aware that the first few episodes are not indicative of the quality that the show will eventually achieve.
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#6
I wasn't a fan of the first half of Hannibal season 3, but the last half and finale more than made up for it. I love that final stinger with Gillian Anderson.
Mangy Wrote:TCM 2 is like sentient cocaine.
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#7
(11-12-2019, 01:01 PM)leto ii Wrote: Quick question -- do series wrap-ups released years later (El Camino, Deadwood: The Movie) also count here for the purposes of this thread, or does a finale have to have been aired during the original broadcast-run proper? Though I guess in BrBa's case, that show essentially got TWO finales instead of just one.

I'd absolutely count the DEADWOOD movie as an effective (and awesome) series capper.
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#8
When I think of amazing finales that tie the whole show together Breaking Bad, The Shield, The Wire, and Farscape come to mind.

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#9
For me The Shield was never quite in the class of The Wire or The Sopranos at the time, but I remember they wrapped up that series in a way that really compares favorably to the best of that decade.

I liked The Sopranos finale, but I felt like the show's final seasons maybe dragged on a little long.
I liked The Wire's finale but it was far from the high point of the show.
Breaking Bad's finale was a little too perfect of a bow- one of the few instances where you could really see the strings Gilligan was pulling.
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#10
Three come immediately to mind:

True Detective (S1): A wholly satisfying and "full" conclusion of the story. In one episode, we get everything from the prior 7 episodes: cosmic dread, human horror, bravery and courage being stronger than shame or failure, and a rounding out of the mythology that's been driving the crimes. Plus we get something more: a sliver of hope. Rust and Marty aren't redeemed in the sense of being wholly different or thoroughly "good" men, but they're given, through their actions and suffering, the means through which they are able to find some peace with their past selves and move forward in at less destructive ways.

Justified: "We dug coal together." With that phrase, the series comes both full circle and allows its two protagonists to enter new phases in their lives. Raylan can finally leave Harlan - alive - and be content with his past and allow his anger to morph into less harmful stubbornness. Boyd, meanwhile, seems to be repeating himself and more stuck in his patterns. Details aside, the show ends on a high (creative) note, wisely choosing not to overstay its welcome or premise, and leaves us sad that our time with these characters is done.

Parks and Rec: A nearly perfect season and series capper. Just a loving, lovely sendoff for this group of people we laugh with and at, love, and see pieces of ourselves (as we are and as we'd like to be). And I love that it strongly hints at Leslie being president.
"Nooj's true feelings on any given subject are unknown and unknowable. He is the butterfly flapping its wings in Peking. He is chaos and destruction and you shall never see his true form." - Merriweather

My Steam ID: yizashigreyspear
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#11
Other shows that had excellent finales that summed up the show quite nicely:

JUSTIFIED (thank you, Molt)
BANSHEE (thank you again, Molt)
THE PRISONER - this is a pretty batshit insane finale that takes a couple of viewings (it's a two parter) to really understand.  You may not like how it ends upon your first viewing but, as you watch it again, you'll come to appreciate what it's going for and HOW it ties everything together.

edited to add: MichaelM beat me to JUSTIFIED.  You and I definitely dug coal together, Mike Smile
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#12
(11-12-2019, 01:07 PM)Judas Booth Wrote: SPARTACUS is another good one.

Similar to BLACK SAILS, it starts out a bit shaky.  When you watch that first episode, you'll probably be convinced that the show will be garbage...a 300 ripoff with lots of tits and fake blood.  I personally would have given up on the show after that first episode if others on this site hadn't told me to give it 3 or 4 episodes.  They were right...the show finds its groove around episode 3 or 4 and starts to turn awesome.  Heck, by the time I finished S1, I thought I was watching one of the best shows ever.

Unfortunately, the lead actor (Andy Whitfield) got sick.  To buy time for his recovery, the producers punted S2 and did a prequel season instead.  He didn't recover and they had to recast the role of Spartacus with a new actor, Liam McIntyre.  He's good but he's different from Andy (who unfortunately died).  You'll need to get used to his take on the role but seasons 2 and 3 are overall excellent.  S3 is particularly strong, providing an appropriate ending for everyone that more or less follows historical events.

It's a great show to binge.  Again, you MUST be aware that the first few episodes are not indicative of the quality that the show will eventually achieve.

Honestly, I found the recasting of Naevia to be more jarring. I thought the actress playing her in season one and the prequel was far better than her replacement in seasons 2 and 3.
Mangy Wrote:TCM 2 is like sentient cocaine.
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#13
(11-12-2019, 01:13 PM)hp pufncraft Wrote:
(11-12-2019, 01:07 PM)Judas Booth Wrote: SPARTACUS is another good one.

Similar to BLACK SAILS, it starts out a bit shaky.  When you watch that first episode, you'll probably be convinced that the show will be garbage...a 300 ripoff with lots of tits and fake blood.  I personally would have given up on the show after that first episode if others on this site hadn't told me to give it 3 or 4 episodes.  They were right...the show finds its groove around episode 3 or 4 and starts to turn awesome.  Heck, by the time I finished S1, I thought I was watching one of the best shows ever.

Unfortunately, the lead actor (Andy Whitfield) got sick.  To buy time for his recovery, the producers punted S2 and did a prequel season instead.  He didn't recover and they had to recast the role of Spartacus with a new actor, Liam McIntyre.  He's good but he's different from Andy (who unfortunately died).  You'll need to get used to his take on the role but seasons 2 and 3 are overall excellent.  S3 is particularly strong, providing an appropriate ending for everyone that more or less follows historical events.

It's a great show to binge.  Again, you MUST be aware that the first few episodes are not indicative of the quality that the show will eventually achieve.

Honestly, I found the recasting of Naevia to be more jarring. I thought the actress playing her in season one and the prequel was far better than her replacement in seasons 2 and 3.

I must concur.  The replacement actress was really pretty one-note/limited.  She didn't 'break' the show for me, though.
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#14
Babylon 5 was long my go-to ''perfect'' series-ender (before Breaking Bad and a couple other shows subsequently happened) -- and yeah, Deadwood: The Movie is now up there in that pantheon too, and I hugely enjoyed the BSG-finale as well. Someone else up here already mentioned it, but Justified's final moments (''We dug coal together'') were about as perfect as anything Elmore Leonard himself ever could've come up with.
"These guys are pros, Michael. They're gonna push the tension 'till the last possible moment before they strip."

 
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#15
How’s Annie?

What year is this?
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#16
(11-12-2019, 12:58 PM)Judas Booth Wrote: BLACK SAILS

The first season is admittedly shaky (a little too much wheel spinning), but the show takes off once the second season starts and is on rails from that point forward.  The series finale brings all remaining story arcs to very satisfying closes while also setting up the storyline that will eventually be handled in TREASURE ISLAND.  The ending for Flint's character is genuinely moving.

If you're looking for a show to binge-watch, this is a good one.  Gut your way through season 1 (which isn't bad, it's just padded) and you'll be in for a fun ride.  Overlord will recommend skipping several of the middle episodes but I personally disagree with this; there's a lot of character work in there that you kinda need to know in order to make storylines in S2 and beyond pay off correctly.

This is my go-to for but finale ever. A powerhouse that closes almost every thread in a satisfying way while making you feel the breadth of the journey you've been taken on. It stayed with me long after the credits finished rolling.

Another one I love is the CARNIVALE finale, which actually ended up being the closer by accident since the show was supposed to continue. Still, it was a fortuitous turn of events seeing as the episode answered almost all the burning questions and tied up all the arcs while still leaving some threads open-ended which, given the type of show it had been, felt like deliberate ambiguity.
I might have been born yesterday sir, but I stayed up all night!
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#17
I binge-watched both seasons of Gravity Falls with my little brother two summers ago and it was quite a ride. Basically it's the animated kid's version of The X-Files, only with a more well-thought-out mythology and a far more satisfying conclusion. It's funny, heartfelt and even a little scary at times. Bill Cypher, the lead villain of the series, is basically Disney's version of Cthulhu. I still can't believe some of the stuff this show got away with. If you haven't already, check it out.
Mangy Wrote:TCM 2 is like sentient cocaine.
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#18
The great thing about the Breaking Bad finale is that it didn't try to fake you out with some left-field twist. You could have easily predicted how it would work out. But it's done in such a perfectly satisfying way, it doesn't feel like a foregone conclusion.
My karmic debt must be huge.

----------

My blog: An Embarrassment of Rich's
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#19
(11-12-2019, 01:34 PM)hp pufncraft Wrote: I binge-watched both seasons of Gravity Falls with my little brother two summers ago and it was quite a ride. Basically it's the animated kid's version of The X-Files, only with a more well-thought-out mythology and a far more satisfying conclusion. It's funny, heartfelt and even a little scary at times. Bill Cypher, the lead villain of the series, is basically Disney's version of Cthulhu. I still can't believe some of the stuff this show got away with. If you haven't already, check it out.

Hell yeah, Gravity Falls is an A+ choice here.

Justified and Deadwood: The Movie were the first two that came to mind.
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#20
Agreed about Deadwood: the Movie. It elegantly, improbably, and wonderfully gives us the last story (stories) of these beloved characters.
"Nooj's true feelings on any given subject are unknown and unknowable. He is the butterfly flapping its wings in Peking. He is chaos and destruction and you shall never see his true form." - Merriweather

My Steam ID: yizashigreyspear
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#21
Cowboy Bebop - one of the Top 10 TV shows of the 20th century. One season and out with a perfect finale.
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#22
LONGMIRE also had a good run and wrapped things up nicely in the finale. There was some fan service to be had for sure, but it was also ambiguous enough to not put a bow on it.
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#23
Community, "The Emotional Consequences of Broadcast Television"

Pretty much a perfect closer. A show that never took anything seriously, but if you glanced at me during Jeff's double hug with Abed you'd think I was watching the emotionally wrenching finale to some top shelf prestige drama.
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#24
If we're going really old school, THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW really stuck the landing. Everyone was let go except for Ted Baxter, resulting in a funny yet heartwarming episode to wrap things up.
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#25
Not quite as far back as MTM, but I seem to recall CHEERS going out solidly.
"Nooj's true feelings on any given subject are unknown and unknowable. He is the butterfly flapping its wings in Peking. He is chaos and destruction and you shall never see his true form." - Merriweather

My Steam ID: yizashigreyspear
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#26
(11-12-2019, 02:47 PM)Bucho Wrote: Cowboy Bebop - one of the Top 10 TV shows of the 20th century.

O RLY?

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#27
Being an anthology, the standards are a bit different, but FARGO has crafted three distinct, surprising and perfect endings for each of its seasons.




(obligatory mention that "Not Fade Away" casts a long inverted-shadow over ANGEL that obscures just how uneven the entire show that preceded it was)
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#28
Well my immediate picks (Black Sails, Justified, Spartacus) have all been noted (and rightly so). It's a shame Banshee didn't quite the stick the landing enough for m to say "Nailed it!", but it worked just fine, I guess.
If we're going old school, Sapphire & Steel's ending is perfect in that, like Jean Ralphio's first day at work, it goes out the way it came in.
Not a hard man to track. Leaves dead men wherever he goes.
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#29
Some of my favorites were picked already. Breaking Bad was perfect. Same for Parks and Rec. Newhart has what has to be one of the most sublime finales with a fantastic and perfect final scene.

I also feel that I have to add The Deuce to this list. Great way to end a show that was criminally underwatched and underappreciated.
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#30
Speaking of SPARTACUS. Don't miss the finale end credits.
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#31
The only shows that I can think of to add to the discussion are Terriers and 30 Rock. Terriers had a fantastic one and only season with a very good finale that solved the main case of the season while leaving things open for the future. And 30 Rock was always on point so while I don't remember much from the finale, I know it was great.
I think these screen captures and giant (Dildi? Is there a plural?) are just the next step in the JJ Abrams online adventure series. Very slyly played, Bitches Leave.-Tom Fuchs
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#32
30 Rock ends with Immortal Kenneth buying a show from Liz Lemon's granddaughter as spaceships fly by in the background.

So yes, it's perfect!
I was in a horror-comedy called BLACK HOLLER. It's now on Prime Video. Check it out!
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#33
I need to watch that again!
I think these screen captures and giant (Dildi? Is there a plural?) are just the next step in the JJ Abrams online adventure series. Very slyly played, Bitches Leave.-Tom Fuchs
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#34
Come to think of it, it may have been Liz's great-great-great-granddaughter.

Sticking with Tina Fey shows, UNBREAKABLE KIMMIE SCHMIDT had a pretty fantastic series-ender as well.
I was in a horror-comedy called BLACK HOLLER. It's now on Prime Video. Check it out!
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#35
*This space reserved for The Good Place
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