We've already taken a look at the 11 worst series finales of all time. Scientifically speaking, that is.
But what about the best? We didn't look to science to pull these, but the general consensus is that these shows were firing on all cylinders on their way out, pretty much as they did the entire way through their television runs. That's what makes these so special.
They also belong to a rare breed of show that delivered consistently throughout and were given an opportunity to end in the manner they deemed appropriate. Whether or not everybody agreed on how they decided to end things? Well, that's still up for debate in some instances. Let us know what you think.
These are not ranked in any way!
Amazingly, Walter White managed to salvage himself in his very last act by saving those he loved
while he died, lovingly caressing the shiny metal holding his baby blue. Jesse Pinkman escaped,
Walt's family appeared to be in the clear, but Walt's fate always seemed predetermined. The finale
didn't let anybody down.
It's still impossible to watch this without doing a double take, and almost impossible to imagine the
implications of having watched this particular finale if Twitter had been as huge in 2007 if it was
today. The world would have gone mad. Did HBO cut the feed? What happened? Did I miss
something? No. We don't know what happened to Tony Soprano and his family and we weren't
meant to know.
Of the many people who walked into the restaurant that night, one of them could
have killed Tony. Many of them could have cut down the entire family. Or the Sopranos could have
simply gone on with their dinner and their lives. That's the beauty of the finale. Any finale that can
create that kind of conversation after doing so consistently throughout the series run has done
something very right. Don't stop believing.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, "Chosen," 2003
After two resurrections and with a whole stable of slayers at her side, Buffy and her friends were
fighting the to the death to close the hellmouth which had swallowed Sunnydale. Everything was
riding on their cause and lives were lost, both valiantly (Spike) and without much fanfare at all (Anya)
showing much the series had grown and matured over the course of seven years.
On a series that always pushed the envelope, it probably shouldn't be a surprise that the writers
would choose to end St. Elsewhere as they did, but the ending was extraordinarily controversial.
Tommy Westphall is the severly austic son of Donald Westphall, St. Eligius' Chief of Staff. Except
he's not. He's the son of Donald Westphall, construction worker, and created the entirety of the
series in is head as he sat daily shaking a snowglobe with a tiny replica of the hospital inside of it.
Was it a cop out to fans who came to love the characters and stories? Possibly. But the writers
wanted to ensure there would never be a revisiting of their creation or a spinoff of any kind, as well
as to create an ending true to the spirit of their bold storytelling. Mission accomplished.
Newhart, "The Last Newhart," 1990
All of the Newhart series were entertaining, but the thing that stands out for most is the finale of
Newhart, and the connection between it and his previous series, The Bob Newhart Show, in which
Suzanne Pleshette played his wife. Why? Because in the closing minutes, after feeling as though
he couldn't take one more minute of the antics of his crazy life, he's hit on the head with a golf ball
and wakes up after a crazy dream – next to his wife, Suzanne Pleshette. This, again, is a
series finale that would upended the Twitterverse instead of ignited the water cooler conversations
the next day.
Although Sia's "Breathe Me" has been used many times over since appearing on the finale of Six
Feet Under, never will it be associated with anything in the way it was with this scene. A series that
was known for death, as it was about a family of morticians, wrapped up the stories of every major
player in the final scene hauntingly well. Life doesn't have to have an utterly happy ending to
end on a high note, and as Claire Fisher left her life in LA for new adventures, viewers saw the
through the end of all those who meant to much to us during the series' run. It was an emotional
punch reminding us about the beauty of a life well lived.