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Brian Hague
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Posted: 10 November 2019 at 11:04am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

In the thread regarding Norman Lloyd's 105th birthday (and more power to him!) there's a brief mention of the series' finale. Rather than continue that discussion there, I thought I'd bring it into its own thread.

Brian Floyd says there that he can't decide if St. Elsewhere or Roseanne had the worst series finale. I was going to chime in and say that it was hard to beat Enterprise for the worst of all time. And then we have Game of Thrones...

So, what are your picks, everyone, for the best and worst endings to series? This is in the television thread, but if there's a film series you thought ended badly or particularly well, let's hear about that too. 

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John Byrne
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Posted: 10 November 2019 at 11:16am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

CHEERS, NEWHART, PARKS AND RECREATION, VEEP, ANGEL, all pretty fine.

(This is not meant to be a comprehensive list, so spare me the “no love for...?” bleats, please.)

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Brian Hague
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Posted: 10 November 2019 at 11:27am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

I'm not the fan of ST:TNG's ending that so many are. The puzzle they're forced to confront is ridiculously easy to solve and it turns out they're the ones causing the problem the entire time. Resolving the situation should be more dramatically challenging than simply turning the stupid beam off. The moment someone calls the effect "Anti-Time" it should be perfectly clear that it runs backwards, but no, we get two hours of Picard doddering about in the future (a premise NO ONE wants to see, am I right?*) and romantically telling everyone how great things will turn out in the future while he's wandering aimlessly through the past (always one of my least favorite time travel conceits.**)

I liken the ST: TNG finale to STAR TREK: THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY in that the actors and story seem to be hitting the right notes emotionally, but the logic of the stories being told is unforgivably awful. 

STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE is raked over the coals for turning the characters into holodeck sprites in someone else's story, and it's often suggested it be ignored in favor of the two-part episode regarding xenophobia and the attempts made by T'Pol and Trip to have a child together. I'd be on board with that except that earlier story ticks me off for appropriating Roddenberry's intent for what Sarek and Amanda went through to conceive Spock. Also, Spock's not the first Vulcan-Human hybrid anymore, folks! Nope! Enterprise grabbed that out from under the Original Series as well! Well, they were running out of time. Had to grab everything they could, I guess...

NEWHART, of course, had one of the best jokes a series ever went out on, but I doubt the writers of that punchline seriously intended the entire show to vanish in a puff of half-remembered fairy dust. ST. ELSEWHERE similarly suggests an entire backstory and reality apart from the one we've been shown to date, but I think of it more as a conceit on the part of the writers than an actual refutation of everything we've seen on-screen to that point. It doesn't make a lot of sense that ten-year-old Tommy Westphall came up with everything we'd seen take place on the program, with full plots including rape, terrorism, drug addiction, homelessness, mental illness, ZZ Top, and a nymphomaniac pathologist. It seems more of a general suggestion and grace note than the literal "answer" to everything the show had been about. 

How about QUANTUM LEAP's finale? Fans are still up in arms over that in some quarters. 

How about the endings to BUFFY or ANGEL? What do folks hereabouts think about them?

* Yes, I'm kidding.

** See also: X- MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST


Edited by Brian Hague on 10 November 2019 at 11:28am
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 10 November 2019 at 11:30am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

JB, I have to agree with the ones you cite that I've seen. I still haven't gotten aboard the VEEP or PARKS AND REC trains yet. I did watch all of the Megan Mullaney episodes of PARKS so I feel I've already mainlined the content that I really wanted to see.

Edited by Brian Hague on 10 November 2019 at 11:32am
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Doug Centers
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Posted: 10 November 2019 at 12:52pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

LOST

Still feeling that one, all those wasted hours!
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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 10 November 2019 at 3:55pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

I loved 90 seconds of Enterprise's finale; the last, of course.

Why does everyone ascribe St. Elsewhere's ending to apply to all of Enterprise? Everyone implies that (SPOILER) the entire series was just a holodeck drama created and run by Riker and Troi. I don't understand why. In the series finale, we see a holodeck drama, sure - but Riker is IN this drama. He very obviously wasn't in the rest of the episodes. Schroedinger's TV guide: if the episode features the crew and ship of another show, but they aren't REALLY in the show, then what is it an episode of? Enterprise or TNG?

The very end of Voyager was nice; the rest of the episode, intriguing.

But in the end, I'm no so fond of finales, actually. The best one I think I've seen was "The Big Bang Theory" - storylines concluded, storylines started, and the status quo evolved - but the basics didn't change.
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James Woodcock
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Posted: 10 November 2019 at 4:32pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Babylon 5 remains my favourite finale. Cry? Doesn’t even being to describe what that episode does to me.

Angel was very good.
Ashes to Ashes has the exact same premise as Lost & both aired their last episodes on the same day. One was brilliant & delivered. The other was a complete let down.
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Brian Floyd
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Posted: 10 November 2019 at 4:47pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

QUANTUM LEAP's ending stunk because it didn't resolve anything, and had Sam leaping for the rest of his life. They just tacked some garbage text onto the end of the episode.

ENTERPRISE's ending works for me, because the series being some holodeck drama by Riker helps resolve the fact that a lot of ENTERPRISE conflicts with pre-establshed canon. 

VOYAGER's finale works if you keep in mind that Future Janeway's intervention pretty much wipes out or at least affects the rest of the episode, because things would have turned out differently due to her speeding up the ship's return. I just hate Janeway's role as the Borg's worst nightmare. That should go to Picard, since he actually was a Borg.

How about DS9, with Sisko becoming Bajoran Jesus?

My favorite finale is hands down NEWHART's. My jaw dropped when they did the big reveal, and I died laughing. M*A*S*H's is also up there for sentimentality.

ROSEANNE's ending is not so bad now that the new series (now THE CONNERS, and much improved by the lack of Roseanne) wipes that out. I guess the last episode of the next to last season of the original show can be taken as the real finale. So you can put ST. ELSEWHERE down as my least favorite series finale...for now. I'm sure something will eventually surpass it.

GAME OF THRONES can be somewhat forgiven in that the entire final season was short and rushed. The long break between it and the previous season certainly did not help. 







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Brian Hague
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Posted: 10 November 2019 at 8:29pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

I have never heard that theory about ENTERPRISE's entire run taking place on the holodeck. This thread is literally the first I'm hearing about it. I thought the episode could not have been more clear that Riker was building a single scenario using historical records recommended by Troi to resolve his conflict in the "Pegasus" episode of ST:TNG*. One time and one time only. Clearly, Riker the chef doesn't appear in any of the other episodes and couldn't have been there during Neelix's time on the ship. 

I can understand why fans would WANT the whole series to be make-believe, but that final episode does not provide that. What it does do is take the last episode of the series and hand it over to two of the lesser lights from TNG and make the episode all about them, an unmistakable spit in the eye to the cast and crew of ENTERPRISE.

All I really remember from DS9's bizarre yet boring wrap-up was that the Dominion War was somehow over and a celebration was being held on the Promenade when Sisko actually does a "Whoops! Forgot something!" move and leaves to go unite with the Prophets of the Wormhole or somesuch nonsense, thereby fulfilling his prophesied role as Lord High Muckety-Muck of the Quadrant or whatever it was. Literally, the upshot of his character's series-long arc is treated like the afterthought it so clearly was. "Whoops! Gotta go sacrifice my corporeal self to pay lip service to something said in the pilot!" 

Seriously, people, this is the series you think is the "well-written" spin-off? Yeek.

MASH's finale was one of my favorite episodes of that series. It's incredibly uneven as it's a sort of MASH-up of three or four episodes all rolled together, but overall, I found it immensely effective, especially back in the day. The way that BJ's departure mirrored Trapper's and his inability to say the word "goodbye" out loud all hit home for me in a very good way. 

Hawkeye's breakdown was intense and I've spoken with people who hate that episode specifically because his performance was so overwrought that they didn't remember his recovery from it. They thought the episode left him in the asylum while everyone else went home. I actually got my copy of the episode out once to prove to someone that Hawkeye did in fact get to go home with the others. 

* Watch "The Pegasus." There is no time in that episode for Riker to take his casual little jaunt onto the holodeck. 


Edited by Brian Hague on 10 November 2019 at 8:36pm
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Andrew Saxon
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Posted: 11 November 2019 at 3:16am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

THE PRISONER: 'Fall Out' - I can never work out if I love or loathe this particular ending. Sometimes when I watch it I find it to be something quite profound. Other times, I see it as a vainglorious McGoohan going down in flames. Love it or loathe it, though, I can't ignore it.

BLAKE'S 7: 'Blake' - I remember watching the final moments in utter shock and disbelief, but I loved it. That ending made a massive impact and I can never understand the fans who want to undo it. In retrospect, it was the only way that series could end, but at the time I really didn't see it coming (and, thankfully, no internet to ruin it for us back then!). Much copied since, but B7 did it first - and best.
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James Woodcock
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Posted: 11 November 2019 at 3:44am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Andrew - totally agree re Blake's 7. No one knew. There was even a monthly magazine running at the time and nothing had been hinted at. the history of the series pretty much dictated that this was the only way the series was going to end, but to sit there, watching it, was utter torture on the night it aired.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 11 November 2019 at 7:42am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

I haven’t watched BLAKE’S 7 (please, no earnest recommendations that I do so!), but I checked out the ending on YouTube, and of course it made absolutely no sense to me!
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