The whole country seems to be all agog over the series finale of a basic-cable series which, until yesterday, I had never watched. The Breaking Bad
hype seems on a level with M*A*S*H, far beyond any of the much more common, ratings-promoted finales of more recent years.
Since I have barely an hour under my belt, I can say little about what the finale will do, or mean. But there's been a groundswell of recaps of previous series finale episodes in recent days- some in the press, others in blogs. My LJ Friend Greg did this most excellent one
the other day, counting many of them back from The Fugitive
(perhaps the first to have a real intentional final ending) through last week's Dexter.
Rather than try to summarize a lot of them or pick "the" best or worst, I thought I'd Emmyize a bunch of categories into which I thought several of them stood out. Best final moment of a final episode.
Gotta give this one to Barney Miller.
This was a series I'd followed since its beginning, and which really took off once it shed its side-stories outside the squadroom, which it rarely if ever left thereafter. After the various characters got their fates delivered in the script, Barn spent one final moment shutting down the ol' One-Two, stopping at each of the desks which had been inhabited by such unique personalities for the previous years, some of them departed:Best trashing of the fourth wall.
Believe it or not, this goes to something called I Married Dora.
I barely remember this show existing, and I had no recollection of its finale being so memorable, but this BBC piece did
, and here's the proof:Biggest finger to the fans.
With a single title card, series creator Dominic P. Bellasario capped off 47 minutes of utter confusion by slamming the box shut with the one thing left inside that would've made it worthwhile: hope.Most hyped (and mostly hype) of a finale.
Don't get me wrong; I liked the show, and appreciated the need for a good sendoff. But NBC did everything short of demanding that the Clinton Administration declare a national holiday for the thing. By airtime, it had plainly blasted itself into a Super Bowl stratosphere of hype (with ad rates to match), and when the finale then spilled into Leno's Tonight Show,
you knew this wasn't about Where Everybody Knows Your Name but about What Moneymaker Everybody Wanted to Shake.Finale I'll never get no matter how many times I watch or you try to explain it.
Thus, also, the lack of anything here beyond its winning the award.Worst decision not to allow a finale.
The Ed Sullivan Show.
This was such a vital part of culture, especially in the 1960s, but the show was in reruns when CBS decided to pull the plug, so Ed never got to host that one final Rilly Big Shoe that we would have loved and appreciated.Best decision not to allow one.
According to IMDB
, one was in the works- in which the Trib
would go out of business; the writers had interviewed reporters who'd gone through the experience. But the show got canceled before it could even be produced. A good thing, I think, for two reasons. One, the show had become a bit too smarmy and formulaic in its final legs, and I couldn't really get a good cry going over what fate was going to be written for Donovan or "Animal." More importantly, it could never have topped the virtually identical plot ending of Lou's original home on Mary Tyler Moore,
and there was nobody in that newsroom who would have been as stupid to be retained (or to be signed away by the Times
) as Ted Baxter was.Honorable mentions from other summaries I want to go back and watch (or rewatch) someday.
Life on Mars. Blake's 7. The Larry Sanders Show. St. Elsewhere.
Any others you find noteworthy? Or make up a category and I'll try to award something in it.
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