Best and Worst TV Series Finales
That "Raymond" thread got me to thinking of TV series' finales that I liked or disliked.
The funniest ending EVER was the series finale for "Newhart," that Bob Newhart show in which he played the owner of an inn. In the final episode, at the very end, Bob wakes up from a dream next to Suzanne Pleshette, who had played his wife Emily in a completely different series--"The Bob Newhart Show!!" He goes on to tell her about this horrible nightmare he'd had about owning an inn and all these crazy people. So the joke is that his entire series was only a dream. It was absolutely hysterical.
The absolute worst series finale was "Seinfeld." Absolutely horrible and depressing with them going off to jail. Also, the premise was awful--as self-centered as they were, the would not have just stood there while the poor fellow was robbed. Absolutely ridiculous. :sheesh:
Arm Chair Skate Fan
I agree, RGal........the Newhart was one of the most inspired endings of any series I've seen. A close second would have to be "Mash". I cried buckets over that one..........42
I too loved the clever Newhart ending and hated the Seinfeld ending...but here's where nobody every understands me ....
....I HATED the M*A*S*H finale. Absolutely hated it! 25 or more years ago and I can still remember everyone I was with hating it too. We had a huge party - all dressed as our favorite MASH character, served C-rations for food, had a fake 'still' for beverages....(that's how much I liked the show). Hated the ending.
I loved the last episode of Family Ties where Alex P. Keaton got a job in New York and his mom was mad at him because he seemingly had no misgivings about moving away from the family, and she felt he was ungrateful. There were some funny moments of Alex packing up his room and finding Nixon memorabilia, then they had an emotional reconciliation and the last scene of Alex hugging the family before he got in his cab to go to the airport was so sad! The mother-son story line was more poignant because Michael J. Fox and Meredith Baxter had such a close relationship in real life and were devastated to separate when the show ended.
I was not impressed by the finale of Sex and the City with Carrie ending up engaged to Big. I thought she should have stayed single and the last shot should have been of the 4 women walking down the sidewalk together. The final season story line with Mikhail Baryshnikov was one of the worst, but the other endings with Charlotte adopting from China and Miranda becoming a caretaker for her mother-in-law were interesting and made me wish the show would just continue.
The strangest ending was Little House on the Prairie where Laura and the other residents of Walnut Grove decided to prevent developers from taking over the town by setting dynamite in all the buildings and taking turns blowing up their houses, businesses and finally the church/school.
I'm not a fan of Everybody Loves Raymond so I didn't see the last episode, and I hope it does not win Emmies in September just because it is off the air.
Arm Chair Skate Fan
Aloft..........just curious. Why didn't you like the ending of "Mash"? I thought it was rather well done......42
I loved the finale for "St. Elsewhere". It showed Dr. Westfall's autistic son gazing into a snow globe.....the entire series had all been in his imagination.
Arm Chair Skate Fan
What about the season finale, one year, on Dallas. Bobby was supposed to have been killed, the entire year we thought so, but alas, he was a victim only in his wife's dream..........42
I loved MASH the show, but agree that the finale could ahve been better. I didn't like the whole strotyline of Hawkeye going nuts. I did like the lastb half hour or so with all of the goodbyes. Very touching.
Newhart's ending was great. Sex & The City was ok. I agree Seinfeld sucked. I also though Cheers could have had a much better ending. It wasn't terrible, but it was rather blah. I alos didn't like the finales of Frasier or Friends. I'm not sure why shows like to end with everyone leaving each other, but I generally hate those kind of endings.
The Cosby Show's ending was nice, with Theo graduating. It didn't have one of those endings where everyone winds up in a different place. I liked the Golden Girls finale, even though Dorothy left, the other girls stayed together.
I liked the finale of "Frasier". I wanted him to end up with that lady.
I don't remember what happened in the finale of "Mash". What happened?
The end of "The Nanny" was appropriate. Cece and Niles ending up together was a bit of a stretch but it was funny.
I was upset that Mulder and Scully on "The X-Files" had to give up their baby for safety purposes. That was just awful.
I feel cheated that "American Dreams" has been cancelled WITHOUT a finale. :sheesh:
Yeah, I liked "The Golden Girls" finale. The only horrible thing about that episode was Dorothy's wedding dress. What the heck was up with those huge curly things all over the front??
Sexy, smart and sterilized!
I haven't seen many series finales in my life, but recently I watched the series finale of JAG. I hadn't watched in a while, but I felt cheated that the show ended before revealing whether Harm or Mac were giving up their military career so they could get married. I would've liked to've seen that. I think they should do a reunion show in about five years and reveal that.
Ending of M*A*S*H
RealtorGal, I'll try to keep this short, but the M*A*S*H finale went like this:
As it starts out, all the ususal suspects are in the camp, except for Hawkeye. It turns out he's in a hospital with our old friend Dr. Sydney Freedman trying to find out why his "cheese has slipped off his cracker". We find out through a series of flashbacks that the gang was on a bus, coming back from a picnic (I think). At first, the flashbacks are benign, everybody had a good time, end of story. Over time, it's revealed that it is nighttime, and there is shelling going on outside. They stop the bus, and everybody is sitting on the bus, staying quiet, hoping the North Koreans don't find them. There's a Korean woman on the bus holding a chicken. The chicken is making noise, and Hawkeye says to the woman something along the lines of "keep that chicken quiet". The woman ends up smothering the chicken. Then in the last flashback, it is revealed that the woman was actually holding a baby, which she smothered. Hawkeye was consumed with guilt, due to the way he berated the woman to keep the baby quiet, and had initially blocked out the memories. After the big reveal, Hawkeye returns to the camp, a bit nervously at first.
In other stories:
A group of Chinese musicians "surrender" to Charles one day while he's somewhere on the outskirts of the camp. They continually play their instruments while he is trying to listen to one of his phonograph records. He goes to plead with them to stop so he can listen to his Mozart. The band then starts to roughly play a Mozart piece. Charles takes them under his wing and there are several scenes of him teaching and conducting the musicians. Towards the end of the show, the musicians are taken away, I think for a prisoner exchange, but the bus is shelled and they are killed. Charles ends up shattering his Mozart record.
Klinger falls in love with a Korean girl (Soon Li?), who has been separated from her family. They are married during the finale, and Klinger, in an ironic twist of fate, ends up staying in Korea to help find his new in-laws.
The M*A*S*H camp is being shelled throughout the program, because somebody in brass decided to park a tank on the premises. During one of the shellings, Father Mulcahy is knocked unconscious. We later learn that he is suffering a hearing loss, which BJ informs him will only get worse over time. The Padre pleads with BJ not to tell anybody, and he tends to his flock as best he can. On a side note, when Hawkeye returns to the camp, during one of the shelling episodes, he gets into the tank and drives it into the dump area.
BJ is ecstatic to learn early on in the finale that his orders have come up, and he can go home! He goes through hell and high water to get transport home, before somebody changes their mind, and he is bummed because he leaves while Hawkeye is still at the hospital, but due to the increased activity with the impending end of the war, he never gets home. Instead he is returned to the unit. There is a whole substory here about BJ's inability to say goodbye. More about that later.
Margaret and Charles are involved with contacting the right people back home to set up their post war career moves. Initially Margaret is all about advancing her career in the military. I believe Charles gets his coveted job at Massachusetts General and Margaret, after a lot of wrangling, decides to leave the army and work in a hospital.
Col. Potter decides to give his horse, Sophie, to the children's orphange, so that the children can ride her. He, of course, is looking forward to going home for good to his beloved Mildred. His last scene is as he is about to leave with Sophie, on a last ride to take her to the orphanage, and BJ and Hawkeye give him a salute.
There's a lot going on at the end, with things being packed up quickly and everybody securing transport out of the camp. One by one the gang leaves. Finally, it's just Hawkeye and BJ at the helipad. BJ has secured a motorcycle and is driving somewhere to pick up another mode of transport. He has the San Franscisco sign from their mileage pole strapped to the motorcycle. He tells Hawkeye even though he's no good at goodbyes, he's left Hawkeye a message and he takes off on the bike. As Hawkeye's helicopter takes off, he sees BJ has arranged rocks to form GOODBYE in large letters.
One last note, before they pack up to leave, as the time for the final cease fire approaches, everybody is in the surgical ward, working. They have the radio on, and you can hear the shelling. Then, the official time for the cease fire arrives, and the shelling stops. The gang processes that as they continue working.
I hope I didn't forget anything.
I did like the M*A*S*H finale, but by far, my most favorite was the "Newhart" finale. I had watched both of Newhart's shows, and when they ended Newhart with him waking up in bed with Suzanne Pleshette, I was just To this day, I can't believe that they were able to keep that under wraps!
Thanks for the MASH info.
Originally Posted by LegalGirl82
As for Newhart, what they did was spread a false rumor that Bob was going to die in the last episode and talk with G-d. Actually, that might have even been the original plan. So, that's what people were expecting to happen.
RealtorGal, I didn't even know that! I guess I went into that finale completely unspoiled.
Originally Posted by RealtorGal
Hard to answer that, show. I think it had to do with my expectations for an ending that would express the warmth, camradarie and humor that were the hallmarks of the brilliant series.
Originally Posted by show 42
I felt the finale was a completely depressing 'downer', manipulative in its intent to evoke the horrorific realities of war rather than the warmth and joy of the long-running series and the characters we had come to know.
I felt like a friend had died and the remains placed in a trashbag at the curb for collection. Not a fitting burial. Not an apt ending for a great series.
I also loved the Newhart finale!
Hated the REAL Dallas finale.
Loved the finale of Falcon Crest--Jane Wyman stood on the porch of her house and made a toast to her vineyards.
Loved the Family Ties finale.
I liked the Little House on the Prairie finale.
Sheesh--I know I've seen a ton more but I can't remember them!
The only reason I hated the Knots Landing finale is because it was my favorite show.