The first time I remember controversy surrounding a series finale was Seinfeld in 1998. Over the years I’ve come to realize that even though I still don’t love that finale, the bar was set too high leading up to it. When you manage to produce a brilliant show over the course of many years, the final show needs to be something to remember forever. In the case of Seinfeld, most people remember the finale but for the wrong reasons. With the invention of Netflix, people are now able to go back in time and watch entire runs of shows which is great for the viewers but gives fodder to many bonehead bloggers (just like me). With some longtime network shows wrapping up recently and my obsession with Netflix, I decided to offer my take on a few of the recent series finales I have watched after seeing every episode of the series.
How I Met Your Mother – I’m fine with the ending but I get both sides of the argument here. While Ted and Tracy going the distance would have been a feel-good ending it would also have seemed a little “safe”. Even though I hate the thought that they killed off the beautiful Tracy (played by Cristin Milioti who bears a striking resemblance to Alyssa Milano) it makes sense that after nine years, Ted not end up with the girl who showed up in the final season. It made more sense that he end up with the one whom he chased up until her wedding day and Ted coming full circle and giving Robin the blue French horn 25 years later is a fitting ending. The final five minutes of the episode were not the issue in my opinion. To me, the big issue was that they spent 22 episodes covering a 3-day period of Barney and Robin’s wedding and in the final hour of the series, they get divorced ten minutes in and then the episode jumps through almost ten years of storylines to get to the controversial ending. That, in my opinion, is lazy writing and producing. Instead of doing useless gag episodes about “Gary Blauman” they could have been doing full episodes on the first years of the marriage and an entire one on their divorce. It is very evident that the producers were not expecting to get a season nine renewal but that doesn’t mean the first 22 episodes should just be filler but that’s exactly what they were.
Friday Night Lights – Never have I dreaded a series coming to an end more than this one. Through the magic of Netflix I blew through all 76 episodes over a six week period. Somehow I managed to avoid this incredible show during its original run even though I love football and have been historically obsessed with dramas focused on teen angst (not as dirty as it sounds). The casting and flow of the series was perfect (except the first few episodes of Season 2 which seemed darker and out of place) and the series finale was no exception. It was a perfect closing, wrapping up every storyline and managing to not kill anyone off (see: Dawson’s Creek) and they even managed to get almost every original cast member into the last few episodes for updates on their status. The worst part about it was that it was over and I felt like I was saying goodbye to a circle of friends. What’s a guy to do when one of the best shows of all time comes to an end? Re-watch the whole damn series from the beginning.
Breaking Bad – Even though it was a pulse- pounding, spine-tingling, stomach-punch of a show, I was ready for this one to wrap up because after five seasons Walter White had taken on just about everything that could be thrown at a man. The approach by the writers/producers to wrap up every storyline as we approached the end was fantastic and by spreading it into the final few episodes they avoided too much going on in the finale. When it was time for Walter White to get cured or killed he went out in a blaze of glory! Not just the final episode but the four leading up to it were so incredibly intense that it had to be hard for the editors to find in and out points for each episode. The final scenes in the series finale were perfect. Walt was able to say goodbye to his family and ensure they get his money without entering sappy territory and he got revenge on everyone who betrayed him while giving Jesse a chance to finally get a new start. It was the perfect ending to a perfect show.
As shows continue to end and I continue to hammer through Netflix series (currently on season 3 of Dexter and re-watching the original run of Heroes before it returns in 2015) I will add more of these reviews. If nothing else, I just love being part of the controversy.