In honor of last weekend’s season finales of Turn: Washington’s Spies and Orphan Black (which were both fantastic), I have made a list of other favorite series finales. Most of these finales are attached to personal memories, and some are just really good episodes of television. All these shows affected me in different ways at different times in my life, but I felt a real sense of loss when they ended. There were a couple great finales this year, but I did not include them because it is likely they will make my list of Best Episodes of 2017. As long as you do not watch the videos, there should not be any big spoilers.
1. Sex and the City: I was in high school when this show started, and I used to watch it at night when my parents were in bed, because my mother would have never approved. When I got to college, it was the show that everyone watched. It ended my junior year in college and I remember watching it with my roommates at our apartment in Elon, North Carolina. I would actually have preferred for Carrie to end up with Aiden, but I was happy with the way the other three women’s stories were wrapped up.
2. Parenthood: Jason Katims knows how to do a series finales, as evidenced by Friday Night Lights also being on this list. I do not like too much ambiguity in my series finales, and this let me know that the Bravermans would all be okay. I watched this finale at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, Texas surrounded by other Parenthood fans for an ATX Television Festival event. There was something cathartic being in a theater full of people, all of whom were sobbing.
3. Sons of Anarchy: I got into SOA in the middle of season three. I had put off watching it because of the subject matter, but could not ignore the critics raving about it. It also came to me at a time in my life when I needed to just completely lose myself in a world so unlike my own. When I moved to Austin, I bonded with one of my new friends over our love of Charlie Hunnam and the show, and we started watching the episodes together each week at my apartment. Obviously, I wish every character could have had a happy ending, but that is not what this show was about. It was about dealing with the consequences of the life each of them had chosen, and the actions they had taken along the way.
4. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: I do not really have a fun story for where I was when I watched the finale of this show. I actually think I was alone in my parent’s basement, which sounds kind of creepy. I got into this show late, and I don’t think I had even caught up on all the seasons yet, but wanted to watch the finale live. I did not really know what was happening at the time, but have obviously gone back and watched the entire series several times since then. This speech still brings me to tears every time I watch it:
5. The Newsroom: There is no fun story for this show either. I watched the finale at home alone, and I had watched every episode live from the beginning because it was an Aaron Sorkin show. There is just something about his writing that really moves me, despite some of its flaws. I particularly enjoyed this show because it incorporated real life events into the fictional plot. I actually wish we could get one more season that deals with the news of this past year. There were a few other series that I could have chosen over this one, but there is something about this scene from the finale that has always stuck with me:
6. Friday Night Lights: FNL was another show that I got into late because I did not love the movie it was based on, but I eventually caved, and got caught up right after the fourth season aired on NBC. However, for the final season I did not want to wait for the NBC airing, so I convinced a work friend with DirecTV to let me come over every week and watch at her place. We watched the finale together at her apartment in Philadelphia. Similarly to Parenthood, every character was given closure. Over five seasons this show gave us a lot of heart, and it will definitely go down as one of my favorite series ever. Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can’t Lose.
7. Justified: This finale was also watched at the Drafthouse for an ATX event, except there was bourbon instead of tissues. It was one of those shows that just got better and better with each season, and this final season was no exception. The last episode not only wrapped up the season’s arc with an epic shootout, but also brought Raylan’s, Ava’s and Boyd’s stories full circle from the first episode. Everyone ended up exactly where they should.
8. Friends: This was really the first show that I ever obsessed over. It was the show that everyone talked about the next day in homeroom. The finale aired at the end of my junior year of college, and I watched it with a friend who was graduating about a week later. So, not only was I saying goodbye to my fictional Friends, but also a real life friend who was moving across the country. The last few seasons of the show were not perfect, but the series will always hold a special place in my heart, and I still watch reruns all the time.