Luke Matthews

My all-time favorite TV finales


After 9 seasons, “The Office” came to an end last night on NBC. I’ve had a love-cringe relationship with the show. I used to not like watching because I strongly dislike situations that make me uncomfortable. So much of the early seasons of show featured uncomfortable comedy. However, around season 4, I jumped back in and stayed a loyal viewer until the end. Yes, the show lost some luster after Steve Carell left, but it was still a funny show. I did a lot of reflecting after last night’s 75-minute finale and it got me thinking about my all-time favorite (and some least favorite) TV show finales. Here’s my top 10:

10. “Friends” – Leaving this show was like admitting that your teenage years were actually over. My high school and college years were spent watching this show.

9. “Newhart” – Probably the earliest series finale I can remember watching. Even when I saw it, I got the reference in the end with Bob waking up in bed next to his “Bob Newhart Show” wife. I know most lists put this at #1 or #2, but for me, I was too young for it to make a lasting impact.

alias8. “Alias” – I loved this show. I had a huge crush on Jennifer Garner and loved the spy theme. In the last two seasons, it got a bit away from what really made the show great, but it’s still an awesome show. It’s one of the few shows that I own all seasons on DVD.

7. “24” – I never watched this show when it was on TV, but I did catch up with the entire series on Netflix. I got instantly hooked on the show. I was pleased with how it ended, but now we apparently have another season to look forward to in 2013. But until that happens, I consider this show finished.

6. “The Cosby Show” – Easily the classiest ending to a TV show ever. Cliff and Claire dance off the set, breaking the 4th wall and showing the crew and audience. Those 90 seconds alone made the whole show.

5. “The Office” – Last night’s finale was fantastic. It wrapped up all of the characters nicely, even though I was a bit sad that Toby appears to live a sad existence. Jim and Pam may be one of my all-time favorite television couples. Yes, they’re even ahead of Ross and Rachel.

4. “The West Wing” – I adore this show. Aaron Sorkin is one of the most brilliant television writers in history. I also caught up with this show on Netflix and I was genuinely sad when it ended. I wanted them to almost break tradition and have President Bartlet serve a third term.

3. “Veronica Mars” – Veronica Mars may be one of my all-time favorite TV characters. Creator Rob Thomas’ writing is brilliant and he created a fantastic world. This one is tough for me because the show didn’t get a proper series finale. It actually ended its 3rd and final season on a cliffhanger (ala ALF). But I loved this show so much that I had to put it on the list, despite the finale cliffhanger. I donated to the Kickstarter fund for the Veronica Mars movie and I am eagerly anticipating seeing the film next year.

2. “Chuck” – I have a thing for low-rated shows. Chuck never really got gangbuster ratings. Hell, it was on Sunday nights! But, it had all the great aspects of Alias and the comedy of Scrubs wrapped into one show. I was very sad to see this show go and admittedly sobbed during the final episode when Chuck and Sarah are sitting on the beach after Sarah’s memory has been lost and he realizes that he will have to make her fall in love with him all over again. … if you’ll excuse me, I have something in my eye.

scrubs1. “Scrubs” – Ohhh my beloved Scrubs. A strong candidate for my favorite show of all-time. Such brilliant humor, likable characters, and a unique look at the same old hospital show premise. I’m willing to forgive the “New Class” season that followed the “finale” featuring an almost entirely new cast. In fact, we Scrubs fans rarely speak of that season. The true finale was J.D.’s last day at Sacred Heart and the gut-wrenching flash-forward that showed that he and Elliot ending up living happily ever after together and with a family. I’m man enough to admit I bawled my eyes out during this episode. It comes on occasionally on TBS and I still have a tough time making it through it. Scrubs takes its place along side Alias, Veronica Mars, and Chuck as the only shows on this list in which I own every episode on DVD.

So there’s the best. How about the worst? Oh, I have a few:

1. “Seinfeld” – Such a disappointing finale. It was dumb, not funny, and made me angry.

2. “30 Rock” – I was barely hanging on with this show as it was, but the finale was like fireworks that shoot into the air, then don’t explode. The show ended and I felt nothing.

3. “Lost” – I loved this show and it more or less pulled a “Sixth Sense” and said “Hey! Just kidding! They were dead the whole time!” Ugh. Still makes me angry.

Do you have some favorite finales? Let me know in the comments.

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