Top 10 TV Show Finales



Top 10 TV Show Finales

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
It's so hard to say goodbye… Since the dawn of television, TV shows have been trying to strike the right chord when airing their final episodes – to varying degrees of success. Some go the sad route, some decide to tie up loose ends, and other opt for a frustrating and ambiguous finale. In this video, counts down our picks for the top 10 TV finales. For this list, we've chosen the concluding episodes of shows that got people talking – for better or worse. And in case you haven't watched any of these shows: SPOILER ALERT.

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Top 10 TV Finales

It’s so hard to say goodbye… Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 most memorable TV series finales.

For this list, we’ve chosen the concluding episodes of shows that got people talking – for better or worse. And, it should go without saying, but since we’re giving away the endings of all these shows: SPOILER ALERT.

#10: Family Meeting
“The Shield” (2002-08)

You can’t please everyone, but you can try. “The Shield” largely succeeded at this by both punishing and not punishing its central antihero. After seven seasons of violent, corrupt cop antics; Vic Mackey loses his family and friends, and is sentenced to a desk job because of his confessed crimes. It’s up to viewers to decide whether that’s better than jail, and where Vic the badass goes next.

#9: Hogcock!/Last Lunch
“30 Rock” (2006-13)

Joke call-backs, original songs, celebrity cameos and quirky but moving farewells made this finale a hit with longtime diehards. Liz Lemon had it all, Jack got the corner office, Kenneth was running NBC and everyone else was equally happy. But they saved the best for last: echoing the infamous “St. Elsewhere” finale, where the entire series takes place inside the mind of an autistic boy, the series peaks into the future.

#8: The Finale
“Seinfeld” (1989-98)

We said memorable finales – not universally loved finales. The show about nothing concluded its nine-season-run before 76-million viewers, and we figure about 40-million of them were not satisfied. Why’s it memorable? The endless parade of peripheral characters popping into punch Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer in the gut. Many consider their jail sentence hit-or-miss, with some saying it’s a fitting end and others claiming they’d run out of ideas.

#7: Felina
“Breaking Bad” (2008-13)

Y’can’t often say a show lived up to the hype; but fortunately for fans of this five-season AMC drama, the end of Walter White’s story was satisfying. Walt goes on a suicide mission to say goodbye to his family and to ensure their happy futures. By doing justice to the show’s legacy, and by rigging a memorable MacGyver machinegun setup, “Felina” became the highest-rated “Breaking Bad” episode ever.

#6: Made in America
“The Sopranos” (1999-2007)

Never before has a Journey song been so effective. In another controversial but talked-about finale; Tony Soprano and friends leave so many loose ends hanging, fans are still frustrated. For six-seasons, the godfather of the TV antiheroes lived a dual existence as a mob-boss and a family man. The show’s ambiguous ending left fans wondering if those worlds had collided and Tony got whacked. Story resolution is for suckers.

#5: Everyone’s Waiting
“Six Feet Under” (2001-05)

It takes a lot for newer finales to feel satisfying, but this HBO tragicomedy pulled it off big-time. It’s fitting that a series so focused on death centers its final minutes to the demises of its characters. With a melancholy song punctuating the flash-forward montage, every member of the Fisher family meets their makers – offering viewers the ultimate closure and a haunting, but oddly positive outlook on the future.

#4: The Last Show
“The Mary Tyler Moore Show” (1970-77)

Inspiring the likes of “Friends” and more, this memorable, mushy but gratifying finale saw the entire crew fired from their jobs at WJM – with the exception of lovable buffoon Ted Baxter. This easily could’ve devolved into a sob-fest, but “MTM” was known for its range of emotions, and the finale was no exception: the team reunites for one last hug, ending the Emmy-winning 168th episode with a song.

#3: The Last Newhart
“Newhart” (1982-90)

Bob Newhart produced the most meta series ending ever with his second sitcom: the Vermont innkeeper and his wife are miserable when the town is sold to a Japanese businessman and turned into a golf course. Things get weirder and weirder until Bob wakes up from his dream, beside his wife from his first sitcom. The “it-was-all-a-dream” gimmick was eventually done to death, but Newhart did it best.

#2: One for the Road
“Cheers” (1982-93)

Capping off the eleventh season of this beloved Boston barroom sitcom, this episode offered closure to loyal viewers – which is something many sitcoms since have strived for, to varying degrees of success. But it paid off for “Cheers:” 84-million watched Sam and Diane rekindle and re-end their romance, while the rest of the gang moved on with their lives. The episode’s closing line sums up the vibe perfectly.

#1: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
“M*A*S*H” (1972-83)

After 255 heartbreaking and hilarious episodes, this Korean War dramedy said its final “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen” – with a record-setting 125-million watching. This remained the most-watched TV event until 2010 for good reason: during the 2-½ hour episode, emotions soared as characters lost their minds, made life-changing decisions, and ultimately went their separate ways. It’s impossible not to cry when Hawkeye sees a friendly message as he’s flying home.

Do you agree with our list? Which TV series do you think said the best goodbye? For more top 10s about your favorite series, be sure to subscribe to
White Collar's final was great you should have considered it.
Kristoff Downer