The End Of An Era: Some Of The Best & Worst TV Season Finales
As far as television series go, 2020 delivered a few great shows for audiences to watch at home, from true-crime series to laugh-out-loud comedies. Right now, there are many popular shows for people to binge (or to pace themselves watching) on platforms like Netflix. Over the past year, Netflix has released hugely popular shows that audiences cannot stop talking about, like Bridgerton, The Queen’s Gambit, and The Crown. A couple of years ago, at the end of 2019, some of the most-watched shows on Netflix were Stranger Things, The Umbrella Academy, and Sex Education, as highlighted by online casino reviews site The Pogg in their article on binge-worthy tv shows.
For many of us, 2020 and the start of 2021 has also been a great opportunity to catch up on older series too and binge away with all of the time spent at home. Whether a TV series is two seasons long or twelve, it’s often crucial for a show’s legacy to have a pretty decent final episode. In history, some shows have nailed the end of an era with great conclusions and memorable moments. On the other hand, some shows that were once great didn’t quite nail it in their final episode to air.
One of the Best: Mad Men – ‘Person to Person’
Written and directed by Matthew Weiner and first aired in May 2015, Mad Men’s season finale checked all of the right boxes when it comes to great endings that provide closure without coming across as too predictable. Don Draper and the rest of the folks go through life-changing experiences, but Don’s hilltop meditation ending juxtaposed with 1971’s Coca-Cola advert left audiences wondering whether he himself created the advert, or perhaps it was an indication that he had turned over a new leaf?
Mad Men is rated quite highly on IMDb with an 8.6 out of 10 and while it aired the show even won five Golden Globes too for best television series, best actor performance, and best actress performance, all for a drama television show. At the 2015 Primetime Emmy Awards, the final episode Person to Person also won an award for outstanding single-camera picture editing for a drama series.
One of the Worst: Game of Thrones – ‘The Iron Throne’
Perhaps to no one’s surprise, the once-unstoppable Game of Thrones series was, at a time, truly unstoppable…until the eighth season’s finale aired. The Iron Throne was viewed by a massive 19.3 million viewers back in 2019 but it was widely panned for having rushed character development, obvious plot holes, poor dialogue, and a host of other problems.
Many fans believe that the season eight finale was simply unforgivable for a series that had previously excelled in the past with compelling plotlines and superb character development. Nevertheless, Game of Thrones is still one of the highest-rated TV shows on IMDb with an impressive 9.3 out of 10. It is known for many great episodes and epic moments throughout its eight seasons. However, for many, its long-awaited series finale did not make a great impression.
An Honourable Mention: The Sopranos – ‘Made in America’
Another television show that has stood the test of time, is The Sopranos which had six seasons over 1999 – 2007. It’s often featured many times on lists of the best tv shows to watch, like Empire’s list of 100 Greatest TV Shows Of All Time. The 2007 premiere of The Sopranos’ finale Made in America met with mixed reviews. 11.9 million viewers tuned in to see, ostensibly, what would become of Tony Soprano who had remained with his crew in hiding, only to find an anticlimactic fade to black.
In retrospect, a number of reviewers have left favourable essays on the merits and qualities of this no-nonsense, no-frills finale. This may not have changed public opinion, however, where reviews have been far less favourable. Perhaps part of the mixed reviews stems from the writers’ decision to go against the grain and provide such an ending rather than an emotional parting. Whatever the case may be, The Sopranos deserves special mention as it was without a doubt a memorable TV show of the late 1990s and 2000s.