the-endWhat up y’all. I know it’s been a MINUTE since I did one of these. With the Superbowl being the end of the NFL season, I get a little depressed, over 200 day until Dallas Cowboys football. It reminds me of when TV shows go off the air. You know I’m a TV head and I will really get into a show or two during the year, but I tend to really get into series’ toward the end so I can downloa…err uh…rent the DVDs of the series so I can watch it all at once. I love seeing the first and last episodes within weeks of each other. It makes it easier to catch stuff the writers throw in from past seasons. Now usually these shows end all story arcs, tie up loose ends and drop one last storyline bomb that the tie up in a finale. Series finales are usually polarizing; people either love ‘em or hate ‘em. It is in the spirit of these episodes I present the Top 10 Series Finales *Spoiler Alert* there will be spoilers…lots of em:
10. Yo! MTV Raps: Now this isn’t your traditional series or series finale but this is one of the illest endings to a show ever. What made this crazy was the “freestyle” cypher. A group of legends that included MC Search, Chubb Rock, Extra P, Special Ed, Craig Mack, Redman, Method Man, Rakim, and KRS-One. What a classic moment in Hip Hop.
9. Cheers: The finale for the place where everybody knows your name was appropriately titled “One for the Road”. This one has all of the standards of a finale. You had returning characters, folks getting new jobs, deception reveals, marriage proposals, and that moment where the main character is all alone on the main set. What sticks out to me about this one was the final line, “Sorry, we’re closed”…strong finish.
8. Martin: One of my favorite shows ever should be higher than 8 on this countdown right? Nope. Martin kind of jumped the shark when all that crap with Tisha Campbell started. It just suffered from the recurring “they keep missing each other” gag. The build was also nonexistent. The two episodes before the finale really had nothing to do with the series. One was a random show about Pams cousin escaping from a mental ward (too much for a sitcom), and the other was a failed attempt to create another show with Pam working at a record label. All that being said the scene where Martin signs the wall before him and Gina head to their new life in Cali is one of my favorite moments ever on TV.
7. The Cosby Show: This was another classic show that had lost me right before the end. I hated the doorbell gag. There were too many new characters with Pam, Lance, Charmaine, Dabnis, and all the kids from Theo’s community center. In any event, the end of the most important black sitcom, maybe show ever, deserves a spot here. Life got wrapped in a bow with Olivia going to Singapore to reunite with her dad, Martin, and her newly pregnant stepmom Denise. The “big deal” was Theo graduation from NYU, and how excited Cliff was. One of best moments in television were the Huxtable’s dancing through the set and the studio audience, in a word, classy.
6. A Different World: I watched this one to the end, it never lost me. While there were many new characters, the main folks were all involved. Dwayne and Whitley are expecting. Ron and Dwayne come up with a game concept that ends up getting picked up but Dwayne, who had a mean kick game throughout the series by the way, didn’t feel Ron had contributed enough to warrant any compensation. Kim agrees to Marry Spencer. Dwayne gets a job paying 80K a year, in Japan. Ron misses the going away party due to their beef but Freddie, Ron’s old lady that just got in the law review, tells Ron about Dwayne’s speech at the going away party that showed Ron love. He meets up with Dwayne right before they were leaving; they make up and settle their differences. I still watch this show when it comes on.
5. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: Another classic show. This was good until the end. In this finale, the Banks family was selling their mansion and Will was trying to stop the sale by any means necessary. Everyone else had a plan after the house, Ashley and Hillary were moving to New York, Carlton was attending Princeton, Geoffrey is moving to London, and Phil, Vivian and Nicky are moving back east to be close to everyone. Will lies and tells everyone he has a nice apartment lined up, which is why he’s trying to stop the sale of the crib. He ends up having to come clean to the family, Uncle Phil tells Will he is his son, he helps him find and apartment and all’s well that ends well.
4. The Arsenio Hall Show: Arseniooooooooooooooooooooooo [inhale] ooooooooooooooooo Hallll!!! This is another unconventional entry on this list. This show was extremely important for a few reasons. It gave a voice to people that weren’t regularly represented on television, black folk. There was a new, fresh point of view. To me, most importantly and specifically, it shined a light on hip hop culture. In this finale there was a performance that feature a slew of Hip Hop artist: Yoyo, MC Lyte, Naughty by Nature, A Tribe Called Quest, the Fu-Schnickens, CL Smooth, Guru from Gang Starr, Das EFX, The Wu-Tang Clan, KRS One, and Mad Lion. What a line up!
3. Oz: Here’s where we get serious. All hell breaks loose in this finale. The warden and mayor are dead, Dave Brass tries to kill Rick Fox, Cyril is dead, Ryan O’Riley is buggin’ out but ends up reconciling with his pops, Dirty D from Pootie Tang is the new warden, Beecher kills Schillinger on accident because Keller switched the prop knife with a real one, Keller kills himself but makes it look like Beecher did it, then Beecher is protected (but his parole is ruined) because Keller had anthrax sent to the prison before he died which kills the Aryans who are working in the mail room and get Oswald State Penitentiary evacuated for good, and a partridge in a pear tree.
2. The Sopranos: This is the most polarizing of all the entries and I remember the night it came on. I couldn’t wait, I had caught up on all the episodes about halfway through the final season, and so instead of watching this at my leisure, I waited with the rest of America to find out Tony Soprano’s fate. What’s Beef? Everybody’s living in a safe house, Silvio is in a coma from an assassination attempt, Bobby Bacala is dead, Uncle Junior doesn’t even remember being in the mob, and tony has FBI agents informing him. HBO does have a certain flair for chaos in their finales. They catch up with and wack Phil Leotardo which lets things sort of get back to normal, but Tony finds out he’ll probably get indicted because of a snitch. I look at the clock and it looks like the episode is winding down and the Soprano clan is meeting for dinner at a diner. Tony arrives looking suspicious, checking out everyone who comes in after him. Tony plays “Don’t Stop Believeing” on the jukebox. Carmela shows up and the tension is broken. She tells him the kids are coming separately. Members Only guy and AJ arrive. Meadow’s outside trying to park. Members Only guy hit the bathroom. Food arrives and Meadow finally parks and runs in. Tony looks up and the screen immediately goes black. I call my homeboy, like “Yo! I missed it, what happened?” and then the credits roll. They say the ending is up to you, I don’t buy it. The truth is out there on the cutting room floor, but it was a classic episode that still has people talking.
1. The Wire: In my opinion, the greatest TV drama of all time. The finale starts with Carcetti reacting to the news that the serial killer was an elaborate farce, very funny scene that gets serious when politics get put into play. Lester is still playing cop and Mr. Follow-the Money has one last trick to pull. Marlo sees going legit as his only option. Marlo sells his connect to the Co-Op. With Snoop dead Chris has to eat all the Row house murders and Marlo get off free via the illegal wiretap. Before McNulty’s career death he ends up catching one more. His fabricated killer has a copycat and Bunk in pissed. He puts it down quickly though and the business cards betray the killer, this also gives the Mayor a scapegoat for the killing to save his rear end. The newsroom stuff that had become a nice wrinkle came to a head, but not with a happy ending. The lying reporter gets a Pulitzer Prize, the guy who called him out get demoted. McNulty gets a proper send off because he’s natural PO-lease. He later goes to get the guy that he used to start the Ribbon killer myth from VA and returns home to good old Bmore. A great montage ensues, roll credits, the end. It’s all in the Game, yo.
So there you have it, I know people will say MASH was supposed to be great but it isn’t my cup of tea…so it didn’t make the cut. But I loved all of these shows. Honorable mention goes to the Shield’s finale; Vic Mac was a serious dude. What will be the next great finale, I have a feeling it’ll be a great show like Sons of Anarchy, if you don’t think so…Your Opinion is Wrong. Peace