The series finale. There is nothing quite like it in television. It is perfectly normal, of course, to expect something magical when you are watching your favorite series come to an end. Still, at the end of the day it is what happens in between the pilot and the finale, and not the finale itself that should matter.
That being said, it's still fun to champion some finales and ridicule others. Here are some of the worst:
The whole final season of this groundbreaking series was dreadful from soup to nuts. The beautiful work of the first eight years was almost completely undone by the bizarre, out-of-character, confusing and nonsensical events in season nine. But the entire season was just a slow and painful trail of tears leading up to the brutal finale.
For the last 15 minutes or so, Roseanne goes into monologue mode and explains how the entire series was just her idealized version of reality, and not reality as it actually occurred. Pointless and convoluted character revelations were made, and the end result left the viewer feeling confused and betrayed. There are several examples of great "twist" endings in the "best" list, and this is an example of a horrible one. The whole last season and especially this episode did not maintain the tone of the series, and that is never a good thing.
If it weren't for one factor, the "Friends" series finale would have ended up in the mediocre category. There were a few fun moments, and we finally got answers to some long-burning questions, like what happened to the chick and the duck. Overall though, it wasn't anything special. However, that one previously mentioned factor automatically moves the episode into the "worst" category.
That one factor is, of course, the reunion of Ross (David Schwimmer) and Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) as a couple. Their relationship was never believable in the first place, and there was a reason why it ended so early on in the series. There may have been a few moments later in the series that kept the possibility of a reunion alive, but honestly, it had been almost seven years since they broke up. People move on with their lives. The reunion felt forced and unnatural, and the moment where Rachel realized she had to stay and left the plane was made all the more painful because it paralleled a similar scene in the "Cheers" finale. Except in that episode, Sam and Diane came to their senses on the plane and realized they were not meant to be together. In this tripe, Rachel lost her mind and ran back to Ross.
To be fair, it is an unimaginably daunting feat to try and provide any semblance of closure to a series that was as complex and mythology-heavy as "The X-Files." Still, that doesn't change the fact that the last episode was pretty bad. Part courtroom drama, part unconvincing Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) relationship, the last episode did provide a "truth" of sorts, but it was bogged down in confusing tedium.
A date for the alien invasion was provided, but that was pretty much the extent of it. Some "truth." Thankfully, die-hard fans will get to see a little more with the upcoming second film. Let's hope that "Lost" writers took some notes and are able to learn from the mistakes of "The X-Files" and provide a satisfying conclusion to a mythology-heavy series that likes to ask questions more than to provide answers.
Phenomenal series, very disappointing conclusion. Like "The X-Files," there was just too much mythology and too many plot threads. In the end, it seemed like the writers were overwhelmed with everything and made some questionable choices. Of course, the capper was needlessly killing Jack (Victor Garber).
Killing a beloved character is always a bold choice, and sometimes it is done correctly. When it is, it can be an extremely powerful plot device. For example, Jen (Michelle Williams) dying in the finale of "Dawson's Creek," although unexpected, felt right. Jack's death just left an awful taste in the mouths of many "Alias" fans across the nation.
What, J.J. Abrams appears twice on the worst list? Say it ain't so! Oh, it is so. Unfortunately, it is very so. Abrams' first series, "Felicity" was a sharp, entertaining, well written and well acted look at college life and coming of age in New York. The series itself was outstanding, but the finale and the four or five "alternate reality" episodes leading up to it were a big letdown.
It felt like the writers had no idea how they were going to end the series and just decided to create the alternate reality, where pretty much every one of the beloved regulars acted completely out of character. To top it all off, the actual finale was little more than a clip show, and some very poor editing left major questions (that were thankfully answered later). This poignant and hilarious series deserved better. Much better.