Your 5.22.19 Playpen

I would describe the final Game of Thrones episode as disappointing, rather than a total disaster, mainly because I found the writing lazy, probably due to the rushed arc of the final season, crammed as it was into six shows.  There were plenty of narrative gaps that left me shaking my head.

While, as I said, it wasn’t a disaster, it did feel lacking, enough that I felt a need afterwards to revisit the finale to another show to remind myself that there are folks out in TV Land who know how to get things right.

That’s just about perfect.

And it’s the lead in to this week’s Playpen topic:  give us your list of great television finales.

See you in the comments.

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114 Comments

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114 responses to “Your 5.22.19 Playpen

  1. Heyberto

    Six Feet Under and The Office were great.

    Like

  2. Greg63

    Six Feet Under was just about perfect, & I’ll second your Justified vote as well. As for a recent one, I watched The Big Bang Theory finale last night & it was very good. All in all I enjoyed the last GOT season, but it did fill rushed. The first half of the finale was very good. The second half was a bit of a letdown.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Black Irish

      Six Feet Under is easily one of the greatest finales i have ever seen. I didn’t watch it while it was current but i saw it on some countdown list of best finales. I’m glad that i went back and watched it. Great show…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wedflatrock

    Newhart, none better

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Salty Dawg

    Breaking Bad. That is all.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Adam Cantrell

    Cheers. Enough said.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. JN

    The garage scene in finale of The Americans made up for a couple lackluster seasons. That single scene, IMO, not only made the finale, but it made the entire series.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Athens Dog

    I’m about halfway through watching Justified again. So good. So under rated. Finale for GOT was fine except who wants that pussy Bran to be the King???

    Like

  8. Corch Irvin Meyers New USC Trojans Corch (2020)

    I’m sure there were shows like Hill Street Blues that ended well, or Mary Tyler Moore, or whatever, but I never watched those shows, so this is only a top-10 list for shows I watched.

    The Top-10 List of Best Final Episodes of Shows I watched.

    FRINGE. It ended perfectly; tied-up all loose ends, and have us a bittersweet, tear-enduring ending.
    Cheers. Sorry, we’re closed.
    Justified. We dug coal together. Perfect ending.
    Mad Men. Yeah, Don Draper didn’t create the most famous marketing campaign ever… but what if he did?
    Battlestar Galactica. I’ll fight anyone who doesn’t understand that the show was always about what it was about; themes like faith vs science and man’s self destruction through technology. It ended beautifully. They laid down their burdens.
    Angel. This was not expected to be the final episode, but a vengeful network president cancelled the show at its creative and audience peak (because Buffy left for UPN a few years prior).
    Friday Night Lights. Clear eyes full hearts.
    Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She saved the world one last time. Again.
    Friends. You guys want to get some coffee. Sure. Where?
    30 rock. Jack invents the dishwasher with a window. Liz finally adopts, and is married (to Criss Chros). And Kenneth the immortal is President of NBC hundreds of years in the future listening to a pitch about a sitcom set during the time of the writer’s great great grandmother, Liz Lemon. Poignant. Hilarious. Bat-shit crazy. Everything best of 30 rock.

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    • Otto

      I like Mad Men as well as Hell on Wheels.

      Like

    • Mad Mike

      I’m with ya on Battlestar, I need to find the time to rewatch that.

      Like

      • Got Cowdog

        Are y’all talking about the original one from the late 70’s(?) or is there a remake?
        I remember watching the one with Lorne Greene and the dude from the “A-Team” but don’t remember it being all that good. Definitely don’t remember it dealing with some of the themes that Corch refers to above.

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  9. burt

    Herman’s Head had a pretty good ending.

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  10. JN

    The garage scene in the finale of The Americans made up for a couple lackluster seasons. It not only made the finale, it made the series.

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    • JN

      After my comment didn’t show up the first time, I F5-ed five or six times. I’m not dumb…no, really…I’m not…

      Like

      • Otto

        The Americans, Hell on Wheels, and Mad Men are my favorites.

        I remembering reading reviews of The Americans and they seemed to think the Daughter stayed to resume her life as an American kid going off to college and living the normal life. However, the daughter was last shown at what looked to be the safe house of their mentor/handler.

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  11. Justified was the best TV Series I have ever watched. And the ending… Spectacular… If you didn’t tear up a little; then you were not a true fan of this show.

    The other ending that comes to mind is the end of Newhart. Now you have to be old enough (and that’s pretty old) to appreciate the Bob Newhart Show and then the Newhart show. But perhaps the greatest ending not only of a comedy – but of all TV Series of all time… pure genius..

    Liked by 1 person

  12. The Black Irish

    The Shield nailed its season finale. The entire series was fantastic. It was criminally underrated. It helped FX establish itself as one of the top networks for tv series. I feel like if it came 10 or 15 years later that it would’ve received far more acclaim. Either way, it was great show with a great ending and Michael Chiklis killed it as Vic Mackey. I highly recommend it!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Sanford222view

    My list of finales that delivered are The Shield, Breaking Bad, and The Americans.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. ChiliDawg

    The whole final season pissed me off, really. It became apparent by the Battle of Winterfell that it was going to be very rushed (hell, it was clear it was going to be rushed when they announced the last two seasons would only be 7 and 6 episodes respectively). But to me it felt like the writers finished season 7 thinking the ending was going to be one thing, then finding out/deciding it was going to be completely different and proceeding to write the episodes to force the character arcs into a forced ending. It sucked. Emilia Clarke’s acting in this season was the best it’s ever been but they butchered her character arc. And hers was far from the only one.

    The shittiest thing about it is that nobody forced D&D to wrap up the season in 8 seasons. HBO would have been more than happy to keep it going; IMO the story needed at least one more full season (in addition to full-length seasons in 7 and 8) to complete the tale. They were just done and wanted to move on – and the result was a finale that left most of us disappointed or worse.

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    • Normaltown Mike

      It’s really sloppy finish by D&D, IMHO. They could’ve hired a few superfans off Reddit to act as continuity producers and asked them to trouble shoot all the potential ideas before they settled on how to end the series.

      They basically shit all over the world the GRR Martin had carefully created. Which is fine if you hate the series. Not so much if you’re the writer, director, show runner and creative leaders on the same show.

      I get that GRRM left them in the lurch, but if you construct a series based upon the vision of the author and don’t dwell in it, you end up with this garbage ending.

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      • Otto

        My great dislike of the final season was the Night King goes from an unbeatable threat to Sideshow Bob with his first hand to hand combat. I don’t have a problem with who killed but with the development of his origin, meaning, weakness etc.

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        • ChiliDawg

          The biggest problem with the defeat of the Night King and the dead for me is that they just abruptly ended it without any revelation about his origin or anything. There was this whole intertwining of the story of Bran, the Children of the Forest and the Night King happening for multiple seasons and they just said “fuck it, forget about that.” I was a fan of Arya coming in to deal the killing blow but after 8 seasons of a show where the white walkers have been the constant looming threat, to have them finished off like that was just a huge letdown. Somebody at Vox wrote a great review that summarized the problem – events started happening and characters started making decisions for the sake of advancing the plot, rather than events playing out and characters making decisions based on their character. Danaerys and her entire war council seemingly “forget” about the Iron Fleet so Rhaego can be shot out of the sky, because he needs to die to advance the plot. Missandei gets captured by Euron in a completely absurd twist that doesn’t make sense because literally nobody else on the same boat gets captured, because she needs to be to advance the plot. Dany goes from being the breaker of chains to the burner of women and children in the span of 3 episodes because she needs to be the bad guy at the end.

          Let’s not even get into how absurd the notion that Bran has the most interesting story is. That was just an insult added to injury having that line in there seeing as how he’s been the most boring character for at least 4 seasons.

          Sorry for being all over the place, I’ve been venting about this all week to anyone that will listen lol.

          Liked by 1 person

      • ChiliDawg

        I have plenty of criticism for GRRM and his not finishing the books yet, but I really don’t think he shares any of the blame for this season – D&D were the ones who made the decision to wrap the story up in 13 episodes spanning season 7 and 8 – that was a disastrous decision. The writers obviously did a shit job of season 8, and it’s clear they were pretty lousy without material from GRRM to base their writing on – but how do you possibly write a satisfactory ending to a story so vast when given 13 episodes to do it in? Plot lines were abandoned left and right, character arcs reversed, shit just fell apart.

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        • Otto

          D&D were the perfect choices for developing another failed Star Wars movie.

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        • Minnesota Dawg

          In retrospect….D&D did a fantastic job adapting GRRM’s original material….resulting in a terrific series and wonderful characters. Once that original source material concluded, the show just turned into a rather conventional “action” movie/series (albeit with terrific production values and acting) with occasional twists and surprises that either felt rushed, unearned, or inconsistent with character arcs. By then, we were all too invested to admit what the show was becoming (and too hopeful that that the concluding season would justify the commitment). I’m fairly confident that the “end” was consistent with GRRM’s vision, as he shared with D&D broad strokes for how his stories would conclude…..however the show runners floundered on how to get there in a believable and satisfying way. Disappointing.

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          • Got Cowdog

            What happened to the dwarf?

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          • ChiliDawg

            Clearly they underestimated GRRM’s ability to procrastinate on finishing his book. When they started working on the show I’m sure they thought “oh he’ll be done with the books by the time we get to that point…”

            From that perspective, yeah GRRM really boned us lol.

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  15. Hogbody Spradlin

    Maybe I’m out in left field about Justified, but I can’t get the feeling for the ending because Raylan is lying to Boyd about Eva being dead. What am I missing?

    Like

    • MDDawg

      It’s hard to explain, but I think that’s part of what makes it great. Boyd clearly wants to believe that this bond between them still exists, and maybe it does because Raylan’s able to sell the lie so well.

      Like

  16. Gurkha Dawg

    Most shows stay on the air a couple of years too long and screw up the finale. A list of terrible finales would be easier. I did like the finales for The Americans and Breaking Bad. I agree with the Senator about GOT. The whole season was rushed. I did like the last scenes though. I know some people disagree but I thought it ended well.

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  17. noseanmorono

    Definitely Newhart was one of the best. I also liked the way Justified closed, but I was just unhappy Justified ended ever. M.A.S.H. was classic, too.

    Like

  18. No mention of Seinfeld? They drug up every grrat character from the series and then sent Jerry and the gang to jail.

    Liked by 1 person

    • heyberto

      IMO, it was an appropriate ending for the series.. but not one that got me excited or wanting to sing it’s praises. Some quality moments in it for sure.

      Like

  19. From someone who only saw season one of GOT, for those of you who stuck with it, was it worth it? Beginning to think I saved a lot of time not watching it.

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    • Otto

      I thought all but the last 2 seasons we among the best I had watched on TV.

      I don’t so much disagree with any event as the character development was sliding toward Star Wars Prequel level as David and DB lost their guide books.

      Like

    • Gurkha Dawg

      Bing watch it now. You’re in for a treat.

      Like

    • Dont read any spoliers and watch it. It takes a bit (3-4 episodes) to get rolling, but as far as TV goes, what they accomplished was unprecedented.

      Like

    • FlyingPeakDawg

      Definitely worth watching. I ignored the first few seasons, but then got into it. With so many characters with so many unique story lines, I think the writers got trapped in trying to find an ending that included everyone. The author has the freedom to not bother ever ending the series and/or taking his time developing the endnote for each character (and boy, is he taking his time! 5 years and counting now). TV constraints demanded a quick resolution so perhaps the writers should have been bold by more closely tracking the relationship between Jon and Dany and let others just fade into the background. Or imagine if the final scene had been Cersei and Jamie adrift in a boat looking back on Kings Landing leaving all the endless possibilities and character story lines up in the air.

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    • ChiliDawg

      Yes. The reason so many are disappointed was that it’s the greatest show to ever air on TV, and it deserved a better finish.

      If you’re a reader, the books are a treat as well, though they still aren’t finished.

      Like

    • Biggus Rickus

      Opinions vary on when (or even if) the quality began to dip, but for me, the first four seasons are close to perfect television. The fifth season still has good stuff, but the cracks start to show. Season 6 was subpar on the whole. Seasons 7 and 8 were rushed and awful. I’d say, watch the first four seasons and pretend it ended there.

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      • ChiliDawg

        Whoa whoa whoa…. season 6 was subpar? Battle of the Bastards and Winds of Winter (S6 E9/10) were possibly the greatest episodes in the entire series, certainly the apex in the show’s trajectory.

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        • Biggus Rickus

          Meh. In terms of scale, Battle of the Bastards was impressive. I didn’t care much for the rest of either of the episodes, though I haven’t watched them in years and don’t remember the specifics. Was 10 the one where Tommen jumped out of the window? Because I busted out laughing at that, and I don’t think that was their intended reaction.

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  20. Texas Dawg

    Deadwood did not end the way it should. Fast forward and now years later they are getting to wrap it up with a movie that is scheduled to be released in 9 days. I hope they get it right, because that was a great series that just abruptly ended with no real ending.

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  21. FlyingPeakDawg

    I’m partial to the ending of the UGA football season circa 1980. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  22. I liked The Sopranos final episode: the metaphor of Meadow parallel-parking her car, juxtaposed with the final scene of the family inside the restaurant with new bodyguards all around. put a great cap on that series.

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  23. budro

    Anybody remember St. Elsewhere? The finale revealed the entire series had taken place inside an autistic child’s imagination. Brilliant. Loved the conclusions to Mad Men and The Sopranos as well.

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  24. Derek

    Does this count?

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  25. Dawglicious

    Seinfeld
    Longmire
    Space Giants

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  26. Dylan Dreyer's Booty

    I will just say that as a general rule, epic series have a difficult time coming to a decent end. GOT was no different. Only Newhart was satisfactory of the ones mentioned to me. But I have no reason to be anything but a little disappointed but I understand how hard it is.

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  27. ilini84

    The season finales of the Unforgotten are incredible. Each season is a separate case and they are wrenching. Same with Happy Valley.

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  28. ilini84

    The season finales of the Unforgotten are incredible. Each season is a separate case and they are wrenching. Same with Happy Valley.

    Like

  29. Minnesota Dawg

    Breaking Bad….hands down. Terrific from the pilot to the final credits of the finale.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Breaking Bad and Parks & Rec were the only two to come to mind for satisfying series endings. I haven’t watched some of the other shows mentioned but I wasn’t disappointed with the GoT ending. It was fine with me, but it did feel rushed.

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  31. Austin

    Cheers and Star Trek: The Next Generation.

    Like

  32. Biggus Rickus

    I haven’t liked Game of Thrones for a while, so I expected nothing from the final season, and that’s what I got. Breaking Bad is kind of obvious, but it’s the most satisfying final episode I’ve seen. It’s certainly the only one that stands out in my mind. I remember liking the final moments from Cheers, but I don’t remember anything about the final episode itself.

    Like

  33. Mad Mike

    After having to hear about how Game of Thrones was the best show EVAH the last however many years, these last few months of listening to all the whining about how crappy this last season is has been hilarious.

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  34. MDDawg

    I see Austin already listed it above, but I scrolled down here to put Star Trek: The Next Generation. Other than that and Justified, I can’t really think of too many series finales that I’ve watched. The quality of Battlestar Galactica was never the same after the writers strike, but I can’t recall what I thought of the finale.

    I seem to always stop following shows in the last season or two and never make it to the finale. Or the shows I like get cancelled before they even get a real finale.

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  35. Paul

    Newhart for me. The fact that so many of us agree on this probably doesn’t bode well for the longevity of your audience Senator. A whole bunch of us can rightly be categorized as senior citizens. As far as the difficulty of creating good endings, John Cleese said that while filming the Holy Grail they simply ran out of money, time and ideas. I never watched GOT but I’m guessing they probably ran out of time and ideas since money doesn’t appear to be an issue.

    Like

  36. Dubyadee

    I’m going to just leave this here.

    Like

  37. SouthernYank

    Justified was a fantastic show.

    There will never be a better series finale than Newhart’s.

    As to Thrones, the show went downhill once they had no source material. It really showed. What killed me the last two seasons was not where they went, but the unforced errors they made that were not necessary:

    SPOILERS FOR YOU LAZY FUCKS WHO AREN’T CAUGHT UP

    The whole trek north to get a dead to bring to Cersei. It was only a means to get the Night King his dragon. Dumb.

    The Night King ignoring the big dragon on the ground right in front of him and instead throwing a spear at the one flying overhead.

    The whole Battle of Winterfell that lacked any type of rationale military tactics.

    The shoot down of the dragon by Greyjoy. So dumb. Ships can be seen for miles from the air. The giant crossbows are slow to turn and inaccurate. And it was unecessary, because

    They followed it up with the attack on Kings Landing, where the dragons vs the giant crossbows was more realistic. They likely could not have shot down a dragon. Still, why don’t you shoot down one during the attack and that’s when Danerys snaps? That makes so much more sense, and you eliminate the idiocy of the previous shoot down.

    All that was shit. The writing was shit for two season.

    I hope that old fucker finishes the books before he dies.

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  38. Dubyadee

    Or here.

    Like

  39. Ray Goff

    Banshee.

    Liked by 1 person

  40. mp

    I actually feel bad for Weiss & Benioff…they worked 12 months a year for 8-9 full years to get to this point and clearly got burned out. The production was so complex, so far-reaching that who wouldn’t? So when HBO said, hey, this is going great, how about another 4 years (of no life)? I don’t blame them for not signing up for it and opting for 2 short years instead.

    That being said, they should have recognized that they couldn’t execute the story cleanly in 13 episodes and worked with HBO to transition it to a new set of show-runners who could deliver what the story deserved. It might have been a disaster depending on who they selected, but at least it would have had the opportunity to breathe.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Biggus Rickus

      I don’t feel bad for them. They made their careers and a fortune off the series. They accepted a job, did it well for a while and then did it very poorly. The people shitting all over them are being ridiculous, but I’ll reserve my pity for someone more deserving than a couple of rich writer/producer/directors.

      Like

  41. Rampdawg

    1The Fugitive, 2 Newhart

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  42. whb209

    Newhart-MASH or
    MASH-Newhart
    take your pick

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  43. Hobnail_Boot

    Sons of Anarchy had a perfect ending.

    Liked by 1 person