Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Five controversial series finales

5. Smallville – This one is probably the most recent on the list. And, after the third season, I was a haphazard watcher of ‘Smallville.’ I’m not sure when I lost interest in the show. I do know when I officially realized I had lost interest in the show. It’s when they killed off Jonathan Kent instead of the insipid Lana Lang. However, I had stopped watching regularly before then. That’s pretty sad, because I was a huge fan of the first few seasons of the show. That being said, I did tune back in for the finale and I guess I can call it a mixed bag at best. Not only do we have a stilted and disappointing Lex return, but we have ghost Jonathan and an unneeded flash forward. When you add that to the fact that Clark flying is actually really cheesy and anti-climatic, you have a lot of fans who were unhappy with the show’s ending. On the flip side, I know a lot of fans who loved it, too.

4. Persons Unknown – This is another recent one – that was seen by a much smaller audience. This one summer season wonder did have a lot of potential, but practically nothing was explained in the final episode. Not only was nothing explained, but we got glimpses of two new games launching and no happiness (or at least emotional respite) was given to any of the characters. Not only that, the character we thought dead early in the season was suddenly resurrected and there was never any explanation given as to where she’d been, why people thought she was dead, how they’d faked the death or if she even understood her surroundings. The show had a really interesting premise. Too bad it had a really weak wrap-up.

3. Moonlighting – Some people say this show actually ended when Maddie and David hit the sheets. I think an argument can be made for that point of view. I still watched the show until the finale, though. Some viewers call the finale of ‘Moonlighting’ avant-garde. I call it stupid. ‘Moonlighting’ was known for breaking the fourth wall, but in the finale David and Maddie return to the office to find production assistants taking away their furniture and breaking down the sets. The final 10 minutes were of the actors running through the parking lot to find a producer to find out if the show was really cancelled or not. If it hadn’t been before, it would have been after this episode. This finale wasn't clever. It was just painful.

2. Lost – I would actually put this on my own personal “best” list – but I get why some fans turned on it. I think there are essentially two groups of people, those that like things tied up in a neat little bow and those that are perfectly capable of coming up with their own endings in their mind. ‘Lost’ never solved all the mysteries of the island – and where would the fun be in that? Half the fun of ‘Lost’ was debating what certain things meant to you – because you could bet they meant something very different to others. I’m someone who could accept Jack’s death and reunion with Kate in purgatory before moving on to the other side. Others can’t because they wanted a happy ending, or they wanted Kate and Sawyer to end up together, or they wanted it all to be a dream. What I liked about ‘Lost’ from the very beginning is that the writers weren’t scared of doing any story. The fact that Jack dies in the end is tragic. It’s also sad. It’s also necessary.

1. The Sopranos – I find the finale of this series to be not only smart but satisfying. I’m in the minority. The end of this series was the fade to black heard round the world. Not only were cable television companies bombarded with angry fans who thought something was wrong with their cable, but when it was explained that was the purposeful ending those same fans were left actually wishing they were having cable problems. Me? I got it. Tony Soprano once discussed what it felt like to be hit. How your world just went black and you were gone. I think that’s what happened to Tony. He was whacked in that restaurant. Whether that makes fans feel better or worse, I don’t know, but I happen to think it was an absolutely brilliant ending.

What do you think? What are the most controversial series finales ever?


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