Five Television Series Finales We Loved

So, Game of Thrones ended poorly. At least, that’s what we’ve been told on the internet. It is not the first time a series finale has disappointed millions of fans and it won’t be the last. We figured since everyone is talking about the ending of a much-loved show, we would get in on the action and talk about some of our favorite series finales. As is typically the case with REO, our choices will not be universally praised. In fact, we are pretty confident a few of them will raise some eyebrows. That is okay with us because we hope we can cause even a few people to reconsider their initial opinions or to argue passionately with us in the comment section below.

Here’s our list.

Firefly

by Ben Plunkett

Firefly cast

That’s right, I’m referring to “Objects in Space” as a series finale, which if you know the show is probably not what it was meant to be. It was probably just meant to be a season finale. Maybe not even that. But much to the everlasting sadness of many fans (both when it originally aired and in future years), further episodes and seasons were not to be. (We did get a great movie, though). And since we didn’t get another more T.V. episodes after it, that kind of makes it a series finale by default. I agree with a fellow fan at REO who commented that “Objects in Space” would be a horrible series finale. I also agree that it is one great episode. In fact, I love it so much that it is my favorite of the entire lot. Not by a large margin, mind you. several others are close behind, especially “Out of Gas.”

But back to “Objects in Space,’ Joss Whedon stated on the CD-commentary track that this episode is an exploration of a method of looking at objects and placing value on them in a very special and profound way whether or not you really have any kind of religious “faith.” It is a very interesting commentary track and I encourage you to listen to it. I’m not saying I agree with his ideas. I just find shows, episodes, movies, and novels with well depicted philosophical ideas incredibly intriguing even if I disagree with them. That is part of the reason why I love Lost so much.

But the greatness of this finale goes far beyond just philosophy. It is the filming itself, the dialogue, the music, and the impeccable plotting. And then there is Jubal Early (played by Richard Brooks), one of the best casting and most well-written villains on any show.

No, “Objects in Space” is not sufficient as an actual series finale, but thankfully they finalized the show on an outstanding and unforgettable episode. (Plus there would be Serenity, of course).

Lost

by Phill Lytle

Lost season one promotional image

Lost was a cultural phenomenon. If you were a fan of the show when it was at its zenith, you were probably involved in a number of crazy conversations about the island, the Others, and a million other mysteries the show introduced. The show captured the imaginations of millions and kept us entertained for years. To put it mildly, the finale was deeply divisive. Based on what I can tell from talking to people, interacting with others online, and reading articles similar to this one, most people did not care for the series finale. There are some who liked it but even a lot of those still have problems with how the show wrapped up the various storylines. I fall into a different camp altogether. I loved it.

I take a contrarian view when it comes to Lost, the themes of the show, and how well the finale ended things. I think where the trouble starts for most people is a fundamental misunderstanding of what the show actually was. Most people viewed Lost as this giant puzzle and every piece had to fit perfectly or they were not going to be satisfied. Everything else about the show was secondary to the puzzle. I believe those people miss that the show was never about the puzzle. The puzzle was the hook but not the soul of the show. The characters were the soul. The soul was getting to know Jack, Sawyer, Locke, Kate, Sayid, Sun, Jin, Charlie, Desmond, and all the rest. Lost was a show that cared deeply about its characters. Anyone who missed that missed the main draw of the show. None of this is to say the show didn’t care about the questions and the puzzle. It absolutely did. The answers did not always make the fans happy, but that is not the same thing as no answers.

On a more personal note, I was overwhelmed by the sense of longing in the finale. Human beings have a built-in desire to connect and they have a deep desire to share their afterlife with those they love. The theology of the show is wrong, but the spirit is lovely and pure. Outside of C.S. Lewis’ The Last Battle, I don’t know of a better fictional representation of this yearning for heaven.

Lost ended its run with an iconic moment. Jack, a man who has struggled his entire life with finding peace, is finally able to let go and rest. It is absolutely beautiful and heartfelt and I am sorry more people were not able to connect with it as I did. The finale was everything I would want in a show like Lost. It was cathartic.

Final thought: If I read one more stupid article about how the show didn’t answer even the basic questions like “where did the polar bear come from?” I am going to lose my mind.

Chuck

by Gowdy Cannon

Chuck complete series image

The most obvious thing about the Chuck finale is that it doesn’t play it safe. At all. Its main multi storyline of Sarah losing her memory and hence her relationship with Chuck is blindsiding and quite risky. Yet the risk paid off to me. I have thought about the finale to this show many times since I watched it a year ago. The last scene with Chuck and Sarah on the beach, “Rivers and Roads” playing in the background, as they take a chance on a kiss that Morgan advised, is etched in my TV memory forever. I wasn’t satisfied with the ending but that is not a bad thing. Nice, neat, tied bows can be overrated in my mind. The finale made me want more Chuck, which is a compliment in its own right.

Other things stand out too. Jeffster! going out in style with “Take On Me” with an orchestra was beautiful. Casey walking out of Castle for the last time was poignant. But as fellow REO contributor Phill Lytle has said, this show was about Chuck and Sarah. And so their storyline is headline. I loved it. It broke my heart and blew my mind. They are truly one of the great TV couples in history. And their ending was unique.

Twin Peaks

by D.A. Speer

Twin Peaks opening credits image

The latest iteration of auteur David Lynch’s bizarre TV series was so different and far removed from the original run of the show, it’s hard to even place them in the same universe. But then, mutability seems to be part of the essence of practically any work from Lynch. Twin Peaks: The Return ended up being so different and so far removed (25 years, no less), it’s easier to think of the original run as its own entity.

I watched through the original series with my wife shortly after we were married. On a very tight budget, our weekly entertainment usually revolved around cheap Little Caesars pizza and mailed-in DVDs of Twin Peaks. It’s one of my favorite times of our life together so far.

The original run is so unique, it’s hard to adequately set it to words. Part crime drama, part daytime soap spoof, part paranormal investigation, part kitsch, the descriptions go on and on. Unfortunately, like so many other fantastic shows, Peaks found itself on the chopping block and met an early demise.

The final episode of the second season was haunting, surreal, and dark. Nothing had ever been on TV like that before, and no other singular TV episode has had such a lasting effect on me. Knowing that it was the end, Lynch boldly chose to end the series in the most shocking way, with many questions left unanswered and the unwritten future of the characters of Twin Peaks left in peril. Fans had to wait well over 20 years for any hope of ever being able to revisit the fictional place, even in another dreamlike form.

Twin Peaks

Battlestar Galactica

by Nathan Patton

Battlestar Galactica logo

We had decided to write about five TV series finales that we absolutely love. Perhaps my fellow writers didn’t actually understand that, considering only one of them actually chose an excellent series finale. The others include a show whose finale is controversial at best, a show (that I love) that never had a season finale much less a series finale, and an otherwise excellent show that had the greatest dumpster fire of a series finale recorded in human history. (I mean, where did the polar bear even come from?)

So, rather than waste my time doing what I am supposed to be doing (gushing lovingly about “Daybreak”, the three-part masterpiece of a series finale to Battlestar Galactica), I decided to arrange a poem.

Note that I said arrange rather than compose, because this poem contains only dialog from “Daybreak”, Battlestar Galactica’s finale, (taken horribly out of context, of course) rather than my own original thoughts. What does it mean? I don’t know. It doesn’t matter.

Start the clock.
The perfection of creation.
The elation of action and reaction.
The beauty of physics.
The wonder of mathematics.
And in the end it’s all about mathematics.
[Snap]
End of line.
Start the clock.
Is that what this is about?
Is it the truth?
What is God’s plan for me?
How will I know?
What am I doing here?
Can we get the hell outta here?
End of line.
Start the clock
Engage in gestures of futility.
Stopped for coffee.
Well, take your time.
Take too much time.
I don’t care.
I’m sorry. I - I forgot to sound all soppy and soft.
End of line.
Start the clock.
Birds are away.
Stupid frakking bird!
She’s broke her back.
She’ll never jump again.
Then turn out the lights,
And let the old girl die in peace.
End of line.
Start the clock.
Our brains have always outraced our hearts.
Our science charges ahead.
Our souls lag behind.
Let’s start anew.
Maybe I’ll see you in the next life.
I’ll see you on the other side.
End of line.
Start the clock.
The shape of dreams half-remembered.
Dreams given to a chosen few.
Does it have a name?
Earth.
It’s not Earth.
Earth is a dream.
End of line.
Start the clock.
I’ve been here before.
All of this has happened before.
But the question remains.
Does all of this have to happen again?
It requires a leap of faith.
Requires that we live in hope, not fear.
End of line.
Start the clock.
We’ll break the cycle.
Break the cycle of birth,
Death, Rebirth, Destruction,
Escape, Death.
We break the cycle.
We leave it all behind and start over.
End of line.
Start the clock.
Slip the surly bonds of earth
And touch the face of perfection.
Find a perfect world for the end.
We’re already sliding toward it.
Let there be no illusions!
This is likely to be a one-way trip.
End of line.
Life!
So much … life
That’s it?
That’s all God wants from us?
It’s a very beautiful world.
I’ve completed my journey,
And - it feels good.
So say we all.
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Phill Lytle

I love: Jesus, my wife, my kids, my church, my family, my friends, Firefly, 80's rock, Lost, the Tennessee Titans, the St. Louis Cardinals, Brandon Sanderson books, Band of Brothers, Thai food, music, books, movies, TV, writing, Arrested Development, pizza, vacation, etc...
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Nathan Patton

Nathan lives in the foothills of the Ozarks in Southeastern Missouri with his wife and five children. They used to live in New York City; and, while they sometimes miss it, especially the food and public transportation, they do enjoy being closer to nature and Cardinals baseball.

Latest posts by Nathan Patton (see all)

Gowdy Cannon

I am currently the pastor of Bear Point FWB Church in Sesser, IL. I just completed a 17-year ministry as the associate bilingual pastor at Northwest Community Church in Chicago. My wife, Kayla, and I have been married four years and welcomed our first child into the world, Liam Erasmus, in January of 2019. I have been a student at Welch College in Nashville and at Moody Theological Seminary in Chicago. I love The USC (the real one in SC, not the other one in CA), Seinfeld, John 3:30, Chic-Fil-A, Dumb and Dumber, the book of Job, preaching and teaching, and arguing about sports.

Latest posts by Gowdy Cannon (see all)

D.A. Speer

Daniel was raised in the woods of Dickson, TN by a group of elves. He ate lots of turnips and grew up quickly, learned kung fu and mercilessly fought his way through the ranks to become Dickson County's own king of the gnomes. Soon, he grew bored and bid them a tear-filled farewell, then sailed away to Bible college where he met the girl who would become his wife. They got married, had kids, then his family ended up being international missionaries just outside of Tokyo, Japan. He kind of sort of likes gaming, graphic novels, and good podcasts.

Ben Plunkett

Greetings from the booming metropolis that is Pleasant View, Tennessee. I am a man of constant spiritual highs and spiritual lows. I pray that I serve God at my highest even when I am lowest.
Ben Plunkett

Latest posts by Ben Plunkett (see all)

Ben Plunkett

Greetings from the booming metropolis that is Pleasant View, Tennessee. I am a man of constant spiritual highs and spiritual lows. I pray that I serve God at my highest even when I am lowest.

8 thoughts on “Five Television Series Finales We Loved

  • May 24, 2019 at 6:10 pm
    Permalink

    Which Battlestar Galactica are we talking about here?

    Reply
    • May 24, 2019 at 11:15 pm
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      I loved the original, so much so that I refused to watch the new one until a few years after it ended, because I thought they couldn’t possibly do it justice. I was wrong, thankfully. I actually thought about writing about the original, but it was far too short (though about twice as long as Firefly…)

      Reply
  • May 26, 2019 at 5:53 pm
    Permalink

    I also have a soft spot for the series finales from M*A*S*H, and Breaking Bad.

    Reply
    • May 31, 2019 at 1:19 pm
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      M*A*S*H was mentioned by one of the other writers as one we could include. I agree, though it had been too long since I had last watched it for me to comfortably write about it this time.

      Reply
  • May 27, 2019 at 8:02 am
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    BB is one I hope we get to do in a Part 2. Only a couple of us have seen it but it was discussed. Maybe next time.

    Reply
    • May 27, 2019 at 8:44 am
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      More than a couple. At least you, me, and Mike.

      Reply
      • May 27, 2019 at 9:17 am
        Permalink

        Not a comment meant to be take super literally.

        Reply

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