6A - Monday, April 7, 2014
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
6A - Monday, April 7, 2014 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom
ast week, "How I Met Though cliffhangers and sur-
Your Mother" came prise endings might seem like
to a crashing close a cliche today, "The Sopranos"
livisive series finale. The was HBO's first hit prestige
1 sitcom, which ran on drama, and it ended with aboom
nine seasons, left many to fit its groundbreaking legacy.
I fans disappointed and Before Jack Shephard took one
fied with its twist end- last look at the jungle or Walter
e blow up got the Daily White said farewell to his dear-
w Media writers remi- est baby blue, "The Sopranos"
on iconic series finales. set the bar for a drama series
ed ourselves the impor- finale. No longer was it enough
estions: What makes a for a show to just wrap up its
nale? What makes a bad storylines; from then on, finales
knd, ultimately, which were expected to provide a com-
go down in history as the pelling and surprising hour, still
all time? worthy of being discussed years
later. It didn't wrap every-
The Sopranos thing up nicely with a bow, but
"Made in America" truly made
there is nothing wrong TV history.
ur cable. -CHLOE GILKE
emotionally satisfying and
thrilling episode. Over the
course of its two and a half
hour runtime, there were many
small yet powerful emotional
moments in both the "side-
ways world" and on the island.
Scenes like the one with Saw-
yer and Juliet by the vending
machine "remembering" their
love for each other or Jack and
Kate saying goodbye to each
other on the island were what
made the finale what it was:
a showcase of the emotional
moments that made "Lost"
great. The last several minutes
brought me to tears - thanks
to a great performance by Mat-
thew Fox ("Party of Five") and
some beautiful music from
Michael Giacchino ("Up").
Those moments reminded me
what I loved most about the
show, which is exactly what
a series should focus on right
before it goes away. Did we get
every answer? No. What we
did get, however, were some
great moments that reminded
us why "Lost" will forever be a
part of the TV lexicon.
If there's one line in the series
finale of "Breaking Bad" that
summarizes Walter White, it's
this: "I did it for me ... I liked
it ... I was good at it ... I was
really ... I was alive." Despite
being placed in the single
worst situation imaginable,
Walter White wasn't going to
go out like a punk. It would
have been easy for the series
to end ambiguously with Walt
dying alone in an isolated
cabin. Instead, we got one of
the most satisfying conclu-
sions to a TV series ever. Even
if it was expected, it was so
important for the story being
told not to simply cop out with
a "crime doesn't pay" moral.
This wasn't a show about the
drug trade, politics or why one
cause is better than another. It
was about a man named Wal-
ter White who wanted to be
remembered for something
- even if that something was
cooking meth. By the end of the
series, everything that needed
to be said was said.
Cable providers received
thousands of angry phone
calls when "The Sopranos"
ended with a cut to black in the
middle of its final scene. The
fate of Tony Soprano was left
unknown. Was the Members
Only jacket a reference to "The
Godfather?" Did Tony get shot?
Did he simply enjoy the rest of
his meal at Holsten's?
I know this is a controversial
choice. The finale of "Lost" left
a lot of people feeling like they
didn't get all of the answers
to every little question (the
outrigger, anyone?). While it
didn't close every door, the
series finale of "Lost" was an
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When explaining why
"M*A*S*H" 's finale is the best,
it's important to note that it's
the most-watched finale in tele-
vision history. But in reality,
you don't even have to turn to the
quantity over quality argument,
because the finale had both. The
story concluded the long running
episodic dramedy that followed
the medical staff at an army hos-
pital, and it retained an impres-
sive wide-range appeal without
sacrificing a second of quality.
Given that it's also 30 years old
and still holds up, even if you
don'tagree with its anti-war mes-
sage, it's hard to deny its signifi-
cance. "M*A*S*H" shows with its
finale that, despite its 11 year run,
it never lost the primary reason
behind its success: a strong sense
Six Feet Under
When I first saw the ending of
"Six Feet Under," I was floored.
It was the best series finale I
had ever seen. And despite the
many fantastic finales that have
come and gone (from "Friday
Night Lights" to "Medium" to
"Breaking Bad"), my opinion
hasn't changed. Holistically,
the episode is spectacular -
eventful, sad, reflective. The
final moments cement its lega-
cy - a seven-minute flash-for-
ward encapsulating the big life
moments and deaths of every
major character. Set perfectly to
Sia's "Breathe Me," the montage
is as chilling and heartbreaking
as you'd expect from "Six Feet
Under," and as satisfying as you'd
hope a series finale would be. Alan
Ball's dark drama ended with
emotion and confidence almost 10
years ago, and I'm still not over it
- which is probably why I watch
that iconic ending every few
months on YouTube.
Friday Night Lights
February marked three years
since "Friday Night Lights"
wrapped up its series finale, had
my mother crying silently in the
living room and finally pushed
Coach to drift away from all of
our lives for good. But I didn't
start watching the show until
more than two years later, when
it was available in marathon-
able format, refurbished for
unhealthy viewing by the super-
human drug/TV-pusher that is
Netflix. Two years later, I saw
poetry in the way Taylor turned
his back, a smile on his face and
a hand wrapped around his
He did it for all the right
reasons. After 76 episodes that
brought out the best of tele-
vision - a show built around
its characters with arcs that
emphasized the nuanced simi-
larities between parenthood and
mentorship. Coach's turn in the
spotlight was over and his deci-
sion to hand it over to his wife,
quitting his job in the process,
wasn't just the correct choice, it
emphasized what the series had
been about from the beginning:
decency. Vince was right. You
changed lives, Coach. Clear eyes
full hearts can't lose.
I was a third grader when
"Friends" ended in the spring
of 2004. I remember because
on May 5, I had to explain to
my teacher, Mrs. Roser, that I
was yawning so much in class
not because I was bored, but
because I had stayed up too late
the night before. I had never
seen the show "Friends" and
I probably didn't understand
most of the jokes, but I refused
to miss out on watching the
finale. That's how big of a cul-
tural phenomenon it was.
The ending of what is prob-
ably the most iconic sitcom of
all time was nothing short of a
perfect match with the show's
overall tone. The six titular
friends were all getting ready
to start a new chapter in their
lives - whether it was Chan-
dler and Monica welcoming
their (surprise) twins into
the world or Ross and Rachel
finally getting together after
Rachel's "I got off the plane"
moment. The last moments
spent in Monica's empty apart-
ment were some of the series'
biggest tearjerkers, and yet
the writers still managed to
work a joke about Ross's short-
lived and unsuccessful dance
career into the dialogue. There
has never been a sitcom that
finds the humor and raw emo-
tion in the average lives of
twentysomethings as well as
"Friends" did. It changed the
genre forever, and the show's
finale was the perfect cap on
-MA DDIE THOMAS
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