Series finale: Wikis

  
  
  

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A series finale refers to the last installment of a television series. In many Commonwealth countries, the term final episode is commonly used. These terms refer to an intentionally planned ending, rather than one in which the series is unexpectedly cancelled after the last episode is produced. Episodes labeled "series finale," or ones leading up to it, often include remarkable events in overall series story arc. An extended length episode, or television or theatrical film may serve as the series finale. The finale may also be used as a device to create a spin-off series.

Contents

Typical plot devices

Series finales frequently feature fundamental deviations from the central plot line, such as the resolution of a central mystery or problem, the separation of the major characters, or the sale of a home or business that serves as the series' primary setting. Some alter the entire premise of the series, such as in St. Elsewhere and Newhart.

The final scene often takes place in the show's primary setting, such as in That '70s Show, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, or One Day at a Time.

Series finales often include looks into the future or show clips from the series' past, such as in Star Trek: The Next Generation and the Guiding Light. Characters who have left the show often return (Shelley Long of Cheers, Dylan McDermott in The Practice, Kristy McNichol in Empty Nest, Tisha Campbell in Martin, David Duchovny in The X-Files, Topher Grace and Ashton Kutcher in That '70s Show), and unseen characters may be revealed.

Origins

Most series in early television consisted of stand-alone episodes without continuing story arcs, so there was little reason to provide closure at its end. Early series which had special ending episodes were Howdy Doody in September 1960 and Leave it to Beaver in June 1963.

Considered to be "the series finale that invented the modern-day series finale,"[1] "The Judgement", the final episode of The Fugitive, attracted a 72% audience share when broadcast.[2 ] This finale received the highest viewing figures in American history prior to being surpassed by the Dallas episode "Who Done It."

In some cases a series finale proves to be premature, as a subsequent season is created, such as with "7th Heaven," Sledge Hammer![3] and Babylon 5 [4][5]. Scrubs aired a two-part episode billed simply as a "finale" in May 2009 as the show renewal nor cancelled had not been decided as of its airing, and so it was not known whether it would conclude just the season or the entire series.[6]

Notable series finales

By audience share, the highest rated finale to date was from the series M*A*S*H. The episode, "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen", gained an audience share of over 77%. In the extended length episode, the Korean War ends, and the characters of the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital make their goodbyes and finally go home.

Some positive critical reviews come from shows that have controversial or twist endings. The finale of The Prisoner, Fall Out, caused controversy by providing a cryptic end to the series. The lead actor of the series, Patrick McGoohan, wrote and directed the final episode. He recalled in an interview years later that the final episode attracted a large audience, who demanded a clear resolution to the series. McGoohan recalled having to hide from fans immediately afterwards because of the reaction to the ending, which he himself had written.[7]

The episode "The Last Newhart" ended the series Newhart, by revealing the run of the series to be a dream conjured up by the main character of The Bob Newhart Show. In a similar vein, the series St. Elsewhere ended with the suggestion that the entire series is a fantasy of a small boy in the episode "The Last One".[8]

The final episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, "All Good Things...", won the 1995 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation.[9].

See also

External links

References


Simple English

A series finale is the last instalment of a television series. These terms refer to an intentionally planned ending, rather than one in which the series is unexpectedly cancelled after the last episode is produced. Episodes labeled "series finale," or ones leading up to it, often include remarkable events in the overall series story arc. An extended length episode, or television or theatrical film may serve as the series finale. The finale may also be used as a device to create a spin-off series.

See also

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