20 Greatest Series Finales of All Time

The series finale of The Office was last week and it was so well done and excellent that it got me thinking about the other series finales that I have loved.  With the exception of The Simpsons, all shows must one day come to an end.  Here are shows who’s endings were memorable and fantastic.  The 20 Greatest series finales of all time:

#20 – Lost (2004-2010)

Full disclosure here.  I only watched the first episode of Lost and I was done.  I never watched another.  I only put it on this list because I know so many other people loved this show and would the would lose their minds (Scooby Doo anyone?) if I didn’t have it on here and since I’m nothing if not a man of the people, here it is at #20.


#19 – Friday Night Lights (2006-2011)

I was off and on with this show.  The book is one of my all-time favorite sports books and the adaptation of the show was excellent.  There were times during the 5 season run of the show where the high school drama was a bit much but when it came to the finale, I was there and the show went out as well as it had come in.


#18 – Frasier (1993-2004)

Dr. Frasier Crane first appeared on TV in 1984 on Cheers.  He was supposed to be a short-lived character who would soon be gone after being dumped by Diane Chambers.  The character was well-liked enough by NBC executives (this was back when NBC wasn’t run by morons) that he was given an extended run on Cheers which eventually lead to the spinoff of Frasier.  The finale of Frasier tied up the loose ends of a character that had been on TV for over 20 years.


#17 – Friends (1994-2004)

Another show that had it’s ups and downs with me.  For so many years, it was the best show on TV.  It’s the perfect example of what you can do with an ensemble cast with good writing.  There were times when they got too schticky and too caught up in making the characters act over the top like their characters (we get it, Phoebe is an idiot), but in the end, it was a great show that ended well.


#16 – The Cosby Show (1984-1992)

In the 30 years since The Cosby Show, it is not uncommon to see black people on TV playing characters other than pimps and drug dealers.  Prior to The Cosby Show though, that wasn’t the case.  Ground breaking for showing a successful black family with two parents who were professionals, The Cosby Show was for a time the #1 rated show on TV (again, back when NBC wasn’t run by morons).

6 Comments on 20 Greatest Series Finales of All Time

  1. I'mThatGuy // May 28, 2013 at 1:12 pm //

    I know it’s popular to say that the Seinfeld finale wasn’t good but not even in the top 20? Come on.

    • Midwest Mark // May 28, 2013 at 1:18 pm //

      I was a huge Seinfeld fan back in the day and the finale (and subsequent lack of reunion) was one of the most disappointing moments in the whole show…

    • Midwest Mike // May 28, 2013 at 1:30 pm //

      There was obviously a lot of hype and high expectations surrounding the Seinfeld finale. So much so that it was really gong to be difficult for them to live up to the hype. I know that the finale is colored by the disappointment of the fans and I tend to agree with everyone else. I left it out of the top 20 because I didn’t think it was all that good. As a regular episode it was fine but to end one of the most popular TV series in the last 30 years? It didn’t get the job done. I was and am a huge Seinfeld fan and I still watch the show just about every day even now. There are very few episodes that are really dated which shows the brilliance of the show. It’s not on this list not because I’m not a fan (is that a double double negative?).

    • Seinfeld was a great show, but the finale was terrible, period. As finales go, The Office was one of the most satisfying, as after 9 years, there was no real issue in the finale, we just got to spend a final hour with the people we were saying goodbye to. For that matter, Lost was a great finale as well. I will never watch the Mash or Cheers finale again as they were just too sad. Who needs that. 30 Rock was a good finale, might have deserved a place on the list.

      What I want to see in a finale that so many shows fail to deliver on is to spend time with the characters and say a proper goodbye. The finale is not the time to get cute or to try to be creative. Really the finale is the fans time. As Midwest Mike said to me the other day, “We’ve (the fans) have made all of you rich and now you are thumbing your nose to us?” To mess with it is a big no-no in my book (I’m looking and talking to you Sopranos).

  2. What happened to Northern Exposure? You include Quantum Leap but not Northern Exposure? Epic Fail!!!!!!

    • Midwest Mike // May 28, 2013 at 11:57 am //

      I’m not sure I see the connection between the two shows but I didn’t really ever watch Northern Exposure. I watched an episode here and there but it really didn’t connect with me like Quantum Leap did.

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