They should stop doing finales for TV series for one, simple reason.
Okay, not ALL of them. Just the vast majority. And the fact is, most TV series are created, by design, to be open-ended. They aren’t meant to have finales (with the exception of shows like “Lost in Space” or “Gilligans Island” which, by the way, DIDN’T have finales). For decades, they simply didn’t do them. Did “Gunsmoke” have a finale? Did “The Dick Van Dyke Show”? “All in the Family?” “Bonanza?” “Rockford Files?” “Green Acres?” “Murder She Wrote?” “Wild Wild West?” “Man From UNCLE?” You get the point.
Sure, there have been some great finales… The Fugitive, M*A*S*H, Mary Tyler Moore, Newhart, Star Trek: The Next Generation, St. Elsewhere, Cheers, Barney Miller…to name a few (and there are only a few).
But there have been many, many more finales that were truly awful, well below the quality of the most mediocre episode of the respective shows… Hill Street Blues, Magnum, Dallas, Miami Vice, Quantum Leap, Homicide, Seinfeld, Moonlighting, Roseanne, Mad About You, Murphy Brown, Deep Space Nine…
Couldn’t we have lived without those final episodes? Wouldn’t it have been better to be left with our fond memories? There are fans of “Married With Children” who are still peeved the Bundys didn’t get a finale.
They should consider themselves lucky.
Usually, the finale is the weakest, most melodramatic episode in the series’ entire run. Like the dull finales of “Friends” and “Frasier” (which was, at least, occasionally funny in its final hour).
It’s reached the point that the producers of any series that lasts longer than 13 episodes feel entitled to a finale for “the sake of the fans,” to give the show “closure.” I’m still aching for the “Birds of Prey” finale, aren’t you?
Wouldn’t we rather believe the characters live on forever? Do we really need to “wrap things up?” Why can’t we go on thinking the characters are continuing on their endless, episodic loop… having one adventure or comedic situation after another? We can… and should. For the most part, finales are only a ratings stunts.
The only thing less necessary that the series finale is the reunion. Can you say “Mary & Rhoda?” Or “The Dick Van Dyke Show Reunion?” But that’s another rant for another day.