I’m gonna offer a fair warning, don’t be surprised if this turns into a writing-related rant. It’s VERY important to me.
So you’ve just seen the last episode of your favorite show. On the one hand you’re disappointed that the thing is over, but on the other hand you’re happy at the way that it ended—there was no other way things could have gone and things just worked out so effectively.
Note that I do not use the word “well.” A lot of good finales end BADLY for the characters involved in the series. First thing that comes to mind is how Angel ended. Basically they wind up walking into the FREAKING APOCALYPSE in action, and that’s the last thing we know—but it doesn’t feel like it could have ended any differently to me.
A good ending, be it to a play, a novel, a tv program, or something else that I haven’t remembered to mention here, feels like there couldn’t have been any other way it could have ended, like this is how things were supposed to wind up ending and nothing else makes sense. A good ending feels…right, somehow. It doesn’t feel pat—things get tied up a bit too neatly to really feel authentic—or contrived—WTF, Lost-according-to-all-the-people-I-know-who-actually-stuck-through-the-whole-thing. It ends things the way they should end, with a satisfying conclusion to all the threads that were tangled and hanging (Once again, WTF, Lost etc.?)
It’s important not to cheat the audience with the ending. You don’t have to pull an “and they totally all lived happily ever after and junk” where it won’t fit, and usually? It WON’T fit. It’s more important that the ending (I’m beginning to hate that word) be a properly fitting conclusion.
My favorite good ending of a TV show? …this may be a surprise to some, but I liked what they did with the anime Yu-Gi-Oh. Now granted, I saw the dub, which means that there’s almost certainly a few details I’m missing (that pilot ep…let’s just say no wonder they didn’t start with Season Zero, as it is called) but it ended…well, the ending was bittersweet, but it was proper.
Anybody else got favorite endings? Or want to rant about the ones that got it horribly, horrendously, CATASTROPHICALLY wrong? =D