Warning: Spoilers ahead! Enter at own risk!
With almost a decade of Game of Thrones ending this week, the internet is ablaze with chatter about whether those last sucker punches were fitting, whether [redacted] should have [redacted] [redacted] or if it was better or worse than Lost, Dexter – or literally any other show.
Everyone has feels when a show signs off for good. Here are some of ours.
BEST: The Sopranos
The final scene was an artistic masterstroke. It had the best ending of all time, in a way because what happened didn’t really matter – it wasn’t the point. It reiterated the never-ending suspense and drama of the show’s entire narrative. The last scene at the diner offered a Hopper-esque insight into the banality and anxiety of American life. And that’s what the viewer is left with – whether Tony Soprano lives or dies doesn’t matter, American life remains the same. – Anonymous
BEST: Six Feet Under
Every episode starts with a death before going on to illustrate something about life. The final episode starts with a birth and finishes by fast forwarding through the lives and deaths of all the remaining characters. The carpe diem effect is so intense it’s hard to breathe and impossible not to sob all over the sofa. – Lenore Taylor
Canning a TV series before it’s finished is never a nice thing to do to a viewer, but when Carnivalé was given the flick smack in the middle of the prestige TV era, I felt personally attacked.
An opulent HBO drama set in the dustbowl of 1930s America, it ran for two seasons in the early noughties, and was a testament to heights that can be reached with storytelling ambition by production teams who have money. Terrifying, gloriously surreal, with a cast of complex, fascinating characters battling forces of good and evil – the lure of institutionalised religion in times of famine and hardship, the grit of society’s outcasts, a US landscape haunted by dreams of exploitation and cruelty – bolstered by lush production and extraordinary historical precision. I’ll never listen to Love Me or Leave Me with ease again.
Carnivalé won five Emmys (it was nominated for 15) then was abruptly given the boot, just it hit its most gobsmacking climax and cliffhanger. The ending was terrible because it never really ended. The generator ran out of fuel before we’d finished the ride. The cops busted in and shut the freaky party down. I will feel forever robbed. – Stephanie Convery
BEST: Friday Night Lights
The series finale of the small-town high-school football drama was everything fans wanted from probably the best television drama of the last decade. QB1 Matt Saracen stopped weirdly drawing hands long enough to come back to Texas and propose to Julie, while Tim Riggins finally got his long-dreamed-of plot of land where, one assumes, he spent the rest of his days looking extremely hot, saying “Texas forever” and knocking back cold ones. A few questions remained unanswered, of course. Why, for example, did Landry kill a man in series two?
The real joy though was in the resolution of coach Eric Taylor and wife Tami’s relationship. High-school dramas are often derailed by the inevitable graduation of their original stars (see, for example, The OC, Dawson’s Creek) but their marriage as the moral centre of the show kept it moving through the hard times, and their dramatic eleventh-hour reconciliation inside a shopping mall was deftly handled.
And, of course, there was the closing montage. Kneeling, Taylor whispers to Michael B Jordan: “You may never know how proud I am of you.”
“You changed my life, coach,” he replies. Ours too, Michael B Jordan. Ours too.
Did the final pass reach the end zone? Did East Dillon win State? It hardly matters. Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose. – Michael McGowan
Six years on since the creators of Network Ten’s Offspring killed off one of my favourite characters I am still distraught. OK, three more seasons were made after it happened, but that plot twist at the conclusion of season four may as well have been the end of it all. Offspring was dead to me.
The week the cliffhanger episode was aired, I was one of the political reporters on the 2013 election campaign trail following Tony Abbott around the country. I skilfully managed to avoid spoilers until I got home.
The exhaustion from working 18-hour days compounded my grief over the loss of a heartthrob character. I cried several rivers. My flatmates thought there had been a death in my family. Why couldn’t Patrick and Nina just be allowed to live happily ever after? – Lisa Martin
BEST: Get Krack!n
OK, so we hope it isn’t actually over yet, but if the final episode of season two was the last, it wouldn’t be a bad way to go out. The last episode of the morning talkshow satire has been described as “the most soaring 30 minutes of Australian TV ever produced” – and you needn’t have watched the preceding two seasons to drop straight into it. As heavily pregnant Kate McCartney and Kate McLennan are carted off to hospital, the Indigenous actors and writers Miranda Tapsell and Nakkiah Lui take over hosting duties, their gritted-teeth conformity slowly morphing into volcanic fury that metaphorically (and, er, literally) defecates on colonisation. Throw in cameos from Penny Wong, a flaccid penis and a very bloody menstrual cup, and a denouement that takes in a trashed TV studio and a close-up of a baby crowning, and this is the Kerri-Anne Kennerley antidote we had to have. It’s a masterclass in political anger – essential viewing for anyone feeling deflated after last weekend’s federal election result. – Janine Israel