End Game: TV's Best and Worst Series Finales

From 'Lost' to 'The Sopranos,' these are last episodes that got it right — and very, very wrong

Best: 'MASH'

After spinning 11 years of comedy out of a three-year war, the most popular sitcom of the 1970s bowed out with a quintuple-length episode containing nearly everything great about the show: quippy banter, a powerful "war is hell" sentiment, and a daring hybrid of humor and drama. Co-written and directed by star Alan Alda, the finale — titled "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen" — starts dark, telling an unsettling story about Hawkeye Pierce recovering from a nervous breakdown. But by the end, fans get the conclusion they'd been waiting for, as the men and women of the 4077th were finally heading home. An audience of 125 million (still the biggest-ever for a non-sports broadcast) saw a decade of devotion rewarded with a long, emotional last embrace, which acknowledges both how badly these characters wanted to leave Korea behind, and how much they'd be missed. It remains the gold standard for series send-offs.

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