Home TV TV Lists

Readers’ Poll: The 10 Best TV Series Finales

See what show managed to top the last episodes of ‘The Sopranos,’ ‘Newhart’ and ‘Sons of Anarchy’

'Six Feet Under' and 'M*A*S*H'

'Six Feet Under' and 'M*A*S*H'

Everett

Great TV shows don't always have great endings. It's been 17 years since Seinfeld signed off and people are still bitching about the finale — and don't even bring up the ending of Lost to the diehard fans of the show. (Poor Damon Lindelof will likely be taking shit for that until the day he dies, and you have to have sympathy for the guy.) Expectations go through the roof when any series concludes, with so many story lines having to be resolved and so many characters needing a proper goodbye. It's damn near impossible to get it just right — the people of Twitter are an unforgiving bunch — and Mad Men's final episode this month is bound to inspire a lot of bitching, moaning, and frame-by-frame analyses of its last seconds. We decided it was a good time to poll our readers and see what shows they felt ended on the best note. Here are the results. 

Six Feet Under

SIX FEET UNDER, Peter Krause, 'Grinding the Corn', (Season 4), 2001-2005, © HBO / Courtesy: Everett Collection

3

Six Feet Under, ‘Everyone’s Waiting’ (2005)

This groundbreaking HBO show, centered around a family-owned funeral home, pulled itself from the brink of disaster after a bumpy couple of seasons, dusted itself off and delivered a powerful final episode when the five-season series ended in 2005. Long before "Chandelier," singer-songwriter Sia made a lasting impression on Fisher family fans with "Breathe Me," which soundtracked the haunting last few minutes of the finale. As youngest sibling Claire (Lauren Ambrose) set off from California to take a job in New York, we saw the characters' lives unfold and learned how (and when) they died, a trademark of the unorthodox dramatic black comedy. It was a poignant, perfect ending to an almost-perfect show.

M*A*S*H

MASH (aka M*A*S*H), Mike Farrell, Alan Alda, 1972-83, TM and Copyright (c)20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved.

Everett

2

M*A*S*H, ‘Goodbye, Farewell and Amen’ (1983)

For a series known for its laughs, M*A*S*H went down in history with a real tear-jerker. More than 30 years after the wildly popular Korean War-based dramedy, which starred Alan Alda and aired on CBS for 11 seasons from 1972-1983, signed off, its series finale still holds the record-breaking title of highest-rated single television broadcast ever. The emotionally charged two-and-a-half-hour episode was watched by a whopping 125 million people – unheard of in this day-and-age – and delved into the fates of the members of the Mobile Army Surgical Hospital as they went their separate ways. One of the most memorable moments came when Hawkeye Pierce (Alda), committed in a psych ward, recounts a tale of being on a bus when a woman smothered a squawking chicken so that they could stay hidden from an enemy patrol, only to learn the "chicken" was a crying baby.

Breaking Bad

Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) - Breaking Bad _ Season 5B _ Gallery - Photo Credit: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC

AMC

1

Breaking Bad, ‘Felina’ (2013)

Like a racehorse on crystal meth, this hit AMC drama galloped out of the gate in 2008 and never looked back, picking up speed (and accolades) with each passing season. The tale of Walter White (Bryan Cranston), a terminally ill high-school chemistry teacher who turns to a life of crime, took viewers on a white-knuckle ride of emotions – sometimes funny, sometimes stressful, but always engaging. After five seasons, the series' finale, which aired in September 2013, pulled no punches: Walt outsmarted everyone, killed his enemies, dropped money off to his family and set his captive right-hand man, Jesse (Aaron Paul), free. Our "everyman" drug kingpin did all of this before dying – not from cancer but a gunshot wound – on the floor of his treasured meth lab while Badfinger's "Baby Blue" played. Call it a happy-ish ending for America's favorite antihero.

Show Comments