Friday , March 1 2024
Are we, as viewers, always going to be disappointed with finales?

On Being Disappointed with Series Finales

Do you ever feel of two minds about something? You want pizza (New York style, not that garbage they pass off as pizza in the rest of the country, save Chicago which has their own thing going on and I respect that), but you could also go for a delicious double-double, animal-style, whole grilled onions, extra toast with crispy fries. It's hard. Pizza or burger? Ice cream or cake (you can't have ice cream cake, that's really just the worst of both worlds)?

I like it when TV shows get to do series finale episodes, I like it when they get the chance to wrap things up. After all, you've sat there and watched a show for years on end, it's only right that you should get an ending. Even if you hate the ending (that's right, Quantum Leap, I'm still looking at you), you deserve one (don't argue with me about Quantum Leap's finale only being intended as a season, not a series, finale, we're not going there today). Some shows just disappear, they're just gone, and despite the fact that you were the only person watching, you want to know what happened.

Then, there's the other hand (there always is). You get a series with an announced ending, you know it's coming. The show has one season left. That's "x" episodes. The season premiere airs, now there are only x – 1 episodes left. The week after? x – 2. Week after week, the episodes dwindle away like x – n (where "n" is the number of episodes that have aired this season). There comes a moment, a final moment, when n = x-1. That is to say, there's only the series finale left to go. The excitement is ratcheted up, you're ready, you're willing, you're able… you're disappointed.

The series ends, it's all over and done with, and it just didn't live up to expectations. In fact, truth be told, you were disappointed by the whole season. That's right, the whole season disappointed you. The questions you wanted answered weren't answered, the things you wanted to happened didn't. Actually, very little happened at all. You watched, you waited, and you left the final season of the show hugely disappointed because oh so very little happened.

Isn't that just always the way it is?

Shows announce in advance that they're done and you're disappointed with what happens; shows don't announce and yet are done, and you're disappointed. It is the rare show that ends with happiness all around (personally, I liked the Cheers finale, and "Goodbye, Farewell & Amen" is probably the greatest final episode any show has ever done).

Oh sure, some of it is probably the way we, the audience, see it. I have to imagine that the producers of Battlestar Galactica are having this final season unfold just the way they want, but it's all kind of uninspiring. It's all fun enough, but just not great, it's certainly not everything I wanted. I'm going to keep watching, let's not be silly about it, but I really would like to see a little bit more from it all. Even if they announced that they were going to keep going, I'd continue to watch (not that that's going to happen). It's just not, as of yet, the closure I want.

There's no way to please everyone. I know that, I'm not suggesting that everyone be made happy, just me. Shows should just make me happy. That would be enough.

About Josh Lasser

Josh has deftly segued from a life of being pre-med to film school to television production to writing about the media in general. And by 'deftly' he means with agonizing second thoughts and the formation of an ulcer.

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