Dramatic Series Finales: An Impossible Task? #tv

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I finished Penny Dreadful on Netflix last week. I wasn’t thrilled with seasons 2 and 3 in general, but that said, I didn’t like how it ended. I wonder if writers don’t know how to finish TV shows, or if we, as humans, are just impossible to please in that regard.

In the rare instance where I enjoy how a show ends, it’s almost always comedy. Hell, Parks and Recreation ended perfectly . . . twice! My sense is that comedies are more satisfying because the writers always go for a 100% feel-good ending where everything gets wrapped up happily. On the other hand, for a serious drama to work, it must often push some buttons throughout the series. When the wrong button is pushed in a finale, there’s no undoing it or making up for it. We’re all just left to feel unsatisfied. Even the Shield, which I felt ended well, still left me feeling at bit off only because there were a couple of things I didn’t like. They still stick in my craw a bit. For shows that don’t end so well, that effect is magnified.

For the record, Halt and Catch Fire is a drama that ended perfectly. The series produced its ups and downs by having the characters engage in destructive behavior that drove each other apart, yet somehow always brought them back together again. It ended with several of the characters having drifted apart, but because of that groundwork they laid over the course of the show, you come away feeling like they’re going to find their way back to one another again. This allowed them to “move on” and have a resolution very different than that of their friends while still facilitating a “feel good” ending.

So no, it’s not impossible, but it seems to be very difficult. I should probably take a screenwriting class so I can understand this process better, but this is how I interpret what I’ve heard from others and what I feel myself.

What dramatic series do you think ended well?

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