Monday, June 11, 2007

Sopranos. Fuhgeddaboudit

All time greatest TV finales:

1. The Fugitive
2. Six Feet Under
3. Newhart (the second series)
4. M*A*S*H
5. Mary Tyler Moore Show
6. Lassie
7. The Lone Ranger
8. Hawaii Five-O
9. The Larry Sanders Show (Gary Shandling on HBO)
10. Cheers

Some shows--mostly comedies--died ignominous slow deaths by "taste-ticaluar cancer." Lawd, "Good Times" comes to mind. "Cosby Show" Some just got so stupid and outlandish (again, comedies) that you're glad they're frigging gone. Think "Happy Days." Most shows are just plain non-renewed and pass like a tapeworm--with initial terror, then relief.

But after last night, here are my all time true finales that absolutely sucked (and, strangely they are from some of TV's top shows):

1. The Sopranos
2. Seinfeld
3. Amos n' Andy
4. Dallas
5. The X-files
6. Sex & the City
7. St. Elsewhere
8. Friends
9. Will & Grace
10. Daniel Boone

Then there're shows like Chappelle Show, which, well, vanished.

I dare you to differ...


Snowman said...

I'm old enough to recall all of these, young enough to at least be familiar with others. Amos n' Andy was a show that inspired so many strong feelings despite the fact that, according to my black friends, it is no less stupid than or stereotypical than many black comedies and low brow films today. However, the sight of Sapphire and Kingfish moving back down south and thinking Central Park is their whole journey after Andy places signs is awful. Daniel Boone's farwell likewise terrible as he troops off in the brush to the score of frontier angels. I wish Gunsmoke and Bonanza had true finales, for those would have been wonderful.

I disagree in that I felt the MASH finale was mawkish. I was unhappy with the Sopranos. My son in law told me about the Seinfeld ending. I thought the best of all was Newhart, however.

Anonymous said...

You know they're making a second X-files movie, now that your Princeton classmate, Mr. Duchovny and Gillian Anderson are has beens and will take the money and run! Maybe that's David Chase's paradigm?

I agree with Snowman about M*A*S*H. It was too sickly sweet an ending. Some of these shows I wasn't even a zygote when they were on. I have heard that the Fugitive's finale was one of the better ones, and not because it basically resolved the whole series. Pretty well written crime drama for the 1960s. As was Hawaii Five-o, which gave generations of thugs new slang terms. LOL. It was the Vashon crime family going after McGarrett, and notice how they stole that theme for the current CSI: Miami story arc? Can't you see David Caruso, the worst ham since William Shatner, channelling Jack Lord.

I didn't watch Will & Grace. Friends ending sucked. Seinfeld's sucked ass, which is a degree aove just sucking. My sister says St. Elsewhere was better than ER but the ending was bad there, too. I agree especially on Six Feet Under, Newhart and Gary Shandling for various reasons.

the big set-up for a show to end badly: 24. I'll bet you.

Christopher Chambers said...

I didn't base these just on my own tastes and opinion. I consulted with enterntainment industry folk and general TV-philes. Some of these I do in fact remember, though I'm not as old as Snowman ;-)

Lassie was one of the few old shows that had a finale, and I starkly remember it, because it terrorized me. It was one of those "old" TV shows that just seemed out of place once the late 60s and early 70s bloomed. Snowman alluded to Gunsmoke and Bonanza in that category. In Lassie the ranger was actually killed in a forest fire. That kind of shit just didn't happen in TV back then. He died saving Lassie and the dog limped off to befriend another master.

I was torn in ranking "The Fugitive" above "Six Feet Under." My "worst" picks, well, I stand by those and to hell with anyone who disagrees. That stance seems to work for the right wing bloggers and Fox News, so hey, I'm there.

Anonymous said...

The last episodes of Seinfeld and the Sopranos are a cut above (below) any others due to the caliber of the shows, relative to their endings. That is what makes them so disappointing. The key is that audiences and critics love the shows in spite of the endings.

Tafari said...

I was so mad after last nights last episode! They could have totally just stopped after last week since it came down to the worst episode ever.


michael a. gonzales said...

the "newhart" ending was perfect, but i think you're being a little harsh about "sex in the city." still, to this day, i don't understand how a new york writer in france could be so bored. as for "the sopranos," i'm surprised that no one has compared "our tv's going dead" to orson welles' "world of the worlds," which also took place in jersey.

love it or hate, david chase got what every creator wants--a nation full of people discussing his character.

Pebbles Flintstone said...

You all who compile lists do so just so we dummies will debate you. I will not give you the last laugh (as much as you live for that!). But I do agree with most of your picks.

Pebbles Flintstone said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Yo Chris!
I am one of yo' biggest fans man! Massah Chambers. Yeah!


Liz Dwyer said...

Makes me glad I never watched that mess. Plus my uncle is married to an Italian lady and she was the first person I knew that talked about how the show was prejudiced/stereotyped Italians.

Lola Gets said...

I know this comes out of left field, but...I liked the way the Cosby Show ended. Kinda reminds me of the Soprano ending...alright I know thats a stretch, but to me theyre in the same area!

Unknown said...

If you go back and rewatch previous episodes from the various seasons to see what you may have missed and to explore and really think about the various themes and characters, the ending is very fitting.
David Chase had a whole purpose for the show and it was not supposed to glorify or neccessarily condemn a mob boss with violence and Italian-American stereotypes. This wasn't meant to be "Good Fellas" Part II.
Through all the seasons Chase provided us with the challenges to contemplate violence, to debate and shun sterotypes of different races and ethnicities, and to figure our place in the world relative to Tony's.
A good article about the show was featured in New York magazine. Here is the link: