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As high-profile series “The Big Bang Theory,” “Game of Thrones” and “Veep” come to an end with finale episodes that received mixed reviews from fans and critics alike, it becomes that much more apparent that the more invested someone is with a piece of programming, the more personally they will take the goodbye — for better and for worse.
Wrapping up multiple seasons of complex characters in heightened worlds that have provided escapism, or even more simply comfort and reflection, to millions around the world is no easy feat. But over the years there have been a special selection of series that more than stuck their landing, sending their stories off on a high note and raising the bar for others who were following behind. Here, Variety selects the best series finales through the years.
Series-ender - Show-within-the-show - End - Audience - TGS
What made this series-ender so satisfying was that the show-within-the-show was also coming to an end, so the audience didn’t feel like they would be missing out on any “TGS” adventures. Tina Fey and Tracey Wigfield, who wrote the episode, packed the half-hour full of callbacks as well as perfect last moments for all of the quirky characters, from Liz (Fey) “having it all” with her kids, her husband and a new show, to Jenna (Jane Krakowski) preparing an emotional musical number, to even Lutz (John Lutz) getting a rare win and being allowed to select the lunch order. But most importantly it paid off something Jack (Alec Baldwin) had projected at the series start: that eventually everyone would be working for the former Page, Kenneth (Jack McBrayer).
Family or country? That was an essential dilemma in Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg’s Soviet spy drama, and after sixth seasons, the harsh truth was finally, definitively revealed. Philip (Matthew Rhys) and Elizabeth (Keri Russell) made plans to leave America...
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