GREAT TV SHOWS with GREAT ENDINGS
Michael J
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In response to the GREAT TV SHOWS with CRUMMY ENDINGS GeekList, which itself was a response to the GREAT GAMES with CRUMMY ENDINGS GeekList, I am posting a GREAT TV SHOWS with GREAT ENDINGS GeekList.

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1. Board Game: Wings of War: Famous Aces [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:825] [Average Rating:6.87 Unranked]
Michael J
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Wings
1990-1997, Final Episode May 21, 1997

After Cheers, Wings became a personal favorite of mine. Wings was about two brothers trying to run a struggling charter plane business on Nantucket island outside of Boston. I have a close brother just like the main characters in this series, and many brothers can relate to the endless comparisons of the "responsible" brother to the "funny" brother to the "fun" brother and the "serious" brother, and the continuous, yet humorous, failings of the younger brother attempting to overcome his past. The characters in Wings shared a special relationship all series long, with the older brother constantly rescuing his younger brother from various shenanigans, while at the same time paying the price each time with more stress and marital troubles. Brian, the younger brother, would always go on crazy adventures, while Joe, the older brother, was always the one to hold down the fort and keep their struggling charter plane business in the black. The pattern started when their mother left them with their crazy father when they were little kids, and Joe practically raised Brian, having become a parent much too early in life. And despite having given up his entire childhood to keep Brian safe from their crazy father, Brian runs off with Joe's fiance, leaving Joe literally standing at the altar, resulting in a rift that sees them not speaking for many years prior to the start of the show. Deep down, the characters always loved each other, but it was a tenuous relationship at best. One of Wings best attributes was its ability to put the brothers at odds in almost every episode, yet still manage to let family win out in the end. For this reason, I felt that Wings was one of the funniest, most heartfelt series ever produced.

The show started wonderfully, with the two estranged brothers coming together again after not having spoken for many years because their crazy, deceased father left them a suitcase that sent them on a treasure hunt for money. In the end of the opener, they never found the money, but they found each other again, which was the whole point of the crazy father's charade in the first place.

Until the final episode, of course, when the brothers find a new clue to the treasure hunt that brought them together 8 years earlier. They learn that although their father's intention of bringing them together via a treasure hunt was real, that he actually did leave them money in a suitcase, and that they had just missed the final clue to the treasure the first time around. For half of the finale, they search for the treasure, and then find it, to the sum of $250,000. Of course, Brian wants to run away with his half of the money, leaving Joe in the lurch running the business by himself, stuck on a dead-end island while his brother gets to gallivant through the tropics. To make matters worse, Joe's wife, who spent the entire 8 seasons trying to be respected as a musician, gets a dream job in an orchestra in England, and has to face the choice of whether to move there and leave her husband or give up her music career. Joe, of course, does what he always does, which is let everyone else but himself be happy, because that is who he is. He lets his wife take the job, and agrees to stay home alone running the business while she is in England and Brian spends his fortune traveling in the sun. More loneliness. More stress. More responsibility. More fun for the younger brother. The show just fits, all the way to the very end.

But then, in the very last scene, as Joe's wife is boarding a plane for Europe, Brian shows up at work, suitcase in hand, money in hand, airplane ticket in hand, and tells Joe that it's his turn to have fun. He tells him that he knows he's been a screw-up his whole life, but this time, he wants to do the right thing and let Joe be the one to run off in the sun (well, there's not much sun in England, but that's not the point). For the first time in Joe's life, he gets to do what he wants, and gets to leave work while his brother, who attempted to avoid responsibility his entire life, stays behind to run the business. Joe is literally running out of the plane terminal in the closing moments to catch up with his wife on the tarmac.

The reason I think this is one of the best endings to a TV series anywhere is that it ties in completely with the themes of the entire series, all the way back to the very first show. There is closure to Brian and Joe's relationship, which, while strained for nearly their entire lives, looks like it has finally turned the corner for good. Brian spent the entire 8 years trying (and failing) to apologize for the hurts he inflicted on his brother both earlier in life and during the 8 years they worked together at the airport. Yet, by letting Joe run off to England while he stays behind, Brian apologize and atones in a way that could never have been done through words or Hallmark; he let his actions apologize for him. Also, we get a sense that Brian has matured, at least compared to where he was at the beginning of the series. Plus, Joe gets a well-deserved break; you can almost sense his pent-in frustration at life throughout the series, and being able to go on a vacation to Europe to support his wife's music career seems like the most fitting gift Brian could ever give. Not only that, after years of trying to find work in New York and other large orchestras, Joe's wife finally achieves her dream of playing in an orchestra off of the tiny island they have been stuck on their entire lives. The show was true to its roots until the very last moments, and the finale was amazing. To this day, I still get tears when I see it. Unlike series where the finale feels tacked on, rushed through production (Star Trek: Voyager), or feels nothing like the original series it was wrapping up (Seinfeld, for me), the Wings finale felt like it was a script they had written before the series even started (actually, it felt like it was written with the series opener). The entire 8 years built up to the finale, and there was nothing cheap or cliche about it.

Wings. Funny. Heartfelt. Always underrated in the shadows of Cheers and Seinfeld. But true to itself. And great to the end.
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2. Board Game: Birds on a Wire [Average Rating:5.28 Overall Rank:15314]
Hunter E
United States
Seattle
WA
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I haven't actually gotten to the last season of The Wire yet, but I have faith given the fact that every season of the show so far has pulled off a season ender that somehow closed things off in such a way that that could have been the last episode ever made while also opening up a dozen interesting storylines for the next season. Also not only the best TV show I've ever watched, but one of the best works of literature I've consumed in any form.
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3. Board Game: Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Game [Average Rating:6.63 Overall Rank:1727]
Hunter E
United States
Seattle
WA
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Sure, there was the usual Joss play of killing off characters to force emotion, but I felt like this wrapped up rather nicely in the end; I didn't hate the last season so much as everyone else did, though.
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4. Board Game: Schickeria [Average Rating:4.29 Unranked]
Zé Mário
Portugal
Porto
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Six Feet Under

The show had its ups and downs, but it's a great story that is closed beautifully.
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5. Board Game: Seinfeld Trivia Game [Average Rating:5.24 Overall Rank:14092]
¡dn ʇǝƃ ʇ,uɐɔ ı puɐ uǝllɐɟ ǝʌ,ı
Canada
Chestermere
Alberta
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Life lesson: Hamsters are NOT diswasher safe.
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There are 10 types of people-- those who understand binary, and those who don't.
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I kid, I kid!!
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6. Board Game: New England [Average Rating:6.50 Overall Rank:1791]
¡dn ʇǝƃ ʇ,uɐɔ ı puɐ uǝllɐɟ ǝʌ,ı
Canada
Chestermere
Alberta
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Newhart

Bob's second series ended, and it was "all a dream" (like Dallas). Larry, Daryl, and Daryl never existed; he wasn't in Vermont running an inn.
And it must have been a dream because he wakes up next to his wife from The Bob Newhart Show, Suzanne Pleshette, in the same bedroom set as that first series.
No one saw it coming, and damn it was funny!
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7. Board Game: Golden Girl and the Guardians of the Gemstones [Average Rating:4.83 Unranked]
Ben Lott
United States
Mason
Michigan
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Golden Girls

A TV show with a great cast of actresses and a brilliant staff of writers. Whether they were covering the silliest of topics or something serious, this show always remained hilarious. And I think Bea Arthur decided to call it quits while they were still at the top of their game. But that was OK with me. Now I can go back and watch any episode and enjoy it without thinking "oh, this one was after they jumped the shark."

As for the ending, Dorothy falls in love and gets married. So Dorothy will leave the house and live with her new husband. Sophia decides to stay with "her other girls" and let Dorothy move on to the new chapter in her life. They do a brilliant job of mixing the emotional goodbyes with tons of humor. It was a great way to say goodbye to the series as the girls said goodbye to one another.

We won't discuss the Golden Palace. I'm convinced that was all a bad dream.
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8. Board Game: Age of Conan: The Strategy Board Game [Average Rating:6.69 Overall Rank:1398]
Darren Sever
United States
Fresno
California
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SHOW: LATE NIGHT WITH CONAN O' BRIAN

Conan O'Brian plays "Free Bird" on his guitar with Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top, Beck, and Ben Harper. Lead vocalist (and playing the cowbell) was Will Ferrell.
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9. Board Game: The Fugitive [Average Rating:6.70 Unranked]
Brian Mc Cabe
United States
Arizona
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There are those who look at things the way they are and ask why . . . I dream of things that never were and ask why not
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Actually, I'm making this up. It was a great TV show, watched every week. The ending was a two-parter and the only episode I missed was part two of the wrap-up. Don't remember where I had to go, but it was something that couldn't be missed.

I know what happened, because I read about it, but don't know if it was well done or just contrived because they were being cancelled and had to think of something.

Brian

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10. Board Game: The Game of Great Detectives [Average Rating:6.29 Unranked]
Martin Stever
United States
Bainbridge Island
Washington
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Higgins: Magnum, remember what I told you about Robin Masters?

Magnum: Yeah?

Higgins: I lied.
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11. Board Game: Twelve Caesars [Average Rating:4.68 Overall Rank:14724]
Martin Stever
United States
Bainbridge Island
Washington
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I, Claudius



Claudius brings temporary calm to the chaos of Rome, and is the first Caesar in his long life to die peacefully in his sleep.
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12. Board Game: Inspector Morse [Average Rating:5.67 Unranked]
Martin Stever
United States
Bainbridge Island
Washington
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"Chief Inspector Morse is DEAD!"
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13. Board Game: Clue Master Detective [Average Rating:6.60 Overall Rank:2168]
Martin Stever
United States
Bainbridge Island
Washington
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P.D. James' Death of an Expert Witness



The first of the Dalgliesh mysteries to be turned into a miniseries. When the commander and his able inspector catch up to the murderer (no spoiler) it is a long, quiet, very well acted moment.

The ending of Shroud for a Nightingale is amost as good.
 
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14. Board Game: Over the Top! Four Battles from World War One [Average Rating:6.47 Overall Rank:10011]
Ian Wakeham
United Kingdom
Chester
Cheshire
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Blackadder Goes Forth

A heart-wrenching ending to the episode, the series and the whole Blackadder legacy. Sublime!

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15. Board Game: Sword & Shield [Average Rating:6.31 Overall Rank:10748]
Jackie Billings

Brattleboro
Vermont
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THE SHIELD

Vic probably got a lot less than he deserved in the end, but you can't help feeling sorry for the guy. Loved the show. Loved the ending. Leaves you wondering, "How did things get so out of control?"
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16. Board Game: Forever Young: A Vampire Game [Average Rating:4.76 Unranked]
J.L. Robert
United States
Sherman Oaks
California
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Forever Knight

A syndicated crime drama, starring Geraint Wyn Davies as a vampire working as a Toronto police detective.

The final season slowly saw all of the supporting characters die. After losing his friends (including killing his own love interest in their attempt to consumate their relationship), Nick Knight finally tires of his immortality, and turns to his vampire mentor, Lucien (who had served as an antagonist throughout the series), to end his inner struggle.

Nick is staked and dies, ending the series.

It might not have been the greatest series. But it kept me entertained through its 3-season run. The ending was sudden, yet fulfilling.
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17. Board Game: Carson City [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:359]
J.L. Robert
United States
Sherman Oaks
California
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The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson

On May 22, 1992, after 4531 episodes, Johnny Carson said goodnight to Ed McMahon, Doc Severinsen and the NBC Orchestra, and America for the final time.

Jump to the 8:00 mark of the following clip for the final farewell monologue.

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18. Board Game: Serenity: The Unofficial Board Game [Average Rating:6.40 Unranked]
David McCarthy
United Kingdom
Northampton
Northamptonshire
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Firefly
A really fun and lively mixing of sci-fi and western genres. If only we could make programs of that quality here in England these days.
 
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19. Board Game: Killer Angels [Average Rating:5.79 Overall Rank:13153]
David McCarthy
United Kingdom
Northampton
Northamptonshire
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Dark Angel
Sadly, this had a pretty poor ending - more a damp whimper really. But the premise and stories rattled along at a nice pace and there was the significant benefit of a young Jessica Alba, and dear mother of god she was/is stunning. That's one enhanced life-form I'd welcome a beating from !!
 
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20. Board Game: Avatar: The Last Airbender Trading Card Game [Average Rating:5.48 Overall Rank:13395]
EXTRA AVOCADO! Sonderegger
United States
Folsom
CA
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It takes some kind of guts to plan a perfect run of 3 seasons, find it's a multi-million dollar cash cow, and then stick to the plan without extension or deviation. Books 1-3 are a perfect trilogy, and without the slightest bit of sarcasm, I consider them either equal to, or slightly better than Episodes 4-6 (Or as I like to call them, the only Star Wars movies- in the same vein, M. Night is now dead to me).
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21. Board Game: FutuRisiKo [Average Rating:5.57 Overall Rank:13552]
EXTRA AVOCADO! Sonderegger
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Futurama, before it got its extension (And any argument that it is not back to form is a completely gormless stance after the last 4 episodes of season 6), decided to end it with a perfectly executed finale that neither sacrificed gags or heart in The Devil's Hands are Idle Playthings- Second only to Luck of the Fryrish (Or in my wife's naive, childlike opinion Lethal Inspection).
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22. Board Game: Mind Twist [Average Rating:4.77 Unranked]
EXTRA AVOCADO! Sonderegger
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Folsom
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State of play finishes off an incredible array of acting talent (With an absolutely sublime Bill Nighy leading the pack) with one of the best twists in modern television:

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Watch it yourself, you fool! Also, the movie is extremely disappointing once you've seen even one episode of this.
 
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23. Board Game: Spartacus [Average Rating:6.68 Overall Rank:5453]
EXTRA AVOCADO! Sonderegger
United States
Folsom
CA
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Shall I compare thee to a chevrolet?
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...the headlamps of your eyes will make them dream.
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A slightly edited old favourite:

How do you get to the Colosseum?

Eviscerate, eviscerate, eviscerate!


Honestly, it was so visceral, so cathartic, that I jumped out of my chair and pumped my fist in the air at the final still. It made me feel like it was ok to watch unabashedly manly tv again.

Edit: My friend informs me that Andy Whitfield's cancer is in remission and season 2 begins! This post is now rendered wonderfully moot! Woot!
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24. Board Game: Free Agency [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
EXTRA AVOCADO! Sonderegger
United States
Folsom
CA
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This might have flown under, or, well, you know, completely gone subterranean in regards to, the radar, but Free Agents is, and remains my favourite romantic comedy to date, with a possible resurgence from only Amelie, Keinohrhasen, or Jurassic Park*. The show retains its funny-but-touching honesty to the last minute, by remaining messy and uncomfortable, just like real life. The ending speech is heart-rendingly beautiful and equally unprintable.

*The touching story of a quirky romance between an offbeat Utahraptor and Robert Muldoon's face.
 
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25. Board Game: Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.75 Overall Rank:63]
Adrienne
United States
SAN JOSE
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I know a lot of people didn't like the ending or other parts of the show, but I thought it was fantastic, start to finish. Sure, there were times that I was frustrated with where the show was going, but in the end I thought it was perfect.

If you think you can do better, go write your own show.
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