Series Finales – Parting Can Be Such A Sweet Sorrow
In the next two weeks, viewers will have to kiss both “Breaking Bad” and “Dexter” goodbye. With those two very popular shows ending for good, expectations are very high. There’s a lot of pressure on the show-runners and writers. The end of a series is always a tricky thing, especially when talking about shows as Breaking Bad and Dexter, with so many fans. If a finale is done right, it’ll give the fans the bittersweet sensation of having witnessed the appropriate ending to a wonderful era. But if it’s done wrongly the show will only leave a great number of furious fans who will swear for the next decade in every existing forum. A perfect example of this is the panned finale of Lost. Who can look back fondly at the series knowing that nothing will be solved at the end? That nothing you watched will ever make sense?
Let’s take into account that, in this time and age, a series ending doesn’t necessarily mean that the show can’t get new fans anymore. Anybody can download an old series or buy the DVD. But will someone say “Hey, I wanna start watching Lost” after hearing half the planet talking about how awful the finale was?
Now, how to write for a show a finale that fills the internet with positive feedback? An ending that makes to every “Best Series Finales ever” list? Here are some suggestions:
Go for a teary goodbye:
It’s very moving when in a series finale the main characters must part in different ways. In the real world, life gets in the way and nobody is surrounded by the same people or live in the same place forever. And when a show lasts many years it makes sense that the main characters end up far from where they started from.
Bring back a beloved character that had left the show:
If a series last for many years (Like Dexter), there are beloved characters, once protagonists, who left the show. It’s always a good idea that some of those characters come back for the finale. The audience wishes to know what happened to them. Seeing them again warms the heart and puts a sweet flavor in your mouth.
Make the cycle start again:
Sometimes the best ending is a new beginning.
Don’t end it with a cliffhanger.
Never end the show revealing that it was all a dream.
There’s nothing more frustrating for the fans than that.
Better punishment or suffering for the bad guy:
It’s always a good idea that the main villain suffers something worse than death. If a series lasts long, the fans sometimes spend years watching a villain torment the protagonist. If such villain simply dies, it doesn’t feel like enough.
Let’s hope the endings of Breaking bad and Dexter enter in the history of television as two of the best ones ever. Let’s hope those finales don’t give the fans something to bitch about for the next decades.
When it’s done right, parting is actually “Such a sweet sorrow”.