Series Finales, part 2

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Series Finales, part 2

Now, as announced, my four worst series finales ever.

The Prisoner
A wonderfully quirky show created by the series star, Patrick McGoohan. After a secret agent quits, he is abducted and placed in "The Village" where he is held prisoner. There, he is questioned about the circumstances behind his quitting and any other information he may have. He has no idea who has him or what their goal is. It was a show that was very much a commentary on life and the trappings that we are bound by, the show was clever and interesting for the most part. Then came the last episode with expectations that the story would be resolved. And all insanity broke loose. The final episode was completely nonsensical. It resolved nothing and betrayed it’s own level of realism. Some look for symbolism in the episode. I suppose it can be found, but that’s not what I was wanting. Fortunately, I’m able to distance that episode from the rest of the series and I still enjoy what it was for the first 16 episodes or so.

The A-Team
For five years, and for an unseen ten years before that, John "Hannibal" Smith, Templeton "Faceman" Peck, and Bosco "B. A." Baracus, along with their crazy ally "Howling Mad" Murdock, were on the run from the law and the military. While fugitives, they helped common folks, sometimes for money and sometimes for free. They were the good guys, able to do whatever it took to bring justice to a situation. Not bound by any law. Completely free. Finally, it looked like they were on the path to getting a pardon from the president, but we never made it to that point. The show was canceled and the last episode was one of the worst episodes produced. Upstaged by a large group of senior citizens who rode a bus around and fought crime with their canes, the original team congregated at the end of the episode to ponder what they might do with their lives should they get a pardon. And that’s it. No resolution. Just a tacked on ending that talked about what could be. Ah yes…what could have been…

I hesitate including this show because I didn’t feel like it was that great of a show to begin with. But in their series finale, they went back and spat in the eye of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Twelve or so years after the episode "The Pegasus" was produced, the final episode of Enterprise takes us back there and fills in the gaps between scenes. Of course, I never realized there were gaps. And I want to know how Riker and Troi aged and deaged, enlarged and shrank from moment to moment. We find out that Riker had a crisis of conscience that could only be resolved by going into the holodek and reliving the final mission of Captain Archer’s Enterprise. In using this set up, they completely ignored the cast of the show and created something inferior to either show’s standards.

The X-Files
I didn’t watch this show in the same way most people did. Instead of watching it over the course of nine years, I watched it in about 14 months. And in watching it at that rate, I was able to see that a lot of stuff didn’t really add up. The "mythology" of the show was contradictory, convoluted, and dull. I no longer was interested in Mulder who had been absent for a year and came back for the finale. Upon his return, he reclaimed the show causing new series regulars Robert Patrick and Annabeth Gish to become Coy and Vance to Duchovny and Anderson’s Bo and Luke. The show ends with nothing completely resolved and no sense of what is to come other than impending doom that the heroes ultimately could not stop. Well, maybe "heroes" is the wrong word now that I think about it.

There’s one more way that a show can end badly, but it presents a different list. Sometimes a show is canceled and the last episode is a cliffhanger. It’s a rarity when the show can be brought back and resolved. Alien Nation did it. Farscape did it. Firefly did it and made it to the big screen. But many others have not. Next time, in finale of my series finale series, I’ll list some of the best (or is it worst?) cliffhanger series finales.

By | 2017-03-17T01:05:16+00:00 August 19th, 2007|Categories: Article|Tags: , , , , , |8 Comments

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  1. PLee February 23, 2017 at 4:00 am - Reply

    What killed me about the Enterprise finale, more than anything, was that they flashed forward, what, six years? And nothing had changed at all, except the engineer and the Vulcan had stopped dating. Everyone was the same rank, everyone had the same job.

    Why not an eyepatch on the security guy? Or give the black guy a crewcut? Or the black guy and the Asian girl switched bodies? Or someone is a cyborg now? There should have been a hundred little things like that for the fans to chew on and speculate about, none of which should have been commented upon in the dialog.

    If they wanted to show Riker and Troi, it would've been much better to flash forward to Captain Riker of the Enterprise, a few years down the line after "Nemesis"…

  2. PLee February 23, 2017 at 4:00 am - Reply

    Neelix tried making macaroni and cheese for Ensign Ashmore, but used milk from a schplict to make the cheese, and that got into the life support systems and infected a bio-neural gel pack with bacteria. (VOY: "Learning Curve")

    So when Neelix mentioned that they had a schplict on board and that he had made cheese from its milk, I realized . . . someone on that ship has to milk the schplict, which I imagined was some sort of centipede-cow hybrid.

    This became a bit of a catchphrase in my dorm. "Somebody's gotta milk the schplict" implied taking on a dirty job that no one else wanted to do.

  3. Jeeg February 23, 2017 at 4:00 am - Reply

    I completely agree with CT on the Enterprise finale. I had given up on watching the show during the first season, but was curious to see how they ended things. The finale made me glad I hadn't invested the time since the legacy of these brave space pioneers was helping a first officer make a somewhat important decision 300 years down the line. Dud.

  4. Carlin February 23, 2017 at 4:00 am - Reply

    At some point I wondered why they just didn't go ahead and bring Voyager home mid-series so they could just be a regular Star Trek series. They wanted to get home, but there were no repercussions for their actions. They blow up a shuttlecraft, no big. They just replicate more.

    Speaking of Voyager, talk a little bit about the schlitz, PLee.

  5. PLee February 23, 2017 at 4:00 am - Reply

    Well, genre TV just continues to evolve. Shows can be more continuity-oriented and trust that the viewers will be able to keep up because they are watching closely, regularly, and repeatedly. Shows like Lost can throw out tiny little clues and hints and trust that the Internet community will catch them.

    And when you have an audience that invested in your premise and your characters, and then you upset that apple cart with a big development . . . well, the audience feels it.

    Yep…Voyager didn't feel desperate enough. Great premise, and by the end of the pilot, they already screwed things up by making all the Maquis into Starfleet officers. BSG is all about facing tough choices in desperate situations and knowing that you will ALWAYS, sooner or later, suffer the consequences of every bit of nasty business or ethical compromise you engage in.

  6. Carlin February 23, 2017 at 4:00 am - Reply

    Now that I have a laptop, one day, I'm going to watch a series from start to finish and sit there with my laptop and take notes that I'll turn into a book. I almost did it with the A-Team. Maybe I still will someday.

    Voyager's end was lame. But I never felt Voyager was brave enough. That's what I dig about the new Battlestar Galactica. At least what I've watched (the first two seasons). BSG very much is what Voyager should have been. And in many ways, Farscape was, too. In fact, the way Farscape handled the "getting home" subplot was great.

  7. PLee February 23, 2017 at 4:00 am - Reply

    I think all three of us turned anti-Voyager at some point during the show's run . . . maybe at different points . . . but that final episode was, to me, especially lame. The difficulty there was . . . do you end the show with them getting home, or do you show what happens after they get home?

    Now here's a thought . . . finish the series with a whole SEASON after the characters take advantage of some sort of plot device "anomaly" to get home. We see the characters readjust, get reassigned, retire, whatever. But there's a new threat — rips in space-time are letting all sorts of crazy stuff from parallel dimensions come through and threaten earth. And they realize — we're the ones that cause this. We have to reset to the point where we traveled home, and it will be like the last season never happened.

    Final scene is seventy years later, as Voyager, captained by a grey-haired Tuvok and crewed by the descendants of the original crew, arrive at Earth. An ancient Janeway sees Earth and passes away quietly, finally home.

  8. PLee February 23, 2017 at 4:00 am - Reply

    You could write a book about how and to what extent "X-Files" went off the rails. [And you should, CT. It's what the Internet is for. That and porn and fan fiction.]

    While the "mythology" plotline about the single overarching super-conspiracy certainly doesn't all add up, I thought the final "Truth" they discovered (the aliens are coming, we know exactly when they are coming, and there is not a damn thing we can do to stop them) was suitably impressive.

    But Mulder and Scully's wonderfully complex relationship was gone the last two years of the show…and then we find out that at some point off camera, they admitted their love for one another and started makin' babies. And Mulder comes back looking rather bloated and more smug that usual…

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