Tears, maniacal ravings, depression — ah, the joys of watching the last ever episode of your favorite series. The finale holds a special position: it is the ultimate word on a show. Its outcome can even affect previous episodes retroactively, either clarifying or destroying a program’s entire meaning. Too dramatic? Take a look at some of the winners in the Finale Awards, and be the judge yourself!
It’s well-known that Enterprise got the short end of the Star Trek bat’leth, but despite its problems, the show did have a very loyal fan base. Which is why the decision to screw over these fans is particularly strange. Rather than giving the series a proper goodbye, the final episode used Enterprise’s characters as mere puppets in a holodeck scenario, programmed by a Buffy cast member from a different (more successful) Star Trek series! Deciding that this wasn’t enough to piss people off, they killed fan-favorite Trip with an underwhelming, off-screen ‘boom’.
Best Heart Breaker
“Dr. Sam Becket never returned home.” Wow, even reading that line can give you chills. For the entire run of Quantum Leap, viewers watched him jump from body to body, always hoping, as the opening credits said, that one day he would jump into his own body and see his family again. And finally, he got a chance… but chose to help his friend instead. The series was not picked up after this episode, and a hasty line declaring that another chance never came was the bittersweet taste left in fans’ mouths.
Best “Screw it, let’s go out with a bang!”
Technically, this could go under best cliffhanger if not for the subsequent TV movie The Peacekeeper Wars. Although the Farscape writers knew that this was the final episode, they decided to keep the planned ending. Shippers rejoiced as Crichton proposed to Aeryn on a beautiful red lake… and then cursed when an enemy ship swooped down and disintegrated the couple into a million little shards, their horrified friends watching from nearby.
Best ‘Not a Finale’
It doesn’t get much more final than the eponymous character dying to save the world in the last episode. So when Buffy the Vampire Slayer was cancelled by the WB, heroic sacrifice seemed a fitting end. Except, oops, the show was then picked up by UPN. Oh well, not a problem when one of your characters is a witch! However, no matter that Buffy was quickly resurrected — her beautiful swan dive to her death, and the fade to a shot of her tombstone, makes for a powerful ending.
Angel’s cast of characters stood (in varying states of injury) poised to fight insurmountable enemies as a wave of creatures, demons and a dragon descended on them. What on earth would happen next? Um… we dunno? If the fifth season hadn’t already been announced as the last, fans might have suspected network foul-play. But no, a massive cliffhanger was the way The Powers That Be chose to end their series, leaving a way for us to make up our own ending (I personally think Buffy and Willow turned up in time to save everyone….)*
*Yes, I choose to ignore the post-show comics. It’s a fan prerogative.
Best Heart Warmer
All right, so the finale of Lost could also fit into the WTF category: After watching six seasons of material supposedly based on science, ending the show with the whole gang moving from purgatory to heaven together, bathed in a white light, was a little like reading a hard-boiled thriller and turning the last page to find a picture of a three-legged puppy sitting in the rain. Yet I and many other softhearted fools couldn’t help shedding a few tears as we saw everyone reunited (okay, I sobbed like a baby) after so much death and suffering in the ‘real’ world of Lost. Try not to apply logic when viewing it, and you’ll find your heart warmed too.
Of course, no awards show would be complete without calls of conspiracy and favouritism. So, in the interest of fairness, over to you — what would you have chosen instead?