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Six endings worth emulating (buffy mention)

Saturday 14 April 2007, by Webmaster

The Surprise Ending People Didn’t Know They Wanted
Newhart
CBS, May 21,1990

Though popular at the time, Newhart is best known now for a finale that may just be the best of all time. In this follow-up to his classic Bob Newhart Show, the star played an author running a Vermont inn with his wife (Mary Frann). Or at least he did until that famous final scene, when he woke up in bed with his Bob Newhart Show wife, Emily (Suzanne Pleshette). It was all a dream, and Bob was back with Emily - making us realize that’s where he belonged all along.

The Ending People Wanted
Sex and the City
HBO, Feb. 22, 2004

Sometimes, the best thing a show can do is bow to the inevitable. For six seasons, this sex-charged HBO romantic comedy followed Sarah Jessica Parker’s Carrie Bradshaw as she yearned for Mr. Big (Chris Noth) while chasing after a series of unacceptable substitutes - including an artist (Mikhail Baryshnikov) in Paris. Fans, however, wanted Carrie back in New York with Mr. Big, and that’s the ending they got. Plus, they finally learned Big’s first name: John.

The Open-Ended Ending
NYPD Blue
ABC, March 1, 2005

The lovely, perfectly appropriate final episode of this groundbreaking cop show is a great example of the art of finishing without concluding. Another day winds down, and the detectives file out of the squad room, stopping to say goodnight to their new boss, Dennis Franz’s Andy Sipowicz. The message here is that life goes on, even if we’re not there to watch it.

The Big Finish
M*A*S*H
CBS, Feb. 28, 1983

"Big" is an understatement - the finale ran 2 hours and is the highest-rated American series episode of all time: More than 60% of all TV households tuned in. Yet as befits this classic anti-war comedy, it’s not exactly a happy ending. Peace comes to Korea, but not before the war can claim a few more lives - including, most memorably, a baby on a bus. The final image is iconic: Hawkeye in a helicopter, looking at a "goodbye" spelled out in rocks.

The Hopeful Sendoff
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
UPN, May 20, 2003

This rousing hour accomplished most everything you could ask for in an adventure finale, bringing the story to a satisfying conclusion without closing off future options for the characters. Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) saves the world again, this time by empowering a world full of potential slayers. Her journey is complete, but the slayers’ stories go on.

The Gentle Goodbye
The Mary Tyler Moore Show
March 19, 1977

Unlike so many shows that overstay their welcomes, MTM chose to end its run after its seventh season, while it was still at its creative height. The show’s gift for heartfelt humor shines in the justifiably well-loved finale, as the newsroom staff is fired and Mary is forced to move on to a new stage in her life. She left us, though, with one of TV’s most joyous memories - a beautiful, hilarious, sideways shuffle as the gang heads for a tissue box, unwilling to break out of a group hug.