Hello everyone! I’m so close to the end of my semester and I should be able to squeeze in a novel or two before the year is over. Like everyone else, I have been using television to help me escape the reality of COV!D this year. Last night, one of my favorite shows ever, Supernatural, ended and, wow, it was something. I rarely get to see a show come to an actual series finale since either a.) I don’t finish the shows or b.) the show gets cancelled. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the different series finales I’ve watched and where they’ve gone very right or horribly wrong. The following is a list that no one asked for about things that should (or shouldn’t) be done to properly end a show, especially one with a dedicated fan base.
Kill Your Darlings, but Nicely: Since I watch a lot of sci-fi/fantasy/action/etc., character deaths are to be expected. If you are going to kill off a character at the very end, however, make it as poetic and dignified as possible. No one wants to see a character who has been through the wringer die in a completely mundane way. It doesn’t have to be a sacrifice, but it should make the audience and the other characters feel okay with the loss.
Remember the Lore: This mostly applies to the fantasy genre as a whole but canon is also important to any show. If you have elaborate backstory, the least you can do is keep the main threads going and keep in mind all of the important plot points or foreshadowing that has been established. The whole point of a prophecy is it has to come true in some way so make it happen! Fans can theorize all they want but the writers are the ones who get to make these things come to life on the screen.
Cycles Matter: We love seeing a story come full circle and homages are really nice for all of the fans who have stuck around. Easter Eggs and references are great for this. Even inside jokes can help ease us to the end. It’s okay to poke a little fun at the show’s past and reminisce. Let the characters go back to the start in some way then have them learn from the past.
Make Every Minute Count: Whether the show if half an hour, an hour, or two hours, every second counts if it is the end. Do not pad out the show with a montage unless it is super relevant. I don’t want another montage that only exists to show the passage of time. It rarely works. I also especially don’t want a montage about the past. I was there! I saw it! Give me new stuff!
Legacy? What is a Legacy?: Leave the fans something behind to enjoy. The legacy of a show doesn’t necessarily have to come in the form of a spin off or an open ending. I don’t always need a hint at something more. Sometimes, a show just needs to be done. Epilogues are fine and all, but they are all trying to copy off of Harry Potter where someone has a kid who is named after a deceased character. It’s become a weirdly specific trope that I am starting to get tired of. Just let us have the memories and let me enjoy my rewatch without thinking I’m going to be disappointed again.
To Ship or Not to Ship?: Quit teasing a relationship. Either make them friends, put them in a relationship, or at least address it in an appropriate manner. I am all for emotional complexity in a show, but it does get tiring after a while. By the end, we should know whether two characters are going to end up together or not. Please just decide or not, writers. It’s exhausting and I don’t want to read any more fan fiction.
CAMEOS: Give me some indication that the past characters mattered. A cameo is great if the actor is available. If not, at least, acknowledge the fan favorites that weren’t main characters. I get so excited when I see a cameo and I would love even more. Please give me cameos!!!
And that is the end of my post that no one asked for. I hope you enjoyed it and I would love to hear your opinions in the comments. Thank you and stay safe!