Doux News: August 31, 2014

This week: Why are series finales so hard to get right? -- Possibilities -- Renewals and cancellations -- Fall is coming -- My lack of success in locating a great cat video for this week's Doux News

Why are series finales so hard to get right?

Chuck from Supernatural said it the best: endings are hard. You have to pay off the major story threads and pretty much all of the characters, and it's impossible to make everyone happy. I'd guess that pleasing, say, 80% of your core audience is crucial, though, so that someone will buy the DVDs, stream the series on Netflix for years to come, and recommend it to all of their friends.

Buffy had a decent finale, even though they pretty much ruined the entire final season to do it. Lost's ending was so freaking controversial that I don't even want to discuss it. For that matter, so was Angel's. Dexter... well, in three words: they blew it. Okay, Breaking Bad was nearly perfect. And Six Feet Under had what is still my favorite series finale ever, and I bet Alan Ball had the ending in mind the entire five seasons that it ran.

Unfortunately, Alan Ball left True Blood a couple of seasons ago and I don't think he left any words of wisdom for his successor. Either that, or Brian Buckner and his writers simply wrote themselves into a corner. If you haven't seen the True Blood finale and you plan to do so, I won't spoil you, but I'm starting to think that a successful series finale that most of the fans won't hate is as rare as hen's teeth. Why is that? Is it because television is a lot more complex than it used to be?

Possibilities

-- Speaking of series finales... can you believe that they might freaking finish Deadwood, after all? It's not set or anything, but Timothy Olyphant will be finishing Justified soon, so it might be the perfect time to pencil him in. I had considered taking on reviews of Deadwood for years, and only recently decided not to because there was no real ending. Does this mean I'll have to review Deadwood, after all?

-- Idris Elba says that there may be more Luther. I'm definitely up for more. I never cared much for the actual plots, but I could watch Idris Elba in anything.

-- Fox is considering a remake of The Greatest American Hero. I'm not sure what to think about that. I was never a fan. It was sort of a gimmick show that got old pretty quickly, wasn't it?

-- Amazon is considering a revival of The Tick. I never watched it, but I hear it was good. It was the brainchild of Ben Edlund, one of the best writers on Supernatural. Unfortunately, Edlund couldn't save Revolution, so he can't do everything.

Renewals and cancellations

-- Masters of Sex is getting a third season. Oh, and Ray Donovan.

-- The fifth season of Lost Girl will be its last. And after the way they ended season four, that might be a good thing.

-- The Wil Wheaton Project has been cancelled. I like Wil Wheaton, but I didn't watch his show. It's my fault.

Fall is coming

-- Great news! The unpronounceable Enver Gjokaj (on-vare jo-kay) has been cast as a series regular on Agent Carter. If you don't know why I'm so happy about this, you haven't seen his amazing work as a doll named Victor on Dollhouse.


-- Lucy Lawless will be Isabelle Hartley in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I can't tell if it's for one episode or many. Does anyone know? Maybe the producers aren't sure.

-- Arrow has cast Nolan Funk as a love interest for our beloved Felicity, and Amy Gumenick (one of the Mary Winchesters from Supernatural) as Cupid.

-- The Originals has just posted a trailer for season two.


-- Boy, you can tell fall is coming when we start seeing fan baiting like this. There will be a gay character on The Walking Dead. It might be fan favorite Daryl Dixon. Do I care if Daryl is gay? Absolutely not. But I bet the knickers of many fans are currently twisting.

-- This probably means little to anyone who isn't nuts about Supernatural star Jensen Ackles, but this week, he finally succumbed to Twitter. He's off to a great start with a photo like this one.

This week in cats

The cat video that Josie posted in last week's Doux News was so awesome that I was unable to even come close to something that compared. (In case you missed it, here it is in all of its awesomeness.)


So in lieu of our usual catty conclusion, here is the best Ice Bucket Challenge video ever, by his awesomeness, Sir Patrick Stewart. Let me get the word "awesome" in there, one more time.



---
Billie Doux is the founder of Doux Reviews and has been reviewing her favorite shows for a ridiculously long time. More Billie Doux.

17 comments:

ChrisB said...

Sir Patrick is the man. Best IBC of them all. I laughed out loud and instantly changed my mind about participating.

:-)

drnanamom said...

Such an enjoyable read, thanks Billie. I think that one of the reasons that it is hard to get a series finale right (unless you had it in mind at the very beginning) is because of all the emotions wrapped up in it. People are either sad to see it go or happy to end the pain. This is true for the fans, the writers and everyone else involved in the show. Add to that the avoidance of all endings and loss in North American society and it is almost impossible (as you say) to get it right.

Juliette said...

My favourite series finale, and the only one I thought got it absolutely 100% right, was Sex and the City - and then they ruined it with 2 movies! Though I would've been happy with The Gift as Buffy's finale I think. And I liked TNG's All Good Things.

Oh I forgot - Blackadder Goes Forth had a perfect finale. And then later made a special. No one knows when to leave a thing alone!

Billie Doux said...

"All Good Things..." was a good series finale -- you're right, Juliette. I just remembered that Dollhouse had a good series finale, too (speaking of Enver Gjokaj).

Gavrielle said...

I'm not going to get too excited just yet, but wow, how great would more Deadwood be? I'll happily take more Tick, too.

Mark Greig said...

All this talk has got me wondering - what is the best series finale that wasn't meant to be a series finale? The only one I could think of is Firefly's 'Objects in Space', a great episode that sent the series out on a high.

Billie Doux said...

Awake and Moonlight did pretty well.

I was also thinking about two series that ended unexpectedly and left us with cliffhangers that were so awful that they were forced to give us more: La Femme Nikita fans were so outraged that they would not shut up about it, so they had to do a fifth season of eight episodes. And Veronica Mars, for which we finally got a wrap-up movie.

mazephoenix said...

Stargate Universe was cancelled before an end could be planned..but their final episode was kind of poignant.
Agreed about Moonlight.

Jess Lynde said...

Hello all! I've missed discussing television with you guys. Maybe now that the kids are about to head back to school, I'll be better able to stay current with what's on!

Finales are definitely hard. I think because by the end of a show (especially a long-running one), so many people want different things from it. Heaven knows that I am notoriously hard to please on the finale front. The best ones for me deliver on an emotional or a thematic level, and have a sense of bringing things full circle or to an appropriate resting point. Angel and Lost remain great finales from my perspective, because they clicked on the right an emotional and thematic beats for me. I also adored the Friday Night Lights finale. It was a the perfect resting place for that show. Things didn't really end, but it was a good place in which to part ways with those characters, knowing that their lives continued on. Babylon 5 also had a tremendous finale.

My husband and I recently finished Spartacus, and I found that a tremendously satisfying (if inevitably heartbreaking) conclusion to the series. It took us a long time to get there, because we knew what was coming in general, and it was hard to work ourselves up to watching. But in the end, though it was difficult to watch, it hit all the right notes thematically and emotionally. Well worth the journey.

I vote for Wonderfalls in the "unintended finale that still worked really well" category. I agree that Stargate Universe is definitely another good choice there. And I vote for Space: Above and Beyond and Alphas in the "most terrible finale cliffhanger ever" category.

lisa menaster said...

I thought Alias was one of the best finales and Veronica Mars one of the worst. I'm wondering Billie why you thought the last Buffy season was so bad. I thought it was bad as well, but I never got that feeling from you from reading your reviews of the season.

Billie Doux said...

Lisa, the actual Buffy finale was terrific, but I remember being constantly annoyed by the presence of all of the slayers-in-waiting. Of course, that all paid off, so it was worth it. I just didn't know where it was going at the time.

J.D. Balthazar said...

Since I'm reviewing it, I should probably mention the mind-blowing god awful Season 4 series finale to Farscape. It was an ending so wrong, that it felt like a hate letter penned to the fans. I know they had gotten a fifth season order that was yanked at the last minute, and there were issues behind the scenes. But they could've avoided a big fan outcry and the need to do a four hour mini-series a couple of years later if they had just cut that ending by a few minutes. It's the finales that get it right... up until those final few seconds that really drive you up the wall.

Luce said...

TPTBs have a really hard time coming up with finales that: a) work within the context of the series as well as of the final season and b)satisfy both the old fans and the new.

Best finales (IMHO): Angel, Buffy, Charmed, Sex and City, Firefly, The Wire.

Terrible finales: True Blood, Battlestar Galactica (reboot), HIMYM.

Beyond terrible finales: Xena and Forever Knight --which I don't know if anyone else has watched since it's a cult show from the early 1990s.

mazephoenix said...

Ugh yes the Xena finale. It was so bad I've decided it didn't happen.
Oh agreed about the Wire finale. Peerless.
Sex and the City had a great finale too. The movies didn't happen.
Seinfeld's finale was, um, special.
Star Trek Voyager had a decent finale. Apart from a random pairing that made no sense. Ahem.

Luce said...

@mazephoenix It took me a while to rewatch Xena episodes. On the last one I did (about three years ago), I stopped at "Many Happy Returns". It made all the difference.

The Wire finale gave me the chills, really.

There were Sex and the City movies? /sarcasm

Oh, the Seinfeld finale. Yeah. I was a fan of the show and can still remember all the hype about it. After it aired, I got really angry. It wasn't until at least 5 years later that I rewatched it. Part of me got what TPTB tried to do, but another part of me was a mixture of confused and disappointed. So, yes, it's a "special" finale for sure.

hekates said...

The Tick is great!!! And more Luther!

I have not been able to bring myself to watch the final episode of my all time favorite series (the one where my friend called me to tell me it was cancelled so "you wouldn't hear it from strangers." And I burst into tears. Being Human UK Forever!)

Juliette said...

mazephoenix, I agree - Voyager's finale was decent enough, if not spectacular, but that one HUGE error in judgement kinda ruins it for me!