With 'Downton Abbey' ending, a look back at 10 favourite series finales

NEW YORK -- Now that we know our "Downton Abbey" friends are (mostly) happy and healthy, we can part with this splendid series satisfied that it has ended in fine fashion.

See Full Article

Among the finale's reassuring milestones (beware: spoiler alert!):

The habitually forlorn Anna (Joanne Froggatt) and Bates (Brendan Coyle) found happiness, at last, in parenthood with the birth of a healthy baby boy.

Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) buried the hatchet with her sister, arranging for Edith (Laura Carmichael) to cross paths with Bertie (Harry Hadden-Paton), who then asked for Edith's hand, and the wedding bells chimed. Separately, magazine editor Edith decided to expand to a full page the red-hot column penned by Spratt (Jeremy Swift) in this butler's unlikely new sideline as a romance adviser.

Mary's new hubby Henry (Matthew Goode) teamed up with Tom (Allen Leech) to go into business together selling cars.

Beloved Downton butler Mr. Carson (Jim Carter) was showing progressive symptoms of a palsy that forced him to resign his post, but Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville) insisted he stay on, complete with pension, with the reformed bad guy Thomas (Rob James-Collier) brought back from a short-lived gig elsewhere to take over the hands-on duties as head butler.

And Lord Grantham restated his love and support for his wife Cora (Elizabeth McGovern).

In short: Life goes on grandly at Downton Abbey.

With that in mind, we are free to recall other bygone series' finales. Here are 10 favorites worth remembering:

"MARY TYLER MOORE" (March 19, 1977)

Unforgettable after four decades, the end saw everyone at WJM's news department getting fired - everyone, that is, except bungling anchorman Ted Baxter. Then came a scene that choked up everyone involved, especially viewers: Bidding farewell to his minions, news director Lou Grant engaged them in a group hug while declaring, "I treasure you people." We felt the same.

"M-A-S-H" (Feb. 28, 1983)

The Korean War ended. Hawkeye, B.J. and the rest of our friends were headed home. In a sense, we viewers had served right along with them at the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital for those 11 funny, often moving seasons. It was with sadness as well as gratitude that peace was declared and that, finally, we were going our separate ways.

"ST. ELSEWHERE" (May 25, 1988)

There has never been a more "huh?" finish to a series than that of this pioneering, often mordantly funny hospital drama. In its final moments, we learned that its entire six-season run had been a figment of an autistic child's imagination. Proof: His snow globe containing a toy replica of St. Eligius Hospital was seen in the series' final shot.

"NEWHART" (May 21, 1990)

As a perfectly perverse goof on "St. Elsewhere," not to mention itself, this popular sitcom ended with the entire Vermont setting for its bed-and-breakfast getting purchased by a Japanese tycoon. Series star Bob Newhart, who played the ex-proprietor of the B-and-B, was then knocked senseless by a golf ball. He awakened in bed with his TV wife from his previous sitcom, "The Bob Newhart Show," to whom he, back in his previous role as a psychiatrist, shared the dream he had just had: running a kooky hostelry in Vermont. Thus had the eight-year run of "Newhart" been a Chicago shrink's wacky nightmare!

"CHEERS" (May 20, 1983)

We left swaggering but goodhearted barkeep Sam Malone right where he had found him 11 seasons before: presiding over Cheers, the Boston pub where everybody knew our name. His final words as he locked the front door late that last night were, "We're closed." But we were consoled by the certainty that, come the next day, he would open again as usual.

"SIX FEET UNDER" (Aug. 21, 2005)

Not only an honest tearjerker, this finale was flawlessly in synch with the series' sensibility. A drama about a funeral home, it had been a five-season meditation on life and death. Fittingly, the finale fast-forwarded through the life and eventual passing of each member of its family of characters. The moral was clear and beautifully drawn: When it comes to death, no one is immune.

"THE SOPRANOS" (June 10, 2007)

An argument can still be sparked among "Sopranos" fans over what its blunt, cut-to-black ending meant. Was the spooky implication (that Tony Soprano was about to be whacked as he dined with his family in a local restaurant) carried out once the screen went dark? Or had Tony, glancing up, just been acknowledging his daughter Meadow's entrance? Was the scene one of brilliant ambiguity (life goes on, whether or not TV keeps sharing it with viewers), or a screwing-around-with-the-audience cop-out? Nearly a decade later, such questions are debated still.

"THE SHIELD" (Nov. 25, 2008)

No finale was more wickedly perfect: Detective Vic Mackey, its brutish, brought-down anti-hero, received a fate worse than death or any prison term. He was stripped of authority as well as his family (placed in witness protection), then, as part of his immunity agreement, stuck in a dreary desk job.

"LOST" (May 23, 2010)

After six seasons, "Lost" left the air with a rapturous close that provided more comfort and inspiration than hard answers. For one last time, we viewers were obliged to lose ourselves in the series' uncountable dimensions. We did. On its own oblique, often confounding, terms, this finale hit the spot.

"MAD MEN" (May 17, 2015)

Seemingly a broken man, Don Draper got his groove back while meditating at a yoga camp. His big idea: link Coca-Cola with world peace in a warm-and-fuzzy TV commercial. As cynical as it was brilliant, this epiphany (which echoed an actual Coke campaign from the early 1970s) vaulted Don back to the big advertising time, demonstrating he was truly The Real Thing, and that nothing would ever stop this Mad Man.



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • Lawsuit filed against S-Town podcast creators

    Entertainment CBC News
    The estate of the man at the centre of the popular S-Town podcast is suing the show's creators, saying they exploited details of his private life for financial gain. Craig Cargile, the executor of John B. McLemore's estate, filed the lawsuit Thursday in Bibb County, Ala. Source
  • Yvette Nicole Brown to be interim guest host of Walking Dead

    Entertainment CBC News
    Yvette Nicole Brown is filling in for Chris Hardwick as host of the The Walking Dead and Talking Dead while AMC Networks reviews sexual assault allegations against Hardwick. AMC announced Friday that Brown will be "interim guest host" of The Walking Dead Season 9 Preview Special on Aug. Source
  • Indigenous theatre without Indigenous actors: Robert Lepage criticized over Kanata

    Entertainment CBC News
    A week after cancellation of his controversial slave song show SL?V, Quebec's Robert Lepage is the target of criticism once again, this time over what appears to be a lack of Indigenous performers in a new show about relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada. Source
  • Indigenous artists criticize Quebec director Robert Lepage over new show

    Entertainment CBC News
    A week after cancellation of his controversial slave song show SL?V, Quebec's Robert Lepage is the target of criticism once again, this time over what appears to be a lack of Indigenous performers in a new show about relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada. Source
  • Yvette Nicole Brown is interim guest host of 'Walking Dead'

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Yvette Nicole Brown is filling in for Chris Hardwick as host of "The Walking Dead" and "Talking Dead" while AMC Networks reviews sexual-assault allegations against Hardwick. AMC announced Friday that Brown will be "interim guest host" of "The Walking Dead Season 9 Preview Special" on Aug. Source
  • More politicians say they were fooled by Sacha Baron Cohen

    Entertainment CBC News
    Some politicians are going through the several stages of panic associated with an interview with Sacha Baron Cohen: remorse, damage control, anger and regret for being duped. One of the comedian's latest targets, defeated U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore, is threatening a defamation lawsuit over an upcoming episode of the comedian's new television series. Source
  • Indigenous artists criticize SLAV director Lepage for new show 'Kanata'

    Entertainment CTV News
    MONTREAL -- Quebec director Robert Lepage is once again being criticized for a lack of representation in one of his stage shows. About 30 people signed an open letter in Le Devoir today to denounce Lepage for not including Indigenous performers in his upcoming show "Kanata. Source
  • Nancy Sinatra Sr., first wife of Frank Sinatra, dies at 101

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- Nancy Sinatra Sr., the childhood sweetheart of Frank Sinatra who became the first of his four wives and the mother of his three children, has died. She was 101. Her daughter, Nancy Sinatra Jr. Source
  • 'Diversity is there, even in the deep past': More period TV dramas exploring non-white stories

    Entertainment CBC News
    When actor Dalmar Abuzeid dons the shabby bowler hat of Bash, a newcomer on Season 2 of Anne with an E, he won't just be adding a character who didn't exist in the L.M. Montgomery books on which the series is based. Source
  • Diversity in period TV dramas expected to 'grow and grow'

    Entertainment CBC News
    When actor Dalmar Abuzeid dons the shabby bowler hat of Bash, a newcomer on Season 2 of Anne with an E, he won't just be adding a character who didn't exist in the L.M. Montgomery books on which the series is based. Source