Lists are all over the internet, this blog looks at those lists. Some list ideas appear over and over again – so let’s compare them.
Every time an anticipated series finale comes out (or is about to come out) so do the lists of the best and worst ever. This week we look at the lists of the best…
Obviously and by necessity, some of these lists may spoil the endings of shows. Visit the lists at your own risk.
Greatest: The usual “Best”/”Top”/”Greatest” comments apply. They all mean the same thing. I avoided memorable, because although it is often used to mean “Best”/”Top”/”Greatest” an episode could be memorably bad as well.
Series Finales: Different words are used “series ending”, etc, but that’s not important. An important feature is that all of the episodes listed were planned finals, the makers knew – or suspected – the show was ending (usually by their own choice) and wrote a final episode, as opposed to shows cancelled with just an ordinary season final. I didn’t specify this, but it is an assumption made by all the people who made the lists. Some list makers cheated by listing the Season 8 ending of Scrubs, the death of the Tenth Doctor and his regeneration into the Eleventh in Doctor Who, but since these appear rarely they don’t make my final list.
Ever: A rare list would specify a time frame, or make a vague comment like “recent”. I’ve ignored those lists. Some say the usual “ever” or “of all time” headline enhancers, but other just imply it. That isn’t to say it’s true. The episodes chosen are usually more recent ones rather than older ones (possibly because more older shows just finished, possibly due to bias towards recent material) and popular shows are preferenced (which is, I guess, a natural bias but a poor one for proper list makers).
ABC New’s Top-Rated TV Finales of All Time.
- A good list, factal rather than opinion like the rest.
- However, ratings doesn’t equate to quality. The millions of viewers don’t know if it is a good or bad finale until after they have watched it.
- Still a nice list to look at for an alternate view, for popularity at the time and episodes that don’t make other lists.
- As the preamble states, the article was created before the numbers for Break Bad were known, but it would not have made the cut (its number are here).
25. IGN’s The Greatest series finale. (Opinion) (spoilers) Spedd_Knight. 22 July 2012. Random Items.
- From the rambling introduction, through the poor formatting and dull lifeless single sentence comments on each show and the conclusion which points out again that these are just some that he’s liked of the many shows (mostly anime) that s/he’s watched and the desperate beging for followers it is everything that a bad list should be.
THE TOP 10 LISTS LIST
10. Oregon Live’s The Top 10 greatest TV series finales: ‘Breaking Bad,’ ‘Newhart,’ ‘The Sopranos,’ more
Kristi Turnquist. 3 November 2013. Reader Poll(ish), Top 10 count up.
- A reader poll with “some editorial judgment”.
- Single page, some comments on each entry, clips for Sopranos and Breaking Bad otherwise just a block of text.
9. New York Post’s The 7 greatest TV series finales
Andrea Morabito & Michael Starr. 26 March 2014. List of 7.
- Single page, clips for each (in theory) and just pure spoilers for the finales not real commentary.
8. Boston.com Top TV series finales
Christopher Hughes. Top 10 Countdown.
- Slideshow, an entry each page.
- Nice commentary.
7. Blog Critics The Ten Best Television Series Finales
Arlo J. Wiley. 27 March 2009. Top 10 Countdown.
- Four pages, badly formatted.
6. (Various) Revisit 5 greatest TV finales ever
Todd Pheifer. 21 May 2012. Top 5 Countdown.
- Single page, some formatting issues.
- Available at the websites of: Click on Detriot, KCRA, KHBS/KHOG, KOAT, WAPT, WDSU, WGAL, WLWT,
5. Digital Fix’s Top Ten: Last Episodes
Amy Jones & Friends. 30 September 2011. Top 10 Countdown.
- Bizarrely counts Sex and the City and Friends together.
4. Ranker’s The Best Series Finales
Television Life. As at 30 April 2014. Top 79 Ongoing Poll.
- Standard Ranker List.
3. PASTE’s The 20 Best Television Series Finales
Mark Rozeman. 11 April 2013. Top 20 Countdown.
- 2 Pages.
- Interesting, perhaps over long comments on each episode.
2. Den of Geek’s The Top 10 TV Show Endings.
Carley Tauchert. 7 Mar 2011. Top 10 Countdown.
- Nice concise list of episodes.
1. Comic Book Resources’ ‘Breaking Bad’ Ends: 10 Great Series Finales.
Josh Wigler. 30 September 2013. Random 10.
- A group of 10 episodes.
- Concise descriptions of each.
This list is created from the positions on the top tens from the above lists. Note: Most of the lists were made in anticipation of Breaking Bad‘s final episode and thus is only made it onto 2 lists, but still managed to come in #11 with 15 points (although it should be mentioned that Blackadder was also only on 2 lists and made the top ten.)
10. (15.5) The Wire (2002 – 2008) “-30-“
9. (17) Blackadder Goes Forth (1989) “Goodbyeee“
8. (18) The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson (1962 – 1992) Final Episode.
7. (22.5) Angel (1999 – 2004) “Not Fade Away”
4. (40.9) Newhart (1982 – 1990) “The Last Newhart“
3. (42.9) Cheers (1982 – 1993) “One For the Road“
2. (53) M*A*S*H (1972 – 1983) “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen“
1. (58.5) Six Feet Under (2001 – 2005) “Everyone’s Waiting“
Even while compiling the list the traditional favourite M*A*S*H was topping the list, but in the final results Six Feet Under pulled ahead. Some links for “Everyone’s Waiting”: