Twelve Days of Festivus: Two series finales
by Annie Wu, posted Dec 22nd 2009 2:02PM
On the second day of Festivus, TV gave to me... two series finales.
Shows end all the time. Sometimes shows purposefully bow out to end on a high note, and sometimes shows unexpectedly get axed. Some pack a punch in their short lives, some get drawn out over several decades and end amidst a chorus of "Finally!" Seriously. Shows end all the time.
Which is why it's absolutely cruel that I was assigned to pick only two 2009 series finales to write about. Come on! Two. That's a lot of pressure to put on a girl.
I realize this is delicate ground, because there were a lot of big finales in 2009 that were very interesting, but here are two that I thought were especially compelling to consider.
ER: At one point, ER was exciting, must-see television, one of NBC's finest jewels. By the time the final season rolled around, no one seemed particularly excited. A lot of fans gave up several seasons/characters ago and had no plans to return, and others took the final shows as incentive to tune in one last time. NBC made a huge deal about it, mentioning the impending finale in every single ad, but that just made me keep thinking, "Wasn't ER supposed to end, like, five episodes ago?"
The final moments of the show didn't involve anyone leaving their keys on a table and then slowly, somberly walking out the door. There were just more ambulances and injured people. You know, ER stuff. All the little nods to moments from past seasons and the casual continuation of just another day at work was an interesting take. Despite the fact the ending wasn't soul-crushingly tender and didn't inflict much shame on viewers that quit seasons ago, it was appropriate for ER's non-stop nature.
According to Jim: Let me make this very clear: In no way am I praising this finale or this show. I just thought it was noteworthy. It is very important that we are clear on this.
According to Jim was one of those programs that seemed to escape all forms of logic, as the popularity of it seemed be brewed by invisible people. One would watch the program for five minutes and then have to turn off the TV to quietly ponder who actually watches the show or when Jim Belushi had time to learn how to hypnotize execs to keep it on the air. Sure, solid family-based sitcoms aren't as hot as they used to be and that can be blamed for Jim's cancellation, but, really, it was just a poor show.
After eight seasons, it finally ended over the summer. The decision came from above; the show was not disappearing in an attempt to close the curtain gracefully. The same amount of confusion dedicated toward Jim's longevity can now be directed to Two and a Half Men. Yeah, I said it. Sorry, Ducky.
Popular shows like Battlestar Galactica and Monk ended, as well, but they seemed to maintain their audience relatively consistently, and those viewers tuned in to support their shows. Supportive viewers aren't very fun to write about, are they? If it makes you feel better, I'll allow you to chant "So say we all" in the comments.
Twelve shows a stinkin'
Eleven babes worth watchin'
Ten shows on DVD
Nine on-air breakdowns
Eight stars a'shinin'
Seven shows a'thrivin'
Six shows you should be watchin'
Five cancelled shows
Four webby series
Three reality disasters