Top TV Stories of 2009: Series finales
by Mike Moody, posted Dec 23rd 2009 4:03PM
I don't think anyone cried over the cancellation of According to Jim, which managed to stay on the air seemingly due to some kind of deal with the devil, for eight cruel seasons. But 2009 also saw the end of some of our favorite shows here at TV Squad.
Some of these series finales left us in tears, some of them sparked debate, and a few even left us wondering, "what did I just watch?"
After the jump you'll find a list of six notable series finales for 2009. Feel free to share your thoughts about the finales in the comments, and don't forget to tell us about your favorites that didn't make the list. (And needless to say, there be spoilers below!)
Battlestar Galactica – We might never get the answers to all of our questions about the BSG finale, but the series' last two hours delivered a surprisingly uplifting and poetic end to the tale. Cavil was defeated, human and Cylon co-mingled on a blossoming planet Earth, and all of that tricky tech was tossed into the sun. Let's not get into the whole "What is Starbuck?" debate here. All we know is what the show and producer Ron Moore and star Katee Sackhoff have revealed – Starbuck as we knew her died piloting a Viper in season three. The Starbuck we saw vanish in a flash next to Lee Adama in BSG's final scenes was something entirely different and entirely unknowable.
Reaper – And speaking of questions... While BSG got to deliver a definite end for most of its characters and its mythology-laden storyline, Reaper ended by spinning the show in a whole new direction and bringing up more questions than answers. Sadly, a third season was not in the cards for the little supernatural comedy that could, and Sam and Andi were left bound and indentured to the big bad Devil himself. But at least we were able to spend 13 more hours with Ray Wise and crew after a fun but ratings-challenged first season.
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles – Another ratings-challenged show, TSCC went out with a shocker of an ending, setting up a possible third season that would have pitted teenage John Connor against the machines in the Terminator franchises' mythic post-apocalyptic future. The final hour of TSCC was a sharp, absorbing, and suspenseful slice of sci-fi that will probably go down in history as the show's finest episode.
ER – After 15 years and too many cast changes to count, ER's finale mirrored its series premiere by offering a day-in-the-life look at Chicago General's chaotic emergency room. We followed Alexis Bledel's Dr. Julia Wise on her first day as regulars got a chance to shine one more time and former series stars – Eric La Salle, Sherry Stringfield, Noah Wyle, Laura Innes, Alex Kingston – returned to pay homage to the real star of the show, the hospital itself. ER ended its run with a finale that echoed the show's celebrated gritty and realistic look at the tireless work of medical professionals.
King of the Hill – Mike Judge's charming, unassuming and often hilarious series floated along for 13 seasons, quietly setting the standard for animated comedy and the quirky observational humor now commonplace in shows like The Office. Unlike Seth MacFarlane's crass block of animated programming that now dominates Fox Sunday nights, King of the Hill ended its sweet and spectacular run with a great, funny finale that treated its characters and its audience with warmth and respect. We'll miss you, Hank Hill.
Monk – Much like King of the Hill, USA's Monk was an incredibly rewarding show with a great cast and a light, quirky tone that never felt self-important. As Adrian Monk, the once-underrated Tony Shalhoub changed the game when it came to original cable programming by winning a truckload of Emmys and creating a truly unforgettable TV character. The Monk season finale tied things up nicely for Mr. Monk. He finally found his wife's murderer, and he kicked off a relationship with Trudy's daughter, the child he never knew she'd had.
2009 also saw the end of great shows like Prison Break, Samantha Who?, Privileged, Pushing Daisies and Eli Stone, most of which were yanked from the network schedules too soon for most fans. What show will you miss the most?