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Top TV Stories of 2009: Series finales

by Mike Moody, posted Dec 23rd 2009 4:03PM
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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?

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They all ended on a high note and to think next year 2010 list will have Lost as number one.

December 24 2009 at 3:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Good riddance to BSG. It started so strong and by season 4 it was skidding toward nowhere. Season 4.5 was just atrocious. The ending... shamefully retarded. Worst ending EVER.

December 24 2009 at 12:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Life on NBC canceled after only two seasons of great TV.

I totally agree with the Reaper sentiment and really enjoyed that show.

December 23 2009 at 10:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Chris's comment

Yeah but the finale for "Life" was awesome too. If they had to go out, at least they did it in style. I am glad I got to watch it from start to finish... screw NBC for canceling it just so they could put Jay Leno on five nights a week.

December 23 2009 at 11:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I also agree about "Life" - it was my favorite. Even though it ended, the ending was awesome!! I think I replayed the scene in the SUV with the throat punch a hundred times. I miss Crews.

December 24 2009 at 10:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What about The Shield? No love for Vic Mackey finally getting what he deserved--a desk job!!

December 23 2009 at 9:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jsoltes's comment

I thought that too when I first read the headline, but "The Shield" finale was actually in fall of '08.

December 24 2009 at 8:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The Scrubs 1.0 series finale trumps all of those.

December 23 2009 at 8:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

NBC's KINGS was also canceled too soon. Just as the series got itself together we learned it was done.

But I think I will miss Privileged more than I thought I would. First you tune in to see what it's about and before you know it you fall in love with the characters.

December 23 2009 at 7:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Monk will we miss you. The finale was a great 2 episodes and was a fitting end.

One of the funniest and thought provoking human characters on television. The show basically made USA Network from nothing.

Prison breaks finale was a fitting end as well.

Failed to mention that George Clooney and JM were in the ER Finale as well.

December 23 2009 at 7:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Going to miss King of the Hill the most. Followed by the sweet silly mystery that was Pushing Daisies. I also will miss, the well drawn out characters of My Name is Earl, who while the last season fell a bit, started strong and never treated it's characters with anything less than respect.

December 23 2009 at 7:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tony DIMeo

how come you did not mention the Scrubs finale because is did end it was spun-off

December 23 2009 at 7:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Doubtlessly, the show I'll be missing the most will be BSG... still suffering from BSG-withdrawal, actually!

December 23 2009 at 6:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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