Considering how many TV shows are produced each year, it’s surprising how relatively few end up being broadcast all over the world. But those that do get to reach a global audience – whether the product of the USA, Britain, Australia, Scandinavia or anywhere in between – can capture the public imagination and even convey different ideas, trends and fashions.
Truly great TV shows can become so ingrained in the public eye that they become a hot topic around office drinking fountains, in social media and in day to day conversation. It’s almost like these shows take on a public persona as their characters and storylines unfold season after season. But then comes an announcement that a popular show is ending.
TV Show Endings Can be Bittersweet
The news that a show is being cancelled (whether due to a ratings dive or because it has naturally reached the end of its plot) is usually bittersweet. Bitter because millions of fans will have to bid their favourite show farewell, and yet sweet because the final season, and specifically the final episode, usually ties up all the loose ends from the seasons before.
This is why the final seasons of top TV shows often generate the biggest ratings, which is what the show producers, executives and writers are banking on. Not only do they want to create quality TV that will hopefully help land them their next project, but they want to be remembered for creating a show that was entertaining and compelling from start to finish.
Some TV Shows End Disappointingly
Unfortunately, even the best and most talented TV people don’t always get it right. All too often TV audiences around the globe have been left disappointed, and are critical of the way storylines, plot situations or characters of their favorite shows have turned out. But, as any seasoned TV exec will no doubt tell you, ‘you can’t please all the people all the time.’ That said, most TV fans remember the long-running shows which after their final season and episode aired, left them with a broad smile on their face, if not a tear or two. These are the ’success stories,’ where the folks in TV-land managed to give the fans what they wanted, and in the process, created legendary shows that are still watched and referenced today.
Some TV Shows Are Made Into Slots
Some TV shows have become so popular that they have transcended TV and been re-born in other media and platforms. For instance, some shows have evolved into land and online slot games such as Game of Thrones (Microgaming), Dallas (from NetEnt), Baywatch (IGT), 24 (iSoftBet) and American Dad (Playtech), The Sopranos (Playtech) and Kummeli (Play n Go).
While admittedly some of the shows above may not have won any awards for excellence, they were and still are crowd pleasers around the world. If this proves anything, it’s that not only the best get made into slot games, but also the most popular and beloved TV shows. Consider Baywatch – its final episode aired in 1999 yet it’s a hit at online casinos in 2017.
Sopranos Fans Cried In the Finale
Another show as revered today as it was when it was originally broadcast is The Sopranos from HBO, which exceeded everyone’s expectations, won a slew of awards and made big stars out of its cast. This New Jersey-based Mafia show ran for 6 seasons (86 episodes), its final season the best and most exciting as its characters and sub-stories were wrapped up.
However, The Sopranos’ producers saved the very best for last with a season 6 finale that to this day has people speculating about whether the show’s protagonist Tony Soprano was murdered or not. If the show’s executives know the answer, they’ve remained tight-lipped about it for over a decade. Many fans of the show sobbed when the final credits rolled.
Proof of The Sopranos’ success can be seen by its ratings jump in its final season. In season 1, while the average viewership per episode was 3.46 million viewers (in the US alone), in season 6 the average viewership per episode was 8.32 million viewers. And for the finale, a whopping 11.90 Americans tuned in to find out what would become of the Soprano family.
Six Feet Under a Lively Show Surrounding Death
Another popular US TV show – arguably one of the most morbid ever produced – which is equally known for its final season and finale episode, is Six Feet Under. The HBO-produced drama that depicts members of the Fisher family who own and operate a funeral home in Los Angeles, started out as something of a ‘sleeper,’ but then rapidly grew in popularity.
Despite its themes of death (and ghosts), the show became a cult hit across the globe, and even made TIME magazine’s ‘All-TIME 100 TV Shows.’ During its 5 seasons (63 episodes), Six Feet Under won 9 Emmys, 3 Golden Globes and 3 Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards, and to this day its final season, particularly its finale, are discussed and debated by its fan base.
Not only were fans still trying to come to terms with the wholly unexpected death of one of the show’s most important and beloved characters, but in the last minute they were shown a montage of the deaths of the rest of the characters at various ages. While surprising, this ending was felt by many fans to be the perfect send off for a show about life and death.
Halt and Catch Fire Was a Global Hit
A more recent TV show with one of the most electrifying final seasons is AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire, an American drama about the PC and internet revolutions spanning the 1980s and early 1990s. From its earliest episodes it was apparent that this was a dynamic, well-written and well-acted show about technology that has truly revolutionised the world.
As a result, the show resonated with millions of fans in the United States and other parts of the world and lasted 4 seasons (40 episodes) before it was taken off the air. What was great about this show is that it ran its natural course and only came to an end because the story it was depicting came to an end. Fans loved how very well-developed its characters were.
When it was reported that Halt and Catch Fire would end after just four seasons, fans were upset as the show was getting better by the episode. This sentiment was backed up by top film and television rating site Rotten Tomatoes, which awarded the show’s four seasons 78%, 94%, 95% and 100% respectively, superb approval ratings that speak for themselves.
The Best Final Season Ever
The 100% approval rating for the fourth season is particularly notable which is why it leads the way out of The Sopranos and Six Feet Under. Rarely has a TV show been embraced so fast and widely as Halt and Catch Fire has. Plus it’s the greatest example of a show where the final season was the best season. For our money it’s the best show of the last decade.