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Finales over the years
By Dave Winer on Saturday, May 22, 2010 at 4:00 AM.

Tomorrow night is the series finale of Lost.  permalink

Warning: Spoilers. Don't read if you're not caught up. permalink

A picture named lost.gifI've watched the show for all six years. My interest has ebbed and flowed. I don't think it's that great a show, nothing like The Wire or even The Sopranos or Six Feet Under, all of which I loved. But I'm faithful, and I want to know how it all comes out. In that sense this is the show that, to a degree that none of the others come close to, depends totally on how the whole thing is resolved.  permalink

Lost has (it seems) been deliberately trying to lose us, its audience -- in kind of a clever joke with an implicit promise that the end will tie it all together. Or maybe most of it. As others have said, it's hard to imagine that, in one final 2.5 hour episode, it'll all come together. There will have to be some loose ends. Or so we think. <img src="> permalink

As the final season has been moving along, they very casually without any fanfare have been resolving questions. For example, we've been wondering if the boy in the jungle is Aaron, Claire's lost son. Nope -- it's young Jacob. And who will take over for Jacob? With no fanfare, again -- it's Jack. (Should have known -- Jack and Jacob -- almost the same name.) permalink

People think the two Koreans are dead, but I saw Jin walking into a hospital room in the flash-sideways after his supposed death in the other track. And what about the two tracks? What the frack is going on there? permalink

Probably the only series that built up more totally to its end was the reimagining of Battlestar Galactica. A lot of people weren't satisfied with that ending, but I was. (No gratuitous spoilers.) permalink

The best finales? Well, number two was, imho, The West Wing. In the final episode of the final season, we see a change of power. Matt Santos is inaugurated as the new President, but we don't get to go with him on his adventure in power and leadership, but we know he's going to be a great President. Josh was right, of course. Instead we travel back to New Hampshire on Air Force One with Jed Bartlet. He opens a present from Mallory, the daughter of his best friend Leo who died (of which Jed says "I'm not the kind of person who has best friends.) It's the napkin that Leo wrote Bartlet for America on when he visited Jed to convince him to run, all those years ago, at the start of the adventure. At this point the tears, which were just starting to form and then roll, begin to gush and we sob with the great sense of closure we're getting. The wife, the former First Lady, asks the now ex-President, what he's thinking about. "Tomorrow." The camera goes out the window and scans the horizon. Sobbing and tears and a wonderful feeling. Credits roll. That's what I call closure! permalink

But the best finale of all time (caveat: I wasn't a fan of Newhart or Seinfeld) was Six Feet Under's. Recall that every episode began with a death that we witness. Funny or pointless, or meaningful, personal or completely anonymous. The show explores all kinds of deaths, and how we deal with them. And there's the cast of people who work at the funeral home, and their families, friends and lovers. There's even a couple of ghosts! It's beautifully made, and there was no expectation of a great finale, no need for one, not like Lost or Battlestar. But they gave us one anyway. If you haven't, go watch the whole series, and then sit down and watch the final episode and be prepared to be in awe of the creative genius and how wonderfully they pulled it off. permalink

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