|Quotes • Headscratchers • Playing With • Useful Notes • Analysis • Image Links • Haiku • Laconic|
When a television series isn't cancelled abruptly, writers have time to wrap things up. There seem to be a pretty standard set of types of Series Finales to end on, provided the show's creators have time to plan it out in advance. Most of these can all be mixed together as one wishes. Occasionally, the series may then be Uncancelled, and the writers find themselves in a corner.
- Villain Death: The main antagonist dies.
- Birth: Some long-running couple gives birth to their first child.
- Back to Normal: In a supernatural show, the main character is robbed of their supernatural abilities/technologies/friends and goes back to living a normal life.
- Distant Finale: The show flashes forward into the future to show everyone where the cast ended up.
- Graduation: Most likely to occur if the series features kids or teenagers. Can end at the graduation of high school, junior high, or even grade school depending on the type of show.
- Grand Finale: Failure Is the Only Option stops being in effect, and with failure suddenly not the only option, the series premise is finally resolved.
- Here We Go Again: The series ends on a middle note, referencing something from one of the earliest episodes and showing that Nothing Really Changed after all.
- Death: The main character(s) die.
- Last-Minute Hookup: The two Will They or Won't They? characters finally get together.
- Moving: The cast or the principal stars move away from their City of Adventure.
- Stock Sitcom Grand Finale
- Walk Into the Sunset: Nothing really changes, it's implied the characters will remain in their situation for the rest of their lives - used in shows with heroes who Walk The Earth, usually.
- Wedding - The main couple or a pair of supporting characters are married off.
- Gainax Ending: In the end, something happens...and nobody understands what the hell actually happened. Surprisingly infamous in relation to how horribly bad they are at actually ending things.
- To no one's surprise, Lord Voldemort died at the end of the last Harry Potter book.
Back To Normal
- The Secret World of Alex Mack also found a cure in its finale.
- Static Shock had a cure found for the Bang Babies in its finale.
Anime and Manga
- The infamous ending of Digimon Adventure 02.
- The epilogue to the final Harry Potter book.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation ended with a future screen.
- After a lengthy battle that finally resolves the Human-Cylon war, the series finale of the 2004 Battlestar Galactica remake ends with a look at the fate of all the characters before jumping ahead several thousand years into the future.
- The Mad About You finale jumps the show 20+ years into the future, presenting the Buchmans' now-adult daughter Mabel showing what became of her family and the rest of the characters.
- Will and Grace
- Six Feet Under ends with flash-forwards to the eventual death of every still living character.
- Babylon 5 did at least two distant endings. One involved glimpses of humanity's future up to a million years ahead, then a more conventional version many episodes later, featuring the fate of the principal characters.
- The rather original finale to Codename: Kids Next Door is a flashback episode intercut with interviews with the kids as middle-aged adults (played by live action actors).
- The Fugitive: Richard Kimble finally confronts the One-Armed Man and manages to clear his name for the murder of his wife.
- Star Trek: Voyager: The USS Voyager finally made it home after 7 years of failed attempts.
- When they thought that Stargate SG-1 was ending, the producers wrote a story line that featured the final defeat of both the Replicators and the System Lords.
- Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy has the titular characters finally be accepted by the rest of the neighborhood kids in the movie.
- In the relatively obscure cartoon Dogstar, the main characters were given the device that allows them to summon the missing titular ship that contains all the world's dogs that got lost after civilisation migrated to a new planet after they destroyed Earth by pollution, which afterwards, the Big Bad inadvertently destroys it, and have to migrate back to the newly repaired Earth.
Anime and Manga
- Saved by the Bell.
- The Brady Bunch (Greg)
- The Suite Life On Deck: "Graduation On Deck" which ends both Zack and Cody and On Deck.
- The Steve Harvey Show: Romeo, Lydia, and Bullethead graduate from high school. This was originally supposed to be the final episode, but thanks to Executive Meddling, it became the next-to-last episode. However, it is shown as the final episode in syndication.
- Star Trek: Voyager also has the birth of Official Couple Tom and B'Elanna's first child, Miral Paris.
- Farscape has Aeryn pregnant throughout the final season, although for a time in the Miniseries wrap up the baby is carried by Rygel. The baby is born in the miniseries (after making its way back to Aeryn.)
- Chandler and Monica's adoptive children were born in the Friends series finale.
- Lost ends with most of the cast reuniting in a self-created afterlife then exiting through a glowing door together.
Anime and Manga
- Dai-Guard ends with the characters (and presumably Japan) having accepted that the giant monsters, Heterodynes, are a natural disaster, akin to hurricanes and earthquakes, so will just continue doing their best to save lives... after taking out the biggest Heterodyne yet, of course.
- The infamous ending to Stephen King's The Dark Tower series, where (after a full page of the author urging the reader to stop right there because endings can never satisfy the buildup a story creates) Roland finally enters the Tower, only to find that it resets him back to where he started in Book 1 of the adventure (albeit with the implication he has a chance of getting it right this time).
- The final Seinfeld episode finds Jerry and George having the exact same conversation that they were having at the beginning of the show's very first episode.
- The canonical ending to the final episode of Red vs. Blue is a scene that directly mirrors the first scene from the first episode of the series.
- The animated series Mighty Max ends with Big Bad Skull Master killing all the supporting characters, only to be defeated by Max at the end in a move which teleports Max all the way back to the first episode of the series (although, as he retains his full memories of the entire series, presumably he has a chance of doing better this time round).
- The Friends finale ended with Ross and Rachel getting back together.
- Kim Possible ended originally with the Last-Minute Hookup of Kim and Ron before the show was Uncanceled.
- Danny Phantom ended with the Last-Minute Hookup as well. And unlike the above, it didn't get Uncanceled.
Anime and Manga
- Neon Genesis Evangelion is the most infamous, though the actual ending is relatively easy to understand if you take a College Course on Philosophy, Psychology, and/or Religious Studies.
- The Prisoner In the end, everyone goes crazy, wears weird costumes, and sings Dem Bones all day long. Would have been the Trope Namer if Gainax wasn't so infamously divisive at endings.