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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 Un Cancelled, and the writers find themselves in a corner.

Examples of Stock Series Finales include:

Villain Death

  • To no one's surprise, Lord Voldemort died at the end of the last Harry Potter book.

Back To Normal

Distant Finale:

  • 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 Battlestar Galactica remake ends with a look at the fate of all the characters before jump aheading 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.
  • The infamous ending of Digimon Adventure 02.
  • 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 epilogue to the final Harry Potter book.
  • 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.

Failure Is the Only Option...Not

  • 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 polution, which afterwards, the Big Bad inadvertantly destroys it, and have to migrate back to the newly repaired Earth.

Graduation

Birth

  • 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.)
  • Coupling
  • Chandler and Monica's adoptive children were born in the Friends series finale.

Death

  • Lost ends with most of the cast reuniting in a self-created afterlife then exiting through a glowing door together.

Here We Go Again

  • 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 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 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 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 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.

Will They or Won't They?

Gainax Ending

  • 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.
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