It’s a well-known fact that, ‘How I Met Your Mother’, one of my favorite sitcoms, has one of the most divisive and subjectively deemd “worst” finales of all time.  I argue that much of that is the problem inherent in the naming of the show, but that’s not important right now.  The big finish finale isn’t anything new in episodic media: The ur-example is probably the end of ‘The Fugitive’ in 1967, with the last episode of ‘M*A*S*H’ still numbering among the top three telecasts of all time.  But is it the GREATEST finale of them all?  Is it better than Jerry and his friends going to jail?  Or the Evans family getting out of the projects?  Or Punky Brewster’s dog wedding?   The mind boggles, leading us to our big wrap-up query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) has several fave-rave shows that never even GOT an ending, which in the case of ‘Gilligan’s Island’ may have improved it’s ability to be rerun in syndication, asking: What last episode constitutes the Greatest Finale of All Time?


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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.


  1. There are very few good ones, because by that point, there’s usually been a slow and steady decline going on for a while. Best are the ones that were planned from the beginning, something like True Detective S1.

  2. Robert Hulshof-Schmidt on

    The Mary Tyler Moore Show. They’d recaptured the energy of the series and went out on a high note. It’s a fun episode that celebrates the things that made all seven seasongs great.

  3. Daniel Langsdale on

    When they were sure that “Sledge Hammer!” was going to be cancelled after one season, they blew up the city when the hero failed to disarm a nuclear bomb and said “To Be Continued.” I loved that.

    In researching this to make sure that my memories were true, I just now discovered that ratings spiked on this episode and it got a miracle second, “prequel” season. But I’m still going to count it, because (A) I never knew about or saw that season, and (B) pretty much everyone involved expected that to be the series finale.

  4. Not a very original choice, but I would suggest “All Good Things….” from ST:TNG. That episode looked back across all 7 years of the show (including bringing back Yar), included some action and emotion and a bit of science fiction/depth. It ended the series in a very satisfying manner while also allowing for movies to follow. Voyager and DS9 and Enterprise had very different types of endings. (Ex. DS9 had to rush to wrap up the war and other story lines while leaving some other stories open, never to be resolved by canon, apparently.)

  5. I was going to say “All Good Things…” as well, but since that’s already been mentioned I’ll instead give a greatest finale moment. And that’s the final scene in Newheart, where Bob wakes up in his old show talking about his crazy dream where he owned a country inn.

    I’ve never even actually seen the episode, just the scene from the end, but that’s such a great gag, it’s worth mentioning in the discussion.

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