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8 Shows Where The Final Season Was The Best One

Many TV shows have made it clear that ending a long story that plays out over multiple years can be difficult. Countless shows had great early seasons, which were concluded by weak or disappointing endings. Most notably, Game of Thrones disappointed most of its fans with its eighth and final season. The negative reaction to Dexter’s last season was one reason it got a spin-off series some years later, serving as a second attempt to give its main character a proper send-off.

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But thankfully, disappointing endings aren’t inevitable. There are a few shows that went above and beyond with their last outings. They weren’t just great but were arguably the best individual season within their respective shows.

As final seasons/episodes will be discussed, the following list contains some spoilers for all shows discussed.

Breaking Bad – Season 5 (2012-2013)

Breaking Bad remains a beloved show for a whole host of reasons. One of those reasons is that it seemed to get better and better with every season, culminating in an explosive Season 5, split into two halves that aired in 2012 and 2013, respectively.

The story of one mild-mannered chemistry teacher who starts making and selling crystal meth to pay for his cancer treatment and to support his family’s future — only for the business to expand rapidly into a drug empire — was always going to a dramatic ending. Thankfully, the writers skillfully avoided the show ever going off the rails as it approached its inevitably violent and tragic conclusion. Season 5 was when viewers got to see things collapse all around Walter White (Bryan Cranston) in a glorious yet traumatic fashion, leading to an intense, exciting, and devastatingly emotional two-part season that had been years in the making.

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‘Six Feet Under’ — Season 5 (2005)

Six Feet Under’s finale is one reason why its fifth and final season stands as its best. For a show about the certainty of death, to end it all with a montage that flashed forward in time to show the characters growing older and how each of them died might have been an obvious way for such a show to end, but that didn’t make it any less tear-jerking and bittersweet (maybe with an emphasis on the bitter).

But the whole season is rock solid, too. It puts the Fisher family through the wringer and features the closest thing the show had to the main character dying well before the actual last episode. Death was always all around the characters, given they operated a funeral home, but it personally impacts them more than ever before. They even find a little hope and peace between the tragedy of Nate’s death and the inevitable end of their own lives, keeping things from being completely depressing, but either way, it’s all-powerful excellent stuff.


‘Angel’ — Season 5 (2003-2004)

Almost always in the shadow of the show it derived from, Angel did remain excellent in its own right, but never quite as great as Buffy the Vampire Slayer. However, that did arguably change in Angel’s fifth and final season, which aired after Buffy had concluded its run with its seventh season.

The setting and formula of the show were drastically shaken up. It led to some of the show’s best one-off episodes, such as where Angel (David Boreanaz) gets turned into a puppet. It also led to of its most dramatic episodes for the show’s overall story, with Cordelia’s (Charisma Carpenter) return, Fred’s (Amy Acker)horrifying death and rebirth, and the “go out guns blazing” premise of the finale itself. It’s an emotional rollercoaster of a season and has a perfect ending that closes the show and the Buffyverse as a whole.


‘Fleabag’ — Season 2 (2019)

While Fleabag could always return — given there were three years between Season 1 and 2, and at the time of writing, it’s been three years since Season 2 — for the time being, the second season of this brief, funny, brutally honest British show is its last.

While Season 1 was good, Fleabag’s second season was truly great. From its season premiere’s awkward and uncomfortable hilarity to the excellently done “will they, won’t they” romantic storyline that plays out throughout the season, Fleabag Season 2 perfects its own odd little formula. Maybe there’s a concern it can’t be topped, and as such, a Season 3 won’t happen. At least if season 2 remains the end, it’ll always be considered a great one.

‘The Americans’ — Season 6 (2018)

With its dramatic story of a Russian family posing as American citizens to collect intelligence during the Cold War, The Americans always had the potential to build to something great. Thankfully, it did, and patient viewers were rewarded with a show that got a little more tense and gripping as each season went on.

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It all culminated with its strongest batch of dramatic episodes in Season 6, as things that had always been in the process of unraveling all seemed to fully unravel at once, and the Jennings family found themselves forced to make some difficult, heartbreaking decisions. Season 6 is serialized drama at its best and cements The Americans’ legacy as a great show.

‘Justified’Season 6 (2015)

Justified was always a solid, satisfying crime/modern western TV show. It was never a huge hit, but it nevertheless had enough loyal viewers to ensure it got to go out on its own terms after a respectable six seasons.

Season 6 was probably its best. Sam Elliott made for an excellent central antagonist for the show’s final batch of episodes, but it was realigning the show to really focus on the dynamic between the show’s two best characters, Boyd (Walton Goggins) and Raylan (Timothy Olyphant), that made things great. Their last conversation together at the very end of the series finale makes for one of the best final scenes in recent TV history.

‘The Shield’ — Season 7 (2008)

In all honesty, The Shield started strong, maybe lost its way a little in its middle seasons, but then ended strong with its seventh and final season. In it, the bad decisions Vic Mackey (Michael Chiklis) and his squad of corrupt cops had made throughout the show (all the way back to the first season) caught up to them, and the karmic justice was swift and devastating.

The final scene with Vic alone in a cubicle, doing desk work instead of being out on the streets, having lost almost everything and stuck in his own personal hell, is a particularly memorable one. From the seven preceding seasons, viewers understand that this is the last thing Vic would ever want — a fate maybe even worse than death — but that he also brought it on himself.

‘Nathan For You’ — Season 4 (2017)

Separated from the feature-length finale, Finding Frances, Nathan For You’s fourth season is not its best. While it’s still great, you get the feeling that a couple of the ideas and premises here and there stretch a little too much and that maybe the writers had already worked through most of their best, most hilarious outlandish concepts.

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But then that weird, hilarious, inexplicably touching season finale comes along and bumps up the quality of the season as a whole. In just under 90 minutes, it takes all the best qualities and themes present in the show’s first four seasons and transforms them all into something beautiful. It sheds light on so many basic human emotions and life experiences in a way no one else has really done before and has to be seen to be believed. If Finding Frances were to be considered as a film, it would be one of the best of the 2010s and ensures Nathan For You’s final season is its best from its existence alone.

KEEP READING:The Most Satisfying Television Finales of the 21st Century, Ranked


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