With Game of Thrones finishing up its penultimate season, we here at VG Culture HQ have become reflective. The final season has so much potential for greatness, and it’s caused us to wonder: what are the greatest television endings of all time? There are so many shows to choose from. Endings are what separates an elite show from a “great” show. Television has now surpassed film as a superior narrative form, with many of the greatest stories of the last 10 years or so coming from TV. This could change in the future, as television and film are still relatively new storytelling mediums, but TV has the edge when it comes to being able to delve into character development and telling a long-term narrative. Video games have even more potential, but that is a different story altogether. These are greatest television endings of all time. 5. Band of Brothers Yes, I know. Band of Brothers was a miniseries on HBO, but it still technically counts as a television show. Band of Brothers is based on the epic non-fiction book of the same name and chronicles the story of Easy Company, a group of soldiers in the 101st Airborne Division of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment. To put it simply, this is the greatest World War II story ever put to television. It chronicles Easy Company’s journey from training, to D Day, the Battle of the Bulge, all the way to Berlin and the discovery of the Nazi’s horrid concentration camps. The series is emotionally gripping, and we really connect with these characters. What really makes the series though is the interview pieces that air before each episode with these valiant men the story is based on. In the final episode, their identities are revealed. It is incredibly satisfying and rewarding. We see these boys become men, and while their journey together through war is over, the bond they forged is everlasting. 4. Futurama Futurama was created by the minds behind The Simpsons. Surprisingly though, it’s actually far superior to its older sibling. Yes, it’s hilarious, but it also has some depth and emotion to it, something that The Simpsons lacks in a certain respect. Futurama was initially canceled on FOX but brought back years later on Comedy Central. There are numerous episodes that could have potentially been the series finale, from the last episode that aired on FOX, the last straight-to-DVD film made, and even the season six finale, “Overclockwise.” The finale we did get though was beautiful. Fry and Leela’s love story was the essence of the show. It built slowly over time, but their bond was the glue that stuck everything together. To see the two of them grow old together was incredibly fulfilling. It embodied everything that was great about Futurama and what set it apart from other animated sitcoms: its heart. 3. House M.D. House M.D. was an incredible show and holds a special place in my heart since it takes place in my home state of New Jersey. On the surface, it seemed to be a ‘medical drama’, but in reality, it’s a character study about a narcissistic drug addict who’s obsessed with puzzles and constantly needs his fix. Yes, House is an asshole. Yes, he is overly cocky with regards to his own intellect. But he’s almost always right. And he knows it. There is some hidden depth to him though. He does care, he just doesn’t know how to express it. He’s a very broken man, and all he has left is his puzzles and his Vicodin. The final episode of the series, aptly named “Everybody Dies”, has nothing to do with medicine or “puzzles.” It’s an existential character study. Does House want to live, or will he just lay down and die? House, like so many other classic characters (we’ll get to this later) struggles with his inability to let things go. He always has to be in control. The ending is touching and encapsulates House’s eight-year journey perfectly. 2. Angel Angel was a spinoff of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but it quickly outgrew its sister show after a few seasons and far surpassed it. Angel was a story that asked the quintessential question, why do we fight? Why do people keep moving forward even when they’ve lost all rhyme and reason? It’s completely irrational if you think about it, but human beings aren’t necessarily logical creatures. If we’re such small, insignificant cogs in this giant machine, why? The final episode of Angel answers this question. The show follows through on everything it promised from the first episode and beyond, and even though the ending was open-ended, it was fitting. It was also a show that helped me through a very difficult time in my life and reminded me to “never give up, never surrender.” The series finale, “Not Fade Away”, was near perfection and encompassed everything that made Angel such a fantastic television series. 1. LOST LOST is so much better than most give it credit for. It’s not only the best television series of all time, but it’s also the most misunderstood. LOST was a huge hit during its first few seasons; although viewership did wane in later seasons, the show actually got better as time went on. It became stagnant in its third season, but once Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse were able to set an end date for the show, it flourished. It was focused and concise, from “Enter 77” all the way to “The End.” The mythology of the show is what drew people in, but where LOST excelled was with its character development, like every great story. It pioneered the use of flashbacks, but also re-invented itself with flashforwards and even flashsideways. LOST has some of the most dynamic characters in all of television, and to witness their journeys from beginning to end was simply beautiful. It’s hard to express with words; simply put, it was incredibly satisfying and reaches a level of catharsis and perfection that no other story ever has. “The End”, like the final season, is about all of the characters learning to “let go”, Jack in particular. Jack’s development as a character and his journey from a man of science to a man of faith is the most rewarding storyline in the show. Jack has always struggled with ‘letting go’, and he’s always had an obsessive compulsion to fix everything. This is one of the few shows that left me in tears, not from sadness, but from sheer catharsis. The finale of LOST is the greatest ending to ever grace the television screen. Ever since LOST aired there have been so many shows that have tried to replicate its success, but they’ve all failed, horribly. Once Upon a Time is the only show that’s been able to sustain itself, and the inspiration it took from LOST is obvious (it was created by two former LOST writers and it airs on ABC), but it hasn’t been able to duplicate its success. LOST is a once in a lifetime phenomenon and it reaches a level of catharsis that very few stories have, ever. The mythology is really cool, but the story touches us on a very primal, instinctive level. That’s what separates LOST from everything that came before and everything that’s come since.