Arguably even more so than a movie, a TV show needs a great ending. Compared to the two hours of a film, a television series asks for tens of hours of investment across a number of years, and it can be gutting if the final few moments of something you’ve invested so much time in turn out to be a big disappointment.

A big part of that is the final shot. The last image you see on screen before the credits begin to roll one last time is, if done right (or sometimes because it’s done wrong) the one that will burn into your retinas and sear itself in your memory.


It might be because of the gorgeous cinematography, with an image so beautiful it can’t be forgotten anytime soon. Or, as is even more often the case, because it’s a shot so perfectly fitting with everything that has come before, capturing a feeling of pure elation or sheer devastation. Sometimes it’ll offer up a much-needed sense of closure, bringing the series to a conclusion that ties everything off neatly, and others will confound viewers and leave more questions than answers.

All of them featured here, however, were brilliant ways for TV shows to go out in serious style. (Contains spoilers for the shows named.)[/nextpage][nextpage]

15. Spaced

Spaced Finale
Channel 4

At the time, it wasn’t clear whether or not this would actually serve as the series finale of Spaced, but ultimately it works perfectly as such.

At the time, it wasn’t clear whether or not this would actually serve as the series finale of Spaced, but ultimately it works perfectly as such.

It doesn’t come down to some grand romantic gesture or big will they/won’t they moment, but instead Tim, Daisy, and Colin the dog sat on the floor of the flat, with Daisy leaning into Tim.

It’s a shot of pure simplicity and yet brilliance; there’s no defined happy ending, no necessarily obvious future, but just a quiet, lovely slice of life that leaves its characters perfectly content. It could ostensibly pick up with them again at any point, but it also never needs to. Tim and Daisy are together in some way, and that’s the best way possible to end Spaced.[/nextpage][nextpage]

14. Angel

Mutant Enemy

It may have been divisive at the time, and there should have been a Season 6, but Angel’s Season 5 finale – which ultimately became its series finale – deserves to be well-remembered.

It may have been divisive at the time, and there should have been a Season 6, but Angel’s Season 5 finale – which ultimately became its series finale – deserves to be well-remembered.

It all comes down to one last clash against the Senior Partners of Wolfram & Hart and their instruments of destruction, The Circle of the Black Thorn. Wesley falls and Angel sends Connor away, meaning just Angel, Spike, Gunn, and Illyria are left standing.

The rain-soaked conclusion gives it a wonderfully dark, moody, and atmospheric vibe that fits perfectly with the show as a whole, and Angel saying “let’s get to work” and the swords clashing is a fine end-point for the character: he gives up the Shanshu Prophesy earlier in the episode, meaning he cannot become human, and yet he’s going to keep on fighting for humanity’s survival anyway, because that’s what the character – and the series – was all about.

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13. Lost

Lost Final Scene

Lost’s series finale was and continues to be extremely divisive, but – setting aside some of the events that happen – the final image is a memorable and poetic way for the show to bow out.

The series began with Jack’s eye opening, and after going through so much with him as centre of the show, it all ends with a close-up of his eye shutting one last time.

It’s fitting that it ultimately ends on the island, and with the sense of finality comes a great feeling of peace, which the shot of his eye closing as he passes aptly represents.

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12. Blackadder

Blackadder Ending

The ending to Blackadder ranks among the most emotional sitcom moments we’ve ever seen, as the comedy puts aside its trademark silliness for a truly poignant finish.

As Blackadder and co over the top, the imagery slows down to a shot of no man’s land that then gradually turns into a field of poppies. It’s a shot that nicely ties in with the themes of death that permeate the episode, while ensuring the ending note isn’t a completely bleak one but instead looks to the brighter future, complete with birdsong in the background.

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11. St Elsewhere

St Elsewhere Ending

St Elsewhere, which ran for 6 seasons on NBC in the 1980s, ended on a shot of a snowglobe. It seems simple enough, but in truth the image makes for one of the most controversial, daring, and memorable endings in TV history.

The episode builds to this moment by showing us Tommy Westphall staring into the snowglobe, with his father commenting: “I don’t understand this autism thing, Pop. Here’s my son. I talk to him. I don’t even know if he can hear me, because he sits there, all day long, in his own world, staring at that toy. What’s he thinking about?”

When we then focus on the snowglobe at the end, it’s revealed to contain a replica of St Eligius hospital, meaning that the entire series had taken place in the imagination of one autistic boy – a ridiculously bold move, a twist on the ‘it was all a dream trope’, and as we stare at that globe and realise its true meaning, something utterly unforgettable.

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10. Breaking Bad

Breaking Bad Final Shot

How do you possibly end Breaking Bad? That was the question facing Vince Gilligan at a time when, after flying under the radar for its first 3-4 years, the show was suddenly the biggest in the world.

With Felina, the series went out with a bang, and then a moment of quiet finality. After taking out all of his rivals, and with Jesse free (at least briefly), Walt returns to the lab, touches the equipment one last time, and then collapses on the floor, accepting of his fate.

The final shot, an aerial view of his motionless body as the police come running in, is as expertly and painstakingly well-framed as all that came before it, and tinged with a sadness at not only the death of Walt but the ending of the show, and manages to encompass the meth lab that drove its plot and the trail of bodies Heisenberg left behind him in his pursuit of power. In the end, it was the only way it could go, and there was no better image to leave with viewers than Walt’s body after one last victory.

(Excerpt) Read More at: WhatCulture.com

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15 Greatest Final Shots In TV Shows Ever

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