A wonderfully quirky show created by the series star, Patrick McGoohan. After a secret agent quits, he is abducted and placed in "The Village" where he is held prisoner. There, he is questioned about the circumstances behind his quitting and any other information he may have. He has no idea who has him or what their goal is. It was a show that was very much a commentary on life and the trappings that we are bound by, the show was clever and interesting for the most part. Then came the last episode with expectations that the story would be resolved. And all insanity broke loose. The final episode was completely nonsensical. It resolved nothing and betrayed it's own level of realism. Some look for symbolism in the episode. I suppose it can be found, but that's not what I was wanting. Fortunately, I'm able to distance that episode from the rest of the series and I still enjoy what it was for the first 16 episodes or so.
For five years, and for an unseen ten years before that, John "Hannibal" Smith, Templeton "Faceman" Peck, and Bosco "B. A." Baracus, along with their crazy ally "Howling Mad" Murdock, were on the run from the law and the military. While fugitives, they helped common folks, sometimes for money and sometimes for free. They were the good guys, able to do whatever it took to bring justice to a situation. Not bound by any law. Completely free. Finally, it looked like they were on the path to getting a pardon from the president, but we never made it to that point. The show was canceled and the last episode was one of the worst episodes produced. Upstaged by a large group of senior citizens who rode a bus around and fought crime with their canes, the original team congregated at the end of the episode to ponder what they might do with their lives should they get a pardon. And that's it. No resolution. Just a tacked on ending that talked about what could be. Ah yes...what could have been...
I hesitate including this show because I didn't feel like it was that great of a show to begin with. But in their series finale, they went back and spat in the eye of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Twelve or so years after the episode "The Pegasus" was produced, the final episode of Enterprise takes us back there and fills in the gaps between scenes. Of course, I never realized there were gaps. And I want to know how Riker and Troi aged and deaged, enlarged and shrank from moment to moment. We find out that Riker had a crisis of conscience that could only be resolved by going into the holodek and reliving the final mission of Captain Archer's Enterprise. In using this set up, they completely ignored the cast of the show and created something inferior to either show's standards.
I didn't watch this show in the same way most people did. Instead of watching it over the course of nine years, I watched it in about 14 months. And in watching it at that rate, I was able to see that a lot of stuff didn't really add up. The "mythology" of the show was contradictory, convoluted, and dull. I no longer was interested in Mulder who had been absent for a year and came back for the finale. Upon his return, he reclaimed the show causing new series regulars Robert Patrick and Annabeth Gish to become Coy and Vance to Duchovny and Anderson's Bo and Luke. The show ends with nothing completely resolved and no sense of what is to come other than impending doom that the heroes ultimately could not stop. Well, maybe "heroes" is the wrong word now that I think about it.
There's one more way that a show can end badly, but it presents a different list. Sometimes a show is canceled and the last episode is a cliffhanger. It's a rarity when the show can be brought back and resolved. Alien Nation did it. Farscape did it. Firefly did it and made it to the big screen. But many others have not. Next time, in finale of my series finale series, I'll list some of the best (or is it worst?) cliffhanger series finales.