It’s been some time since I wrote a blog on the progress Game of Thrones had made at the half way point of season 8.
Generally, I was saying that a lot needed to happen in a very short period of time if they were actually going to wrap up any/most of the plot.
Let’s just say I was not happy with the final result (with some mitigating factors).
Then it dawned on me that what I was asking for might have been impossible.
What exactly was it I wanted you say? Well for starters, some people, important people needed to die or to be fully resolved in the story.
That’s a lot to ask for since the show has more characters and plot lines than almost any other show ever.
But GoT isn’t alone in that its ending left people wanting more, some of our most favourite shows have been great entertainment but bungled the ending.
So today for my purposes, I’m going to discuss the endings of some of the most culturally significant and impactful shows that we have.
Did they hit, or did they miss? Let’s discuss!
The shows I will be talking about are
- Game of Thrones
- The Sopranos
- Breaking Bad
- Mad Men
- The Wire
If you plan on watching these shows DO NOT READ FURTHER – spoilers ahead obviously!
Game of Thrones
So I’ve already mentioned that this series left me wanting a lot when it ended. But now I’ll go into exactly why.
First, they abandoned so much to fit the final season into 6 episodes.
Such as Sam finding the dragon horn, Azor Ahai (the prince that was promised) being nobody, and the night king being undone by a sneak attack. Oh and not to mention, Jon was a Targaryen for nothing.
Jon ending back up at the wall was total weak sauce if you ask me. Characters are supposed to arc and evolve away from where they started and ‘this’ did not feel like that.
However, I did appreciate that he had to kill Daenerys. There should be no happily ever after in Westeros.
But then again, Daenerys’ descent into madness was too quick with no build up or foreshadowing so I’m somewhat left with nothing positive to say about that.
Tyrion’s story ended well. He knew he could not go on supporting what has turned out to be a mad Queen and when faced with the decision to betray her or his brother, he rightly so picks his brother (brother had done many favours).
One particular storyline that I had my eye on, because there was inklings of it from the very beginning of the series, was will the Hound kill his brother?
The writers tossed us, the viewers, a bone so to speak and we got what we wanted. Or did we?
Bran becoming the king I thought was absolutely ridiculous. Not only had he contributed nothing in the previous battles with his warg abilities, but he was never on deck for the job.
One line from earlier on in the series made it sound like Bran was going to warg into a dragon and fly…but nope, none of that.
Sansa actually had a good resolution.
She’s smart now because she’s had a lesson in the worst of the worst that Westeros has to offer. And now as Lady of Winterfell she’ll be a force to be reckoned with. Badass boss lady
Arya’s story was meh at best by the end. Her faceless man revenges were awesome but it somewhat didn’t lead where it needed to go ie killing Cersei.
And don’t get me started on how the most hated person in all the seven kingdoms (Cersei) dies in a crumble of bricks. I always thought that for justice to be served Jamie had to kill her, but whatever.
Really, I could go on and on about what they should have done etc but I’ll just say that the series really missed its mark with the finale.
Okay so this is perhaps my favourite show of all time, so I’ll try to contain myself.
The show went on for seven seasons, with a huge 24 episode final season, so there is a lot to talk about.
First, this show was as good as it gets at character development. Some people died, some lived on, others learned some things, no one was left behind.
Second, the backdrop to the show was an amazingly well crafted story-arc that made people insane with need to keep watching.
Third, we as viewers didn’t always get what we wanted, and maybe that was for the best.
So in general, I’m trying to say that this is a GOOD show. If you have not seen it you should stop reading this and start watching right away!
I don’t have enough time to go into the entire series here, so I’ll fash forward to a point where the show hit it’s climax.
Okay so, it’s season 7 and the Soprano crew is locked in tension with the New York crew. They are at ends and both sides have decided that there needs to be blood.
Essentially, everything has hit its boiling point. And we as viewers are led to believe that Tony will be whacked.
The show was so good that people would have had it go on for ever but that’s not the way things are so it had to end.
The way it ends is, Tony and his family are eating in a diner when a supposed hitman walks in to do the deed…
And that’s that. We never get to see what became of them.
People, including me, were less than thrilled with this final moment, as we had been hanging on the Sopranos every word for years and wanted to see how things would finally end up for them.
The show and the final season was a total ‘hit’ but the finale was sadly a ‘miss’. They had everything but the execution (pun not intended), and I guess for us as viewers this was not good enough.
Because this show went on for years and had grown quite a cult following, people really were upset with this ending. They wanted the final result. We all don’t know if Tony and his family are killed or not, but we want confirmation.
And this is where people have voiced their displeasure.
Sure all the story lines were wrapped up, but after the spectacular debacle of the finale it doesn’t feel that way anymore.
For the love of god what happens to Tony!
So I have to give this finale a ‘miss’ in the grand scheme of things. Still an amazing show, but the ending left much to be desired.
You might know exactly what this show is about because it was absolutely huge for a while. But none of that matters because I’m going to do a bit of a rundown anyway.
Essentially the story is this – Walter White is a high school chemistry teacher who finds out he has cancer. He teams up with an old student of his, Jesse Pinkman, to manufacture and sell meth.
The show is the chronology of Walter White’s rise to the top of the drug world and eventual transition to the dark side.
He frequently uses and manipulates Jesse and those around him. Additionally, he becomes a seasoned killer.
The series culminates with Walter on top of the meth world and Jesse by his side. But all is not so simple.
His brother in law is a DEA agent who unbeknownst to him has been chasing Walt throughout the series.
Plus, Jesse learns about all the tactics Walter has deployed to use him and turns informant with the help of Hank (brother in law).
Okay so, at this point in the show we clearly know Walt is not a good guy. But things take a turn for the worse when he gets entangled with the Aryan Brotherhood (super bad dudes).
Hank is murdered, Jesse becomes a prisoner, and Walt’s cancer has him in his final days.
The reason why I’ll say that this show’s ending was a ‘hit’ is because they wrap up every story line they put out and in the end Walt dies, which we were always led to believe would happen because of his cancer.
In the final episode Jesse is freed by Walt who then promptly dies from a gunshot wound.
The show closes with Jesse speeding away from his captivity in an El Camino.
And thus why we got a Breaking Bad spin off movie titled ‘El Camino’. Which I happen to just watch and I’m glad to report, it is good.
The show’s finale was a hit because along the way we lost some good characters, we as viewers didn’t get everything we wanted, and the end was conclusive.
Just my opinion, but I think Breaking Bad is one of the few shows to really stick the landing.
I really liked this show. So much so that I actually went to an advertising and copywriting program.
As in anything else that’s depicted on tv, reality doesn’t match up.
But that doesn’t change that Mad Men is a great show. The character development is almost as good as the Sopranos.
The plot centres around Don Draper, the creative mind behind one of the advertising industries most sought after agencies.
But he has a secret (at first). You see the thing is he’s actually not Don Draper at all. He switched identification tags with a dead man in Korea and therein changed his identity.
When he returns to the states he assumes a new life and begins his career in the advertising game.
That’s the setting of the show but his not actually being the man he says he is actually no big deal in the end.
It’s his ability to craft moving ad copy that gets him far. It should be mentioned that all throughout the show he drinks, smokes, and cheats on his wife.
He is a complex character and that is reflected in his behaviour. Often he experiences intense emotions then he makes life altering decisions.
Another aspect of the show is the politics of his office. Will they get the account? Will his magic with words move the client? Will Pete ever calm his shit?
It’s great for many reasons, but one of the main reasons is that it uses the turbulence and calamity of the 60’s as a backdrop.
They address many social issues of the time throughout the series. Such as gender inequality, race relations, and the Cold War.
However, by the last season Don is not a happy guy. He keeps ruining good things in his life and sabotaging his happiness for a quick fix.
By the time he’s with his second wife, we as viewers, can predict exactly what he’s going to do next (or not do).
I won’t get into the specifics of the last season but I’ll say that Don has mentally checked out of his work and his family.
We as viewers are lead to believe he might be coming to an unceremonious end.
What happens is, he just up and heads to California and starts meditating with some new age people. The end.
It doesn’t sound too interesting but we as viewers are lead to think that maybe, just maybe Don has found happiness.
It’s not a total ‘miss’ but it’s not a smack dab ‘hit’ either.
By the end Don isn’t too likeable so I at least stopped caring about what he did or did not do.
The show writers never address if he simply is abandoning his children or whatever. But because he’s supposed to be a flawed character, I bet he did.
Some of the other characters have good progressions, but they’re not Don so they matter little to the finale.
Anyway, the show is good and you should watch it just maybe don’t fall in love with a Don in your real life.
A friend got me started on The Wire when I ran out of things to watch.
I was floored by this show. So raw, so real, so fucking good.
The show centres around the heroin trade in Baltimore and the gangsters and cops that work around or in it.
There are many good characters and they’re all playing the ‘game’. That is the rules that dictate street life and give the players a code to live by.
There’s the drug dealers, the cops, and the users and they all just keep playing the game.
The show primarily follows detective McNulty, who is constantly getting into business that is not his.
He is a thorn in the side of his superiors and co-workers alike but it’s not like he’s a hero.
He cheats on every woman who will have him in a relationship, he drinks (heavily), and he breaks the law big time.
In the final season he becomes very desperate to catch the drug king pins from an earlier season so he fakes a bunch of murders of homeless men to get a larger police budget.
Things get god damn cartoonish, he’s faking murders, drinking mouth wash, and putting it all on the line.
If caught he will go to jail and morally he’s really crossing the line.
But that’s not how it plays out.
Instead, when found out, his superiors decide it will look bad that this happened under their watch and McNulty must simply turn in his badge.
I loved this show and every time a character got killed it had profound effect on the plot and drove the story forward. But it ended kind of silly.
However, the entire analogy of the show is true to the end. When all is said and done the game keeps getting played it’s just the players that change.
So it’s not a complete ‘hit’ or ‘miss’. The story got silly in the final season but the analogy is strong and the backdrop of the show was so well depicted throughout I can’t fault it too much.
So you can see I’m a pretty tough critic. I loved all of the shows discussed here but with the exception of Breaking Bad they mostly ended with a ‘miss’.
It’s just hard to end something so massive and amazing. The pressure must be debilitating.
Anyway, I’m looking for a new show so feel free to comment your recommendations. Or follow us on Twitter at @Bonobo_Boys and tell me what you are watching.