TV Finales Showdown 2014

The 2014 Fall TV Season is officially over (boo)! It was full of tons of new shows and plenty of ups and downs across the board. I wanted to touch on some fanboy finales and what some of my favorites were. Let me start my defining what I think a season finale should consist of and invoke in an audience member. Any season finale, comedy or drama, is about wrapping up characters’ storylines and the season long arc. However, the show should also end with a cliffhanger of sorts. As the credits roll, there should be one of two emotions: excitement or grief—an amazing finale potentially could have both. The point of finale is to make the viewer want, almost need, to return next season for satisfaction. Let’s break down the highlights and disappointments:

The Walking Dead: I really enjoyed the individual/separate storylines especially the character focused episodes; they delved more into more supporting characters and allowed me to connect more to old and new people. Season Four’s finale was such a letdown and was my least favorite finale of all shows this season. I think what pissed me off the most was how much the back episodes were hyped by Robert Kirkman and producers. The finale was toted as shocking, savage, and “a lot more heightened than it has been between any other season.” I found it to be none of those things really, no one even died. Everything that was guessed was true regarding cannibalism and Terminus. Also, some characters were not even mentioned or had been seen in many episodes—where is Beth? Since Terminus was an original setting outside of the comics, I was excited to seemingly be in the dark to this newly introduced world but that was not the case. When Season 5 returns, I hope the season straightens itself out and finds a suitable villain. The lesson is: don’t lie in the press to build hype without any payoff or truth. 

Agents of SHIELD: Marvel’s debut television show had a rocky start and trouble creating interesting characters. The tone was hard to balance between action and drama, while facing expectations and comparisons to Marvel’s big-screen superhero films. I think the show really hit a groove after the effects of Captain America: The Winter Soldier and the infiltration of HYDRA. Maria Hill and Nick Fury popped up in the final episodes to provide more of a prologue/update than the Cap film. There were some big anticipated fights between Coulson and Garrett and May and Ward. There was also some romantic payoff with Fitz telling Simmons he loved her, which are my favorite characters. The finale answered some questions but in vague terms to build on Season 2. The fates of some characters are up in the air, and the fate of SHIELD is unknown. The thrilling finale mirrored the action packed yet emotional moments of Marvel’s cinematic universe. The show created a new team but ended with agents that can hold their own and simply work better as a group—a human like Avengers. Agents of SHIELD ended on a high note after a weak, jumbled start. 

Arrow: I actually didn’t start watching Arrow until this year after binge watching the first season; it was on my list to watch but had never gotten around to it. I am so glad I was able to watch Season 2 yet disappointed I had to wait week after week for a new episode. Arrow had a very strong season and one of the best finales. It was an epic showdown between Slade and Oliver with the gang assembling to fight across Starling City. This show has been able to perfectly intertwine flashbacks with present day without confusion and only adding emotional impact to the story. Characters left, others returned, and the future holds superhero promise. Sarah left—if only to let Laurel become Black Canary? Thea left town with Malcolm—if only to train and embrace Speedy? Felicity shared a MOMENT with Oliver—if only the feelings were true and acted on? Lance could be dead, Diggle is going to be a dad, and Oliver needs his company back. There are so many possibilities and new villains for Oliver to face. Also, this season introduced Barry Allen and one of the most anticipated new shows, Flash. Arrow ended a great season in heart stopping fashion. 

My favorite finale for the 2013-14 Fall Season is twofold and made it hard to pick just one. The first was the best at ending on a cliffhanger and creating media buzz; the second show was the most shocking and emotional. 

Once Upon a Time: In a two hour finale, Emma and Hook led an adventure from Storybrooke to the Enchanted Forest that was a well paced, emotionally exciting, game changer. There were a lot of great pop culture references, which are always my favorite lines in television; they are like fun easter eggs to look for within shows. Each season so far has ended with the tease of which villain or land to expect in the upcoming season. With some shocking surprises in the final five minutes, it seemed Season 4 may be an internal battle with an established character turning evil. However, with barely a minute left in the episode, a tease began as blue liquid formed into ice then Elsa from Frozen. I squealed in excitement and must have rewatched moments a dozen times. It was crazy that a character from a film only released months ago was popping up in Storybrooke. The internet was going mad with speculation and screen caps before even airing on the West Coast. Frozen is a magically perfect movie to see an adaptation or interpretation bringing the characters to life is beyond imagination. 

The Vampire Diaries: This show’s finales are known for killing main characters and epic supernatural brawls. For a show that is six seasons in, episodes and seasons can start to drag or lose its appeal. Season six was one of the best seasons and full of twists and turns. I was an emotional wreck during the hour, needing tissue after tissue. I was so excited characters returned (Alaric and Lexie) and others are not looking good (Damon and Bonnie). To kill the star of the show is CRAZY and leaves so many questions. It is known there are contracts requiring the actors’ participation in the next season, but it could be only to say a final goodbye or a flashback here and there. The uncertainty is across the board but all of the characters are going to be in some state of emotional distress at the start of the season.