Best Series Finales of All-Time

In honor of Broad City’s pitch-perfect, absolute tear-jerker of a series finale, which all future showrunners should look to as an example of how to go out on a high note while remaining true to the spirit of the world and the characters you have created without overstaying your welcome, I wanted to highlight some of my other my all-time favorite series finales. To be clear, I haven’t watched many of the shows whose final episodes are regarded as among the best in television history (MASH, Cheers, The Shield, The Wire, etc.) and never made it to the final episode of a number of others. Crafting a series finale that really hits the mark is no easy feat–many of my personal favorite shows bungled it in one way or another–but when it’s done well, it can hit home like nothing else. Here are some of the ones that have done that for me, ranging from the messy but cathartic to the absolutely sublime.

Big Love
The Good Wife
The Sopranos
Halt And Catch Fire
Breaking Bad
Downton Abbey
The Mary Tyler Moore Show
The Leftovers
Parks and Recreation
Dawson’s Creek
Orphan Black
The Golden Girls
Instant Star
Broad City
Mad Men
The Americans
Six Feet Under

And, for good measure, I hated the original series finale of Will & Grace, but the mere mention of the final shot of the four main characters sitting together at a bar as Queen’s “You’re My Best Friend” plays can set me off into hysterics. So I guess they did something right.