Artificial Continuum

Wednesday, July 13, 2011
This year marks the end to one of the msot lucrative franchises of all time. A seven book stories and eight movies comes to an end in a conclusion thats guranteed to make a boat load of money. However, there are a fair amount of great finales out there in multiple forms of media across several different series. (Of course, finales never really stay finales for long.)

Disclaimer: As always, this is limited to my own experience. If a reader out there wishes to recommend a series with a great finale, go ahead and place it in the comments below.

10. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Last Battle (novel)

Although its tone is decidedly more bleak than previous installments in C.S. Lewis's beloved franchise, the final novel in the series presents another Chrsitian parallel in its portrayel of the apocalypse. Characters are killed brutally, but in typical Lewis fashion returns in the final chapters. The Last Battle is a truly smart capper to a great series.

9. Ultimate Spider-man

Although the series has yet to officially conclude, Brian Bendis has done tthe unthinkable, Peter Parker has died. Although death in comics is hardly permanent and main characters have been known to die, Marvel's Ultimate line is decidedly different. Only rarely do characters return from the grave and unlike the Marvel's main coninuity, writer Brian Bendis has complete control over how the series will play out from this point forward. Peter's death is handled with class and incredible emotion. It never feels like a gimmick.

8. Toy Story 3

Last year, I doubt many of us would have expected to include this amoung the best series cappers of all time. However, Pixar's incredible third installment in the Toy Story series is just that. It not only stands on its own as a clever and inventive animated film, but delivers a poignant statement on mortality. It also delivers closure to characters we have come to love for over a decade.

7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (novel)

Are there lots of deaths? Yes. Powerful character revelations? Check. Controversial final scene? Yep. J.K. Rowling's modern fantasy epic concludes in typical fashion, but with a sense of grandeur and style the series is known for. And yes, while some hated the final scene, I have to admit I rather liked it.

6. Buffy The Vampire Slayer-"Chosen"

Although it is not the best episode of the series, "Chosen" ends Buffy in grand fashion with the battle for evil taking even greater stakes than ever before. Friends are lost in heart breaking sacrifice and at the same time preparing its series for a new step in its mythology and a eventually a new medium.

5. Serenity
Whoa, another Joss Whedon show? Insanity! This movie conclusion to the short lived series easily earns its place on this list. In addition to wrapping up the majority of the mythology questions posed by the series. However, Serenity thrives in bringing about sometimes heart breaking character conclusions through action filled spectacle.

4. Lost: The End

Controversial and beloved at the time, the final episode of the epic television series Lost does not answer all the questions viewers posed about the show's intricate mythology. However, what it suceeds beautifully at is at creating some of the most satisfying and beautiful character resolutions ever seen. Plus there's that scene with the dog.

3. Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
Although it is still the worst of the original trilogy, Return of the Jedi is one hell of a series capper. The epic of Anakin Skywalker comes to an emotional and empactful close amongst epic spacebattles and slug like crime lords. The wordless finale also delivers a sense of galactic euphoria.

2. Watchmen

I may be cheating with this one. I mean Watchmen is a book right? Well before it was a book, Watchmen was a critically acclaimed miniseries. The bleak and atypical finale to the series not only subvert nearly every superhero cliche at the time, but creates a resolution that caps off a timeless series. It would also earn the series the label of being completely unfilmable for years.

1. Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Film/Novel)

Perhaps the greatest fantasy series ever created, The Lord of the Rings suceeds in both forms of media. It brings its quest to a climactic close with spectacular battles, blood thirsty creatures, and twists left and right. However, what makes the finale to this trilogy such a winner are its quiet moments. Especially in Peter Jackson's film adaptation this finale suceeds with its characters. Whether its the realization of Gimley and Legolas's friendship, Pippin singing to the steward of Gondor, or its great conclusion that remembers that there are more to endings than climactic battles, Return of the King is storytelling gold and the best series finale of all time.