Best, worst and controversial TV endings
The Good Place ended last week with a bumper series finale that made us cry as much as it made us laugh. And then it set us off on many an existential crisis.
But not every show sticks the landing. The rare ones stay with us long after the final credits roll, while there were many awful finales that just slapped every fan in the face for their years of devotion.
And, of course, there are the controversial ones that some people loved and others swore were the worst 60 minutes of TV they've ever watched.
We've gathered five each of the best, worst and most controversial TV series finales.
This is an article about TV series finales, which means we may mention what happened in some of them, so, duh, spoilers ahead.
THE BEST ONES
The Good Place
Everything ends, that's what makes it beautiful in the first place. It's the fleeting nature of our existence that gives it meaning, and it's the fleeting nature of TV and stories that makes the best ones so transcendent for the short time they're in our lives.
After Eleanor, Michael and co finally make it to The Good Place and rewrite the rules so that once you find actual fulfilment, there's an end, we knew it would be an episode of each character reaching peace. It was heartbreaking and sublime - and it makes us cry just thinking about it now.
Six Feet Under
Death was a constant in a show set around a family who ran a funeral home, and death is not a novelty in series finales that usually want to leave fans with a lasting impression.
But never has there been more death than in Six Feet Under's finale - but executed in such an elegant and splendid way to give fans the ultimate closure.
The show, which opened most episodes with someone's death, flash-forwarded to the final moments of every main character on the show - some violent, some peaceful. That extraordinary montage was set to Sia's Breathe Me while Claire drives off in the green hearse and we bet you can't hear that song without thinking of this moment.
Damon Lindelof may have copped a lot of flak for the Lost finale, but whatever mistakes he made there, he course-corrected for The Leftovers.
A show that always dealt in matters of faith and mortality, its three seasons closed out with grace and a little bit of mystery. It didn't answer every question, but we're not meant to know everything, just like in life.
The gig was up - Phillip and Elizabeth had been found out and the Russian super spies had to extricate themselves from their mission, a near-impossible task when they had made real, human connections in a life they thought didn't belong to them.
The revelation that it did was part of the emotional journey of this sensational series. The revelation that things don't always work out, sometimes dramatically, sometimes quietly is what made The Americans a cut above.
That extended confrontation in the carpark with Stan, the moment Elizabeth sees Paige on the train platform, and when Phillip and Elizabeth finally look out over the homeland they'd left behind - they're all powerful, indelible TV moments we'll never forget.
MASH set the standard for the kind of feel-good send-off that would become ubiquitous for long-running shows, especially sitcoms.
The kind of ending where all the major characters get a moment, storylines wrap up, people move on and it's a literal goodbye to the audience as much as it is a farewell among characters. End of story.
THE WORST ONES
Lost promised us something better. Way better. A show that started off so strongly and with such ambition instead twisted itself beyond recognition, bumping along to an ending that washed out everything that came before.
There's probably a world somewhere where the ending was meant to be spiritually significant but the revelation that everyone was dead and that everything we had seen (time travel, alternate realities and more) and every mystery box that had been teased was just some kind of extended therapy session in purgatory. Righto.
If only Dexter had the wherewithal to bow out when it was strong, specifically at the end of the fourth season where Dexter finds his wife dead and his baby son in a pool of blood spilt by the Trinity Killer. What a full circle finale that would've been.
Instead, we get lumberjack Dexter, sitting alone in a cabin after increasingly outlandish plot turns and Deb's inexplicable death. What an utter clusterf**k.
House of Cards
Imagine a world where Kevin Spacey hadn't been embroiled in sexual assault allegations, what would that final episode of House of Cards have looked like? Sure, by the final season, the show that started with such a bang had been teetering for some time already, but still, this stinker really stunk.
You can see the DNA of a season with an alive Frank Underwood all over the final season, the writers desperately trying to retrofit the absence into Doug's arc. None of it worked, despite Robin Wright's dogged efforts.
So that final image of Claire standing over Doug in the Oval, having just stabbed him to death? We wish we could forget it.
The Seinfeld finale was such a big deal an episode of contemporary comedy Dharma and Greg built an episode around public sex shenanigans while everyone was distracted by the fates of Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer. And they were - 76 million Americans tuned in to it.
But much of those millions of people were left scratching their heads when the foursome ended up in jail. Was it karma for all their caustic behaviour? Or was it just everyone waking up to the fact they did indeed spend years watching a show about nothing, and in the end, there was nothing.
Famously, St Elsewhere, a medical drama with 137 episodes under its belt, broke the first rule of storytelling we all learnt in primary school - never, ever end your story with "and I woke up and it was all a dream".
It wasn't quite a dream but it was revealed that absolutely everything viewers had watched for six seasons was the figment of some kid's imagination, and it all took place in his snowglobe.
THE MOST CONTROVERSIAL ONES
Game of Thrones
The Game of Thrones finale was a victim of its own popularity and fandom - people had become so invested over the years, that any ending would've had its share of detractors.
But those detractors - and they were legion - found the death of series heroine Daenerys Targaryen and her abrupt 180-degree turn in the last episodes of the series, too jarring, hurried and badly written, and a betrayal of that character and of its fans. Oh, and Bran won.
That fade to black is the stuff of TV legend. Just as Tony Soprano and his family sit down to dinner, with armed enemies closing in, it cuts. Creator David Chase didn't want to give us the easy answers, and so it set off a furious round of "are they dead?!".
Twelve years after its airing, Chase finally gave the closest we'll ever get to an answer when he referred to the final scene as "that death scene".
How I Met Your Mother
Um, so she's dead?! After investing nine years, 208 episodes and several detour girlfriends in the narrative device that drove this series, the audience is then told that in the future, where this story is being told, the Mother has been dead all along.
Some viewers found emotional resonance in that twist and like that Ted and Robin finally came together for reals - and maybe it would've worked better if the show hadn't gone on for nine seasons. But for many, it was an unsatisfying pay-off after such a long build-up.
Many people felt the penultimate episode of Girls was the real finale, where Hannah and her friends finally hash it out about how they've all treated each other badly over the years but reaching a resolution of sorts.
Then the actual final came on like an epilogue, a coda-of-sorts. For some, it was an anticlimax but for others, it was symbolic of how we move on from the dramas of our twenties to something resembling adulthood in our thirties.
The three-part series finale of Ron D. Moore's ambitious sci-fi reboot had a bit of everything of what made it so captivating in the first place, including tense action sequences in which a last minute victorious jump saved them from a black hole that doomed their enemies.
But it was the revelation that this story we were watching of our future was actually our long-ago past, and that the show's obsession with otherworldly interventions (perhaps, god?) and Kara being some kind of spirit or angel for the back half of the final season, broke the back of many fans.
What were some of the best and worst series finales you've watched? Let us know in the comments below