Greatest Television Finales

Source: Courtesy of NBCUniversal Television Distribution

A dedicated television viewer may invest hundreds of hours into watching their favorite program. The person grows to know every trait of the characters and waits with bated breath to discover their ultimate fate. For this reason, a series finale can often make or break a show’s reputation.

A successful final episode provides a sense of closure for viewers, and assures them that their time was well spent. Especially with many of today’s serials, in which each episode ties together to tell one long story: audience members hope for a conclusion that is worthy of the ride.

24/7 Wall St. has identified the 13 greatest television finales based on user ratings from the Internet Movie Database. These are the finales that left viewers the most happy and fulfilled.

The highest rated finales are often those of well-loved shows. After spending 10 seasons with the cast of “Friends,” for instance, fans were eager for the closure that the final episode of the 62-time Emmy nominated show would bring for the six characters they’d grown to care about over the years. A staggering 52.5 million viewers tuned in to watch the episode in May 2004, and today it remains one of the top-rated television finales.

It’s not necessary for a series to be especially popular to have a great finale. The Syfy channel series “12 Monkeys” never had the reach of “Friends,” yet its smart and well-written final episode rivaled that of the NBC sitcom’s in the eyes of those who watched it.


To determine the greatest television finales of all time, 24/7 Wall St. identified the television episodes tagged as “series finale” with the highest ratings on the Internet Movie Database. Each episode was also required to have at least 400 user ratings in order to ensure a wide consensus on the show’s level of quality.

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