Scott Hardie | May 8, 2019
With Game of Thrones wrapping up (at least until the spin-offs materialize), what do you still hope to see in its conclusion, and what has the series meant to you?

Matthew Preston | May 11, 2019
Honestly, I'm very much looking forward to watching the show through for the first time. I decided a few years ago I'd only start it after it was done. I witnessed countless miserable friends waiting (suffering?) in between seasons and didn't want to experience that withdrawal.

I certainly know many major spoilers, but I think it will still be an entertaining watch.

Scott Hardie | May 12, 2019
I did that with Lost and it was 100% worth it. A few spoilers were a small price to pay for not having to wait for what must have felt like forever for cliffhangers to be resolved.

I can't tell from the silence other than Matthew whether nobody here is watching Game of Thrones or nobody here wants to discuss it. Funeratic must be the only website on the entire Internet like that.

Kelly read the books, but neither of us have seen the TV series, and boy do we get grilled about why not every time a fan of the show discovers this. For Kelly it's an easy pass; she can't stomach violent shows, especially when they're bloody or tense or cruel. For me to watch alone, meh, I might get around to it. Nothing other than the show's reputation for excellence attracts me to it.

Erik Bates | May 13, 2019
I had a rocky start with Game of Thrones. Initially, I watched the first episode and wasn't all that impressed. But then, sometime during the second season, I got tired of people raving about it, so I gave it another shot, and pushed through the first few episodes ('fantasy' typically isn't my genre), and found that I really liked it!

I'm not as hard-core as some. I haven't read the books (again, fantasy is not my thing, even more so when reading).

I don't fault people for not watching it. I don't know if I have ever found a show that I just was astounded people hadn't watched. Now, if somehow you hadn't heard of it, then I'd have more questions about what kind of bubble you're living in, considering it's present cultural significance.

Now that it's coming to an end, I'm pleased. I like shows that have a definitive ending in mind. This final season has been good, but underwhelming as far as my expectations go. Too much 'plot armor' where it didn't exist in the past. I spent every season thinking that nobody was safe. This season threw that suspense out the window. At least so far. I know (hope) there's going to be more characters dying by the end of it all... I just thought there would have been more by now.

Matthew Preston | June 7, 2019
And... I'm done. Potential spoiler warning going forward.

Perhaps binge-watching the entire series has a different effect than investing 8 years from start to finish. I never had to wait to see outcomes and I was able to see character-arc progression (or lack thereof) more clearly. However, the constant barrage of psychopathy, mindless murders, torture, rape, incest, infanticide, and castration takes a toll. I had to push through at times when it became apparent that as much as I wanted to see evil people get their comeuppance, sometimes they never do (or it's underwhelming). To be honest, if I hadn't known that Jon Snow was in future seasons, I would have been done with the show at the end of season 5. It was the final injustice that made it unenjoyable to continue. I half considered just reading synopses for the rest...

As far as finales go, this was certainly far from the worst. Other hated endings come to mind: Sopranos, Dexter, Lost, Seinfeld, St. Elsewhere, Roseanne, How I Met Your Mother, Quantum Leap. Most of those were despised because they didn't give closure, deviated too far from the narrative, or tried some bizarre twist ending seen as a cop-out. This had none of those aspects IMHO. Sure, they abandoned various potential plot-lines, accelerated others, and left questions unanswered, but each of the characters stayed true to their nature. Much like the 2008 movie, Nothing But The Truth, each of the characters truly believes their actions are the right thing to do. What better way to create conflict!

I feel that people were expecting amazing plot twists and envisioned someone triumphantly taking the throne while the people cheered on! Nope. I predicted the iron throne would be physically destroyed and it would be a sad, troublesome ending. The entire show was that way! Most characters were inherently evil, or meant well but were far from decent human beings. The closest anyone came to being a "good person" are Davos Seaworth and maybe Jorah Mormont.

The show ended with the same themes it had all along: power, greed, sadness, honor, and justice/injustice. I'm glad to have watched it, but I'm also looking forward to getting my free time back now. :-)

Scott Hardie | June 7, 2019
I was talking about this with some people at a party recently, who were very unhappy with the ending of Game of Thrones. We started listing off other shows that had much-hyped, widely-watched endings, like the ones on your list, Matthew, and nearly all of those endings were considered disappointing. Some great shows escaped a controversial ending merely by limping, exhausted, to the finish line, like Cheers and The West Wing and ER. It's very rare that a highly popular show has a well-regarded ending; only Newhart and M*A*S*H and maybe Star Trek: The Next Generation pulled it off.

The problem in most of these cases of disappointing finales must simply be high expectations, right? There's some popular expectation that the endings must be simply perfect, revealing some mind-blowing and profound insights that tie the whole series together. But that's just not possible. Most of what a series has to say has been said long before the ending. The ending of most shows comes, in fact, when the show has run out of things to say! Disappointment is inevitable if you expect the ending to be a high point for the series. I think we'd all enjoy the endings more if we stopped expecting greatness from them. I'm well aware that I'm in the minority, but I rather liked the endings of Lost and Seinfeld and The Sopranos, but I didn't expect much more from them than a regular episode. Those three endings certainly seemed to understand what those shows were about.

Did any other really popular shows have really popular endings that I'm forgetting?

Erik Bates | June 7, 2019
I thought Breaking Bad ended pretty well.

Matthew Preston | June 7, 2019
Good thoughts Scott. It took me a while, but I have come to also appreciate the endings of Seinfeld and The Sopranos. I've never watched Lost though. My wife watched Breaking Bad and I've heard good things about that ending too. I started to watch it, but only made it about 2 seasons before it became too depressing to continue.

I was fond of the endings for both Rome and Six Feet Under.

Erik Bates | June 7, 2019
On the flip-side of popular shows shows that ended well, I often find myself watching some of my favorite shows and wishing they would end, so they could avoid the limp to the finish line.

The Walking Dead is a prime example of one that, though I keep watching it, is past its prime.

Modern Family is ending next season. I think they would have been better off ending this season, or even last.

Scott Hardie | June 7, 2019
*cough*The Simpsons*cough*

Samir Mehta | June 7, 2019
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