Mama Still Loves Her Shows

Mama {Still} Loves Her Shows is a monthly column, named after my short-lived television blog. My favorite part of this new feature is answering YOUR questions about TV, so make sure you leave all your burning questions in the comments!

This month I’ll answer a question from Kristin, but first let’s check in about summer TV. (First things first, right?)

So far this summer I’ve only watched two new shows: Stitchers on ABC Family and UnREAL on Lifetime. I’m also a couple episodes behind on So You Think You Can Dance. I still love the dance show, but this new panel of judges isn’t my favorite thing. Other than that, I’ve become very close to my Netflix subscription.

The two new shows I’m watching are very different and probably not everyone’s cup of tea. Stitchers is a sci-fi show about a secret government agency (or branch of a government agency? I’m not clear on this part…) that “hacks” into the consciousness of homicide victims to solve their murders. The main characters are all young adults (hence the ABC Family) and snarky. Just how I like them.

UnREAL is definitely not material for a family channel (although, much of what plays on ABC Family isn’t either). It’s dark and at least a couple scenes each episode are definitely PG-13. But it’s also funny and interesting and highly addictive. It’s about a Bachelor-type show, and I’ve read that one of the writers of show briefly worked on the Bachelor. So while I’d like to think this show is complete fiction, it’s probably a little closer to reality than that.

Suits and the new Mr. Robot both start next week on USA, which I’m looking forward to. Other than that, it’s binge-watching sessions of Chuck and Heroes. Um. Because apparently I wasn’t nerdy enough…

ANYWAY.

What are YOU watching this summer?

 
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Last month, Kristin asked me to name my favorite series finale. In light of all the big endings this past year (Mad Men, Parenthood, Justified, Glee, The David Letterman Show), this is timely! I briefly wrote about finales several years ago, but – for better or worse – so many shows have ended since then. So many.

As I thought through all the show endings I’ve watched over the years (and the “best and worst finales” I read about online), I realized I needed some criteria for answering this question.

First – it has to be a show I watched. I’ve heard great things about the last episode of Six Feet Under, but since I never watched that show, it’s not really a contender.

Second – it has to be a finale I remember. Makes sense, right? (Sorry, Cheers fans.)

Third – it has to be planned. In other words, I didn’t consider the last episodes of shows that were unexpectedly canceled. Although I’ll agree with the article I read that said the final episode of the prematurely canceled Freaks & Geeks served as a decent finale.

Fourth – it had to actually be the show’s last episode. For example, The Office had a couple psuedo-endings (Jim and Pam’s wedding and Michael’s goodbye) that I LOVED. But they weren’t the actual finale (which I did like a lot, but didn’t love).

So with all that said, I had to think about what types of endings I like. It wasn’t a real hard thought process. I like happy endings and I don’t really like loose ends. So if I’d watched Sopranos (which I did not), it’s likely I would not have been happy at all with that ending. And don’t even get me started on Seinfeld. What a stupid downer that finale was!

However, as I thought about various shows and their goodbyes, I realized that I also don’t necessarily like everything to be tied up TOO neatly. Warehouse 13 wrapped up every person’s storyline with a bow in its finale, and it was all a little too pat for me. I liked it, but I didn’t love it. And then…THEN! The Hart of Dixie finale was TOO, TOO MUCH. I mean, you guys. The whole town singing and dancing? I really cannot handle that. I mean, normally I love musical episodes of TV shows. But this? This was…not good.

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So what finales WERE good, then? Well, I liked the way Burn Notice, White Collar, Chuck and even Gilmore Girls had the right combination of answers and questions, happy and bittersweet. And, of course, after loving everything about the entire series, of course I loved the way Friday Night Lights was wrapped up.

I loved the way the actors on Will & Grace came back on stage in front of their live studio audience for one final bow. I totally cried at that – just like I did at the final scene in the Friends apartment. (Oh my gosh, actual sobbing at that one!)

We can’t discuss TV show endings without mentioning Veronica Mars, of course. But not in the way you might be thinking. I don’t rank the last episode of VMars as a good or bad finale, because I refuse to consider it a finale. How can I, when we have the fourth season trailer and the movie?!?

And then we’ve already had a few conversations about the finale of How I Met Your Mother

But which one was the best? Is the suspense killing you? What finale could I possibly choose as my favorite?!

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Parks & Recreation is the winner for me. It was happy, it was creative, it gave us answers – and some questions. It was just the best. (Don’t ask me why I used this crazy photo. It just seemed appropriate for my “big reveal” of my opinion you just possibly might not have been wondering about.)

I bet some of you disagree about the Best Finale Ever, though, so tell me…

What’s YOUR favorite series finale?

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