TVGA Roundtable: TV Series Finales IV – deeper into The Wire, and the great finale defined

This TV Geek Army Roundtable features a discussion of television series finales. Check out Part I here, Part II here, and Part III here.

I think that The Wire ended on strong notes all round but can understand that some people saw a falling off. I greatly enjoyed the examination of journalism and the media as an institution that fails in many ways to address the tragic problems that plague America's inner cities (and Baltimore in particular, of course). Unlike any show I've ever seen, The Wire had the ability to pull back its storytelling camera, shift, and focus on a new subculture and new set of characters within Baltimore, all while keeping the plot threads and lives we've been shown prior in mind.

Now, granted, McNulty's (and, later, Lester's) manufactured serial killer storyline was a somewhat significant shift tonally from what we had seen during the prior seasons of the show. However, I was both entertained by it (McNulty, Bunk, and Lester throughout are alternatively engaging and hilarious and always spectacular in interacting with each other) and impressed in the sense that I "bought" that McNulty could be pushed over the edge by budget cuts and lack of priority to do "real" police work to attempt that level of insane stunt.

All of that being said, it wasn't the best season of The Wire. If forced I'd have to place that honor over the umbrella of the first two seasons or so (I'm cheating a bit, but then again, I'm making up the rules!) with the intensity of the investigation into the Barksdale crew and the initial revelations and learning process the audience goes through with regard to the culture and characters and process of the drug trade (and attempts to combat it) in Baltimore.

But because I did greatly enjoy Season Five, I was able to deeply appreciate the craftsmanship of the series finale, which I feel did quite a job of wrapping up a huge number of storylines in a realistic and satisfying way, while also completing the framework of the many questions (political, societal, and so on) that the series expertly poses (check out more on this topic here).

Even though RevViews doesn't think that The Wire produced one of the best series finales of all time, we agree that a great finale is one that is in tune with the aesthetic of the series, wraps up the overarching story in a satisfactory way (or better), and leaves things on a note that enhances the overall quality of the show.

A new area to explore in this regard are shows that "tack" on a movie or more (made for TV or theatrical release) after its initial run. I'd say for starters here that once a show gets made into a movie, the initial series finale changes greatly in terms of its contribution to the series as a whole. That is, it is no longer "the end."

Let’s take Firefly for example, one of the best short-lived shows in the history of television, I'd wager. If Firefly had not been translated into a film (the good but not great Serenity), we'd have to go in and figure out what actually constituted the show's series finale (the episode that was last aired on television during its initial run was not the last episode that was produced – all episodes are available on DVD, and they all rock as a side note). Because we have Serenity though, we have a good sense that this is the final word on the universe introduced to us by Firefly. Unless… of course, a new film is made or the series is brought back to television, but that doesn't look likely at this point.

I'll leave Firefly there for the moment, and we can easily include a bevy of shows in this category such as Extras, Sex and the City, Dead Like Me, and a bunch of crappy shows from the '80s that are being made into crappy film versions today. 

By Eric - TV Geek Army "Revered Leader"

About the author

Eric is the publisher and revered leader of TV Geek Army… at least in his own mind. TV Geek Army is a place for serious TV reviews and news for serious fans of great television. Contact: eric-[at] 

More From Eric - TV Geek Army "Revered Leader"

Salvage Dog’s “Parkville Farmhouse” airs on October 22nd, 2017 at 9/8c on DIY.
Read More
Superstition's series premiere, entitled "Taking Care of Business," is on Friday, October 20th, 2017 at 10/9c on SYFY.
Read More
The Eleven series premiere, “Paradise Lost,” airs on October 19th, 2017 at 9/8c on A&E. Additionally, the second episode, “Russian Roulette,” airs right after at 10/9c.
Read More

Email (Will not be used):


characters left

Featured Articles

Popular Today


Recent Comments

"Mysterion Rises" with The Cute Lord Cthulhu - South Park review
Actually, the birthing of Kenny in "Cartman Joins NAMBLA" doesn't necessarily conflict with the circumstances of Kenny's reincarnation...
Alien Encounters, "The Message": a hard to find little show that's worth the search
Mind Reading Technologies and Tongues Governments from around the world have been using mind reading technologies that can read...
Dog The Bounty Hunter, "And Baby Makes Three": revisiting an old favorite
i do like your show i wish can be your fan club i want all of your show on dvd please
Boardwalk Empire, "Two Boats and a Lifeguard": daddy issues
Are you looking for a partner for the relationship or for fun? Then you came to the right place. We are providing you the best dating...
The Boonies: National Geographic's off the grid reality exploit
I can verify Bear Claw. Good man. I cant vouch for the other participants. It is to bad society does suck so bad that this type...
The Boonies: National Geographic's off the grid reality exploit
Lake Michigan is not an ocean. Has anyone seen my white dog? Lost him while hiking in Arkansas
The Boonies: National Geographic's off the grid reality exploit
I too also as well live on the island, I can attest that Dan lives in the ocean as he has for hundreds of decades. We locals call...
Parks and Recreation: why is everyone so mean to Jerry?
It's funny because its so not funny.
The Boonies: National Geographic's off the grid reality exploit
I too live on the island and ISLANDER does not know what they are talking about. Dan lives out in the middle of the island with...
The Boonies: National Geographic's off the grid reality exploit
this is not real i know that goat and it is not "doc's" its my neighbors goat. and by the way i live on the very top of that mountain...