Spoiler Alert: Season finale spoilers lie ahead.

The end is almost here. It’s the last week of classes, and while it’s also the end of the major network television season, many Badgers will probably be too busy studying to check out this week’s finales. So, instead of making a list telling you which finales you can’t miss in the next couple weeks, I decided to make a how-to guide for finals using some of TV’s well-known best and worst finales because it seemed like a better idea. Check out these great and not-so-awesome TV finales, and keep each show’s takeaway point in mind to finish out your semester strong! Study hard, Badgers! And remember that automatic play on Netflix is not your friend until after finals.


Breaking Bad: This finale gave viewers exactly what they wanted and expected, and that’s why it will be remembered as one of the best ever. We had all known for a while what type of fate awaited Walt, and though it wasn’t easy to let it go, even he knew it had to happen. He gave up his life to save everyone’s favorite amateur drug dealer (and his sometimes BFF) Jesse Pinkman. His death was definitely the best in a television year that was full of them.

Takeaway: In the words of Adele Dazeem, “Let It Go.”

The Office: No one thought Steve Carrell was coming back. It had been reported everywhere that he wasn’t, which was a let-down for so many fans of the show who knew “The Office” wasn’t really “The Office” without Michael Scott. But he did come back, in the best way possible, making Dwight, Jim, and all of us cry our eyes out.

Takeaway: Keep your eyes open for surprises.

Friends: One of the best finales ever for one of the best sitcoms ever. The show was never complicated in its message that life is best when you’re surrounded by the ones you care about. The finale made it clear that though they wouldn’t be spending every day at Central Perk anymore, these friends would always be together.

Takeaway: Don’t let end of the year goodbyes get you down.


The Sopranos: Ugh. Just ugh. Such a great show, with such a horrible ending. While a lot of people have described the show’s sudden cut to black as a “love it or hate it” type of ending, I’ve never met anyone who loved it. Creating more questions than you answer is never a good idea for a finale.

Takeaway: Tie up all your loose ends.

The Hills: For most fans of this classic MTV reality show, the series really ended when Lauren Conrad (our girl LC) left the show. Unfortunately, the series dragged on much longer, with Conrad’s former nemesis Kristin Cavallari at the helm. The show ending with Kristin and her “love-interest,” Brody Jenner, dramatically parting as Kristin was supposedly leaving LA ended with somewhat of a surprise. As she drove away, the Hollywood sign backdrop rolled up. Kristin got out of the car, showing the audience they filmed the show on a studio lot, and it REALLY WAS FAKE the whole time, just like everyone had said!

Takeaway: Stick to what you know best when it comes to finals.

How I Met Your Mother: While the number of things wrong with the recent HIMYM finale really deserves its own article, I’ll stick to my biggest complaint about the show’s conclusion: It was too rushed. We waited nine years to meet the mother, spent about 40 total minutes with her over one season, and then she was gone. We were forced back in to the old Ted and Robin storyline that the writers had pushed us so far away from.

Takeaway: Take your time and live in the moment, not the past.