What Makes Good Television?

It is when a television series comes to its end that its relevance becomes evident; the last episode of a series is what distinguishes the good from the bad from the just plain ugly.

On the eve of the series closing episode ofimagesFAD5VS3M , let us ponder the significance of just a few television series’ endings. The final season of Mad Men has me on tenterhooks; I can’t wait to see what becomes of this sleazy pack of miscreants. Sure, all the characters are antiheroic; each of them is deeply flawed, reprehensible, immoral even. But they’re still engaging as hell!

Roger sitting naked on a hotel floor, surrounded by drugged out, post-orgy, hippie hookers, talking to his distraught daughter on the telephone. imagesAS18JM7B

Joan figuratively “taking one for the team,” her only sure-fire means of becoming a full-fledged partner.

imagesPC2PT8FW             And Don, dear Don;   Don game-of-mad-men-game-of-thrones-mad-men-meme-lol-funny-pictures-john-hammis the

cat with nine lives. He’s pulled more “you’re fired” worthy tricks than all the other characters combined, but’s got the chutzpah to land on his feet every time.

Then there’s this kick-ass 60s vibe!

imagesRXYU6NZ3    I think this scene Megan meeting Don at LAX) was my favorite of the entire show.

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My, it  was good while it lasted. I predict that this series will become a part of the American lexicon long after its final episode,

peggymuch the same way Breaking Bad

has done.

I must admit, it was only during its last season that I became hooked onuntitled.  I’d heard just about everyone sing its praises, but resisted until AMC began its build-up to the final season. It was hunting season, I was home alone for long week-ends at a time, so I succumbed to binge-watching the entire series. And boy, am I ever glad I did! imagesK1XO3CXMThis was another instance of a bunch of despicable but loveable antiheroes. Surprisingly, the character I came to admire (well, sorta) wasn’t who I expected. As Walter descended into madness, driven by his greed, losing his moral compass, Jesse becomes, somehow, more moral, in his own sense, maybe even a better person? Maybe?  Okay, maybe I’m getting carried away, Yo!

Plus, there’s this guy. He’s from Lafayette, Louisiana, and he really does have cerebral palsy, not just acting.  RJ-Mitte-Release_mp4_Still003

In my humble opinion, this show went out on top.                             images2BN1US9J.

The last season of, say,images2HLZ0UON , built to a slow, agonizing crescendo, and we will forever remember Tony and his family sitting in the restaurant booth, wondering what happened. It went out with dignity. This is what makes good television; it leaves the customer wanting more.

sopranos

When a serie’s writing devolves into gratuitous titillation, however, when it becomes a parody of itself, we have to admit that the time for the series to end was one season ago.  M*A*S*H, anyone? (Oops! I’m showing my age.)

When writers *cough* Kurt Sutter *cough* feel the need to take the few devoted viewers who hang on to the bitter end to a place where they simply roll their eyes and cringe in discomfiture?  Sometimes “over the top” is just that, literally. Please, make it stop already!       

                                                                                                 (not a nice man!)           imagesC9B91OUY

        Key_art_sons_of_anarchyis the most recent, but hardly the only, show that strained its audience’s loyalty.

sons-of-anarchy-season-4

(This pretty much IS what the series was about)

In the beginning, this show was my guilty pleasure. I was always sort of embarrassed to admit that I was a SOA junky. Sure, it was the “man candy,” (yeah, I like ’em hairy, tatted, and homicidal) sons-of-anarchy-angeles-del-infierno-serializados

but I have to admit, the storyline was pretty compelling (albeit ridiculously violent and mysogynistic) in the beginning. Many was the episode Beth, Brandi, and I spent group-texting each other. Opie’s death!! I thought my phone would explode!!

832c5bf5cc0bda2a38507d21ec7aa9be  The entire last two seasons, though, were so incredibly over-the-top (not even in a good way) that the show truly did become embarrassing to watch.

The STELLAR last episode just could not reconcile the deplorable last season.07696b194a0e4a4c1f2741beaaec4663

And how about True-Blood-Opening-Sequence-true-blood-19445296-1152-864 if ya wanna talk man-candy?!

fba174d1959e6391993a8bc1b08cbb40    Taking a page from the Dallas playbook, this series quickly devolved (not that it didn’t begin that way) into absurdity. (This coming from the chick who spent her hard-earned college tuition dollars on “I Shot JR” jeans in 1980).

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Seriously, ya’ll; exploding vamps! Hep V! It just got icky. If I needed to feel guilty about watching trash TV, it should have started here.

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And the way Louisiana and its populace were depicted! Sheesh! How terribly unpleasant! Like we didn’t  already have Swamp People to contend with. 582607_457051950995424_372064835_n

This series should have folded two seasons early and maintained any degree of dignity; as much as a series about murderous, but insanely beautiful vampires (and werewolves, and shape-changers) can be.

On the other hand, though, (speaking of Louisiana) the new season of True Detective looks quite promising. I’m hoping that since the creator and head writer, Nic Pizzaloto, is a Lake Charles native, he will continue to portray his fellow citizens fairly. It will be hard to replace Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey, but this new cast looks pretty promising.

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