In 2013, we got to see a lot of comings and goings in the world of television. You had new shows making their bid for supremacy, and you had some oldies (but goodies) take that final bow. Serial killers became lumberjacks, warrior slaves squared off against tyrants, and we even got to see the rise and fall of Heisenberg.
There were many TV farewells in 2013, but below are some of the more memorable ones:
ALSO: *SPOILER ALERT*
Dexter was a sprawling series about a serial killer… a killer who provided a much-needed service and dared to tread where the law would not. It was one of the most popular shows on Showtime. Throughout the series, Dexter battled demons, both physical and mental, as he tried to make sense of a world he was increasingly withdrawing from. Amoral, thought-provoking, violent and intense – it helped breathe new life into the antihero archetype.
After a long and exciting journey, Dexter – the character and the show – bowed out. It was only a matter of time before the authorities caught on. Our titular hero had to flee and that’s just what he did. Nowadays, it seems he’s hacking trees instead of limbs under an assumed identity. Not necessarily the ending fans had hoped for, but it’s not always about the destination – it’s the journey!
Fringe took the monster-a-week formula made popular by the X-Files and made it its own with intriguing continuity, imaginative mystery and dynamic character relationships. Every character had their own story and at the crux of all these bizarre crimes was a sympathetic and modern-day Dr. Frankenstein.
In a move that seemed largely beyond the intended scope, Fringe returned for a fifth and final season and jumped into a dystopian future. The focus shifted to address the bleak and tattered remnants of the character relationships, mirrored by their ravaged future. The ending, while heartfelt, took the show to a polarizing conclusion.
Spartacus is arguably the ultimate underdog story. It featured a once-mighty leader shackled into slavery by the Roman Empire only to rise up to become one of the greatest enemies Rome ever knew.
The final episode covered the fall of this mighty warrior. With loyalties pushed to their limits, men were divided and friends became enemies. In the end, Spartacus mustered his forces for a final assault on the Romans but it was not enough and he died a warrior’s death. While the show ended, it was certainly testament to the power of a legacy – his body (which was never recovered) might be dead, but his legend is immortal.
The Office (NBC)
US remakes of UK shows are pretty popular these days, but few really stand the test of time like The Office. In the time it took the UK original to really touch our hearts, the US version was slow to start. However, it proved beneficial in the end. We got a 9-season epic that dealt with the tragic mundanities of dead-end jobs, interpersonal relationships and social anxieties. It was a show that knew how to resonate with its viewers.
The finale came full circle with callbacks that reached so far back into the series timeline that they bordered on esoteric. It was a love letter to fans, the show and the crew with old and new faces coming to the curtain call for one final, endearing laugh.
Breaking Bad (AMC)
And, of course, there’s Breaking Bad. For anyone who has never owned a TV, opened a magazine, turned on a radio or ever left the house – Breaking Bad was a story about a man’s transformation. Walter White (Bryan Cranston) is diagnosed with cancer, can’t make ends meet on a teaching salary and, on top of all that, there’s a baby on the way. Instead of collapsing under the pressure, however, he uses his extensive knowledge in chemistry and becomes a meth kingpin.
Breaking Bad was always about a man’s decisions and the far-reaching consequences that not even his genius could anticipate. By the end, we got to see the devastation wrought by his good intentions and he pays the ultimate price. The ending is poetic and Walter manages to do one heroic thing – rescuing his former partner in crime – before paying the price for his arrogance. While the ending did not resonate well with some, it certainly concluded the core reason for the show’s existence.
When it comes to television, you’re never guaranteed a good ending – if one at all. While some 2013 endings were not necessarily the best, there were some good ones thrown into the mix.