Part of the art of the modern TV series is knowing when to bow out gracefully and how to deliver a final episode that will seal the series' reputation for posterity -not to mention syndication and DVD sales. These concerns are fairly modern, and crafting the perfect series finale is largely uncharted territory.
There’s a reason why so few TV shows end well. Unlike movies or books, television shows are open-ended. They end when they end, and when they end is controlled not only by the showrunners, but by the network, the ratings, and the whims of the public. It’s getting more common these days for shows to announce their own end-dates, but this a relatively new phenomenon. Most shows go until they’re no longer financially viable, and when that happens your chances of getting a satisfying ending are relatively low. Most television shows stumble to the finish line in a confused mess of sagging plotlines, creative differences, low ratings, and audience fatigue.
Indy Zoeller at Unreality looks at five series that wrapped up artfully, and analyzes the reasons they worked so well. Do you agree with his selections? Four of the series I've never seen, and the other-well, I still haven't seen the final episode. Link