The Spoiler

Jerry April 17, 2018
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Let me just share a spoiler I once made due to tv addiction back in the years when life was still called a ‘life’. Perhaps it could be nostalgia to anyone out there who might have had the same passion I had 6 years ago… 

I am going to claim dominance over television history, and spoil the top 100 series finales, ranked by the millions of viewers who tuned in to watch it. In order to keep myself honest at 1000 words, each spoiler will consist of exactly ten words.

There are 164 finales listed, and the list appears to be current. I’d like to cover some that didn’t make the top 100 (seriously? Heroes at #146, two notches below Reba???), but math is math. Apologies to fans of #101 (Moonlighting – they got cancelled, ran around the set, pleading for leniency), but you didn’t make the cut. I’d apologize to fans of According To Jim, but most of them probably don’t read much anyway.

It should go without saying, but this is where the spoilers start. If you’re still catching up on some crucial DVD’s, sorry. I have also included the number of viewers who watched each finale, because I’m just that courteous.

#100 – NewsRadio – 8.6 million: Jimmy James buys a radio station in New Hampshire. Bye!

#99 – Martin – 8.6 million: Martin and Gina both promoted, move to L.A; lazy writing.

#98 – Star Trek: Voyager – 8.8 million: They get home. Of course they get home! Come on!

#97 – 24 – 8.9 million: Jack is a fugitive (again). On the run (again). Movie?

#96 – Third Watch – 9.0 million: Grenade burns down station, third watch disbanded. Monroe, Cruz… dead?

#95 – The Pretender – 9.0 million: Creators have seriously been promising series finale since May, 2000.

#94 – Nash Bridges – 9.1 million: Canceled, no ending. Hey! Hunter Thompson was in the pilot!

#93 – A Different World – 9.3 million: Dwayne moves to Japan; Kim and Spencer engaged; Whitley pregnant.

#92 – Monk – 9.4 million: Wife’s killer commits suicide, Monk discovers he has a step-daughter.

#91 – The Unit – 9.6 million: One couple marries, another divorces. Could have lasted another season.

#90 – The District – 9.7 million: Cancelled; Craig T. Nelson waits five minutes, finds new work.

#89 – The Closer – 9.8 million: Brenda retires, spin-off airs right after. Kyra Sedgwick wanted out.

#88 – The Wizards Of Waverly Place – 9.8 million: Max runs shop, Justin declared Headmaster, Alex becomes family wizard.

#87 – Ellen – 9.9 million: Ellen came out, show became too serious. Cancelled – no finale.

#86 – Boston Legal – 9.9 million: Alan and Denny get sued, Paul gets promoted, wedding episode!

#85 – Cold Case – 10.0 million: Valens and Rush find sister, another case closed. Boom! Cancelled.

#84 – Boy Meets World – 10.0 million: Jack and Rachel join peace corps. The rest? New York!

#83 – That 70’s Show – 10.0 million: Kelso and Eric return, the gang counts down to 1980.

#82 – The West Wing – 10.1 million: Santos sworn in; Toby pardoned; Josh, Sam, Donna still Wing-ers.

#81 – Sisters – 10.1 million: Beatrice has a stroke and dies, Teddy is pregnant. Hugs!

#80 – Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman – 10.2 million: Colleen goes to medical school, Andrew proposes. Two movies ensue.

#79 – Melrose Place – 10.4 million: Eve’s in jail, Amanda and Peter fake dying and wed.

#78 – Highway To Heaven – 10.5 million: No real ending, Jonathan never ascends. A nation mourns deeply.

#77 – Grace Under Fire – 10.5 million: Bev moves in with Grace, hijinks ensue. No real closer.

#76 – Becker – 10.6 million: Becker complains, Jake plans on spending an inheritance. CBS cancels.

#75 – Sex And The City – 10.6 million: Charlotte adopts, Miranda matures, Big and Carrie: love in Paris.

#74 – Judging Amy – 10.8 million: Sick of judging, Amy quits and runs for US Senator.

#73 – Walker, Texas Ranger – 10.8 million: Walker becomes daddy, Trivette gets engaged, Chuck Norris whoops ass.

#72 – The Practice – 10.9 million: Firm closes; Eugene, a judge; Ellanor quits; cue the spin-off.

#71 – Picket Fences – 11.1 million: Three couples marry, Jimmy and Jill make up, hook up.

#70 – The Nanny – 11.1 million: CC and Niles marry, Fran gives birth amid nasally screams.

#69 – Without A Trace – 11.2 million: Jack and Sam are done; she’s with Brian. Another wedding!

#68 – Homicide: Life On The Street – 11.4 million: Bayliss quits, may have killed Ryland. Jesus, another finale wedding???

#67 – Ally McBeal – 11.5 million: Maddie has a breakdown; Ally moves on to New York.

#66 – Empty Nest – 11.6 million: Barbara returns and… seriously? They ended with a clip show?

#65 – The Sopranos – 11.9 million: Tony and family sit down for a meal. Don’t stop –

#64 – 3rd Rock From The Sun – 11.9 million: Dick reveals truth to Mary; family returns home without her.

#63 – Desperate Housewives – 11.9 million: Lynette to NYC; Gaby California; Bree Kentucky; Susan to somewhere.

#62 – Falcon Crest – 12.3 million: Another friggin’ wedding; Angela gives a speech, toasts ‘the land’.

#61 – Amen – 12.9 million: No episode summary, but I bet last word was: “Amen!”

#60 – Touched By An Angel – 12.9 million: Zack was Jesus, Monica gets promoted; Tess heads to God.

#59 – Coach – 13.1 million: Hayden retires, Dauber coaches Breakers; Jerry Van Dyke won’t leave.

#58 – The X-Files – 13.2 million: Mulder returns, goes to trial. Smoking man dead? Movie’s next.

#57 – Life Goes On – 13.2 million: Corky gets married, Becca has a kid, dog finally eats.

#56 – Providence – 13.3 million: Wedding episode (surprise!). Another season was expected, but never happened.

#55 – Doogie Howser, M.D. – 13.4 million: Doogie resigns, leaves for Rome with probably loads of cash.

#54 – The King of Queens – 13.5 million: Doug and Carrie adopt baby, get pregnant. Arthur weds. (sigh)

#53 – Evening Shade – 13.5 million: Willie Nelson! Buzz Aldrin! Big shoot-out! Beats another damn wedding.

#52 – Lost – 13.6 million: They were dead (maybe). So confusing. Hurley protects the island.

#51 – Mr. Belvedere – 13.8 million: Mr. Belvedere weds, leaves Owenses to be British in Africa.

#50 – JAG – 14.0 million: Harm, Mac (guess what?) get married! Another fade to black.

#49 – Wings – 14.2 million: Joe to Vienna for a year; Brian stays. They’re rich.

#48 – Beverly Hills, 90210 – 14.4 million: Everyone returns to Peach Pit except Brenda. Dougherty was… busy?

#47 – ABC’s Monday Night Football – 14.4 million: Flutie takes a knee, sets up ESPN era. Fucking Patriots.

#46 – Dynasty – 14.7 million: Blake, Alexis and Dex might die! Wait for the mini-series…

#45 – Kate & Allie – 14.8 million: Nothing special; should have ended a year earlier with wedding.

#44 – In The Heat Of The Night – 15.0 million: Just another episode; O’Connor’s son died shortly before finale aired.

#43 – Married… With Children – 15.2 million: Another wedding? Yes!!! Al saves Kelly from marrying a man-slut.

#42 – NYPD Blue – 16.1 million: Sipowicz runs the precinct. No gratuitous nudity though, thank God.

#41 – ER – 16.4 million: Another day at work – pilot is mirrored, clever bookending abounds.

#40 – Murder, She Wrote – 16.5 million: Radio murder in San Francisco! Jessica returns in TV movies.

#39 – Murphy Brown – 17.5 million: Murphy interviews God and Edward R. Murrow; Eldin paints stuff.

#38 – Major Dad – 17.9 million: No big ending. Why so high on this list? Really?

#37 – Jake And The Fatman – 18.1 million: No big ending; they probably get married. McCabe eats dessert.

#36 – The Facts Of Life – 18.2 million: Blair buys the school, becomes the new Mrs. Garrett lady.

#35 – Will & Grace – 18.4 million: Grace marries Leo, Will has a kid; their kids marry.

#34 – Matlock – 18.7 million: Just another episode; Andy Griffith had enough. Can’t blame him.

#33 – Designing Women – 18.8 million: Gone With The Wind fantasy episode. No formal finale, ladies.

#32 – Bonanza – 19.3 million: Joe fights for his life and wins. Yeehaw! Show’s cancelled.

#31 – Knots Landing – 19.6 million: Val –Gary; Karen – Mack; Greg – Paige; everyone’s back together again.

#30 – Mad About You – 19.8 million: Mabel ages 21 years, catches us up: Happily Ever After!

#29 – The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air – 19.9 million: House gets sold; Will has nowhere to go. Too bad!

#28 – Who’s The Boss? – 20.5 million: They move to Iowa. Nope! They move back to Connecticut.

#27 – Quantum Leap – 20.6 million: Al and wife reunite; Sam could go home – never does.

#26 – The Wonder Years – 21.0 million: Kevin: writer; Wayne: runs furniture store; Paul: lawyer; Dad: dead.

#25 – Growing Pains – 21.1 million: Mike proposes, reminisces about family. Sounds like a clip show.

#24 – ALF – 21.7 million: ALF is captured, probably gutted and dissected by heartless government.

#23 – L.A. Law – 22.1 million: Leland retires; everyone must find work elsewhere until TV movie.

#22 – Miami Vice – 22.2 million: Crockett, Tubbs quit to protect some dictator for government? Seriously?

#21 – MacGyver – 22.3 million: MacGyver meets his son; they build something together. MacGyver retires.

#20 – St. Elsewhere – 22.5 million: St. Eligius is in snowglobe; series was autistic kid’s dream???

#19 – Full House – 24.3 million: Michelle falls off a horse, wakes up with amnesia. Seriously.

#18 – The Golden Girls – 27.2 million: Dorothy marries Leslie Nielsen; other girls ready for lousy spin-off.

#17 – Star Trek: The Next Generation – 27.8 million: Three timelines, Q brings Picard full circle, to humanity’s trial.

#16 – Newhart – 29.5 million: Whole town rich? Nope, it was all Bob Hartley’s dream.

#15 – The Fugitive – 30.0 million: Kimble finally catches up with the elusive one-armed man. Justice!

#14 – Gunsmoke – 30.9 million: Twenty seasons and they end with a non-finale about crops???

#13 – Everybody Loves Raymond – 32.9 million: Ray almost dies in a tonsil operation. He’s fine. Fade-out.

#12 – Dallas – 33.3 million: Suicidal JR has a George Bailey experience. Shoots himself (maybe).

#11 – Frasier – 33.7 million: Martin’s marriage,Niles and Daphne’s baby, Frasier moves to Chicago.

#10 – Home Improvement – 35.5 million: Final “Tool Time” episode; Al gets married. Fuck this show.

#9 – Family Ties – 36.3 million: Alex gets his dream job in New York; Elyse grieves.

#8 – All In The Family – 40.2 million: Edith sick, doesn’t tell Archie; Archie professes his devotion… spin-off!

#7 – The Cosby Show – 44.4 million: Denise pregnant; Theo graduates NYU; Cliff finally fixes the doorbell.

#6 – The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson – 50.0 million: No guests, friends and family audience, Johnny reflects, gets emotional.

#5 – Roseanne – 52.4 million: It was all fiction; Dan’s dead; screw you, loyal audience!

#4 – Friends – 52.5 million: No more apartment, Ross, Rachel together (of course!). Ugh. Joey.

#3 – Seinfeld – 76.3 million: Gang arrested for being assholes; many cameos; off to jail.

#2 – Cheers – 84.4 million: Diane returns! Another wedding? Sam chooses his love: the bar.

#1 – M*A*S*H – 105.9 million: Klinger stays, Mulcahey deaf, Hawkeye hallucinates a chicken. Peace! Goodbye.

So many weddings. I wonder how many of them were billed as “The Wedding Of The Year” in the commercials leading up to the finale. I’m guessing most.

Soon this list will have to make room for The Office and 30 Rock, both of which are signing off on their own terms. I’m thinking Andy and Erin get married on the former, Grizz and Dotcom on the latter. You read it here first.

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Jerry

I'm not a fan of the hexagon. I once tried putting cinnamon in mashed potatoes to see if it would taste good. It didn't. I feel somewhat emasculated when I'm entering a password for the first time, and the site tells me it's not a strong enough password. I can juggle, but only for about three or four seconds. I like cars, and my dream vehicle would be shaped like the Chrysler Building, but a little sportier. Also, horizontal.

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