The end of the decade has me thinking about endings. More specifically, it has me thinking about the best series finales in streaming. How a show ends is arguably the most important part of the entire series. A good ending leaves viewers with some kind of strong, resonating emotion. Whether it’s hope, redemption, or sadness, a solid ending will remain forever etched on your memory. (Think John Bender’s iconic fist-pump at the end of The Breakfast Club.) A bad ending, however, can make viewers angry for investing in a story with a poor conclusion.
All this talk about endings has me thinking about which original series had the best series finale. If I had to rate them, which ones would make the list? Well, I suppose we need to take a look at the criteria of what it takes to make my list of best series finales of 2019. To qualify for my list, a program must be:
An original series on one of these streaming service providers: AppleTV, Amazon Prime, Britbox, HBO, Hulu, Netflix, Showtime, and YouTube TV.
Available for streaming, either on a weekly-release or binge-watching format.
Had a series finale in 2019.
With all that in mind, let’s take a look at the best series finales of the year.
Amazon Prime: The Man in the High Castle
Wow! What an ending! With that said, I can’t tell you much more than that. Why? Because this series’ fourth and final season recently came out. There might be some of you who haven’t seen it yet, so I don’t want to spoil anything. The most I can do is offer these two things to consider as you wrap up this amazing alternative history series:
This series has always been about showing the human side of people, even the evil ones.
The final episode seems to be all about karma and redemption for a few key characters.
With that said, I hope you enjoy the ending of this series as much as I did!
HBO: Game of Thrones
You had to have seen this one coming. It was only the mega-hit of the decade, after all. Well, the ending was just as impactful. So, what’s the most important thing I took from it without spoiling the show for anyone who hasn’t seen it? (Do such people even exist?) What I learned was that a better world does not come from one person and their grand vision for how things should be. It’s the result of a consensus of good people who bring qualities such as wisdom and humility to the table.
As great endings go, an honorable mention goes to The Deuce. The last five minutes of the finale episode was particularly moving. We catch up with the lead character, Vincent Martino (James Franco), in his elder years. His walk through Times Square shows how, in the end, all we have are memories. It was one of the most moving endings I’ve seen in years.
Netflix: Orange is the New Black
This was one of Netflix’s most popular and talked-about series, but all good things come to an end. In the case of the original series, the end came with the last episodes of the seventh season. So, what kind of ending was it? Well, it had to be a good one to make this list. (Yes, I realize that was a subjective statement, but so is this entire post.) If you haven’t seen it yet, I won’t spoil it.
There are different endings for each of the main characters you’ve come to root for. Some characters’ endings are happier than others. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, though. If you’ve been following OITNB, you know that each woman’s destiny is the result of her character and choices. Good or bad, it all comes to a fitting end for each of them.
Showtime: The Affair
All I can say is “Wow!” This show was a treat from its first episode to its last. Of all the shows featured in this article, I’d say this one featured the strongest characters. That’s because this show was a character study that spanned five seasons. The first four seasons focused mainly on characters Noah Solloway, Helen Solloway, Alison Bailey, and Cole Lockhart. Two of these people have the affair that the series in named four while all four experience the effects of it. The last season opens up to share perspectives of other supporting characters.
So, let’s talk about the ending. In the final season, much of what was shattered by Noah’s affair with Alison finally gets put right. Personal growth and accountability are the overall themes for nearly everyone in this series. The biggest growth is seen in Noah’s character, played by Dominic West. His final act of kindness in the last episode helps the one character who needed it the most. And the scene of him dancing atop the mountain at the end is nothing short of iconic.
What About the Other Streaming Services?
Oh, you mean AppleTV, Britbox, Hulu, and YouTube TV? Well, the truth is, I don’t have those streaming services. It’s not that I don’t want them. I’ve been pining away for YouTube TV every since the channel kicked off its Cobra Kai original series. I was a teenager in the 1980s and The Karate Kid was one of my favorite movies. As much as I want it, Mrs. Buckler reminds me that we have bills to pay.
What about the other streaming services that I didn’t mention? Well, as far as Britbox goes, Mrs. Buckler wants it but we can’t get it for the same reason I can’t get YouTube TV. (Fair is fair, right?) I could say the same thing about Hulu; but, truth be told, nothing there appeals to me. (Sorry, not sorry Hulu.)
AppleTV only started hosting its originals movies and series a few months ago. Even if we got it, there would be no series finales to enjoy this soon in the game. So, while that might be a possibility in the near future, it’s not right now. That said, some of the service’s original series look intriguing!
The Next Decade in Streaming?
On January 1, 2020, we start both a new year and a new decade. What great series finales can we expect during the next 10 years? Well, the first one that comes to mind is my beloved Stranger Things. I don’t know how many seasons the Duffer brothers have planned, but I think it’s a safe bet that it won’t span the next decade. I’m sure there will be a huge host of great original series for me to get hooked on in the years to come.