Here’s the latest from the crossroads of faith, media & culture: 05/23/22

NBC’s This is Us wraps with its much-anticipated season finale tomorrow night (5/24). While, for whatever reason, I never watched the show enough to get into to it, it certainly garnered a large and loyal fan base during its six-season run. While I won’t be tuning in for this one, as an unabashed  TV fan a can say there is nothing quite so satisfying as a great television series delivering an ending that does justice to the characters and sticks with you.

In alphabetical order, here are five TV series finales that delivered the goods and stuck with me.

The Big Bang Theory (CBS/2019)
After 12 seasons, viewers witnessed self-centered scientist Sheldon Cooper share his coveted Nobel Prize not only with his wife but with the friends and family who helped him along the way. A masterful finale followed by a very sweet and appropriate tag. As a bonus, an episode of the prequel series Young Sheldon really drove home how far the character had come. All in all, a great tribute the virtues of friendship, gratitude and perseverance.

Everybody Loves Raymond (CBS/2005)
After 9 seasons we said goodbye to the Barone family and saw that, as dysfunctional as they sometimes seemed, when it got right down to it, they all really did love Raymond. A surprisingly moving ending.

The Fugitive (ABC/1967)

After 4 seasons on the run for a murder he didn’t commit, Dr. Richard Kimble finally caught up with the real killer as the show that basically invented the TV finale came to a suspenseful and satisfying finish. After everything that transpired in the two-part finish, I’m not sure why the testimony of the cowardly witness to the crime would have been necessary to finally clear his name but, nonetheless, it was an emotionally satisfying conclusion that offers hope to anyone who feels wrongly judged by the world that with perseverance redemption is attainable. There’s also a nice note of forgiveness at the end when Kimble shakes the hand of his tormentor Lt. Gerard.

NYPD Blue (ABC/2005)
In my view, after 12 seasons the greatest TV series in TV history came to a perfect conclusion with this final chapter in the saga of Andy Sipowicz’s redemptive transformation from an alcoholic racist police detective to a man who had found God, conquered his demons, became a mentor to others and, in the end, was given command of the squad. The second clip is not from the finale but from a risky episode earlier in the season that, if not expertly handled, could have played out as pretty hokey but instead really helped bring Andy’s whole story together.

Quantum Leap (NBC/1993)

After 5 seasons, Dr. Sam Beckett’s time-leaping saga came to a surprisingly open-ended conclusion that had him engaging in a final act of kindness for a friend and then choosing not to return home but to continue making right what once went wrong for others. Sadly, TV doesn’t portray many heroes quite like Sam Beckett anymore. Unfortunately, somehow a misspelling of the character’s name slipped by in the final chyron. Potentially much more unfortunately, this coming season NBC risks blowing up everything up with a Wokish sequel.

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5

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