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The best and worst series finales this 2022, from "Better Call Saul" to "Killing Eve"


Brian Lowry takes a look at the best and worst series finales of 2022, from "Better Call Saul" to "Ray Donovan."

What are the best series of the first half of the year?


(CNN) -- 

To win a gold medal in Olympic sports like springboard diving or gymnastics, landing the perfect landing is the last key step.

The same goes for TV series, which, as popular as they were at the time, can leave a bitter aftertaste if they mess up their endings.

There have been a mixed bag of endings this year, from AMC's "Better Call Saul," which put the icing on the cake to his splendid career, to Showtime's "Ray Donovan," which, after ending abruptly in 2020, delivered a soulless film. intended to provide its audience with a kind of late closure.

A few caveats: This is not an exhaustive list, as "His Dark Materials," "The Good Fight" and "Better Things" are just a few of the series -- some notable, some not so much -- that ended this year.

Also, entries are limited to shows the producers knew were coming to an end and could plan accordingly, thus excluding something like "Westworld," which was canceled after its fourth season and deprived of the chance to craft. an ending, not that, frankly, it would have mattered much given its confusing creative spiral.

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From top to bottom, here are some of the shows that said goodbye in 2022, and whether their routines wowed the judges (okay, this particular judge).

Bob Odenkirk as "Gene" in "Better Call Saul."

Credit: Greg Lewis/AMC

"Better Call Saul" (AMC, Aug. 16):

All those hints of a black-and-white future finally came to fruition as the "Breaking Bad" spinoff reached its conclusion, bringing in some of the original characters to help say gooobye.

Given the suspense that always existed over what separated Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) from Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn), the low-key denouement and Saul's act of contrition seemed as perfect as most of what preceded it.

"Ozark" (Netflix, April 29):

A family that crimes together seemingly stays together, as the Byrdes left behind much collateral damage in their perilous final arc, in the process incorporating their children into what had become become the family business.

A superbly acted series from start to finish, with Jason Bateman and Laura Linney in the lead.


Justin Hartley, Chrissy Metz and Sterling K. Brown in "This is Us."

Credit: Ron Batzdorff/NBC

"This is Us" (NBC, May 24):

The unabashedly sentimental and romantic finale really reflected the tone of the show throughout its run, something finales should always aspire to.

It was also a great showcase for Mandy Moore as she grasped the challenges of caring for and saying goodbye to an aging parent.

"Atlanta" (FX, Nov. 10):

Anyone hoping for some kind of closure clearly wasn't paying attention to this long-delayed latest season, which was even more lyrical, scattered, and occasionally surreal than its predecessors.

Even so, Donald Glover's series said goodbye on its own terms, which was interesting simply on that level, producing great moments along the way rather than a cohesive whole.

Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross in the series finale "Black-ish."

Credit: Richard Cartwright/ABC

"Black-ish" (ABC, April 19):

The long-running ABC sitcom featured plenty of memorable episodes during its eight seasons.

The ambitious finale wasn't necessarily one of them, but after everything from a New Orleans-style funeral to a cameo from gymnast Simon Biles, it closed sweetly with the reminder that comedies may end, but life goes on.

Like "The Walking Dead" (see below), the series was not helped by a determination to make separate series with "grown-ish" and "mixed-ish," another example of franchise fatigue.

"After Life" (Netflix, January 14):

Ricky Gervais's melancholic series about coping with grief went against the grain by choosing a less uplifting ending than most movies and TV shows dedicated to the subject, accepting that not everything the world can happily move on after experiencing a tragedy.

The thoughtful denouement could not elevate it to the level of the best works of the co-creator of "The Office" and "Extras."

Linda Cardellini and Christina Applegate in "Dead to Me."

Credit: Saeed Adyani / Netflix/DTM_106_Unit_00530.dng/Saeed Adyani / Netflix

"Grace and Frankie" and "Dead to Me" (Netflix, April 29 and November 17):

Two Netflix series about the unlikely friendship between two very different women said goodbye, with the former providing a witty showcase for older stars, starting with Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, which ended with a bit of a whine after seven seasons.

Both flirted with death in their later seasons, as "Dead to Me" focused on the bond between Jen (Christina Applegate) and Judy (Linda Cardellini), even if the twists leading up to it, starting with the whole death thing, twin James Marsden, had started to get a bit tedious.

"The Walking Dead" (AMC, Nov. 21):

The main problem with the finale of this AMC series is that it wasn't really an finale, as all those spinoff promos with prominent characters made clear.

More than anything, it seemed like a good way to wrap up the season after the endless Commonwealth storyline.

Other than that, it's basically an intermission in the "Dead" franchise, in part because the network is so heavily invested in this "zombie-verse" that it has to keep teetering forward.

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Liev Schreiber in "Ray Donovan: The Movie."

Credit: Cara Howe/Showtime

“Ray Donovan: The Movie” (Showtime, Jan. 14):

After ending abruptly in 2020, this Showtime drama tried to tie up loose ends with a movie, relying on an extensive flashback that only added marginally to the story.

Ray, played by Liev Schreiber, was a heavy hitter in his glory days, but this last time (unlike "Dexter: New Blood," which was released in 2021 but didn't officially end until this year, making the most of his limited series) was a hit and a flop.

"Killing Eve" (BBC America, April 10):

The tired "Bury Your Gays" trope aside, this once-addictive series concluded with an episode as chaotic as it was unsatisfying.

The spy drama series, which shined on its own early on, should be remembered for its initial game of cat and mouse between office analyst Eve (Sandra Oh) and consummate assassin Villanelle (Jodie Comer) and, not coincidentally, , for turning the then-unknown Comer into a bankable star.

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Source: cnnespanol

All news articles on 2022-12-21

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