Complex TVMain MenuIntroductionVideos for IntroductionComplexity in ContextBeginningsVideos for Chapter 2AuthorshipCharactersComprehensionEvaluationSerial MelodramaOrienting ParatextsTransmedia StorytellingVideo GalleryTable of ContentsJason Mittell06e96b1b57c0e09d70492af49d984ee2f68945deNew York University Press
12015-03-15T11:36:21-07:00Jason Mittell06e96b1b57c0e09d70492af49d984ee2f68945de13506structured_gallery1293502015-03-18T12:17:35-07:00Jason Mittell06e96b1b57c0e09d70492af49d984ee2f68945deTable of ContentsAmerican commercial television differs from much of the world in how it privileges a narrative model in which a successful series never ends, with a final episode typically regarded as a sign of commercial failure and/or creative exhaustion, and often programs end by abrupt cancellation more than planned conclusion. In the past decade, more series have planned their conclusions, creating a set of precedents for serial endings that variously embrace ambiguity, circularity, reflexivity, and finality. This chapter looks at the concluding seasons and episodes of Lost, The Wire, and The Sopranos as exemplars of both narrative strategies and the divergent viewer and critic reactions triggered by various finales. The book concludes by discussing notions of “ends” in terms of the goals of serial criticism using case studies from Homeland and Breaking Bad, infusing some questions of politics back into the book’s poetic approach. Finally, it reflects on the book’s own seriality in its online prepublication.