Are you the type of television viewer who makes a point of catching the
season finales of your favorite shows? If so, come sit here by me and keep me
company, because we're a vanishing breed.
While broadcast networks still make a big production of promoting and launching their new season schedules in the fall, the reality is that more and more viewers aren't particularly concerned with the calendar.
With options to watch TV on your own schedule proliferating, and new shows premiering year-round on zillions of channels, the impact of the 2012-13 TV broadcast season coming to its traditional end in May feels touchingly quaint.
But it's a ritual I still enjoy. I look forward to seeing how the writers construct cliffhangers, leaving us wondering what could possibly come next. After all, scripted TV series are meant to be consumed as serials, and part of the fun of watching week in, week out, is following even the most convoluted plots.
Which character will meet an untimely end? Whose betrayal will be revealed? Which duos will act on their season-long simmering attraction? I can't wait to find out. Here's information on some notable series' finale dates:
ALREADY DONE FOR THE SEASON:
"The Good Wife": One of my favorite shows, this smart series rebounded from a ghastly first half (the storyline about Kalinda and her husband didn't work on any level) to end on a surprising, promising note. Next season can't come soon enough.
"The New Normal"
"Person of Interest"
"Once Upon a Time" (8 p.m. ABC/2)
"Bob's Burgers" (8:30 p.m. Fox/12)
"Revenge": Here we have an example of a series that had an unexpectedly entertaining first season, then staggered into the ditch in Season 2. After the interminably dull saga of "The Initiative," one of those mysterious, all-powerful, nefarious organizations that put viewers to sleep, the show needs to refocus on Emily VanCamp's vengeance-is-mine heroine, Madeleine Stowe's evil elegance, and all the soapy glory their adversarial relationship offers. For the finale, expect some untimely deaths and more of VanCamp's steely resolve. (9 p.m. ABC/2)
"How I Met Your Mother" (8 p.m. CBS/6)
"2 Broke Girls" (9 p.m. CBS/6)
"Castle" (10 p.m. ABC/2)
"NCIS" (8 p.m. CBS/6)
"NCIS: Los Angeles" (9 p.m. CBS/6)
"New Girl": Season 2 has been a big improvement for this likable sitcom, and it ends with the wedding of Jess' (Zooey Deschanel) friend, Cece (Hannah Simone), to Shivrang (Satya Bhabha). For added oomph, Taylor Swift guest stars. (9 p.m. Fox/12)
"The Mindy Project" (9:30 p.m. Fox/12)
"Golden Boy" (10 p.m. CBS/6
"Arrow" (8 p.m. The CW/3)
"CSI" (10 p.m. CBS/6)
"The Big Bang Theory" (8 p.m. CBS/6)
"The Vampire Diaries" (8 p.m. The CW/3)
"The Office": The end of the season, and of the series, is likely to be a bittersweet experience. The first few years of this American adaptation of the British series were inspired, touching and hilarious. But the last several seasons have felt like a houseguest overstaying his welcome. Steve Carell's departure made it clear that sometimes it's best to end a show while it's still fresh. (The British original consisted of two six-episode seasons, and two holiday specials.) The series-ender is likely to be a sweet sendoff, though, with such guest stars as Mindy Kaling and BJ Novak returning. Will Carell appear? There's been no announcement that he'll reprise his role as Michael Scott. But surprises have been known to happen in series finales. (9 p.m. NBC/8)
"Grey's Anatomy" (9 p.m. ABC/2)
"Elementary" (10 p.m. CBS/6)
"Scandal" (10 p.m. ABC/2)
"The Simpsons": The longest-running primetime scripted show in TV history wraps up its 24th season. Season 25 is on the way, though there's talk it may be the last one. (8 p.m. Fox/12)
"Call the Midwife" (8 p.m. PBS/10)
"Mr. Selfridge" (9 p.m. PBS/10)
"Mike & Molly" (9:30 p.m. CBS/6)
"Hawaii Five-0" (10 p.m. CBS/6)
"Bates Motel": The brief first season of this prequel to "Psycho," set in a fictional Oregon coastal town, has had storytelling bumps, but the performances by Vera Farmiga as Norma Bates, and Freddie Highmore as a teen-aged Norman Bates, are outstanding. They'll return for a second season. (10 p.m. A&E)
"Grimm": Season 2 of the fantasy/procedural based and filmed in Portland has been a step up in intensity, creativity and energy from Season 1. More characters have been brought into Detective Nick Burkhardt's (David Giuntoli) secret -- that he's a Wesen-thwarting Grimm -- which has been a breath of fresh air and opened up new storytelling possibilities. Giuntoli has said not all of the characters may survive the finale. Have tissues handy, there might be sniffling involved. (10 p.m. NBC/8)
"The Middle" (8 p.m. ABC/2)
"Law & Order: SVU" (9 p.m. NBC/8)
"Modern Family" (9 p.m. ABC/2)
"Chicago Fire" (10 p.m. NBC/8)
"Nashville" (10 p.m. ABC/2)
"Smash": Bid this a long goodbye, as Season 2 has been shuffled around the NBC schedule, languishing for a while in the dead zone of Saturday night before getting its two-hour finale moved to this Sunday slot. The final two episodes of the season -- and the show -- involve the casts of "Bombshell" and "Hit List" fretting about winning Tony Awards. Break a leg, kids. (9 p.m. NBC/8)
Feeling misty-eyed about all these farewells? Buck up. The spring/summer season is kicking in on broadcast and cable networks, bringing new series ("Graceland," "Mistresses"), returning favorites ("Longmire"), and the keenly anticipated series conclusion of "Breaking Bad."
TV PET PEEVES: Do you stifle the urge to throw heavy objects at the TV when those annoying network logos show up on the bottom of the screen during an intense emotional scene? I do. But that's just me. I'm interested in hearing what your particular TV peeves are. Shows that run long, and get cut off in your DVR? Loud commercials? Let me hear about 'em. Email me at email@example.com. You'll feel better getting off it off your chest, and I'll compile some especially aggravating examples in a future column.
TV CREDIT SEQUENCES: But let's not end on such a negative note. I'm working on an upcoming column about the best TV series credit sequences of all time. The trend nowadays is to do away with credit sequences or make them throwaways, with credits appearing onscreen as the episode begins. But there's nothing like a stylish credit sequence to establish mood and tone. I have my favorites ("Mad Men" and "The Walking Dead" are two current examples). But I want to hear about yours. Again, if you're willing to be quoted in an upcoming column about your picks ("The Twilight Zone"? "Arrested Development"? "The Andy Griffith Show"? "The X-Files"?), email me your choices -- even if they include "The Brady Bunch."
-- Kristi Turnquist
(c)2013 The Oregonian (Portland, Ore.)
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