Top Ten Shows You Were Most Depressed To See End After 2000
After watching the series finale to Lost on Sunday, and seriously considering tuning into the final Law & Order on Monday, I was reminded of how many good shows there have been in just the last ten years. Furthermore, I was reminded of how many great shows are no longer on television.
That's not to say I'm in the camp of people who believe there's nothing good on TV anymore. A statement like that's a little extreme. There's still plenty good to watch. Big Love, Breaking Bad, Dexter, Friday Night Lights, Mad Men, Modern Family and Treme immediately come to mind.
Still, there are some shows that you invest so much of your time into, when they're done, you feel a great void. So that's what this article's about: revisiting the shows that engaged you so heavily, when they were through, you didn't even know what to do with yourself.
The order isn't necessarily based on show quality. That is to say, I didn't rank according to which shows I thought were the best (because if I had, the series I picked as Honorable Mention would officially be on the list, and way up there). The list is made up of shows that, once they concluded, managed to make you feel as if you lost a close friend you'd known for a number of years.
SPOILER WARNING: I'll try not to state too much on the chance that somebody reading this hasn't seen some of these shows (or plans to), but several of the videos I selected DO give away major plot points. The only entries below that I feel are safe for all are #3, #5 and #6. Also, if you're sensitive to language and/or violence, there are a number of picks from HBO, and an excess of profanity and gun use is pretty much mandatory for shows on that channel.
Honorable Mention: ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT
- 3 seasons
- November 2, 2003 (Pilot) - February 10, 2006 ("Development Arrested")
I think it's a shame this show never found an audience, and I don't really understand why. Do people not enjoy good, consistent comedies? If so, they don't come any better or any more realiable than this one. Throughout its short-lived three-season run, there wasn't a single bad episode in its makeup. On the one hand, I'm disappointed that it was cut short. On the other, I feel like it ended appropriately enough, and without the danger of wearing out its welcome (which usually sets in once series make it to their fifth seasons). Additionally, as a comedy, it didn't end with you feeling incredibly depressed. It just reminded you of how smart and hilarious it had always been.
- 3 seasons
- March 21, 2004 ("Deadwood") - August 27, 2006 ("Tell Him Something Pretty")
I remember being very uneasy about getting into this. It seemed a little odd, and I figured it would just be a western talking heads piece with little to offer. Turns out it's one of the best shows to ever appear on HBO. I've already talked about this a little in an article I wrote about the show's first season, but it bears repeating: this is what a fantastic ensemble looks like. Each and every performer, whether they were series regulars or guest stars, brought something to the table. Episodes were exceptionally written and gorgeously shot. Part of the reason there's still a hint of depression left over draws from creator David Milch's decision to end the show early and invest all his time in the single-season series John from Cincinnati. Bad move.
- 10 seasons
- September 22, 1994 ("The One Where Monica Gets a Roommate") - May 6, 2004 ("The Last One")
I expect most people would have this higher on their lists. I guess it depends on how big of a fan you were. I liked the show. In fact, whenever reruns come on TBS or local channels, I usually watch them. It's always going to be a funny show. I'm not sure it should have been ten seasons, though. As with most shows, its funnier days were behind it by the time we got around to the finale. But the last episode of the series hit all the right notes (even if you knew what was going to happen, and you probably did), and with the final shot showing nothing but an empty apartment, you couldn't help but feel like you had really gotten to know these people over the course of a decade.
8. THE WIRE
- 5 seasons
- June 2, 2002 ("The Target") - March 9, 2008 ("-30-")
Again, I'm not necessarily ranking the shows based on their quality, because if I were, this would easily be in my top 3. You won't have to look hard to find reviews touting this as the best series of all time. I'm not sure I would say that, but it's hard for me to build a solid case against it, too. I do think this is one of the three finest series HBO has ever produced, however. Although I enjoyed it through and through, had the show ended in its third season, it would have been much more profound. It seemed like the creators put everything into that year, and it paid off, because it turned out to be the best season. I wasn't as sad to see the show go when it actually concluded in 2008, but I wouldn't mind seeing new episodes either.
- 6 seasons
- July 12, 1997 ("The Routine") - February 23, 2003 ("Exeunt Omnes")
To me, this has to be one of the most underrated television series ever. Whenever people talk about the brilliance that is HBO, you usually hear the same names come up: The Sopranos, The Wire, Six Feet Under (and more recently, True Blood and Treme). Rarely do you hear about Oz, the show that really started it all. It boasted some great actors that still get plenty of work today, including Lost's Harrold Perrineau as the perfectly cast crippled narrator, Juno's J.K. Simmons in a role he owned so well it's hard to even look at him in modern roles, and Law & Order: SVU's Christopher Meloni on the other side of the law. When my brother and I watched the entire series a couple of summers ago, we were literally depressed for weeks after it ended. It's pretty intense, and it gets my vote for the best series HBO has ever produced.
- 15 seasons
- September 19, 1994 ("24 Hours") - April 2, 2009 ("And in the End")
Even true fans of the series will tell you that ER was not consisntely great throughout its 15-year run. But even so, when the show finally ended in 2009, it was the end of an era. Many medical shows have come and gone, and only a select few are really successful (i.e. House, Grey's Anatomy). Nevertheless, there will probably never be a medical show quite as good as ER. When it was in its prime, no other show could hold a candle to it. Good luck finding actors who can play doctors as convincingly as Anthony Edwards, Eriq La Salle and Noah Wyle.
5. THE WEST WING
- 7 seasons
- September 22, 1999 (Pilot) - May 14, 2006 ("Tomorrow")
It won a buttload of Emmys (4 in a row for Drama Series), made countless best-of-all-time lists, and is shown in classrooms as a way of introducing students to what goes on behind the scenes in the White House. And you know what? It actually deserves all of the recognition it's gotten. I didn't watch the show when it originally aired, but I wish I had. It has the ability to be both smart, funny and moving, sometimes all at once. Not enough can be said about the cast, but I'm not sure I've ever seen anyone play the President quite like Martin Sheen.
4. THE SOPRANOS
- 6 seasons
- January 10, 1999 (Pilot) - June 10, 2007 ("Made in America")
Unless you have some secret brilliant plan that you know for a certainty to be genius, I wouldn't even bother in attempting to craft a show or film about the modern mafia, because you won't top this. When the show ended its run in the summer of 2007, it felt as if the last great classic series was over. Now I'm not one of those who thought the show was perfect the whole way through (I thought the series finale sucked), but the good definitely outweighed the bad, and it was nice to see the Academy of Televisions Art and Sciences give the show a proper sendoff with some well-deserved goodbye awards.
- 6 seasons
- September 22, 2004 (Pilot) - May 23, 2010 ("The End")
The morning after it all came to an end, I woke up with the final images from the finale in my head. I didn't always agree with the direction the showrunners went (I thought "Across the Sea" was a giant misfire), but whenever I was on the verge of losing my faith in the series, it was restored in a big way. More than being just another entertaining television show, Lost was a viewing experience that took the idea of escapism to a whole new level. The series finale didn't resolve all the questions we had (like, um, what was the point of the island?!), but at the same time, there was a satisfactory end to things that seemed incredibly appropriate.
2. THE SHIELD
- 7 seasons
- March 12, 2002 (Pilot) - November 25, 2008 ("Family Meeting")
Wow. That seems to be the best word to describe this show. I'm ashamed to say that I wasn't interested in it when it originally aired on FX. Then my brother forced me to sit through the pilot, and I never looked back. Just as ER has a hold on the medical series, I have a hard time seeing any other cop show coming within spitting distance of The Shield. The direction, writing and acting was top notch, especially when it came to Walton Goggins, who played racist hillbilly Shane Vendrell. His performance was so good, by the time his character's storyline came to a close, you actually felt sorry for him. The show also boasted some amazing guest turns from the likes of Glenn Close, Anthony Anderson and Forest Whitaker. Not a single mediocre episode in its 7-season run.
1. SIX FEET UNDER
- 5 seasons
- June 3, 2001 (Pilot) - August 21, 2005 ("Everyone's Waiting")
This show has the distinction of having the best pilot I've ever seen, and the absolute best series finale. Really. I don't think a show will ever end as brilliantly as this one did. When it was all done, I was depressed that it was over, not so much because the finale was so moving (it was), but because when you look at the series as a whole, it was pretty much perfect. As fun as True Blood is, and as innovative a film as American Beauty was, I think Alan Ball outdid himself when he shared his view on life and death with the rest of the world. It's not a new subject. It's discussed all the time in films and television shows. And yet, with this series, it seemed like a totally fresh idea.
Which series that concluded after 2000 were you the most depressed to see end?See results without voting
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