It’s doubtful that there has ever been anything quite like the next week of television. In a way it’s the perfect storm: exciting season finales and the final episodes of superb long-running series.
The much-anticipated end of Lost. Jack Bauer’s final act in the brilliant eighth season of 24. The secret of Gene Hunt revealed in the last episode of Ashes to Ashes. A potentially apocalyptic season finale of Fringe. All of these are coming within the next few days.
The really sad thing is that these series have no replacements. There’s nothing new that lives in the memory as these shows have. While Fringe lives to fight another day (probably only for another year given its undeservedly poor ratings), there’s nothing out there that can compare to Lost or 24 or Ashes to Ashes. We’re living witnesses to TV history. We’ve watched these programmes for years, and their ends are doubtless going to be emotional rollercoasters. It’ll be sad to have to say goodbye to characters that we’ve grown to love.
Hopefully other shows will eventually rise to fill the gaps, but for right now, May 2010 really does feel like the end of an era. Television at its best, with its episodic structure, can provide a deeper experience than film can ever aspire to. Let’s hope that the finales live up to our high expectations. If so, the next few days will be long remembered.