SPOILER ALERT: Obviously, this list of season finales contains spoilers for the… season finales of the shows mentioned below. So, if you don’t want to get spoiled stop reading now!

Even awesome shows have underwhelming season finales sometimes [I am looking at you Game of Thrones]; a good season finale needs to be shocking, honest to the plot [and characters] and set up what’s coming next. It has to make us cry and shout at the screen, but in a good way... I am mostly disappointed with how TV shows end, but I am also pleasantly surprised once in a while. Here are some of the best season finales from the 2012-13 season (including all shows that started their seasons in or after September 2012):


I know, I know, Season 8 is already airing, but last year we had to wait until the fall for Dexter, remember? So that makes Season 7 eligible for this list. The sixth season was very disappointing, but I thought the serial killer show got its groove back on Season 7. It was amazing to see Debra’s journey as she adjusted to the fact that her brother was a serial killer. It didn’t go as I expected, it was 10 times better! The wonderful season 7 culminated with a scene where Debra needs to make a decision between shooting Dexter to save Laguerta’s life or let him kill her. In a major turn, Debra shoots Laguerta and kills her. The implications were major. Not only she stopped Dexter from breaking the code, but she became a killer herself. It was shocking and unexpected. That last scene was the basis for everything that will happen during the current and final season of the show. I am not ready to let go, but it promises to be amazing!

Once Upon a Time

I’ve previously stated the reasons why Once Upon a Time may be the closest thing to the “New Lost” and if the writers have learned anything from their previous series, it’s to re-invent the show every year. It worked wonderfully for lost: S1 and S2 explored the survivors via flash-backs, S3 introduced the others, we changed to flash-forwards on S4 and flash-sideways on the final season. They did the same with Once Upon a Time. The second season was very different to the first and looks like the third will be something else entirely. I loved the introduction of Neverland, how they changed the game with Henry being a wanted boy and some of the shocking revelations like: Hook having a heart [sorta] and Peter Pan being evil? The season ended with the ‘Charming’ family and Rumpelstiltskin heading to Neverland to look for the recently kidnapped Henry. Also, Neal is not dead and he is in the enchanted present forest with Mulan, Aurora and Philip [wasn’t he dead?]. Anyway, the finale set up the following season and it was a lot of fun to watch. I wasn’t impressed with all the episodes this season (I enjoyed some more than others), but I truly liked how they finished it. I am, once again, very excited for the show’s return.  

Beauty and the Beast

I confess, I was expecting to be a little disappointed/underwhelmed with the finale of this show. The reason being that I thought episodes 14-18 were mind-blowing. The plot was moving a million miles per hour and there were major turning points including: Vincent and Catherine kissing for the first time and having sex in the span of two episodes (not complaining!); plus other shocking events like Darius’s involuntary murder and Evan’s death.  By the time we got to episode 18, they had thrown so many twists at us I felt they had to slow down and they did… a little bit, throughout episodes 19-21 (there were still many shocking twists, but it didn’t feel like a marathon anymore). They revealed so many things in the last half of the season, I thought the finale was either going to be underwhelming or they were going to force a twist last minute (breaking up Catherine and Vincent or something horrible like that). Neither of those happened. The way they ended the season was obviously heart-breaking, but in a good way. It was the right type of angst. The final scene had Vincent being abducted in a helicopter as Catherine watches unable to stop it. And to make it more shocking, the person abducting Vincent turned out to be Catherine’s biological father. They held hands, there was an awesome soundtrack, there were amazing shots of Cat exhaling into the light, we all cried… all in all an epic scene. It was a great way to end the season and it will be a great point to start the new one. Thank God there will be a new one; otherwise I would be devastated, especially with that ending!


It’s hard to say the season finale of Banshee was especially shocking, because EVERY SINGLE EPISODE of this show was mind-blowing. Any episode could have been the season finale and it would have been the best season finale. There were SO MANY jaw-dropping moments throughout the season (Ana abducting Hood, Rabbit kidnapping Ana’s son) and some of the best fight scenes ever on TV.  In the season finale, Rabbit introduces himself as Ana/Carrie’s father and releases her kidnapped son in exchange for Hood. Ana’s husband figures out her connection with the sheriff and asks her to make a choice. Barely recovering from the best-fight-scene-ever-on-TV[Ana vs. Olek], Ana chooses to go rescue Hood. Sugar and Job tag along and somehow manage to get the deputies on board their suicide mission. After a sequence that involved more guns and blood-shed than all of HBO shows combined, Ana rescues Hood, Rabbit escapes, Ana’s husband leaves her and takes the kids and… someone finds the real Hood’s body. The season finale established once and for all that Banshee has all the craziness of True Blood, the grittiness of Sons of Anarchy and the darkness of Justified. The finale was AMAZING and there are still plenty of stories that need to be told: What will happen with Anna’s children? Will Deva find out that Hood is her father? What’s up with the Native Americans? Is Rabbit dead? Can Job be any cooler?


This was not a season finale, it was a series finale. If I am often disappointed by season finales, I am almost ALWAYS disappointed by series finales. Even shows that I LOVE had, in my opinion, underwhelming series finales (Alias, Lost, Prison Break).I can count with one hand the series finales I’ve actually loved [only one that comes to mind right now is Everwood]. Fringe was one of these rare exceptions; I thought the series finale was perfect in every way. It was the most fitting way to finish the saga and it was very satisfying; most questions were answered and lose ends were tied. After the Fringe team successfully defeats the observers [thanks to cortexiphan Olivia], the timeline is reset taking Peter and Olivia back to that day in the park before their daughter Etta was abducted. In the end, the observer invasion never happened and they go on to live as a perfect happy family. Of course we could all foresee this ending since the final season begun, but it doesn’t matter. It is a perfect example of how it is not the finish line that matters but how we get there. In this case, the happy ending was only possible because Walter took the child observer to the future, giving up his chance to see Peter ever again. The entire show was about Walter seeking absolution for his crimes against the universe. Yes, he did it all for Peter, but with this final sacrifice he would ensure Peter’s happiness, atone for his sins against nature and restore the balance in the universe. The entire story came full circle, it was heart-breaking and it was the perfect way to end one of the greatest sci-fi shows of all times.

Honorable Mentions

There were a couple other shows I thought had pretty great endings. I loved the reveal at the end of Revenge, it was about time! I also loved Hannibal’s final episode/scene, but I don’t think it is appropriate to list Hannibal as a show with a great finale because every single second of the season was perfect! I have conflicting feelings towards The Vampire Diaries finale. It was shocking, for sure... but I am not happy with the way they handled Elena [nor Damon/Elena] this season. The whole sire bond annoyed me. It also may have something to do with the fact that I always liked her better with Stefan, so I might be biased. I know a lot of people loved this finale and I can understand why. It had major twists in true TVD fashion and opened a lot of doors for next season. In that sense it was a good finale, I am just not sure about the general direction of the show lately. Finally, I want to give a shout-out to one of my favorite comedies of all times: 30 Rock. It wasn’t the type of show to end with a bang and a shocking revelation, but it had a great ending which honored the funny quirkiness of the show. Final scene had Jack and Liz [who were the essence of the show] reunited and the answer to everything: See-through dishwashers… Seriously, how could no-one have thought of it before?

Since I am only human and contrary to what it may seem, I can’t watch everything at once; so there are still a couple of shows I haven’t finished watching. I will update this list accordingly, but don’t get offended if I didn’t include your favorite season finale… It’s possible I just didn’t have the chance to watch it yet! However, let me know in the comments’ section if you think I am missing anything!
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The TV Empress is a Media Management graduate, screenwriter in the making (and financial engineer in the meantime). She has serious plans to take over global television. You can follow the TVEmpress on twitter @TVRepublik

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