Maybe Your Finale Should Not Suck.
Raising the Bar, as I said in an earlier post, is currently my favourite of the new shows this year. This isn’t to say that it doesn’t have some flaws. Chief among these is a horrible season finale, not because it was a bad episode (it was pretty damn good), but because it just lacked anything that remotely said ‘I am a finale’ other than the TNT watermark. The Jerry/Bobby kiss? moved their relationship forward, but was really not a ‘season finale’ type of event. Neither was anything else that took place during the ep.
RtB’s first season isn’t the first time one of my favourite shows has failed at making a finale. VMars series finale did the same, which was especially disappointing after how hard they’d rocked the finale during their first two seasons. Now yes, I know they were hoping for a fourth season, but that’s actually what the problem was here. They were so worried about cancellation, and how to get another season/how many episodes they’d get for that season, that in the end the events of Veronica’s first year at college built up to… a handful of one-off episodes without any major case to solve. Now I know it’s naive to expect them to pull off something as amazing as the season one finale was, not knowing exactly how many episodes the season would run, and sure they were cooking up two different pitches for the fourth season of the show, but ‘Keith probably won’t be elected sheriff’ just doesn’t cut it, sorry.
It’s clear that even good creators sometimes forget about this recent (yet vital!) addition to the television lexicon, the finale. So I’ve decided to give a few handy tips:
- Do you have some sort of major revelation or big plot moment? Perhaps you should add one of these. Bringing a character back from the dead and/or killing a character would work well.
- A cliffhanger is always a simple way to say ‘finale!’ though it is probably best to check to see if your show is getting another season before using this one.
- Are there any ongoing plotlines that you could now end? Or even pretend to end and then revive next season? Nothing says ‘finale’ like ‘finality!’
- Have a main character break down and cry. Or perhaps blow up something large and impressive-looking. Or both. Ooooh, have someone crying, and then they blow up! Impressively!
- Has the network suggested adding a ‘season finale’ tag to the show in order that your audience realize there won’t be another episode next week? If so, you may want to consider some rewrites.
Now remember, all of these tips are just ways to change your ‘last produced episode’ into a ‘finale.’ None of this will in any way guarantee the level of quality contained within said finale. You may very well realize after you’ve produced the episode, that your main character is floating naked through space in a glowing geometric shape. If this happens, don’t panic! If all else fails, hire Steven S. DeKnight and force him to write even worse stories in order to make what you’ve done seem better by comparison.