There's really no better way to end a season of a show than with a belting finale; a denouement that is red hot enough to send the water boiling around the office cooler as colleagues worldwide enthuse about what the hell happened the night before. End on a high, that's how it's supposed to be done.
Heck, even the dullest of shows can trick us into staying interested by putting out a tantalising last episode - Vampire Diaries, Supernatural, and Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., are all guilty of this - and it somehow works. But for a finale to tick all of the right boxes, with revelations, dramatic explosions and a token character death chucked in for good measure, the preceding season needs to be strong. It's all about the build up.
Before you continue, don't be surprised if some of your favourite shows aren't featured on this list, as certainly in the case of recent TV hits like Sons of Anarchy, The Walking Dead and Game Of Thrones, showrunners are putting out a blistering penultimate episode in favour of a strong payoff. It's a bold trend that is emerging, but no matter how much you may have loved episodes as good as 'Blackwater', you really can't beat an awesome finale.
While there is probably a top ten feature in that alone, this piece champions the best of the best finales, those episodes that hit the heart and mind. So, without further ado, enjoy the show(s).
Shaun is a former contributor for a number of Future Publishing titles and more recently worked as a staffer at Imagine Publishing.
He can now be found banking in the daytime and writing a variety of articles for What Culture, namely around his favourite topics of film, retro gaming, music, TV and, when he's feeling clever, literature.