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.
10. Dallas - 'A House Divided' (Season 3)
Before the screen turned black, two shots ringing in audiences ears and jaws firmly agape, the notion of the season cliffhanger was unknown. But landmark Dallas episode, A House Divided, changed all that.
A dramatic finale to what was another twisty, turny and smouldering season - its third - in the show's history, the episode started with those nicer Ewings coming to realise that Larry Hagman's shark-grinning tycoon had swindled them. The end result was an anonymous assailant taking him down. Thus began an 8 month hiatus for the show that had audiences worldwide whipped up into a frenzy.
A bona fide phenomenon that we'll never get boerd of seeing parodied - just don't ask about the season four reveal.
He pours himself a drink. He hears a knock. He takes two in the gut. Genuinely shocking stuff.