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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Endings the Series Finale Way

We can learn a lot about endings from TV. Today I want to compare two of my favorite shows and season finales. Now, I know this is different from the end of a book, but it is similar to the end of the first book or two in a series.

 At the end of Season Six of Bones, Brennan reveals that she is pregnant, and the baby is Booth's. Now, for those of you who don't watch here's what you need to know--For six years we've waited for these two to get together. I actually thought she was pregnant from the in vetro stuff talked about earlier in the series because we never saw a kiss or anything. At the beginning of season seven they've been living together for six months and she's very pregnant (The actress Emily Deschenel was pregnant in real life).

Anyway, I felt cheated. Six years of waiting for that tension to be released and the writers skipped over the whole thing to the point you weren't sure what even happened. (plus season six made the Bones character stupid)

Contrast that with this year's season finale of Castle. Four years of Beckett and Castle avoiding their feelings for each other. But in the end we get to see Beckett knocking on Castle's door. We see the kiss, we see her take his hand and lead him elsewhere. We get the "ahh" moment we've been waiting for. And then cut scene to the stakes being raised for next season.

One "ending" failed in it's purpose--to make me wait anxiously for the next show. One was perfect.

When you reach the end of your book, take the time to think about where your readers are emotionally invested. Then take the time needed to satisfy them. This doesn't mean you have to write happy endings--our discussion of the Hunger Games proved that.

The ending must make plot sense, stay in character with all that came before, show character growth, and give closure.

And I know, easier said than done.


Em-Musing said...

I agree, I hate being seduced through every episode only to have the ending leaving me hanging, unsatisfied and pissed. And I hate dream sequences where the characters were not really kissing, or not really dead.

Huntress said...

Agree on the Bones TV show. I quit watching at the same time you did, when the character's actions no longer made sense.

The TV show, House, also wrapped up its last season. The finale was at the other end of the spectrum. Satisfying, conclusive, closure with a touch of 'what will happen now' ending.

In a novel, that is what I like to see as well. It must make sense, be in line with the characters' personality, and satisfying.

But give me a little 'what if' as well.

Clarissa Draper said...

YEs, I feel the same way about Bones. And about Castle. Yay for Beckett! I haven't seen House yet but I'm dying to.

Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

The Bones pregnancy was so contrived because Emily was already pregnant in real life, plus them killing Vincent to get them into bed with each other, made me stop watching. Series sucks now imo.

Liz said...

Yes, I agree. Although, I am still watching Bones (I kinda don't have a choice in that).

Pearl said...

Popped in and now all I have to say is that I've not seen Bones. :-)


LD Masterson said...

I don't watch Bones but I never missed Castle. To be honest, I was a hair disappointed in the season finale. Strange as it seems, I wanted a little more dialogue in that love scene. Castle has poured out his feelings for Kate more than once but all we got from her was a couple lines of breathless declaration as she threw herself into Castle's arms. Did anyone else notice she never said "I love you"? Only "I want you."

Yeah, I know, it's nitpicky. But...

M.L. Falconer said...

I'm grateful to have found your blog here. I've enjoyed "stalking" around the posts in the last few hours.

Endings really make or break the experience for me. I'll admit I didn't jump on the Lost bandwagon. I would watch a few episodes here and there and I was totally lost. I told myself I'd rent the episodes from number 1 and try to catch up because I wanted to see what had my friends so enthralled. I did, however, see the final episode and I was furious for my friends who invested six years or so of their lives in this show just to find out they were all dead to begin with ... they were all dead and in purgatory the whole time. I mean that's almost like finding out the entire six seasons were just a dream. grr. I don't ever want to do that to my readers.

Just my two cents. ;)