Endings are hard. I doubt that is a controversial statement, or it shouldn’t be, at least. They are more so the longer a creative work goes on for. With each passing minute, hour, episode, season, there are more expectations, more theories, more concepts, more characters, and basically more and more ways to let down the fans, cast, characters, and overall story. Anyone watching movies and television can easily recount a film or series that ended up with a disappointing, at best, or utterly product destroying, at worst, finale. Hell, just reading the previous sentence probably brought one up to mind like some sort of PTSD induced flashback.
Recently, a series I watched, mostly for the spectacular cast (most of them anyways because several series regulars throughout the years were also utter shit in terms of basic acting), ended on a rather pathetic note. In this series’ case, it was obvious what went wrong when one of the producers admitted in an interview that the writers didn’t bother to make or follow an outline for the last two seasons of the show. Yup, a writers room didn’t bother to make an outline to follow to make sure the show held some semblance of plot consistency from episode to episode. I am sure you can imagine how well that went. And while it is pretty apparent and simple to guess what went wrong with this show’s particular ending, it still made me question why endings are so difficult for so many media productions.
Obviously, it is hard to make an ending that will completely satisfy everyone, but that doesn’t give excuse to just not even bother trying. I mean, the ability to write a conclusion that will satisfy every potential audience and one that honors the narrative and characters that have been created are not diametrically opposed. I would have loved to see more Breaking Bad and Walter White getting up to his criminal shenanigans. However, no reasonable person can claim that the ending for that series was not earned or did justice to its narrative and characters. Similarly, Justice League Unlimited even with its more open ending managed a satisfying ending to its story and had decades of history and fans to contend with.
And yes, these two examples were in different mediums with, most likely, different audiences and expectations, but that is the point. Satisfying conclusions are possible even with diverging resources. What really seems to be the deciding factor is not the medium, or money, or intent, but having talent, on all levels of production, that actually care about what they are doing beyond cashing a check or trying to move up on the career hierarchy.
But maybe I am wrong and being too judgmental and hard on the people behind the scenes. So, what do you think? Are truly satisfying endings too elusive? Or are they a by product of lack of care or concern from some?