We look back at some of the greatest closing chapters in TV history

By Julia Emmanuele
Updated August 21, 2015 02:05 PM
Credit: Doug Hyun/HBO/Everett

It’s a sad but true fact of life that everything must eventually come to an end – and when it comes to TV shows, some of those endings are much more satisfying than others.

Ten years ago, Six Feet Under set the bar with one of the greatest series finales of recent years: “Everyone’s Waiting.” In honor of the show’s decade-long reign as the standard to which all other finales should be held, we’re looking back at some of the greatest finale episodes of all time.

You’re going to want to make sure you have plenty of tissues handy (warning: spoilers ahead).

Six Feet Under, "Everybody’s Waiting" (Aug. 21, 2005)
Sure, Six Feet Under was a show about death, but it was still a brave choice for showrunner Alan Ball to close out the series by flashing forward to the final days of each member of the Fisher family. To this day, there isn’t a single fan of the show who can listen to Sia‘s “Breathe Me” without tearing up.

M*A*S*H, "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen" (Feb. 28, 1983)
Before there was Six Feet Under, the holy grail of TV finales was M*A*S*H‘s final episode, which still reigns as the most-watched television finale of all time. It was, like any good finale, bittersweet, poignant and incredibly moving, while still staying true to the show’s trademark mix of comedy and drama. TV fans everywhere still salute it as one of the greats.

Friday Night Lights, "Always" (Feb. 9, 2011)
Friday Night Lights went out the way it was always meant to: With one last big football game, one last Matt and Julie storyline, and one last Coach Taylor pep talk. By the time we got to see Tami finally getting to pursue her goals, our hearts were definitely full, but our eyes were not clear in the slightest. Texas forever, y’all.

The Mary Tyler Moore Show, "The Last Show" (March 19, 1977)
How do you say goodbye to one of the greatest TV heroines of all time? With an episode that’s just as poignant, funny and ultimately heartwarming as the show itself. In being forced to say goodbye to her colleagues, Mary got to say goodbye to her cast mates and the rest of the audience that loved them just as much. And you know what? She really did make it, after all.

Parks and Recreation, "One Last Ride Part 2" (Feb. 24, 2015)
Like Six Feet Under, Parks and Recreation ended its own seven-season run by jumping forward in time to see where everyone in Pawnee ended up. Finding out what happened to Jean-Ralphio was a little less heartbreaking than seeing characters die, but we guarantee you cried just as hard.

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Breaking Bad, "Felina" (Sept. 29, 2013)

In the end, there was really only one way to bring Walter White’s story to a close – by bringing his life to a close as well. It was thrilling, action-packed and genuinely heartbreaking to the end, but hey, at least Jesse got somewhat of a happy ending, right?