How do you make your series finale live forever? Give him the legendary pin. (2023)

Hi, you may have heard, butLegacyends this week. (And that's rightBarry'egoandThe beautiful Mrs. Maisel, by the way.) To celebrate the occasion, we're taking a look at the very idea behind this week's televised finales: how to get them right, how to pick the perfect song for them, and why they might matter less in this day and age of streaming. And of course we rank them.Check back all weekto help us celebrate - we like to think of it more like an Irish vigil than a funeral.

Almost every episodeSix feet undergroundit begins with the end. A woman was hit in the head with a golf ball. A comic book collector is overwhelmed by one of his overcrowded shelves. Lightning, frying pan, elevator: they all wear you out from the start. And all this means a new job for the main characters of the series, the Fisher family that owns a funeral home.

For five seasons, the Fishermen collect and embalm, sell and scatter, host and strike. theserefuses the funeral procession; they hide behind their losses. They've built their names and livelihoods in an industry that graciously manages goodbyes. So it should come as no surprise that the time has come for the darkly funny, permanently morbidSix feet undergroundby the end of 2005, its creators knew how to carry out the final procedures.

The series' 63rd and final episode, "Everybody Waits," offers a gentle swirl of reconciliation, violence, peace, death, love, boredom, and perseverance. It looks to the future but honors the past, providing closure while encouraging the imagination. And, perhaps most impressively, it's enhanced by the now-classic choice of outro music.

Claire Fisher, played by Lauren Ambrose, gets into her blue Prius, puts on a CD called "Ted's Deeply Unhip Mix" by her estranged boyfriend, and begins to leave Los Angeles in search of a new life in New York. As the viewer races through space, the viewer races through time, jumping forward through the lives and deaths of Claire and her loved ones—some prematurely, some out of boredom, some brutally, some from old age. Australian singer-songwriter Sia's "Breathe Me" plays for nearly seven minutes, all bouncing piano riffs and wails.

Claire may have her ex to thank for such a fitting musical choice, but viewers might immediately appreciate some of the show's creative forces, like co-creator Alan Ball and music directors Gary Calamar and Thomas Golubic, for creating such an enduring piece. impression. We both knew it would be a big moment, says Golubić. In her job, "the fun part for us is that we're all nervous and a little bit broken and scared," she says. “We just hope it ends up being great. And sometimes it is.

Six feet undergroundhe was really great at the end, his final sequence and song captured the final rituals of the show just right. "I always say," jokes Calamar, "that a Sia song will be playing on my tombstone." The Fisher family would certainly appreciate such a life in the future.

"Everyone. Everything. Everywhere. It's over." promised advertising posters forSix feet undergroundIn the summer of 2005, I saw the entire subway in New York plastered. And that "everything" includes TV shows: no matter how popular and long-lasting a show is, it has to end at some point. And when it happens, what will it sound like?

Some programs choose to go back to where it all started, for exampleWire, Whichultimatewith a nod to the opening theme of the first season of Blind Boys from Alabama "The Way Down the Hole". Similarly,Malcolm entersfeatured Citizen King's "Better Days" on bothpilotand his ownfinal scenes. Other series honor elders with pins that sealed before them: WhenI was floatinglast logged outFirstlast time, 2012) was aNaslovnica Florence + The Machine"You've Got the Love," an earlier version of which, written by Source and Candi Staton, closed in 2004.Sex and the cityfinal.

Wa good womanthe main character was dramaticslapped as Regina Spektor's "Better" played at the end of the series. When Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" reached its crescendosoprano family,the screen is notoriously cut offblack. shows howlostandBetter call Saul(and, you should imagine, it will comeLegacy) did not end their performances by marking the licensed piece of music, but by including the original music.Americans("With or without you") iOne Tree Hill("One Tree Hill") all left with U2. Other shows went for two people, for exampleDom, which combined Warren Zevon's weepy "Keep Me in Your Heart for Awhile" with the tenacious "Enjoy Yourself," orBeverly Hills, 90210, Whichwalk bravelyod Kool and the Gang u cool gang pjesmi.Freaks and nerdsit featured two Grateful Dead songs in the finale that faded out too soon. (Thippie flatteryin the cafeteria who said "I wish I'd never heard [The Dead] so I could hear it again for the first time" was right.)

"A harmonious combination of image, story and music - it's like nirvana for me, which I'm always looking for as a director," he says.Freaks and nerdscreator Paul Feig. "You spend your career on every project you're looking for, do you know what song it's going to be?" Choosing the right music to end a TV series - especially one that is particularly layeredSix feet underground- it's not an easy case. It's like being tasked with distilling an entire symphony into a representative chord. When off -Seinfeldaincluding Green Day randomly as if it were an episode away fromthe real worldtime? buzzing However, when performed correctly, the notes ring clear and true.

Look no further thanYou are the worstand the Mountain Goats' "No Children," each alternately crunchy and bitter, fit into — and I mean that as a compliment — hell. In 2019, said showrunner Stephen FalkWokDoasked John Darnielle, lead singer of the Mountain Goatshas anyone ever considered "No Children" romantic. (The song includes the line "I hope you die.") "And [Darnielle] said to me, 'You'd be shocked how many people have asked me to play at their weddings,'" Falk said. Or take a lookCrazy peoplewhose use is knownCoca Colawritten by a Madison Avenue advertising executive, it fit perfectly with Don Draper's career aspirations, lost loves, and new vibe (gong).

LubAmericansand the choice "With or without you", which places the viewer not only in the era of the series - the finale takes place in 1987, the same yearJoshua treefreed - but also in the psyche of the play, with lines like "My hands are tied" and a general aura of righteous pain. Co-creator Joel Fieldshe told reporters in 2018that he experimented with "hundreds" of tunes alongside the episode's grueling, atmospheric edit, but also wouldn't name any of them for fear people would start remixing them on YouTube.

“There are certain songs that I describe assongs of lifesays Liza Richardson, a music manager whose portfolio includesFriday Night Lights,Parenthood, ANDRemains,among many, many others."ForFriday Night LightsI just remember looking for songs that were more or less lyricalZOEand I put it all together."

At the end of the show's fifth and final season, as the players move on and Coach Taylor returns home, the Delta Spirit song "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead" features the samesong of lifelyrics: "May luck find you at the worst / And bad love lose you at the best." In an interview from 2011.FNLShowrunner Jason Katims said he originally planned to end the series with Coach Taylor's speech, but it didn't work out. Instead, he followed the music.

All three supervisors I spoke with also worked in music: at KCRW, the legendary public radio station based in Santa Monica; Richardson arrived there in 1991 from Dallas. He also worked on several films and commercials (iPod!) before joining.Friday Night Lights, her first television appearance. Like many actors at the time, she was unsure about the medium of television, but she soon became convinced. "I thought I was in this piece just to be a film score supervisor," he says. "But I didn't know how it would change everything. And now I'm definitely still doing films, but I've really focused on feature dramas, episodic dramas.

Calamar and Golubić were also in KCRW, both started as volunteers. when they gotSix feet undergroundThe jobs were "very green," Calamar says. “And I think you know, Alan Ball and Alan Poul, the co-producer, were fans of KCRW and they seemed to like us. They gave us a chance." What they lacked in apprenticeship, they made up for in encyclopedic knowledge of deep cuts and up-and-coming artists. Plus, KCRW featured the same music that might have been playing on the radio at Fisher's house during a mother-daughter fight or routine embalming."Six feet undergroundit was the perfect first big project for me and Gary," says Golubić. The lineup included songs from Death Cab for Cutie to Joni Mitchell.

Ahead of the fifth and final season, a promotional trailerSix feet undergrounda run where cars drive on desert roads while a classic Sia song plays. Hearing about the musical decisions feels like hearing about the casting, from budget constraints to "us" scheming.almostleft with..." stories. Liketen, or this: At one point, the band Arcade Fire wrote a haunting original song called "Cold Wind," which was probably supposed to be used in the Season 5 trailer. But the song wasn't ready in time. (It was eventually used mid-season and included on the show's official soundtrack.) Calamar played "Breathe Me" on his radio show, introducing Sia through her work with the band Zero 7. "It was one of the songs we featured along with a few others," says Calamar. - And no, I don't remember what the others were.

“I remember hearing Sia's song and thinking, 'This is it. That's it,” says Ball. ",You don't have to let others come to me." There were representatives, but I don't remember any of them. When it came time for the final, Golubić says: "We came up with ideas in advance, just different interpretations, and Alan was the one who said 'I think I know what will happen'. And he said, "That's the song you introduced me to that we used in the trailer." Calamar worked with Ball again,pure blood-which closed its seventh and final season with Led Zeppelin's "Thank You" — and alsoDom,along with fellow music director Lynn Grossman.

"The woman reminded me," says Calamar, that they told him "they want Sia 'Breathe Me' at the end of the year."Dom.They wanted a song that [would] have that weight. I said, "Oh my God."

w 2017 r.Supled the storyAgoGirlsa finale that speculates: “What will happenGirlsSong Be final?' The song had several perfect guesses, from a "Dancing on My Own" throwback to Taylor Swift or Britney Spears, but none were right. Instead, Lena Dunham ended the set by singing Tracy Chapman's "Fast Car" to a child: "ONEglas A generation" screaming at the next. What stands out the mostSupHowever, perhaps this is the lack of the increasingly common phrase "dropping the needle", which would never happen in 2023.

Golubić likens the term to using "Beantown" to refer to Boston, while Richardson says, "People just, yeah, think it's slang, and maybe it is, but I don't use it."

All that has been said abovefreaks and nerds,there are really needle dropouts. The famously short-lived but brilliant one-season series has its own musical finale in which a career counselor encourages Lindsay toactivation, coordination and output, handing her the Grateful DeadAmerican beauty.He goes home and puts it on the record player for the first timeok for "Rain Box"again and again.

When Feig was working on this scene, he did the same thing with Lindsay. Far from being a Deadhead, he bought a book on the subject and also polled friends about the album he was about to release. they suggestedAmerican beauty. (In other words: Lindsay and Sam's last name was Weir, which was a coincidence, not a nodPion.) “Mostly medoneLindsay Weir in this episode, she's looking for a way to write this episode,” says Feig. "The first thing that came on was 'Box of Rain' and I was just like, 'Oh my God.' I don't think I've ever heard this song before. I played it over and over because I just couldn't believe how great it was."

In the final minutes of the show, another Dead song, "Ripple," plays as Lindsay lies to her parents and begins a new adventure. Watching it, I felt a pang of nostalgic excitement at the trajectory of someone's fictional life that was so real I could have cried. It's a satisfying final moment — even though Feig says it shouldn't have been the end. "I wrote it to fuel the next season," he says, though he feels it tooFreaks and nerdscan be cancelled. His goal was to leave his heroes in a position to change.

“So many times, for example, I had a friend who was a nerd,” Feig says, “and they'd come back [from summer vacation] and they were total junkies, you know? And you say "What the hell happened to you?"

That's what happened with CalamarWonderful yearsThis was the first time he really noticed how music could make television better. "They were using all these, you know, nostalgic songs from the '60s." says about the program. - And that opened my eyes. shows howWonderful yearsand later,Freaks and nerdsit featured incredible music, which was both a blessing and a curse: since many licenses were issued without taking into account things like DVD sales or streaming, it took some work to transfer the shows to those mediums.

Some of the most interesting end-of-season options exist on opposite sides of the "licensed or unlicensed" spectrum. At one end is a demonstration of howIS, which eschews outside help and ends nicely with a signature synth track as simple as. (Looking at it now, there's that cool, sweet minimalism right now, the aural equivalent of turning off the TV during the day and the screen exploding inward into a tiny, giant center point.) Spectrum, on the other hand, feels like an underrated four-season series.Stand i zapali ga, which takes Peter Gabriel's popular, oft-used song "Solsbury Hill" and manages to keep it fresh. For Golub, who, in addition to overseeing the show's music, has created detailed playlists for many of the characters AMC has released on Spotify, Joe is a character who would appear at the beginning of, say, Gabriel's first solo album in 1977. And that meant managed to convey these feelings in the last scene, set almost two decades later.

"What was great about it," says Golubic, "is that it allowed us to land on Joe in a way that gave us the feeling thata courseHe is a teacher. Like, of course, trying to find the next generation to take these things forward. And there is nostalgia for 'Solsbury Hill'.Six feet underground, we look to the future as we move into the past.

Calamar says one of the biggest misconceptions about his industry is that the music director always has a choice. Sure, sometimes the music they deliver is what makes the cut, but "A lot of times I'll think, 'Oh my God, I've got an amazing song to end the show with,'" he laughs. "And they will say: Yes, yes, why don't you go? Golubić remembers without really understanding whatBreaking Badcreator Vince Gilligan had in mind when he set out with it«Baby Blue» Badfingeradraw the curtain on Walter White. (The song was one of several "blue"-themed songs that Golubić put together on a playlist honoring White's "sky blue" product.)

"I didn't know what he was doing," says Golubić. “You know, it's like a love song and it's just a weird ending. It didn't make sense to me." He wondered if Gilligan was testing him to see if he would get kicked out. "And then I watched the show," says Golubić, "and a light bulb went off and I thought it was a love story. It was always a love story ."

Looking ahead, one of Richardson's last works wasBarry'ego, which will air its series finale on Memorial Day weekend after four seasons. “I love the way Bill [Hader] uses the music in the show because it's epic. Sound design, soundtrack, songs. To me, almost everything he does is very carefully thought out and never more than necessary, which makes the silence more effective." Richardson can't share any tips about the music in the finale, but he's a little happy about the whole mystery. "Even when we're looking for songs, we have to be very, very careful with language because there are a lot of themBarry'egofans," he says. "For example, I had lunch with the licensor yesterday and he said, 'I didn't even want to look at the song description because I didn't want to break anything!'

Golubić and some of his friends recently filmedepisode of their podcast,Deep cuts lost and foundwhere they joked about what makes a good album closer. One of his friend's suggestions - "Tomorrow Never Knows" by the Beatles, mtfRevolvermade him think.

"It's the perfect ending to the album because it shows the exciting, dynamic and completely surreal way people can go on after this," says Golubić. "And for me, big closings are big beginnings. And for me it's a great start and gets you excited about where life will take you. And I think that's what you expect from a great ending to a TV show. It shows a glimpse of the road ahead."

Maybe a blue Prius Claire Fisher, Ph.D. House, Joe MacMillan's Porsche or Meadow Soprano's Lexus to cross the road. Maybe it's a clue to a pair of Russian spies back home, a road sign for two Texas techies, or a road trip itinerary for Lindsay Weir and Kim Keller's Deadhead wagon. The best thing a viewer can do is jump into a very unfamiliar combination, say goodbye to the show and remember to enjoy the ride.

Alan Siegel contributed to this article.

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