[Scroll down for our sidebar on must-have series DVDs.]
Television is a big part of our lives. Whether a welcome distraction from school work or something one simply cannot live without, television shows and the characters who inhabit them have become ingrained in the public mind. It is these familiar characters that we grow to love and relate to as though we actually know them.
So what does one do when a beloved television show goes off the air?
This season three highly loved and highly watched shows will end their television runs and survive only in reruns and DVD collections of long-time fans. For some people, ending a show is sometimes the best way to preserve its quality.
“I think shows should end,” sophomore Alex Howard said. “Once they wear out their welcome, it’s time to end. If they don’t people will look back and remember how bad the show was.”
The question is: How do producers end a show in a way that pleases its fans?
In 1998, “Seinfeld” disappointed many fans with an ending that abandoned the show’s much-adored formula and has become the prime example of an unsuccessful ending.
On the other hand, shows like “M*A*S*H,” which boasts the record for the most-watched finale, and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” exemplify endings that had most viewers walking away happy. “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” finale has been called the “golden standard” of finales by “Friends” co-creator David Crane on CBSnews.com.
This year three seminal television shows will come to halt: “Friends,” “Sex and the City” and “Frasier.” No one knows how the shows will end, but that’s not stopping fans from having their own hopeful expectations.
Seasons on the air: 10
Total episodes: 236
Finale: Thursday, May 6 at 9 p.m. on NBC, preceded by an hour-long retrospective at 8 p.m.
Cost of a 30-second commercial during the finale: $2 million, according to NBC
“Friends,” the television show that everyone in America has probably seen at least once, will conclude its 10-year run at the beginning of May. Currently, Monica and Chandler await the adoption of a child and have plans to leave New York City for a house in the suburbs. Phoebe will marry her boyfriend Mike (Paul Rudd) in an episode on Feb. 12, 2004. But what about Ross and Rachel?
Many fans hope that producers and writers will bring Ross and Rachel back together by the end of the show.
“I haven’t been following the show as closely recently as I used to, but I really hope that Rachel and Ross get together in the last episode,” said senior Melissa Price.
While the future of the characters remains to be seen, one thing is certain. Matt LeBlanc’s character, Joey Tribbiani, will be featured in a spin-off sitcom on NBC entitled “Joey.” The show will fill the Thursday night slot left open by the exit of “Friends.”
Fans who are disappointed “Friends” is ending can at least be comforted by the fact that the show is available, currently through season six, on DVD, and Fox will continue to air reruns.
“I don’t want it to end ... I’m going to cry my eyes out,” said sophomore Megan Nimerosky.
Sex and the City
Seasons on the air: Six
Total number of episodes: 94
Finale: Sunday, Feb. 22 at 9 p.m. on HBO
“Sex and the City” may not be definitive of our generation, but the show has generated so many fans that one might be inclined to believe otherwise. The story of four semi-single 30-somethings living in Manhattan, having endless amounts of sex and drinking endless amounts of cosmopolitans, has struck a chord with women (and men) around the country.
Currently, the show has Charlotte remarried and desperately hoping to become pregnant, Miranda married to the father of her child, Samantha coping with breast cancer and a boyfriend half her age and Carrie dating an older man, played by prima ballerina Mikhail Baryshnikov. While fans seem satisfied with the first three characters, there is much concern over Carrie’s future.
“Despite the fact that the cast and producers, as well as some TV critics, have said that it may not uphold the integrity of the show, I would like to see [Carrie] end up with Mr. Big,” said junior Christy Osowski. Mr. Big is Carrie’s on-again, off-again love interest played by Chris Noth.
Osowski’s sentiment seems to be common among fans; however, at this point, no one knows how the show will conclude. Even the show’s actors were only given their part of the script, and the final encounter was re-shot several times in an attempt to prevent the story from leaking.
Some fans do not seem to have much faith in the producer to come up with an ending that will please all the viewers.
“I think it’s going to be disappointing, I don’t know how it’s going to end ... but I wish Carrie would end up with Big, and Charlotte would get pregnant, but neither are ever going to happen,” junior Caroline Fortunato said.
Seasons on the air: 11
Total number of episodes: 257
Finale: Thursday, May 13 at 9 p.m. on NBC, preceded by an hour-long retrospective at 8 p.m.
“Frasier,” the “Cheers” spin-off that seems to define our parents’ generation more than ours, seems to have few caring about its end. The concern about viewership for the finale was so great that producers have elected to air the finale on the Thursday timeslot left open by “Friends” to prevent the show from being overshadowed by Fox’s “American Idol” in the Tuesday timeslot, according to medialifemagazine.com.
College-aged fans of “Frasier” are harder to come by.
“I have seen the show a few times, but I think it a show for our parents and not for us,” said senior Melissa Price. “I don’t think many people at AU really care that it is ending.”
The Complete First Series $24.99
The first season of the BBC’s subtly brilliant comedy about office workers came out on DVD last October. The show has received an abundance of critical praise since its debut in 2001 and last night won the Golden Globe for best comedy series.
Curb Your Enthusiasm:
Complete First Season $33.99
The first season of this HBO comedy presents the twisted world of “Seinfeld” co-creator Larry David
in the style of reality television, but the result is often more surreal. Fans
of “Seinfeld” will appreciate its sim-ilar humor.
Complete Third Season $44.99
Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s demented animated show about four kids in small-town Colorado saw its third season released last month. This DVD set focuses on “South Park’s” social commentary and includes the Emmy-nominated “Chimpokomon” episode that pokes fun at “Pokemon.”
The Entire Series $41.99
The entire two-season run of the Jon Lovitz animated comedy will be released Tuesday. From the producers of “The Simpsons,” “The Critic” focuses its parody on movies, and many film buffs should have this DVD snuggled alphabetically between “Citizen Kane” and “Donnie Darko.”
Sex and the City:
Complete Fifth Season $41.99
The popular HBO show released its fifth season on DVD in December and many girls have already organized viewing parties with talk of vibrators and keeping journals. With the show nearing its end, these DVDs will most likely be hot commodities.
Family Guy: Vol. 2 $40.99
In its first three seasons on Fox, “Family Guy” was considered too risqu?. After getting a second wind on Cartoon Network and in its two DVD releases, it became wildly profitable. Its third season was released last year.
Complete Sixth Season $29.99
As the show reaches its end, the sixth season comes out Tuesday and the seventh will be released in April. For those who cannot wait for the last episode, the DVD releases are a great way to gear up for the big finale.
Season Three $40.99
Despite the ill-advised decision
of releasing only one season of the influential Fox cartoon each year, last year’s installment, season three, is still
King of the Hill:
Complete Season Two $35.99
Mike Judge and Greg Daniel’s vastly underrated animated series about Texas life recently released its second season. “King of the Hill” has an uncanny ability to blend comedy with heartfelt characters that shows like “The Simpsons” haven’t been able to do for years.
Complete Fourth Season $83.99
Tony Soprano is back on DVD along with the rest of the gang - that is, as long as the high price doesn’t get in the way. “The Sopranos” has had a successful life on DVD and it is likely to continue as long as the show itself remains well received.