Sometimes, one final emotional gut-punch is all it takes to elevate a finale from good to great. The final scene of a TV series is reserved for one last significant moment, whether it be an exciting thrill ride or a solemn walk off-screen. These beloved animated series didn't pull punches; they wanted us to feel the emotional significance of that final hit, which is now burned into our memories forever.
Here are some of our favorite animated series that just couldn't end without one final emotional gut-punch.
- 1Photo: 20th Television
Futurama has one hell of an ending... or four. The comedy-sci-fi series actually has three other endings that were supposed to serve as the series finale, had the show not been renewed, which happened regularly at the time. "The Devil's Hands Are Idle Playthings," "Into the Wild Green Yonder," and "Overclockwise" were the show's previous series finales that became regular-season finales, as "Meanwhile" became the series' official ending. And what an ending it is.
In "Meanwhile," Fry accidentally breaks Professor Farnsworth's time-reset button and traps him and Leela in a time-frozen universe where they live out the rest of their lives by themselves. After years of isolation, Professor Farnsworth returns via wormhole and offers them a chance to reset their lives to before he created the button - resetting everything back to before the pilot episode.
The two embrace one last time before time resets and the series ends, making Futurama itself an endless time loop.Emotional finale?
- Photo: Cartoon Network
Samurai Jack may have only been around for a short period of time, but the series' original ending was so devastating that the series creator had to create an alternate ending through a recent video game adaptation. Even though it had been 16 years since the finale, fans rejoiced when they found out that the "secret" alternate game ending was actually canon to the series.
In the original series ending, Jack finally defeats his lifelong enemy, the evil overlord Aku, but at a cost. Ashi, the love of his life, perishes in the process and Jack is left to enjoy the victory alone. The ending is both beautiful and tragic. But it is when Jack finds a ladybug that reminds him of Ashi that the tears start to fly. He lets it go and the ladybug flies off into the beautiful forest that Jack was able to preserve by slaying Aku.
Unlike the alternate ending, the final shot is of Jack standing by the tree alone as he thinks about all that he lost - but also gained. He won, but at what cost?Emotional finale?
- Photo: Disney XD
Gravity Falls could have easily gone on for a couple more seasons, but the show's creator Alex Hirsch felt like the story was reaching its natural conclusion and opted to end the series. And after witnessing show after show crash and burn for overstaying their welcome, we can't blame him. Still, the X-Files-inspired animated comedy/mystery series managed to end with tears, but not tears of sadness.
In the three-part finale "Weirdmageddon 3: Take Back the Falls," Dipper and Mabel, with the help of Stan and others, hatch a plan to take down Bill Cipher, the series antagonist, and save Gravity Falls and, in turn, the world. In the aftermath, Dipper and Mabel realize that summer is over and it's time to go home. As we watch the two tearfully say goodbye to Uncle Stan and all their new friends, they hop on a bus and head back to California. During the emotional climax, Dipper opens a letter signed by everyone in town saying, "See you next summer."Emotional finale?
- Photo: Fox
The most American show about the most American family ends with a neighborhood sausage fest... sounds about right.
Although "To Sirloin with Love" isn't technically the final episode of the series (it was followed by four additional unaired episodes), it was the last episode to air during the series' original run and serves as the last King of the Hill episode on streaming platforms. But either way, the episode works as the series finale on many levels.
In the episode, Bobby becomes a steak critic which ultimately leads to Bobby and Hank finally bonding as father and son, leading up to the final scene where they grill meats side by side. The true American dream. The entire neighborhood begins to smell the grilled meat and congregate in the Hill backyard. As if it wasn't already satisfying enough watching the two Hill boys host their first BBQ together, Bobby finally adopts his father's catchphrase: "Yep."Emotional finale?