The finale countdown: the perfect TV send-off
1 Stay true to your show's core principles
The Wire finished by showing that if you know how to operate the levers of power, you will get ahead in life, regardless of how impure your motives. In that regard, it was consistent with the message the series had sought to convey through all five seasons.
2 Just do what you do well
Rather than trying to go meta or deliver a big statement, ER stuck to what it knew and finished with a reasonably straightforward medical emergency.
3 Tug at the heart-strings
The final season of funeral home drama Six Feet Under ended with flash forwards to the deaths of the main characters. For those who had stayed with the series it was incredibly moving.
4 Go dark
Nineties comedy Seinfeld finished on a particularly bleak note with characters from previous episodes filing into a courtroom to testify against the main cast, on trial for being 'horrible people'.
5 Don't be afraid to be ridiculous
The bleak science-fiction saga Battlestar Galactica concluded with the crew populating what would become present-day Earth, while intimating that robots would once gain rise up to threaten humanity. It was silly – but just the sort of epic send-off Battlestar required.