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For ‘Better Call Saul’ and other classic series, the finale presents a mix of anticipation and apprehension

Bob Odenkirk in "Better Call Saul," which wraps up its sixth and final season on Aug. 15.Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

“Better Call Saul,” like its progenitor, “Breaking Bad,” has made a pretty solid case for TV-classic status.

Now here comes the series finale, on Aug. 15. Let the nail-biting begin.

The end of any beloved series is a complicated moment for fans who have fully invested in the unfolding story, following every plot twist and character wrinkle.

Because “Better Call Saul” is a spinoff prequel to “Breaking Bad,” there’s not the usual suspense over who among the major characters will live or die — with one very large exception.

Still, along with the inevitable sense of incipient loss, a kind of pre-mourning, the run-up to the finale of any major show can trigger waves of anxiety, even dread among fans.


Will a botched sendoff spoil the magical memories of the preceding seasons — the equivalent of a fumble on the goal line? Or will the series stick the landing?

Frankly, the latter seems a lot more likely than the former in the case of “Better Call Saul,” given how expertly creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould have navigated the spinoff up to now, not to mention how skillfully Gilligan & Co. executed the conclusion of “Breaking Bad.”

But you never know. Who could have predicted the finale of “Seinfeld” would be such an unfunny debacle?

Heated conversation ensues after the finale of every major series. Most dedicated TV viewers have their own list of misfires that still grate on their nerves, years after the fact. The finale of “Lost” certainly seems to be in that category for a lot of people, as does “Game of Thrones,” which became a punching bag during its sloppy final season.

“The Sopranos” is on many most-hated-finales lists, but not mine. I loved it. I think it was so much better to be left in the dark, so to speak, about Tony’s fate.


Sometimes, as with “Mad Men,” “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” and “Newhart,” the final scene was such utter perfection that it helped elevate the finale to greatness. My personal favorite series finale is “30 Rock,” which nailed the entire episode, start to finish. You’ve doubtless got your own list. Let’s see if “Better Call Saul” ends up on it.

Don Aucoin can be reached at donald.aucoin@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeAucoin.