1) St. Elsewhere
This medical drama of the 1980s captivated audiences for many years. The day to day lives of the patients and staff of this run down Boston hospital. When the finale aired in 1988 it set a precedent which shows like The Sopranos and Lost have imitated over the years. And that was; drive these faithful viewers who have made your show a hit insane with a mind blowing finale.
The last scene depicts the hospital on a snowy day, but reveals that it is not actually the hospital we are looking at, but rather a miniature hospital within a snow globe which is being held by Tommy, the severely autistic son of the main character Donald Westphall.
Within the snow globe Donald is the chief of medicine, but as he looks at his son holding the snow globe, we can plainly see that Donald is just a plain, ordinary construction worker. As the boy places the snow globe on top of the family’s television set, we come to realize that it was all his fantasy as he stares into his snow globe day after day.
Some hailed this as genius, while others were flat out raged. Either way, it is still a memorable ending to a great series.