Six Feet Under (2001-2005)
I thought last night's season finale was very well done, as were the last few episodes since Nate's death. While the series was uneven at times, it sure ended on an up note.
The series began with the death of Nathaniel Fisher, Sr., and we saw his family react to their loss. Nathaniel, Jr. (Nate), moved back home, and the whole family engaged in a whole lot of self-destructive behavior over the course of the series. These flawed people seemed very real. I thought that Nate's inner conflicts made him a great character. In the end, Nate's death made each of his family members look inward to resolve their own issues, and come together. As the season finale reached its conclusion, we were allowed to glimpse into each character's future, and see their inevitable end. This was appropriate for a show that always made us face mortality.
Six Feet Under began in the shadow of The Sopranos, and some people found it weird or depressing. It was a different kind of show, for which HBO deserves credit. I watch very little network television. It would be nice to see the networks taking chances like this. Sometimes the result is pretty special.
Update: Here's an interesting post from The Speculist about this show and the future of death.