Features and Columns · TV

The Power of Bookends: The First and Final Frames of Popular TV Series

Good bookends really tie a series together.
Mad Men ending first and Final Shots
AMC Networks
By  · Published on October 26th, 2020

Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a montage of the first and final shots of popular TV series.

Ending a show can be an incredibly emotional experience. Sometimes, small screen fare is a part of your life for years. And when it finally comes to a close, it can feel like you’re saying goodbye to a friend. Especially if the showrunners stick the landing and deliver a finale that feels…well, final.

If you’re anything like me, by the time you’ve journeyed through several seasons, character arcs, twists, and turns, you can’t remember all that much detail from a show’s inaugural episode. Least of all the specifics of its introductory frame.

Which is why side-by-side montages, like the one below, are so wonderful. They offer us a unique experience: a chance to witness the first and final moments of a show together at the same time.

The comparisons are evocative, from seemingly intentional mirroring from the likes of Lost and Sons of Anarchy to the poetic punctuation marks of Mad Men and Breaking Bad. All in all: it’s a fascinating exercise in visual storytelling that, unless you seek it out (or have a very good memory), may have gone unnoticed.

Watch “First and Final Frames of Series“:

Who made this?

This montage comes courtesy of Celia Gómez, a video essayist based in Madrid, Spain. Specializing in side-by-side comparisons, Gómez’s past work has been selected as a Vimeo staff pick. You can check out her back catalog of video essays on her Vimeo page here.

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Meg has been writing professionally about all things film-related since 2016. She is a Senior Contributor at Film School Rejects as well as a Curator for One Perfect Shot. She has attended international film festivals such as TIFF, Hot Docs, and the Nitrate Picture Show as a member of the press. In her day job as an archivist and records manager, she regularly works with physical media and is committed to ensuring ongoing physical media accessibility in the digital age. You can find more of Meg's work at Cinema Scope, Dead Central, and Nonfics. She has also appeared on a number of film-related podcasts, including All the President's Minutes, Zodiac: Chronicle, Cannes I Kick It?, and Junk Filter. Her work has been shared on NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour, Business Insider, and CherryPicks. Meg has a B.A. from the University of King's College and a Master of Information degree from the University of Toronto.