After 4.54 billion seasons, the series finale of The Earth airs tonight at midnight Eastern time. While the show has had its ups and downs — the highly successful Renaissance reboot, the sloppily plotted World War I arc, the “Who Shot JFK?” cliffhanger — it’s been a constant on our screens for generations, and now it’s all coming to a close. Speculation has been running rampant as to how things will wrap up — rumors abound that fan favorites Jesus Christ and Dread Cthulhu may be returning — but the creators are staying typically tight-lipped as to what they have in store. But maybe we can narrow down some possibilities by looking at how other shows might have chosen to send The Earth off on its final farewell:
- Three’s Company: A shell of its former self, The Earth ends and is reborn as an even worse spin-off that only slightly resembles the more fondly remembered original. Bonus points, though, for a lack of Don Knotts.
- St. Elsewhere: It turns out The Earth has also been taking place inside that little snow globe, and Tommy Westphall is revealed to be God. While this explains the innumerable paradoxes in The Earth‘s run, it still offers no adequate explanation for Howie Mandell.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation: After a lot of screaming and yelling about the future, things return to normal and pretty much go on as they always have. We all then go on to star in movies that nobody particularly likes.
- Happy Days: We all go upstairs and are simply never mentioned again.
- Lost: Nothing is adequately explained, but we all smile and wander off into the light and remember back to when The Earth used to be really good. There are also polar bears for some reason.
- Babylon 5: It turns out the creators of The Earth didn’t think they’d actually get this final season, so they wrapped everything up at the end of the last millennia. Which would explain the generally aimless and disappointing stories of the last twelve seasons.
- M*A*S*H: After milking a few years of history for all they’re worth, The Earth returns as After Earth, with all of us now on Mars. None of the really popular characters come with us though.
- Doctor Who: Everything keeps going, except we’re all replaced with slightly younger, better-looking actors. The same villains keep coming back over and over again though, despite promises that they’ll be used less this time around.
- Battlestar Galactica: The entire series happens all over again, only this time with sexy robots.
- The Sopranos: Everything just stops and goes to black, and we spend eternity arguing over whether we’re actually dead or not. Except for all the Russians, who are frustratingly never seen again.
But I think it’s far more likely that The Earth ends up like The Simpsons. Well past the point where anyone thinks it’s good anymore, The Earth isn’t actually ending. It’ll just keep going and going and going, long beyond when any of us are still alive, coasting by on past glories and getting more and more expensive as time goes by.
Whatever happens, it’ll all be over a little after 12:00 AM. To be followed by the immediate release of The Earth in a special collectors edition Blu-ray boxed set featuring outtakes and deleted scenes, including the previously believed to be lost Dark Ages episodes (TV-MA, color, 2.36 quadrillion minutes).