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  • Today's News: Our Take - TV's Soon-to-Be-Departed Series: Are Their Swan Songs Hitting the Right Notes or Falling Flat?

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  • Tina Fey, Joshua jackson, Blake Lively | Photo Credits: Ali Goldstein/NBC; Liane Hentscher/FOX; Giovanni Rufino/The CW
    Dearly (soon-to-be) departed. We are gathered here today to reflect upon five TV series that will soon be leaving our DVRs for good and heading to rerun heaven. Sure, the Grim Reaper has yet to lay claim to so many coulda-woulda-shoulda hits that will get the axe right before the new fall schedules are announced next May, but we at TVGuide.com wanted to take a closer look at those long-running shows with final seasons in full swing to see if they're living up to fans' expectations or if their swan songs are falling flat:
    30 Rock So that happened. Liz Lemon is a married woman. Although it was a special day many fans never thought they'd see, the execution of the details - Liz's Princess Leia-esque white dress, those er, unique? wedding rings - were perfect, Liz-esque touches. The show may not be at its absolute peak - Jenna's big hit "Catching Crabs" is not as catchy as the Cheesy Blasters theme song or Tracy Jordan's "Werewolf Bar Mitzvah" -- but Tina Fey's brainchild is still consistently hilarious and surprisingly true to its original self for a show in its seventh season. The only bad thing about this comedy's spot-on final season is that it makes it that much harder to say goodbye. Blerg! Series Finale: Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013 at 8/7c on NBC. Grade: A
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    The Office Short of getting Steve Carell to suddenly forget about his movie career and come back to Dunder Mifflin full-time as Michael Scott, this season is pretty much what every die-hard wannabe Scrantonite hoped for. The office pranks are better than ever! Jim and Pam are finally interesting again! Dwight has new employees to haze - and a newfound interest in winning Angela back! And the new kids are actually pretty funny! The show's complete rejuvenation after the extremely uneven Season 8 is in large part thanks to original showrunner Greg Daniels, who returned to steer the ship home with the perfect mix of quirk and heart as he does best. The biggest downside was watching Andy set off to sea so that Ed Helms could film The Hangover 3. Come home soon! Series Finale: Spring 2013 Grade: A-
    Page 2 of 3 - Fringe Let's be honest, Fringe fans should thank their lucky alt-universe stars that they even got a final season, which is why producers are so intent to go out with an epic serialized story line. Unfortunately, this focus on the bigger picture has left viewers divided as it  has left little room for the great - and truly bizarre - cases of the week that originally hooked its loyal fans and that kept up the show's impressive pace. Worst of all, it's hard to ask the show's loyal and extremely attentive cult fans to just forget that this isn't the original team they came to know and love after Peter was erased in the Season 3 finale. Series Finale: Friday, Jan. 18 at 8/7c on Fox. Grade: B
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    Private Practice Kudos must be given to creator and executive producer Shonda Rhimes who went all in when Kate Walsh gave her walking papers and has used what is now officially the show's final season to experiment and give fans something refreshing just when the spin-off was starting to feel... stale. From the Sam-centered reality show pilot to allowing Cooper to break the fourth wall in this coming week's episode, the drama seems intent on using the road less traveled to go out with a bang. Despite the absence of Tim Daly (RIP Pete!), Benjamin Bratt has proven a worthy substitute and - finally! - a lasting love for Addison and her baby Henry, much to the shock of longtime Addison-Sam shippers. Just no musical episodes, please. Series Finale: Late January 2013 Grade: B-
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    Gossip Girl OMG? Try OMY as in yawn, as in how did this once watercooler favorite get so tepid? As always, Serena's story line has been only about her love life, but after her breakup with Steven, her hate for Dan just vanished way too quickly. Then there's the Chuck-versus-his-dad mystery that has been too confusing to get viewers emotionally invested. Unfortunately, the show's real star, Blair, has borne the brunt of the bad writing. Her and Chuck's restraint is an embarrassingly obvious plot device and her designing teen clothes and having to return to high school to get her dignity back is just too sad. Someone please remind us why Gossip Girl herself even bothers writing about these has-beens anymore? Series Finale: Monday, Dec. 17 at 8/7c on The CW. Grade: C-
    Page 3 of 3 - Do you agree with our assessments? What do you think of these shows' final seasons? Sound off in the comments below!
    View original TV's Soon-to-Be-Departed Series: Are Their Swan Songs Hitting the Right Notes or Falling Flat? at TVGuide.com
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