To be continued: When TV series finales aren't quite finished

Jon Hamm as advertising executive Don Draper in "Mad Men."

"To everything there is a season," the Book of Ecclesiastes tells us. "A" season. Not "Part One" and "Part Two," our contributor Conor Knighton reminds today's entertainment producers:

Tonight, "Mad Men" kicks off its final season (the first half of it).

The final season FINALE won't air until well over a YEAR from now. AMC is splitting the seventh season into two parts -- seven episodes to air now, seven episodes to air in 2015!

I'm sure the Sterling Cooper and Partners gang would advertise this as GOOD for the viewer -- a way to really cherish every last moment with our favorite characters.

But as a fan, it's hard not to feel as if the network is just milking every last drop out of this successful series.

AMC has done it before. "Breaking Bad" aired its last season in two installments a year apart.

"Sex and the City," "The Sopranos" and "Battlestar Galactica" all made fans wait for months during their final acts.

There are a lot of reasons it can make sense to draw out the last season. Networks can maximize DVD sales and sponsorships; the show can compete in two different years of Emmys; and actors can sometimes be kept from getting a raise.

But as a viewer, these split ends are making me pull my hair out.

We're seeing it more and more at the box office. As with most things, I blame Harry Potter. The final Harry Potter book, "The Deathly Hallows," was split into two films. That prompted "Twilight" to split its final book into two films -- which prompted "The Hunger Games" to split its final book into two films. "Mockingjay Part 1" comes out this Thanksgiving season; "Part II" comes out in November of 2015.

Peter Jackson has turned "The Hobbit" -- a book that's only a little over 300 pages -- into three separate movies.

As long as viewers keep tuning in and buying tickets, we're going to continue to see these "To Be Continued" approaches.

I think that ...

Actually, if you want to know what else I think, you can catch the second half of this commentary in Spring of 2015.

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