||Featuring stellar writing and directing, SIX FEET UNDER boasts an outstanding ensemble cast featuring Peter Krause, Michael C. Hall, Frances Conroy, Lauren Ambrose, Rachel Griffiths, Freddy Rodriguez, Matthew St. Patrick, Patricia Clarkson, Kathy Bates, and many others. Created by Alan Ball (the screenwriter behind the Oscar-winning 1999 film AMERICAN BEAUTY), the HBO series could arguably have been called the best show on television during its five-season run. Gaining loyal fans with its complex and involving characters (many of the show's stars came from theatre backgrounds), the series also stood out for its serious themes, its dark humor, and Ball's use of surrealist imagery. The show focuses on a dynamic Los Angeles family that operates a funeral home in the lower levels of the house where they live. When the patriarch of the family dies (in the first episode), his sons are left to run the business, their shared responsibilities producing a constant tension. While the plot often veers from this premise, it always eventually makes its way back to the Fisher and Sons Funeral Home (later changed to Fisher and Diaz when Federico becomes a partner). Each week, the story behind each of their clients serves to distract the Fisher brothers from what's going on in their own tumultuous lives and those of their multigenerational family members. The fifth and final season is the show's most dramatic, exploring issues of marriage, adultery, adoption, divorce, and death. As some characters move forward in their lives, others encounter setbacks and get thrown off course. While fans of the show found the series' end hard to accept, SIX FEET UNDER attempted in its last (widely interpreted) five minutes to provide viewers with some sense of closure to the intense, real, funny, and compelling family saga that was the Fishers' lives.