Ending a beloved TV show can be hard, to say the least. It’s not lost on me just how difficult that can be for writers.
With many shows, there are tons of fans out there who have fallen in love with characters and become invested in their stories. There’s so much anticipation that’s been building up for years. It’s no surprise that fans want nothing less than something both exciting and satisfying when it comes to the end.
Writers want to give fans the ending they want and deserve — at least I think most of them do. (The jury is still out on Game of Thrones writers…)
There are plenty of shows that have ended on a good note. Just look at the series finales for The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Breaking Bad. However, there are also some beloved shows that got the short end of the stick. These are some of the worst series finales in TV history.
When you think about House as a whole — a medical drama in which an unconventional medical genius and his team solved the unsolvable cases and saved lives — and then watch the series finale, it just doesn’t make sense.
Sure, Dr. House was a painkiller-addicted guy who cared more about solving puzzles than he actually cared about saving people. But faking his own death and giving up medicine to avoid jail time for a prank went wrong? It just… doesn’t seem like the proper ending for a show like this.
Pretty Little Liars
The Pretty Little Liars finale made everyone feel like they wasted seven years of their lives. I mean, were they just trolling us this whole time?
We endured seven seasons — 160 episodes — of scheming, wild stories, unanswered questions, and dead ends. None of that felt wrapped up or resolved. Instead, we got Spencer Hastings’ evil, psychopathic British twin that came out of nowhere. That’s the best the writers could come up with, after everything?
Like plenty of other shows, Dexter started strong, but started losing its charm in later seasons. Hey, it happens. Unfortunately, that meant that people were kind of ready to be done with it by the time the series finale came around. Even still, that doesn’t excuse the finale and what the writers did to us!
Debra was killed off with as little fanfare as possible, Dexter takes his boat right into the hurricane and fakes his death, and then he sets up roots as a lumberjack and abandons his son. I’m sorry, but what? There is zero cohesion between the storyline of the show and the finale.
How I Met Your Mother
The entire premise of this show, as evidenced by the title itself, was centered around the mystery of who the lead character would end up with. Fans spent nine years and 208 episodes waiting to find out how Ted Mosby met the mother of his children.
And after all that time, the finale slapped everyone in the face. We finally got to meet the mother after nine seasons, and then she died with a quick dialogue-free and diagnosis-free death. Ted’s extremely long story was really just to ask out Aunt Robin, and “Mother” was really just an obstacle to overcome in their grand romance.
Game of Thrones
Ask anyone which series finale they were most angry about, and 9 times out of 10, you’ll hear Game of Thrones. I’ve never seen so much outrage over an episode quite like that. And to be honest, it was pretty warranted.
The entire show felt very deliberate. For all those seasons, fans were immersed in an interesting world and invested in characters. And then the finale came along and smashed everything in an instant. It was a disjointed and nonsensical ending that didn’t do the characters justice. It felt messy, rushed, and entirely out of character.
Maybe if the writers had listened to George R.R. Martin, we wouldn’t be left with that disaster!
Sorry, Game of Thrones fans, but your series finale doesn’t top this one. The outrage over the GoT series finale was great, but the outrage over Lost’s ending was even worse.
The show captured the attention of everyone, and was one of the most compelling mysteries on the small screen. It sucked us all in. And then, the show started running out of steam during the fourth season, but we were all so invested by that point. Audiences were holding out hope that there would be a satisfying end.
There was not.
Instead, the end was unimaginative and downright insulting to the series, the characters, and the fans who spent all that time watching.
Much like the ending of Lost, the series finale of Roseanne really stuck a knife in the hearts of fans. It has to be one of the most bizarre and frustrating finales in TV history — and certainly, nothing like it had been done with a show before.
The final season had turned into something unrecognizable already, where the relatable working-class family were suddenly lottery winners rubbing elbows with the wealthy. But that series finale completely erased events that happened on the show, making them out to be figments of Roseanne’s imagination.
In other words, that single series finale made the entire thing pointless. Talk about ruining a show. It was so bad that it was ignored entirely when Roseanne was rebooted in 2018.