Watching a TV show can be considered a personal investment of sorts. Most shows are on for years, and over time you can find yourself becoming engrossed in each character’s life, looking forward to the next episode every week.
So when a show comes to a close, it is natural to get nervous, praying that the writers give the ending of the series some justice and avoid an eternal disappointment.
Unfortunately, a perfect ending isn’t always the case, and sometimes a bad ending can ruin an entire series — no matter how good it was. Take caution when reading this list of the worst TV show endings. It’s bound to bring up some bad memories and unresolved feelings.
Dexter truly did start out strong. A serial killer who works hard to cover up his “dark passenger” by working for the Miami Police Department while maintaining a relationship with a single mom and his eccentric sister? So good.
After that bombshell of a season four finale which left viewers wanting so much more, the show kind of lost steam. The series went on for two more seasons before ending in the most unsatisfying way possible. With our lovable murderer becoming … a lumberjack.
Yes, an actual lumberjack with an axe used only for cutting wood and not limbs. It just seemed odd, unfinished, and out of character. Needless to say, viewers weren’t the only ones who were disappointed. When asked if he liked the finale, star Michael C. Hall responded, “Liked it? I don’t think I even watched it.”
Ugh. Roseanne. There really is nothing worse than investing time and emotion into a show only to find out none of it even mattered. When Roseanne began it was offbeat and so much different than other shows on TV. While some shows had attractive 20-somethings drinking coffee and gushing about life, Roseanne focused more on the reality of the average American family.
The relateability to Roseanne and Dan made the finale that much more depressing. When entering its final season, the show took an odd turn with the family winning the lottery. Storylines shifted and the entire season was just bizarre. In the finale, it was revealed that the season was all a figment of Roseanne’s imagination as she entered a deep depression when Dan actually died from a heart attack in the season 8 finale.
The twist left fans feeling gypped of an actual closing to the show, making it a pretty unwatchable final season overall.
Two And A Half Men
Two and a Half Men transformed from a funny comedy starring Charlie Sheen into Chuck Lorre’s vindictive revenge against his former star.
After Charlie Sheen went off the deep end in 2011, his character was replaced by Ashton Kutcher and presumed dead. The finale reveals that Charlie is, in fact, alive and has been kept captive in stalker Rose’s basement.
Charlie escapes and the search is on to find him. In the final scene, shown only from the back, Charlie rings the doorbell to the beach house, as a piano falls on his head, officially killing him. The camera then cuts to Lorre who simply says, “Winning”.
It came across as petty. Not a great way to end a 12-season hit show.
True Blood began with a bang at the height of the vampire craze. There was blood, sex and hot vampires. What more could you want out of an HBO show?
However, as time went on, the show lost its edge and got a little boring, to say the least. So much so that when the finale came around, there wasn’t much going on. Sookie and Bill’s story ended with him asking her to kill him, and a flash forward to her married and happily having dinner. Not much to it.
The ending felt especially lackluster as the show had declined over the course of its seven-season run.
Talk about depressing. For five years, fans watch Quantum Leap‘s Dr. Sam Beckett leap around from place to place, time period to time period, and when the series came to a close it was assumed he would go home. A happy ending for all!
Until it wasn’t and it was revealed that he was stuck in a cycle of forever leaping, never being able to leap home. The ending was especially a letdown for fans as it was never actually meant to be the series finale. NBC decided to end the show after the episode was already filmed resulting in a rashly written add-on to the end saying “Dr. Sam Becket [sic] never returned home.” Oh boy.
Seinfeld was not only the ultimate show about nothing, it was one of the ultimate TV shows of all time. So when it ended, people expected a lot. Maybe even too much. Let’s be honest. The Seinfeld finale was not good, but it also didn’t have a shot with the high expectations viewers expected.
The Larry David-written episode received mixed reviews. There were appearances from different characters from throughout the series and it just felt busy. The hour-long send-off was not at all what viewers were expecting, and didn’t really give them a chance to say goodbye to their favorite characters.
Another Showtime show that started out strong and flopped at the finale, Weeds was a great show that should have ended way sooner. Sometimes too much of a good thing can be bad, and it is better to quit while you’re ahead. This is exactly the case with Weeds.
The finale flashed eight years into the future to show viewers what was to become of the Botwins, tying up each storyline the best they could resulting in a lackluster, mediocre finale.
The one thing Weeds seemed to deliver on was gifting viewers with the original opening theme song in the final episode.
Okay, this one is a little tricky, because technically it has had TWO season finales. After some behind the scenes disagreements with the studio, Gilmore Girls writers Amy Sherman Padallino and Daniel Padallino left the show, resulting in one awful final season. Fans were not happy with the way the season played out, and especially unhappy with how it ended.
Padallino always said she knew in detail how the series was supposed to end, right down to the last three words. The idea that the show had ended not in the way it was supposed to added to the hype of how terrible the finale was.
Hearing the years worth of complaints from fans, Netflix decided to get involved with Padallino to give fans the finale they deserved, and in 2016, the revival aired.
It was exactly what you would expect from a revival and it ended with a cliffhanger. Yes, it turns out Padallino’s big finale for all these years was a cliffhanger left up to the viewer to determine the outcome.
In fairness, while the plan was always to end with the cliffhanger, there have been rumors of a second revival, so we will see. Gilmore Girls may be back for another series finale soon enough.
Keeping with the theme of Netflix reviving shows only to break our hearts, see Arrested Development. The cult classic was canceled after only three seasons in 2006, but revived in 2011 for a final season on Netflix.
The much-anticipated revival season left many fans disappointed. The flow of the show was wrong, having the actors film most of their scenes separately due to scheduling conflicts, and the story dragged.
What was once a quick and witty show became underwhelming. Since the release in 2011, rumors have swirled of a second go at a revival in the form of a prequel or a feature film. But nothing has been confirmed.
Battlestar Galactica was a clever science fiction show with a large, devoted following. After four seasons, the show came to close with viewers tuning in hoping for a solid finale complete with answers.
Instead what they got was the easy answer that everything is explained through a higher power: God. The revelation that everything is determined by a higher power felt like a cheap move by the writers, an easy way to wrap up the series without giving any actual answers.
The finale left fans enraged. The lack of a satisfying ending ruined the entire series for some, changing their entire opinion of the show.
How I Met Your Mother
Oh, this one still stings! How I Met Your Mother was smart. So smart. Too smart. The show took continuity to new levels, constantly keeping viewers tuned in and bringing back small tidbits that sprinkled throughout the series.
When it was announced that the ninth season would be its last, people were sad. Another good show comes to an end. Until the end actually came, then it was a relief. The final season was terrible. There was literally an entire episode about a scrambled egg competition.
The entire series was drawn out over the course of one weekend, Barney and Robin’s wedding weekend. 24 episodes making up one single wedding weekend. Nine seasons of Ted telling his children the drawn out, ridiculous story of how he met their mother.
All for Robin and Barney to end up divorced, the mother to die, and Ted and Robin end up together?
St. Elsewhere was a medical drama, gracing TV screens with dark comedy and drama for six seasons. The Emmy award winning show came to a close in 1988 and left many viewers scratching their heads in disbelief.
The series ended its run in the most bizarre way, revealing that the series was never actually real but dreamed up in the imagination of an autistic child, Tommy Westphall, through the inspiration of a snow globe.
The finale was a memorable one which launched a slew of conspiracy theories about TV shows St. Elsewhere crossed over with. Could those have been figments of Tommy’s imagination too?
Filling out the young adult genre is Gossip Girl. The show followed the unrealistic lives of Manhattan’s elite and the drama that an internet gossip blogger caused by posting their secrets.
Most of the characters found themselves with their lives spilled out on the web for all to see, all while trying to figure out who Gossip Girl could be.
Rumors floated around as to who she was, from Blair’s maid Dorota, to beautiful Serena, or grungey Vanessa. The season finale reveals, however, Gossip Girl was never a “she” at all but lonely boy from Brooklyn named Dan Humphries.
Since much of the gossip described intimate details of his family and girlfriends, the revelation makes Dan seem almost psychotic, making viewers wish the real Gossip Girl was actually Dorota after all.
Okay, so The Hills was never actually a great show to begin with, but it has to be agreed that the finale was ridiculous.
MTV aired The Hills as a reality show, giving a peek into the lives of Lauren Conrad as she worked her way through Teen Vogue and navigated life in southern California. After Lauren’s departure, the show continued with Laguna Beach alums Kristen Cavalleri and Brody Jenner as the main cast and ended with them saying goodbye.
As they hugged, the giant Hollywood sign behind them drops and it is revealed they are actually in a studio, further confirming that the “reality” was nothing more than a scripted show with terrible acting.
Star Trek: Enterprise
Nothing is quite as bad as a terrible series finale, but do you know what’s worse? Having the season finale actually be the pilot episode of a brand new show. That’s exactly what happened with Star Trek: Enterprise.
Cast member Jolene Blalock spoke about the episode prior to airing warning fans, “the finale [was] a The Next Generation episode rather than an end for Enterprise.“
The backlash was so bad the studio had to hold a press conference to address the issue with fans.
Yikes, not a good way to end a favorite or start a new show.
The issue with Felicity was a unique one. The show had actually already finished filming its episodes, including the perfect series finale, when the studio decided to add on five more episodes.
Stuck and unsure what to do, JJ Abrams went with a time traveling storyline that had Felicity traveling back a year earlier to change the future.
The story arc felt very out of place (because it was) and kind of stomped all over the actual finale that had been planned. Luckily, the show was able to still wrap the series up exactly the way they wanted to despite the detour getting there.
Sex And The City
Sex and the City is a tricky one, and the opinion of the series finale can be pretty controversial. The issue with it is how it pretty much goes against everything viewers came to know and love about Carrie Bradshaw.
This independent New York woman and her three best friends took on the city, men, and their careers for years, only for Carrie to throw it all away for the most uncommitted relationship she ever had a la Mr. Big?
The movie follow-ups, despite being fun, did not better the opinion of Carrie, making her appear weaker than she ever had been perceived before. The finale made the entire series about the importance of having a man in her life rather than herself and her girlfriends.
Lost did a lot of crazy things over its run, but nothing was as infuriating as the series finale. This is a show that had polar bears on an island, men living underground in hatches, and time travel, however, the finale unwound six seasons of mystery and left the viewers with pretty much nothing.
With a slew of unanswered questions, 13.5 million viewers tuned in for the finale they have been waiting for only to discover in the end scene of the cast in a church together that everyone had died and moved on to some sort of purgatory before moving on to the real afterlife together because … who knows.
The Good Wife
It is such a letdown when a great show has a terrible ending, which is exactly the case with The Good Wife. Fans were ready to tune in and see Alicia Florrick’s life wrap up with a perfect little bow.
However, the finale shattered all of that. Instead of a happily ever after, viewers were met with a scathing slap right across the face, courtesy of Diane Lockhart after Florrick betrays her in the courtroom.
The writers anticipated the backlash that was to follow ending the series this way, so much so that a video explanation was filmed and aired following the finale.
The Sopranos finale left so many viewers lost and confused, people were calling their cable companies to see if their cable cut out. This finale has been viewed as genius or horrendous, depending on who you talk to.
For some, the ending was perfect, as it allowed the viewer to determine what happened. For most, it sucked. Was he shot? Right there eating with his family? Was that why the screen went blank – or was it something else?
Unfortunately, those are answers that will never be resolved, making this HBO drama one of the most controversial and disappointing series finales of all time.