Top 10 Disappointing TV Show Finales
VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Niki Neptune.
We faithfully watched the shows, but were bitterly let down by their finales. In this video, http://www.WatchMojo.com counts down our picks for the top 10 disappointing TV show finales. For this list, we're looking at hugely popular and successful shows that managed to have tepid, confusing or just downright bad conclusions. For dedicated fans, some of these endings were like a slap in the face – especially when there was probably some really juicy fan fiction that would've made for better show wrap-ups. However, if the finales were later explained away with a movie, they did not qualify. And, this should go without saying but, SPOILER ALERT.
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Script written by Niki Neptune.
Top 10 Disappointing TV Show Finales
We faithfully watched the shows, but were bitterly let down by their finales. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 disappointing TV show finales.
For this list, we’re looking at hugely popular and successful shows that managed to have tepid, confusing or just downright bad conclusions. For dedicated fans, some of these endings were like a slap in the face – especially when there was probably some really juicy fan fiction that would’ve made for better show wrap-ups. However, if the finales were later explained away with a movie, they did not qualify. And, this should go without saying but, SPOILER ALERT.
#10: The Finale
After nine-seasons of hilarity, 76-million fans tuned in to send off the show about nothing. And many of them were perplexed by the writers’ choice to paint the gang as essentially bad people. Put on trial for, ironically, doing nothing to stop a mugging; the finale featured a veritable parade of fan-favorite minor characters returning to tell off Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer. The show finally ends with the group in jail, sending “Seinfeld” off with a big “screw you” to its fans. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
#9: Mirror Image
After five-years leaping around in time trying to put right what once went wrong, Dr. Sam Beckett comes to his most confusing leap yet. When he’s told he can go home whenever he wants, fans got a glimmer of hope they might see Sam leap back for good. But thanks to the show’s unexpected cancellation after the finale was filmed, they got a far less satisfying conclusion: Onscreen text tells viewers that Dr. Beckett continued leaping around forever. For such an uplifting show, it’s a pretty depressing finale.
“Quantum Leap” (1989-93)
#8: Last Forever
Many fans were not prepared for this one. The entirety of “HIMYM”’s final year was devoted to Barney and Robin’s wedding; but within the first 15-minutes of the finale, they were divorced. Need more? Fans had also spent that season getting to know and love Ted’s future wife. But five-minutes from the end, she was unceremoniously killed off, allowing Ted to get back with his on-again-off-again love, Robin. While this move had been planned from the beginning, “Last Forever” was probably the series’ most polarizing episode.
“How I Met Your Mother” (2005-14)
#7: Made in America
Set during an ongoing mob war, this episode was expected by some to end in a violent bloodbath wherein its star meets his maker. But “The Sopranos” bucked convention until the very last seconds of “Made in America.” With the family gathered for a meal and Journey playing on the jukebox, fans waited in anticipation of…something, anything. All they got was a black screen. No last-minute deaths, no questions answered. Though many have since warmed to this ending; at the time, many just thought their cable was out.
“The Sopranos” (1999-2007)
#6: All the Time in the World
What started as a cool spy story somehow transformed into a soap opera-y, sci-fi-slash-supernatural romp as seasons progressed. Hinting that J.J. Abrams might have trouble ending his mystery stories, this episode saw fan-favorite characters killed, the series main antagonist struggling with immortality in the future, and Sydney Bristow quitting the biz to live a quiet life as a wife and mother. Which is fine, except it betrayed the badass icon of feminism Sydney had become. Weird, dull and disappointing, this one was full of questions and few answers.
#5: The Last One
This show’s known for two things: it launched Denzel Washington’s career, and it had a weird finale. Set in a fictional teaching hospital, “St. Elsewhere” followed the trials and tribulations of doctors and interns as they made life-or-death decisions. However, in the head-scratcher of a final episode, it was revealed that the entirety of the show, including all characters and story arcs, occurred in the mind of an autistic child. Creative? Yes, but to fans and critics, this finale seemed like a ridiculous stretch.
“St. Elsewhere” (1982-88)
With its dedicated following, great storylines and non-stop action, this was easily one of the best sci-fi franchises on TV at its peak. Which is why many fans wondered why the finale took a spiritual leap, gave an unsatisfying end to an epic villain, and left so many loose ends. With the crew of the Galactica finally landing on and ultimately colonizing Earth, it’s sort of a happy ending. Sorta. But mainly, explaining everything away with inevitability, cyclicality and divine intervention just seems like the easy way out.
“Battlestar Galactica” (2004-09)
#3: Remember the Monsters?
He was the serial killer who killed serial killers, until he wasn’t anymore. That’s pretty much the finale. After seeing his sister die and giving her the sendoff she deserved, Dex drives his boat into an oncoming hurricane. And then, after eight-seasons, some of which were better than others, the creators ended the series not with Dexter getting what’s coming to him, and not with Dexter finding a happy life with his son and girlfriend in Argentina, but with Dexter becoming a lonely lumberjack.
#2: Into that Good Night
This show’s finale, and in fact its whole last season, were almost an insult to longtime fans. “Roseanne”’s ninth season showed the Conner family adjusting to life as millionaires after winning the lottery. But lo and behold, it was merely a drawn-out diary entry from the imagination of the house matriarch to help her cope with her true reality: nothing in her life was the way she wanted it and her husband was dead. Maybe it worked at the writer’s table, but it didn’t work for the show’s devotees.
Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- Changing Nature “Dinosaurs” (1991-94)
- Where Men and Mountains Meet “Big Love” (2006-11)
- The Final Frontier “Mad About You” (1992-99)
#1: The End
This is a series finale so polarizing and so disappointing to some, it almost overrode the erratic greatness of J.J. Abrams’ popular show. With the entire cast in limbo, looking reverently at their lives that could’ve been, the Man in Black trying – and almost succeeding – to destroy that everlasting mystery that is the island, and Jack Shepherd ultimately sacrificing himself for its sake, the show twisted itself up into a sloppy, perturbingly messy bow. Mainly, the finale left so many unanswered, many fans were disgruntled.
Do you agree with our list? What TV show ending disappointed you most? For more entertaining Top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.