10 Worst TV Series Finales Of All Time
They started out strong, but these shows ended with the worst series finales ever. We’re taking a look at popular TV shows that failed to stick the landing with their final episode, leaving audiences on the lowest note possible. Saying goodbye is never easy, especially when you part ways with a slap across the face.
Saying goodbye is never easy, especially when you part ways with a slap across the face. Today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Worst Series Finales.
For this list, we’re taking a look at popular TV shows that failed to stick the landing with their final episode, leaving audiences on the lowest note possible. We’d say spoiler alert, but maybe knowing about these lackluster endings going in will soften the blow.
10“The Finale” “Seinfeld” (1989-98)
In theory, bringing back everybody Jerry, George, Elaine, and Kramer wronged over the years sounded like a fun way to cap off the series. Instead of cleverly integrating these characters into a fitting farewell, though, the “Seinfeld” finale plays out like a glorified clip show. The big trial accumulates with our four main characters being sentenced to a year in prison for their petty, selfish behavior.
When you really think about it, however, almost every character in the history of this show was deeply flawed. So, the fate of our protagonists just seems cruel and unearned. Honestly, we would’ve had more respect for the finale if NOTHING significant happened to Jerry and the gang. That was basically the entire idea behind the series after all.
9“Daybreak” “Battlestar Galactica” (2004-09)
It appeared the Galactica’s search for a new home had been in vain when they discover that the fabled Thirteenth Colony “Earth” had been nuked. In the series finale, though, Starbuck inputs mysterious coordinates that transport our heroes to a planet that’ll one day prosper into the Earth we know.
We’ll admit that this is kind of a clever twist, but its execution feels like a cheap deus ex machina. What’s more, the series leaves us with several questions the writers don’t even try to resolve. Namely, what the frak was Starbuck supposed to be? One of the finale’s most high-profile critics was author George R. R. Martin, who felt the show copped out by simply saying, “God Did It.”
8“Mirror Image” “Quantum Leap” (1989-93)
What makes the “Quantum Leap” ending so frustrating is that all the pieces were in place for a satisfying conclusion. In “Mirror Image,” Sam discovers that he has the power to finally make the leap home. When he wrote the episode, though, creator Donald P. Bellisario wasn’t sure if the show would be renewed for another season, so left the finale ambiguous.
Instead of seeing Scott travel back to his own time period, the audience is left with a tacked-on title card saying that he just kept hopping through space-time. For years, there’s been the talk of a potential “Quantum Leap” continuation. Until then, the words, “Dr. Sam Beckett never returned home,” will remain a bitter blemish on this show’s otherwise enjoyable track record.
7“Of Course He’s Dead” “Two and a Half Men” (2003-15)
This sitcom officially jumped the shark after Charlie Sheen left, and had been running on fumes by the time its final season was farted out. As one last middle finger to those who stuck with the series for twelve seasons, the finale continually teased the return of Uncle Charlie. All that buildup led to the ultimate anticlimax, in which an obvious Charlie Sheen body double was crushed by a grand piano.
Then, in an even more curious move, co-creator Chuck Lorre was hit with another piano after spouting Sheen’s infamous catchphrase. We think this is supposed to be meta-humor, but we have no clue what the showrunners were trying to say here. All we know is this finale is anything but a winner.
6“Thank You” “True Blood” (2008-14)
The last couple seasons of “True Blood” were rough, but we stuck with the sexy vampire drama to see who ended up with who. The final episode features a wedding between Jessica and Hoyt, who were never exactly anyone’s favorite couple. The womanizing Jason sporadically settles down with Hoyt’s ex-girlfriend, who had like five lines!
What about Sookie and Bill? Do they get a happily ever after? Nah, Bill – for some reason – decides that he’s ready to pass onto the next life and asks Sookie to stake him. Does that mean Sookie hooks up with Eric instead? Nope! Well, then who does she end up with? Some random guy we never see or learn anything about! Oh, you are dead to us, “True Blood.”
5“The Last One” “St. Elsewhere” (1982-88)
Although it was far from television’s first medical drama, “St. Elsewhere” stood out as one of the few to have a refreshing sense of humor. The final episode is a straight-up joke, however. Turns out the storylines that been unfolding and the characters we’ve grown to love over the past six seasons weren’t even real.
They were all figments of an autistic child’s imagination and exist within the confines of a snow globe. We’re not kidding, that’s seriously how it ends. This revelation is only made more confusing when you consider that “St. Elsewhere” had crossovers with shows like “Cheers” and “Homicide: Life on the Street,” the latter of which crossed over with several other shows. Is NBC’s entire library just in Tommy Westphall’s head?
4“The End” “Lost” (2004-10)
This groundbreaking drama created an overarching mystery so complex that not even the writers could solve it. That being said, the finale of “Lost” was bound to leave us with several unanswered questions. What was the deal with Walt’s special abilities? Where did Christian Shepherd’s body end up? Who was “Mother”?
The finale provides no insight into any of that, but the flash-sideways timeline is given an explanation. Turns out that the flash sideways world is – wait for it – limbo! Wow, who saw that coming?! It’s not like people have been predicting since Season 1 that purgatory would play a role! While we’d be lying if we said the finale wasn’t without its bittersweet moments, some of these creative choices remain mystifying.
3“Remember the Monsters?” “Dexter” (2006-13)
After eight seasons of concealing his dark passenger, imagine how fascinating it would’ve been if mild-mannered Dexter Morgan was publicly outed as a serial killer. Everyone at Miami Metro would have to come to grips with the fact that a stone-cold murderer was right under their noses this whole time.
Dexter, meanwhile, would be forced to confront his greatest fear as the monster within was exposed to the world. Well, rather than taking that route, somebody at Showtime apparently said, “Let’s make Dexter a lumberjack!” This ending had no buildup and offers no payoff. We don’t even get an inner monologue from Dexter. The final shot is just him blankly staring off into space, which is a fitting metaphor for how empty-headed this ending was.
2“Last Forever” “How I Met Your Mother” (2005-14)
We waited several years for this sitcom to introduce the titular mother, but she almost immediately won viewers over, and sparks flew when she met Ted in the finale. If the series ended there, this finale probably could’ve avoided a spot on this list.
Alas, it’s revealed that the story Ted’s been telling his children was never about how he met their mother, who’s been dead for years, but about how he still had feelings for Robin – despite their toxic past.
Considering that the past season revolved around Barney and Robin’s wedding weekend – and the show is literally called “How I Met Your Mother” – the audience felt like the rug had been swept out from under them and not in a good way.
1“The Iron Throne” “Game of Thrones” (2011-19)
Since the previous episode ended with Daenerys becoming the Mad Queen and burning King’s Landing, “Game of Thrones” needed more than 80 minutes to deal with the ramifications. Rather than giving this epic story the room, it needed to breathe, though, the finale shoehorns in a season’s worth of plot points.
Dany is killed by the man she loves, Bran is randomly selected as the new King, and Jon Snow’s entire character arc is thrown out the window. Everything wrong with this massive letdown of a finale can be summed up in a water bottle the crew accidentally left in a shot. It’s so rushed that apparently, no one had time to think, “Hey, maybe we should do another take… or an entire rewrite.”
What do you think is the worst series finale? Let us know in the comments!