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TV Shows With The Worst Series Finales

9 min read

By ActiveBeat Author

We all watch with anticipation as our favorite shows develop through the seasons and take us on an epic journey of storylines with memorable characters for the ages. Unfortunately, unless the show is Coronation Street, the series must eventually come to an end! As I’m sure you gathered from the title, this is article comes with a spoiler alert discretionary! Consider yourself forewarned as we countdown some of the worst series finales of all time!

16. Roseanne

Alright, so the inclusion of this show may seem a bit dated. Like, haven’t we got over this one yet? The answer is a resounding NO! This sitcom was groundbreaking for its time and paved the way for other blue collar, realistic-problem based shows, and that adds to the difficulty of swallowing the ghastly mess that was the series finale. The absurdity ensues when during the final season the Conner family wins the lottery and begins playing out romantic dream-like sequences (i.e. Rosanne imagines herself on The Mary Tyler Moore Show.) But by the finale, we learn that none of that really happened, and Rosanne is simply writing her autobiography the way she wishes it happened. Her beloved husband, Dan, actually died from the heart attack he’d suffered and in order to cope with the disorientation and pain, Rosanne takes up scripting her own life on paper. The whole “it was all a dream” thing didn’t sit well with audiences, and the Rosanne finale is one of the most notorious of all time!

©ABC/courtesy Everett Collection

15. Weeds

Weeds began as a popular social satire of subtle genius, but in its latter years, it certainly had lost much of its charm and fan base. Problem one with the Weeds finale: it should have come much sooner. Problem two: it was a complete cop out. The flash forward ending to the future of a legal empire that cost Nancy her loved ones didn’t quite manage to wrap up all the loose ends, and it kind of seemed like the writers just gave up. The way too brief cameo appearances of former cast members, paired with Nancy’s lack of redemption or personal growth, left a lot to be desired. Moral of the story: the series went up in smoke. Congratulations on the ironic ending!

Michael Desmond / © Showtime / Courtesy Everett Collection

14. The Sopranos

Rolling Stone magazine has The Sopranos ranked among their best finales list, but we beg to differ. The show left us all hanging! In the final scene of the final episode, the show abruptly cuts to black without letting audiences know if Tony is even dead or alive. Fans are torn as to whether the series even ends on a bleak or hopeful note. Well, we guess they did one thing right. They certainly got audiences talking and even after all these years since it aired, there’s still buzz around what it all means!

© HBO / Courtesy: Everett Collection.

13. Dexter

Dexter began with an original premise but left audiences and cast members alike wondering if the writers had gone off the deep end with this finale. Dexter was a self-righteous blood-spatter analyst for the Miami Police Department with a serial killing passion for vigilante justice. And we loved him! But when the 8th season came to a close, Dexter released his brain dead sister to a watery grave and became a lumberjack! You all remember and are equally as outraged as you were the first time. A lumberjack! Because being a serial killer is a choice, right? Even actor Michael C. Hall commented that his feeling after reading the final scene was “Probably sadness.” Esh! We hear ya, man! Many fans deemed this brutal ending the worst finale of all time!

Randy Tepper/©Showtime/courtesy Everett Collection

12. How I Met Your Mother

When the premise of your entire show is a selectively told backstory from the past that goes on for season after season, it’s no wonder why fans are so invested in the culminating moment that reveals who the mother actually is! But unfortunately for all the die-hard fans out there, the climax was more than a slight let down. As it turned out, while Ted did meet the children’s mother, Tracy, in an endearing romantic moment under a yellow umbrella, the series montages to the fact that Tracy is now dead and Ted is interested in pursuing their “Aunt Robin.” Say what? Not to mention that fans were shortchanged when they never really discovered if Barney had evolved beyond his womanizing ways. This series finale was a serious letdown, and fans are still trying to fully recover from such a devastating blow!

Peter ‘Hopper’ Stone / ©CBS / courtesy Everett Collection

11. Pretty Little Liars

Fans were really disappointed by Pretty Little Liars’ series finale and one of the big reasons was the big reveal of A.D. who turned out to be Spencer’s evil British twin, Alex Drake. Many of these fans had been watching the series for seven years at that point, so revealing A.D. in the last episode to be a totally new character made fans feel like they had wasted their time theorizing and looking for evidence to support their suspicions. On top of that, there were still a number of questions that had not been answered. The whole point of the finale is to tie up loose ends and Pretty Little Liars did not do that.

Eric McCandless/©ABC Family/courtesy Everett Collection

10. Californication

For seven seasons of Californication, fans were waiting to see Hank and Karen figure it out and finally get together for good. For the entire duration of season seven, which was the show’s final season, that was not happening and writers instead had him getting together with his other baby mama, Julia, and getting to know his long-lost son, Levin. Finally, in the season finale, Hank figured out that he wanted to be with Karen and then declaring his love to her on a plane in the last 10 minutes of the episode. After seven seasons, fans deserved a better ending than this.

Jordin Althaus / © Showtime / Courtesy Everett Collection

9. Girls

One of the issues with Girls’ series finale was that the penultimate episode, “Goodbye Tour,” seemed to be a more fitting way to have ended the show. Instead, the series finale featured Hannah and Marnie moving upstate to raise her son, Grover; Hannah struggling with breastfeeding; and then ended ambiguously with Grover finally being able to latch. Fans didn’t even get to see Shoshanna or Jessa in the finale, which was really disappointing.

Mark Schafer / ©HBO / courtesy Everett Collection

8. Castle

When Castle was abruptly canceled at the end of season eight, writers didn’t have much time to fix the season finale and turn it into the series finale. While some fans were satisfied with the show’s ended, which revealed that Castle and Beckett survived the shooting and lived happily ever after, others felt that it was woefully inadequate because last two minutes that were supposed to give us a happy ending felt tacked on.

Richard Cartwright / ©ABC / Courtesy: Everett Collection

7. Gossip Girl

In the Gossip Girl series finale, no one could believe it when it was revealed that Dan Humphrey was Gossip Girl, the anonymous blogger who set out to expose everyone and their secrets. One of the main reasons that long-time fans had trouble believing Humphrey was the Gossip Girl was that he seemed just as affected by the blasts as the others and there were also times where he was with the others when Gossip Girl sent out one of her blasts. Even more shocking was the fact that Serena married him after the big reveal. She was arguably more affected by Gossip Girl than some of the others.

Andrew Eccles / © The CW / Courtesy: Everett Collection

6. Mad Men

Given that Mad Men had received high critical acclaim since its premiere and was considered one of the greatest television shows ever produced, it shouldn’t come as too big a shock that critics and fans were expecting the show’s finale to be great too. While some loved the ending, others hated it because it gave everyone (except Betty) a happy ending, which was so unlike Mad Men, but failed to properly resolve other storylines like the one involving Don Draper and his daughter Sally.

Ron Jaffe / © AMC / Courtesy: Everett Collection

5. The Office (U.S.)

The US version of The Office took many of its leads from the UK show including its super awkward humor. In spite of this brand of funny, the final season of the series was a far cry from its premise and its comedic style gave way to sentimental indulgence. And while we were all sad to say goodbye to the beloved series and happy to see the return of some of its veterans like Steve Carell, the sappy plotline left viewers rolling their eyes rather than rolling in the aisles.

(AP Photo/Matt Sayles, File)

4. Friends

Friends fans are some of the most loyal audience members that ever graced the sitcom world, but the series finale was super sappy, overdone, and came two seasons too late. I’m sure there are Friends fans who are stammering with a defense for the overly drawn out Ross-Rachel situation and will even accept that Rachel had to give up her dream job in Paris to be with her true love. But no one can deny that Joey and Phoebe deserved more attention and that the surprise twins were a bit over the top! The writers did at least wrap it all up for us, but the extra sparkly sentimental bow made for a gag reflex to naturally follow.

©Warner Bros. / Courtesy: Everett Collection

3. Lost

Lost was a show that developed a dedicated following of fans who were all trying to piece together the countless mysteries the series generated. Audiences tried tirelessly to figure out the deeper meaning of the alternate realities and time sequences, but outrage ensued when the bizarre “flash-sideways” vignettes turned out to be the afterlife. Gag! All of the pieces of the puzzle remained un-intact, and the religious and spiritual twist in the show left fans feeling totally ripped off!

Mario Perez / © ABC / courtesy everett collection

2. True Blood

It’s hard to imagine a worse ending for any show than the one that paraded as a series finale for True Blood. Most fans would agree that the series was stretched beyond its limits and should have ended while it was still enjoyable, but the once transgressive, boundary-pushing show bordered on preachy in its final episode. In spite of being wildly insane and hedonistic throughout its run, in the series finale, Jessica and Hoyt got married; Bill lectured Sookie about how having kids makes life worthwhile; and Sookie had a chat with the Reverend about God’s plan. The conservative and traditional wedding-ending of the series was a far cry from the diverse range of gay, straight, and bi characters the series showcased. What a cop-out!

John P. Johnson / © HBO / Courtesy: Everett Collection

1. Seinfeld

There are many haters of the Seinfeld finale. The show about nothing that taught us that self-deprecation and being your awful self was mighty fine. The finale veered away from this self-hating, self-referential angle we loved so much, and instead was an endless parade of guest stars and retrospective clips that fell short of funny. The underwhelming end to the groundbreaking sitcom felt like a slap in the face. I guess it’s true though, no single episode could have done justice for the greatness of series as a whole!

(c) Columbia TriStar Television/ Courtesy: Everett Collection.

ActiveBeat Author




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