When you stick with a TV series for multiple seasons, chances are you have an idea of how you’d like it to end. Some shows are able to pull their end off nearly flawlessly. “Breaking Bad” and “Friday Night Lights” are two examples of fantastic series finales. Both shows went out of their way to service their respective fans, without sacrificing the story.
Unfortunately, that’s not how it always happens. Sometimes the questions fans have been waiting for answers to are never addressed, while in others the story takes what feels like an unnatural turn that leaves viewers confused by the time it’s all said and done.
Below Zap2it has collected 10 of the worst and most polarizing series finales that still bug fans to this day. They suffer from a wide array of problems, but the end result is clear: They just weren’t good enough.
“Lost” is the king of disappointing series finales. It ended just as confusingly as it lived, leaving more than enough questions about the bizarre island on which a group of plane-crash survivors were stranded. What was clear is that everyone on the island eventually died, and they all met up together in heaven — or in a church with crazy lighting.
Always one to jump around in time, it all ends with Jack’s island death. At least he had Vincent the dog at his side.
“How I Met Your Mother” spent nine years building up to Ted meeting his future wife and mother of his kids. The problem with that is the final episode of the series killed the mother off and ended up having Ted get together with Robin, who he was a little too obsessed with over the years. Why spend the final season making viewers grow to love the mother just to kill her?
At least the creators were nice enough to release an alternate — and much better — ending that has Ted and the mother getting their happy ending.
Almost nothing about the “Seinfeld” finale makes sense. The gang ended up on trial in a small Massachusetts town after failing to stop a carjacking. While in court, a parade of people they’ve met over the years is trotted out — from the Soup Nazi to the woman in the puffy shirt — to testify why Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer are so terrible..
For a show about nothing, “Seinfeld’s” decision to go out big went against everything the series was about and wasn’t very funny. It ended with the four main characters in jail and viewers with a perplexed look on their faces.
While most bad series finales get flack for the direction the story takes, “The Sopranos” is a different story. Fans turned on the final episode of the HBO series because it just ended, mid-Journey song.
With the Soprano family — minus Meadow, who got sidetracked trying to parallel park — sitting down for dinner at Holstein’s, Tony looks up at door as someone enters and it cuts to black. With no warning, and for no reason, “The Sopranos” was just over.
Chances are no one will never know for sure who the person walking through the door was. It could have been Meadow, someone gunning for Tony or even just another diner.
What’s the best way to end a Jim Henson Productions series about talking dinosaurs that’s part of the TGIF programming block? The only rational thing to do is kill them all, right? It was meant as a commentary on what mistreating the planet can do (in this case cause the Ice Age), but in a show with a largely kid audience it was mostly just disturbing.
The finale of “Dexter” was layer after layer of bizarre. It’s bad enough that Debra dies, but why did Dexter need to dump her body in the ocean? Then he simply drove his boat in a hurricane, only to somehow survive and move to a logging town. It’s like the finale was written using Mad Libs. At least he had the common sense to send his son away with someone less crazy than he was.
If you go back and look at the signs in “Gossip Girl,” it’s believable that Dan Humphrey would end up being the anonymous blogger. That doesn’t mean it was a good decision.
It’s the choice that was made, though, making it even more surprising that he’d still end up marrying Serena. He wreaked havoc on all of their lives — including those of his own family. He doesn’t deserve a happy ending.
By the time “Prison Break” finally got around to offing itself, it would have been difficult to find a die-hard fan. That didn’t stop producers from trying, throwing out a series finale jam-packed with twists. With Michael’s now-wife Sara in prison, it became a story of breaking her out.
In the end, Michael sacrifices himself so Sara can escape, letting himself get electrocuted. Don’t feel too bad about his death: He had a brain tumor killing him as it was.
Though the finale was exciting due to the return of David Duchovny as Fox Mulder, after he all but left the series a season earlier, that’s about the only good thing that happened. The audience had been craving answers for years to the show’s questions about aliens and government conspiracy. Instead of getting answers, they mostly got more questions.
It promised alien colonization of the world in 2012, while leaving many open plots that could be remedied in a follow-up movie. Unfortunately, when a movie did arrive six years later, it had nothing to do with the alien mythology of the series.
Nothing says “cop-out ending” like erasing the final season of the show, but that’s exactly what “Roseanne” did. The entire show changed when the Conners won the lottery in Season 9. Suddenly the lower-middle class family was rich beyond their wildest dreams, which led to an entirely new set of problems. Dan cheated on Roseanne, while Darlene and David’s baby nearly died. Money somehow made it all better, though.
In a misguided attempt to right all of the weirdness that happened, it was revealed that everything that happened was actually a book being written by Roseanne. Truthfully, Dan had died in the previous season after a heart attack. Furthermore, Jackie was a lesbian, Roseanne’s mother was not, Becky and Darlene ended up with each other’s spouses and DJ — well, nothing changed for DJ. He was still a creepy kid who wanted to make movies.
For fans who stuck with the show through the very end, the finale felt like a bait-and-switch no one expected.