Ten Of The Worst TV Show Finales Of All Time

With the ending to How I Met Your Mother causing such an uproar among its viewers this week, I thought I’d share my views on what I consider to be Ten of the Worst TV Show Finales of All Time.

Now you might expect me to include Dexter on this list considering everyone else seems to dislike it, but I actually thought it was ok. There was only a very limited number of ways Dexter could have ended and I was ok with the one they chose. The last season was poor but the last episode was ok.

Anyway, there will obviously be spoilers here, so consider yourself warned…

1. How I Met Your Mother

How Did It End?: After nine seasons of explaining to his kids how he met their mother, and an entire last season devoted to Robin & Barney’s wedding weekend and Ted’s first encounter with Tracy, it’s revealed that Barney & Robin divorced,

major disappointment

Says it all

Tracy died six years ago and that Ted has really been telling the story so his kids can sign off on him pursuing Robin again.

Why Is That Bad?: Because character relationships had developed long beyond the point where Ted & Robin getting together was an acceptable idea, it rendered almost three seasons of the show redundant, it didn’t give the viewers what they wanted and that last scene followed a very good one where Ted & Tracy finally met.

2. One Foot In The Grave

How Did It End?: Victor Meldrew is killed by a hit & run driver and Margaret Meldrew avenges his death by murdering the woman responsible.

Why Is That Bad?: Because it wasn’t funny, it killed off the main character in a depressingly bleak episode, thus depriving us of any new specials in the future and it turned Margaret into a murderer. Also, it involved none of the other regular cast members.

3. Life On Mars

How Did It End?: Sam wakes up from a coma, realises he preferred the fantasy world he may or may not have been in and then he chucks himself off the roof of a building in the hope he ends up back there.

Why Is That Bad?: If you take into consideration that Life on Mars is its own series and not the first two seasons of Ashes to Ashes, it didn’t explain Sam’s situation. And the whole thing just left you feeling a bit confused and deflated. On the other hand, had they explained everything, then we wouldn’t have got the epic finale of Ashes to Ashes.

4. Lost

How Did It End?: I’m not even sure. They are all dead? And it’s a purgatory they are living in? Or something?! To be honest, by that point I just wasn’t paying attention anymore.

Why Is That Bad?: Never did a show lose its way more than Lost. It started brilliantly and was probably the top TV show in the entire world at one point. But then the writers kept adding more and more twists and turns. By the end, so much was left unresolved and viewers just sat there, jaws dropped thinking “Is that it?!? That’s the payoff?” Utter bullshit.

5. Chuck

How Did It End?: Sarah loses her memory, can’t remember who Chuck is, concludes that she doesn’t love him anymore and they split up.

"I've lost my memory and don't love you anymore. Sorry mate"

“I’ve lost my memory and don’t love you anymore. Sorry mate”

Why Is That Bad?: Much like shows like Only Fools & Horses, Scrubs and Alias, Chuck was the classic example of a TV that went on just a few episodes too long. The last season ended with all the major storylines wrapped up, but for some reason they decided to extend the run just a little bit longer with no plots to speak of. To have the show end on a note where Chuck & Sarah split up just felt unnecessarily negative. It’s like they didn’t want a happy ending for the sake of it.

6. Veronica Mars

How Did It End?: Half way through a storyline.

Why Is That Bad?: Cos that’s no way for a show to end! The finale of Veronica Mars made no effort to finish its third season with a potential end to the overall story arc – an acceptable “out” just in case it didn’t get renewed. And so as a result, it just felt as though the viewers were left hanging. And that stuff was so long ago that it couldn’t reasonably be referenced in the recent movie either.

7. Buffy the Vampire Slayer

How Did It End?: After a final confrontation with whatever forces of evil they were fighting, Buffy and her surviving mates wander off into the sunset.

Why Is That Bad?: Apart from feeling slightly rushed, the last episode also killed off the character of Anya without a moment’s pause, and her boyfriend Xander didn’t seem to give a toss. While the show itself was finishing, its sister show – Angel – wasn’t, and so it was as if they didn’t want to give it a proper conclusion. I felt unsatisfied

8. The Brittas Empire

How Did It End?: Gordon Brittas wakes up on a train and it turns out the whole TV show was a dream.

Why Is That Bad?: Why do you think?

9. Alias

How Did It End?: They exhume the Rambaldi storyline, the Black Ops building is blown up along with at least one member of the regular cast, Vaughn comes back from the dead, Arvin Sloane turns evil again for the sake of it – becoming

Who cares if it ruins my character's entire story-arc; I want to be immortal...and EVIL

Who cares if it ruins my character’s entire story-arc; I want to be immortal…and EVIL

immortal in the process – and Jack Bristow dies blowing a tomb with Sloane in it, and thus imprisons him for eternity.

Why Is That Bad?: Well first of all, read that. Alias was a spy drama. But the major problem was that it rushed to an improbable finish. The first four seasons of the show were wrapped up nicely at the end of the fourth season and that could and should have been it, as Sydney and Vaughn finally ride off into the sunset together. But the show was given a new season which was supposed to kick off at least a few more years of episodes. When viewers rejected it and the show was announced as ending at the end of Season Five, the production team hit the reset switch on almost everything. That Vaughn came back was a nonsense, and Arvin Sloane’s entire character arc was ruined. Boo!!!

10. Goodnight Sweetheart

How Did It End?: Having been able to travel between the 1940s and 1990s for a number of years without any fuss, Gary finds himself forever stuck in the 40s after he saves Clement Atlee’s life. It turns out that he’d been chosen especially by God or some other mysterious force to travel back in time to save Atlee and once that was done, the Time Portal was closed off.

Why Is That Bad?: Well even if you can accept that he can travel back through a personalised Time Portal between the 90s and 40s, if his sole purpose was to save Atlee’s life, how come he was able to come and go as he pleased for six whole years before that chance meeting? What if he’d decided he didn’t want to travel back more than a couple of times? It was a stupid ending to a stupid show.


Have I missed any obvious ones? Give me a shout!

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3 Responses to Ten Of The Worst TV Show Finales Of All Time

  1. Slavin Ivanov says:

    LOST is what happens when you have intriguing mysteries, but no satisfying answers. It’s partly because J. J. Abrams started it all and Cuse and Lindelof ended it- bad communication. Of course, even when the creator oversees the whole show (e.g. The X-Files), failure may ensue.
    Keep up the good work!!!

  2. Frivolous Monsters says:

    I disagree with you on ALIAS and Life on Mars. They ticked all the boxes for me. I wasn’t aware that was how the Brittas Empire ended, although that series wandered a long, long way from where it started. I seem to recall spotting, as a child, that the number of children Brittas had changed as the series went on.

  3. Cory Woodrum says:

    I love the Lost ending. It was a great way to bring those characters to a close.

    They weren’t dead the whole time!

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