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Least Favorite Series Finales

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We’ve all had to face difficult good-byes to our favorite shows. Far too often that good-bye came after a season finale that turned out to be the show’s swan song, leaving fans fretting over characters whose lives were left hanging in the balance never to find out if they survived or not.

After the number of times I’ve screamed over cancellation notifications, I welcomed the current trend of networks giving shows the time to conclude their stories in their final episodes. Unfortunately, the choices about how to end a series don't always work for the fans.

With that in mind, the SpoilerTV team got together to discuss our least favorite TV series finales. We’re looking only at the planned finales for shows that were given notice that they were in their final season, not those shows unexpectedly canceled and forced to have their season finale serve as the series finale.

After checking out some of the team's least favorite series finales, leave a comment and let us know what some of your least favorites series finales are.

Battlestar Galactica

KM:  If they were going to cancel, they should have just canceled it at the end of Season 3 and left the viewers alone to write dissertations on bulletin boards and articles on A.V. Club about "The Show Cancelled Before its Time" and wrote epic fanfic sagas. Then at le least we would have had that. I hated the whole season from Computer!Sam (which I understood was due to an actual illness) to Adminal!Hoshi and President!Baltar to Dead!Roslin and ending with Hera!Founded!Civilazation and the Six/Baltar amble around a present day. And Evil!Cavil, who was the Big Bad, just goes off in a corner and eats his gun. That's it. That's all we got from him. There was so much material that could have been explored with the end of S3, where the Five were revealed. Instead the producers took something that could have continued to be interesting and original and squished it.


Beth:  This is a classic case of Showtime's problem of holding onto their shows too long. Dexter should have ended after season 5 but instead it was dragged along to the point that it was unrecognizable. The biggest middle finger to the fans in my opinion was having Dexter put his sister into the water just like he did all of his victims. I know the symbolism is that she turned out to be one of his victims, but give me a break, Deb was amazing and she deserved more.  


CS:  Friends jumped the shark in season 3 when Ross and Rachel were on a BREAK! But by the beginning of season 9, they jumped in TO the shark tank. All series lose their luster after a few seasons, but it was the finale that was most disappointing. Sure happy endings, babies, marriages and new houses are to be expected. But when Rachel got off of that plane headed for her dream job in Paris, I just wanted to scream! Ross wasn’t worth it by that point; having turned from a cute, sweet, befuddled guy into a complete jerk. If they had to end up together, why not have Ross go to Paris for Rachel? Now that would’ve been great.

Gilmore Girls

MD:   Referring to the original finale (pre-Netflix's messy revival) the entire 7th season of Gilmore Girls was a mess. Really the show began going downhill towards the end of season 6 but the 7th season is definitely where it sunk. Sure there were some great episodes now and then but the finale failed to reclaim any of the show's charm. It was extremely rushed and failed provide real closure. We didn't even get a proper reunion between Luke and Lorelai. Even the cast was disappointed in the final ending.          

Gossip Girl

MD:   Dan is Gossip Girl? WHAT? Nate is... mayor? Serena and Dan end up together despite the fact he was Gossip Girl all along? Lily and Rufus don't wind up together? Chuck and Blair get married despite all the abusive crap he put her through? Ugh. I get Gossip Girl was more of a guilty pleasure show than anything (I normally don't like that term but the show literally advertised itself on that premise) but I was so disappointed by how it all ended. I loved the book series ending in which Blair and Serena ditch all the men in their lives and go on an adventure together. Plus they never reveal who Gossip Girl was in the book and I think it should have been that way in the show too! I never felt the mystery of the show was about "who" Gossip Girl was, that was never really important to me and making it Dan was just ridiculous and nonsensical.

House of Cards

LU:   Without going too much into it I know things were complicated but it's my understanding that the issue with Spacey only moved the time table a little bit, meaning this was their plan already, and what a horrfinible plan. Forgive me if these were subtleties I missed, perhaps I was too bored this last season to notice, but the focus of the last season as I saw it was Claire finally taking the power and moving from under Frank's shadow, and though I'm sure the last scene with Doug was representative of that I do not believe it should've been the very last thing we saw, something else was needed. The only way that ending would've worked was if we were emotionally attached to the characters and let's just say that never seemed like the shows intention, so why start now?

How I Met Your Mother

JC:   When someone says "bad series finale" this is the show that immediately pops into my head. It's been years now and I'm still not over it. I have not rewatched it since. Having the story of your show all played out from the start is okay, but if you see that along the way, things don't fit anymore, then change it! Instead the HIMYM writers aired a double episode where they broke up a couple that had only just gotten married (and we spent the entire season at their wedding), they barely showed us anything of Ted and Tracy together and even killed her off (their relationship was the entire purpose of the show) and in the last few minutes they reunited a couple that at this point, just didn't fit anymore. It was a huge slap in the face for the fans and to this day it still makes my blood boil.

KM:   We were sold a show about a theoretical comedy in which a man tells his kids about how he met their mother. It ended up being a story about a man who found The Mother, only to have her die so he can end up being with the annoying, chemistryless woman he'd been involved with on and off throughout the series. I might even have been okay with her death if they had done it better and if he had NOT ended up with Robin. Just, wrong.

popcultureguy:   Hands-down, my least favorite series finale is from “How I Met Your Mother.” First off, the entire final season dragging us through Barney and Robin’s wedding weekend was horrible, so to have all the garbage we sat through invalidated in the first fifteen minutes when they announce their divorce was infuriating. And then revealing the narrative cheat that this story of how Ted met his kids’ mother was really about him and Robin – a relationship the show had devoted whole episodes to loudly insisting was O-V-E-R- - was a slap in the face, particularly the scene of his kids cheerfully insisting Ted forget their dead mom and go after Aunt Robin. The writers clearly thought they were being super clever, finding a way to stick to their promises early on that Robin wasn’t the mom, but it was insulting and tone-deaf. I mean, what other show can you think of where fans have wholly embraced an alternate ending versus the canon one!

Prpleight:   I watched 9 seasons of this show. I patiently waited while they skirted around the clues to Ted meeting his kids' mother because I knew they couldn't answer the question until the end of the series run. I was pleasantly surprised when Barney and Robin hooked up. For me, a womanizer meeting the right woman was the perfect romance story for a show, ultimately about meeting the perfect woman. After a season that focused on Barney and Robin's marriage, I felt like I was kicked in the teeth by the show's writers when, in the finale, they killed off the Mother I waited 9 seasons to meet and then ended Barney and Robin's romance in divorce. If they'd just ended the show when Ted Met Tracie it would have been perfect. But nope! No happy ending for this fan.

Major Crimes

KK:   “A gift to the fans” is what James Duff, creator and executive producer of Major Crimes, called the last season of the popular TNT procedural. He promised the viewers a "satisfying and gratifying“ ending. Instead he killed the main character four episodes before the series finale and then proceeded by destroying her legacy. Sharon Raydor, the Commander of the Major Crimes division was diagnosed with a heart condition and was killed off only a few episodes later. The most upsetting part was not necessarily that she died, it was HOW she died: In a fit of anger her heart stopped beating. Sharon Raydor who was always in control of her anger, who used it as a tool to extract truth from suspects, had all of a sudden lost control. It made very little sense. Especially, when one considers that at this point she had already received her last rites. She was at peace with the world, she had already let go. Her sudden outburst was entirely out of character. The fact that she died after expressing anger is a typical misogynistic type of plot. It is simply regarded as very unappealing for a woman to be angry. The executive producer explained his questionable creative decision to remove the main character by claiming that the way he wanted to end show would not have been possible if Sharon were still around – and he was right about that. The final episode destroyed everything the show stood for. Sharon Raydor never would have allowed for that to happen. She had dedicated her life to obey the law, observing the most ethical behavior during her tenure. As the Commander of the Major Crimes division she never took unnecessary risks and followed the rulebook to the letter. As a mother, the most important rule for her children was to “be safe and kind.” In the season finale, everything Sharon Raydor represented was forgotten. The Major Crimes division went rogue, laws were broken and justice was taken into the police officers’ own hands. The big, fat cherry on top of this pile of insanity was, without a doubt, that Raydor’s son Rusty deliberately brought himself into a life-threatening situation and killed a man. Obviously, he had been listening very carefully when his mother had asked him to “be safe and kind”. One would think that message resonated even more with him after her death. The Powers That Be, tried to pass off his action as “self-defense” but when watching the scene carefully it looks more like there was some clear intent behind the shots fired. Following these events, the entire division lied to get Rusty off the hook by claiming it was Lieutenant Provenza who shot the criminal. It is in that final episode when it becomes apparent as broad daylight that Sharon Raydor was not only killed off but her entire existence was erased. Sharon Raydor was removed from the show, so the men could unimpededly break laws, take risks and participate in a man-hunt instead of arresting the criminal and getting him a fair trial. The tip of the iceberg was when Mary McDonnell’s name was removed from the credits in the last three episodes, which is a very unusual course of action considering she was the leading lady and the show was about to conclude. McDonnell had carried the show for six years, made it successful and invested herself fully in every single episode. Her performance was impeccable throughout the entire series. As lacking as the last few episodes of the show were, her acting was nothing short of perfection. The way the show ended was unworthy of her, of the wonderful cast and the loyal viewership. They all deserved better.


Prpleight:   There were a couple of reasons I was so annoyed with this series finale. One of my favorite elements of this show was always Allison's relationship with Joe. A man surrounded by psychics who was the poster child for going with the flow. (That season's Valentine's Day episode, when another woman inhabited Allison's body, is still really high on my most romantic TV episode list.) For some reason that I could never fathom they decided that, in addition to losing a show that I loved I had to lose it in the saddest way possible. They killed him off Joe! I spent the entire episode waiting for Allison to prevent his death. But she didn't. Someone thought that Allison living 40 years without Joe; not able to see him again until she died of old age, would be, what? A romantic ending? A happy ending? For me, it was neither. Instead, the show signed off with a depressing episode. It wasn't the first time I didn't like a series finale episode, but it was the first time the series finale left me so upset that I couldn't even remember the show with fond memories. I hadn't watched an episode until writing this reminded me about that Valentine's Day episode.


BW:   I think my biggest issue with this finale was how they tried to dress it up as closure in the last few moments with a Rayna Cameo and a sing song of one of the show's iconic musical numbers. Those things do not excuse the mess that the finale was, I kept waiting for some pay off on some other stories that had stalled over the course of the season and it never came. For example, I get that not making Scarlett and Gunnar endgame was going to happen given how much they destroyed them the previous season and I made peace with that and moved on. The issue is that those two had some of the best musical moments on the show and not once in the final season did they perform together. I would have taken two minutes at the Blue Bird with one of their old songs, but nope, the writers didn't think that was necessary. Instead we got half of a finale about a character we had just met trying to take down a scumbag which they could have easily wrapped up several episodes before. The quick shots of the characters down the line, was not a good pay off and it felt extremely abrupt. The only part they got right was reuniting Juliette and Avery, but that is about all I would give them.

Penny Dreadful

Kayell:   Dreadfuls (fans) thought 'The Blessed Dark' was just going to be a season finale and then they pulled the rug right under us by putting "The End" after the final scene effectively putting the show to a close. The episode itself was anti-climatic while leaving off with some flailing loose-ends, and there was way too much screentime for secondary characters they had introduced as if another season was coming, but then bam, it's over. Granted, the final scene at the funeral while the Creature recited Odes of Immortality was incredibly emotional and affecting - I've watched it over a dozen times and it still makes me cry; however, though, it was overall a disappointing conclusion to one of the best shows, if not, the best show of the 2010s (I debate between this and GoT).

Shades of Blue

LU:   Every time I talk about this show I can't believe how much I fell in love with its characters, in the beginning I thought it would be a mediocre show at best, but suddenly it became one of the ones I looked forward to the most, one of the highlights if my TV week with amazing performances and intense scenes. But by the end something just didn't fit, it all felt so rushed, and the perspective so twisted. Yes, the last season was about accountability, but just Harlee's? And the way it was handled was absolutely disappointing. Perhaps this wasn't the worst finale ever, but the whole season played with the edges so much that this last episode had the opportunity to be epic and save the whole show as something worth rewatching time and time again, but it not only failed in doing that, it also made a lot of the best things about the show feel worthless and in my mind wasted potential is one of the worst crimes on TV.

Teen Wolf

Prpleight:   Sometimes the effect of the season finale is affected by the final season itself. Teen Wolf was, for me, a relatively frustrating show. There were several seasons that had really great elements and elements I really hated. But the elements I hated weren't as nonsensical as in those the final season of Teen Wolf. After I waited four seasons for Stiles to get a girlfriend. I was thrilled with the girlfriend they gave him. Malia was perfect for him. But in season 6, with no foreshadowing whatsoever, they destroyed it. No. they retconned it. He and Lydia were suddenly a couple for, it seemed, no other reason than the original plan was for them to be together at the end of the series. Fine, but write the freaking story! Essentially, Stiles dumped Malia and they barely even spoke about it. To make it all worse, they still had Malia on the canvas, so, again, with absolutely no story whatsoever. Scott was in love with Malia and that love, we're supposed to believe, was strong enough to force Scott to focus enough to save himself in the finale. So, when we got to the actual finale I was already angry. But even with that I could have said good-bye to the show without animosity. 90% of the episode was pretty good. It was a good wrap up to the action stories. Scott figured out how to defeat the supernatural bad guy, Stiles was there to help, Mama McCall kicked backside, and the human bad guy (Monroe) was defeated as well. I could have walked away from the show feeling content. But that wasn't to be allowed. I'd spent six years watching these kids grow into heroes. I'd envisioned them living their lives as adults, in future series where they were at college, at their new jobs, across the country helping people who needed it. Instead, Scott's dream of becoming a vet is dead, Stiles isn't an FBI agent, Malia never got to Paris because they are being happy ending in sight. No hope of full lives. Seriously?

The Mindy Project

AK:  Danny and Mindy should have never gotten back together. I don't know if Chris Messina wanted off the show when it moved to Hulu but they completely changed his character in season 4 and that made me lose complete respect for Danny. He was awful to Mindy but for whatever reason they shoehorned a reunion between the two of them in the last couple of episodes.                


True Blood

MD:  True Blood is still one of my favorite shows ever, even when it goes fully off the rails I still enjoy how ridiculous and campy it is. But even I can't excuse the piteous series finale. Already the 7th season was one of the worst, and while it had a few good moments I'm so shocked by what a catastrophe the series ending was! The only positive moment was Bill finally dying but otherwise Sookie ends up with some random dude we don't even meet? Jessica and HOYT end up together? Hoyt who was a giant manchild, tried to kill her, became a racist, and had one of the worst backwards character growth ever? And Lafayette, one of the best characters of the show doesn't even get any speaking lines! It was seriously disappointing.


LU   I understand why they chose to finish it like this, but once again, it looks like they focused purely on the shock factor, they threw away every arc they'd been building all season making it pretty much irrelevant. Perhaps it could've worked as a flawed season finale, but a planned SERIES finale written by such smart people should've been epic and cathartic. This show deserved a lot better.

Xena: Warrior Princess

Zandari   A friend in Need part 1 And 2

In 1995 the world cried out for a hero and she arrived in Xena a female villain from the series Hercules the legendary Journey’s turn to good. It would be a struggle to keep her dark side at bay but with the aid of her trusty sidekick Gabrielle they roamed Greece, Rome, China, Brittana, Egypt and Japa doing good deeds. They even sang about a few along the way. The series surpassed Hercules becoming a firm fan favourite with speculation about the nature of Xena and Gabrielle’s relationship and the fact girls and women had a female heroine on their screens.

However, all good things must come to an end and after 6 season’s Xena was ending. However, the finale was a bitter pill, even now fans will say Xena never ended with that episode but two previous with the fantastic episode ‘When Fates Collide’ written by Katherine Fugate who later went on to write such hits as Army Wives, and the movies Valentine day and New years eve. (I previously have covered this episode for a throwback Friday review on Spoiler Tv). Many fans won’t watch A Friend in Need it and for the most part fans hate it, even the writer, director, and producer Rob Tapert has admitted he made a mistake.

The Synopsis is Xena is visited by a Monk with a message from her dead friend a trip to Japa and a battle with a ghost follow.

So why was this two-part finale so bad?

Xena claims to have had another soul mate and an annoying one at that. Aren’t you supposed to only have one that’s how the story goes? We had already have seen her closeness to Lao Ma but even then, she claimed her soul mate was Gabrielle so to have never heard of this one was a shock. Gabrielle was her soul mate that’s it.
Xena was killed far too easily for a warrior of her skill and they chopped her head off. Not content with killing the heroine but brutalizing her in such a fashion.
Gabrielle could resurrect her but Xena needs to save the thousands of souls she killed. Weak plot point given the whole series was about redemption.

It was so bad that the original ending was with Gabrielle on the boat alone was changed and Rob Tapert did a director’s cut with Xena’s ghost stood next to her.
At a convention another of the Xena, writers commented the plan was to have Xena hand the battle mantle over to Gabrielle. Most will agree a much better ending and fitting to the series as Gabrielle had become a fierce Warrior.
In TV shows, it is all too easy to kill off the female heroine and one with seemingly god-like powers in such a way was a letdown. Xena ended for most at the end of ‘When Fates Collide’ with Xena and Gabrielle riding off into the mist.

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