Snow globes, lumber jacks, black screens – oh my!
When it comes to tying up fan favourite television programs, it is clear that viewers aren’t ones for the artistic or the concrete, they demand perfectly tied happy, non-mysterious bows. Regardless, is there ever really a satisfying way to say goodbye? Maybe not, but here are ten completely horrible series send-offs that will leave your jaw slacked and your head itchy.
10. Alias — “All the Time in the World,” 2006
Everyone’s favourite sci-fi supernatural soap opera with spies ended on a dull and disappointing note. Fan favourite characters were killed, the main antagonist became immortal, and was subsequently locked away in a tomb. Sydney Bristol, the once ass-kicking spy, leaves the agency to become a wife and mother. This is perhaps the most mind-boggling of all, since the ending completely undercuts the strong independent woman the series worked so hard to create.
9. Battlestar Galatica — “Day Break,” 2009
Battlestar Galatica was easily one of the best sci-fi shows of its time. This makes its ending particularly frustrating for its devoted followers. As clever as the show was, it seems to have taken the easy way out by using divine intervention to attempt to explain away all the show’s unanswered questions. What a fraking let down.
8. Lost — “The End,” 2010
Lost is how most viewers felt when they joined their favourite castaways for their weekly adventures on the mysterious island. Viewers faithfully tried to make sense of the black mist, the Others, numbers, hatches, and the various island mysteries they were handed. Audiences loved this complex knot of a story but it left them with one big question: where is all this going? When it came time to finally answer this question, audiences were just as perplexed with the answer as with everything else on the show. One thing that was clear about the ending was despite confusing time jumps, each character died and ended up meeting in a church in the afterlife. Fans were unsatisfied as this ending left more questions than answers and more confusion than clarity.
7. The Sopranos — “Made in America,” 2007
On the heels of a mob war, the series comes to a close in a diner as the Soprano family meets for a meal. With Journey playing on the jukebox, various patrons and family members enter the restaurant to the chiming of bells. Anticipation builds as viewers wait to see if Tony will get whacked. Cut to black. Audiences are still waiting for an answer. Although retrospect has been a little kinder on the ending of this series, it was initially quite a surprise. Many audiences had thought that the feed dropped. Stunned fans were dissatisfied with the cliff-hanger ending the series delivered.
6. Seinfeld — “The Finale,” 1998
Seinfeld, the famous show about nothing, delighted fans with outrageous characters and top notch comedy that more-often-than-not left the audience in tears. The ending of this show was supposed to be seen as karmic justice. Our favourite foursome is arrested and put on trial for failure to stop a carjacking. What follows was a series of cameo appearances of characters who testify to what horrible people Jerry, Elaine, George, and Kramer were. The major offence of this finale, aside from being confusing: it wasn’t even funny.
5. Roseanne — “Into that Good Night: Part 2” 1997
The ending of this long running series was an insult to long-time fans. Roseanne was television’s attempt to showcase middle-class working America, and for nine seasons audiences bought in. In the finale season, the Connor’s won the lottery and life was finally looking up. In the finale episode, the family sits down to dinner and the audience is served an awful truth. The entire series was a fiction written by a depressed housewife as a means to cope with the dreariness of her real life. The ending left more than a bad taste in the audiences’ mouth.
4. How I Met Your Mother — “Last Forever,” 2014
What makes this series finale horrible is the fact that they devoted an entire season to the wedding of Barney and Robin, only to have them divorced minutes into the finale. Making things worse, the show finally introduces the Mother, the shows driving mystery, only to have her die, allowing Ted and Robin to once again get back together. Even though writers had always intended for Ted and Robin to be together, after nine long drawn out seasons of drama – the ending just falls short.
3. Dexter — “Remember the Monsters,” 2013
Dexter was an awesome show about a serial killer who hunts other serial killers. This show survived three, maybe four, good seasons before its decline. The ultimate flat line was the series finally. Even if you close your eyes and try to imagine how a complex, dark, and disturbed character such as Dexter would meet his end, you would be dead wrong. After mercy killing his sister, he disposes of her body as he had with all this other victims, in the ocean. Then, bent on self-destruction, he sails his boat into a hurricane. This wouldn’t have been so bad had the show ended there. Not one for mystery, the question of Dexter’s fate is answered for viewers. He grows a beard, dawns some plaid, and becomes a lumberjack. I guess Dex wasn’t the only one left in the woods.
2. Quantum Leap — “Mirror Image,” 1993
This ending ranks high on the disappointment scale. Viewers faithfully tuned in to see Sam Beckett leap through time to take over the life of an unsuspecting individual, who would undoubtedly need Sam’s help to fix a major life dilemma. However, what viewers got when they tuned into the series finale was nothing short of a slap in the face. Sam’s goal was always to get back home to his time. The major gut punch delivered to viewers was that Sam doesn’t ever get to go home. If that wasn’t bad enough, audiences didn’t even get to see the disappointing truth acted out. No, the bomb was dropped on fans via written text on a black screen. Adding more insult to injury, the on-screen text spelled the main character’s name wrong. We’re not sure who made that decision, but not even time travel could redeem that quantum disappointment.
1. St. Elsewhere — “The Last One,” 1988
St. Elsewhere was an Emmy award winning medical drama based in a teaching hospital that followed the lives of doctors and interns. Interestingly enough, the show can actually be connected to numerous other television shows from I Love Lucy, to the more modern universes of ER, CSI, and even Lost. Meaning the universe of St. Elsewhere is integral to television fiction, making its ending a live grenade. The ending of this series is so bizarre – all six seasons were just a figment of an autistic child’s imagination inspired by a snow globe containing the show’s hospital in miniature. All characters and story arcs were the whims of a child’s imagination. The ending of this series left audiences feeling confused and upset.