35 TV Show Finales that Disappointed Their Fanbase
Wrapping up a beloved show is tough enough, yet some of the most popular shows in TV history have had finales that left fans angry or disappointed. Incredible shows like How I Met Your Mother and Game of Thrones devastated many fans with unsatisfying finales.
Read on to see the worst show endings of all time. Warning: some of the conclusions will make you furious.
If you asked a loyal fan what The Sopranos was about, they would probably say sex, drama and violence. So it’s no surprise that fans anticipated this HBO series to end with a big bang after six strong seasons. However, viewers couldn’t believe what actually happened in the final episode.
In the final scene, fans watched mob boss Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) and his family gather to share a meal, before the screen abruptly cut to black and started rolling credits. Fans were crushed that they never found out if Tony got whacked (or not).
Longtime viewers of Dexter thought the ending would’ve been more satisfying if serial killer Dexter (Michael Carlyle Hall) got arrested or died. But that never happened. In the series finale, the beloved serial killer faked his own death and took on a new identity as a lumberjack in Oregon.
Fans continue to call for a spin off because they’re unhappy with Dexter’s ending. Will loyal fans ever see their favorite serial killer come out of hiding, get caught by police or start killing again? We’re going to have to wait to find out.
Sons of Anarchy
Fans had no idea that the last episode of Sons of Anarchy would hit them as fast and hard as a truck. They were shocked when Jax Teller (Charlie Hunnam) rode his motorcycle right into a tractor-trailer in the season finale, killing himself after murdering Gemma Teller Morrow (Katey Sagal).
The Sons of Anarchy executive producer, Paris Barclay, described the ending as a Shakespearean or Greek story, where the hero often dies. He adds, “What surprised me the most is when they disliked it, what I hear in their voice is largely the sadness of losing these characters and their expectation that Jax would die and their disappointment that that's what actually happened.”
After seven seasons of build-up, audience reactions to the finale of Mad Men were mixed, with many fans arguing that the story seemed rushed and dull. In the last episode, Don Draper (Jon Hamm) experiences a breakdown, but quickly bounces back as an advertising hotshot. In the last shot, it’s revealed that Don creates the iconic Coke ad, “I'd Like To Teach the World to Sing.”
Some critics also criticized the fact that while Don’s relationship with his daughter, Sally, was an important part of the show, Don and Sally only share a short phone call in the finale. This disappointed critics and fans who wanted to see this relationship get more screen time.
After six well-written seasons of Gossip Girl, viewers saw Chuck Bass (Ed Westwick) and Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester) go on the run from police after pushing Chuck’s dad off of a building. Chuck and Blair finally get married, but that’s not the big reveal.
Guess who was behind “Gossip Girl” the entire time? Dan Humphrey (Penn Badgley) was revealed as the infamous gossiper of the Upper East Side. Many fans say it makes no sense that Dan’s character would ruin the lives of people he cared about. Shocking, right? Xoxo, Gossip Girl.
The season finale of the ‘80s and ‘90s comedy sitcom, Roseanne, left longtime viewers scratching their heads. For nine seasons, Roseanne was respected for representing blue-collar Americans, but the tone of the show changed after the Conners won the lottery and began living a luxurious life.
Hold on; there’s more. Eventually, fans realized that the lottery story and many events in the season finale were all lies created by Roseanne for her autobiography. Many fans were also left heartbroken after learning that her husband, Dan (John Goodman) didn’t actually recover from his heart attack and died.
Welcome to the O.C., where teen drama runs rampant. This series followed the troubled Ryan Atwood (Ben McKenzie), who winds up in a wealthy family and falls in love with the girl-next-door, Marissa Cooper (Mischa Barton). The O.C. became a cultural phenomenon when it premiered in 2003.
However, the show’s charm began to wane with low ratings in Season 3 after Marissa died. This led to the show’s cancellation in Season 4. The show’s creator, Josh Schwartz, says “I'm a dad since we made the show, and that idea of letting her come full circle and have some kind of salvation or closure resonates with me now. It was hard. It was hard to end the series and not have her be a part of it, too.”
For six seasons, Girls featured the friendships of Hannah, Marnie, Shosh and Jessa, so fans were confused when the majority of the last episode was about Hannah (Lena Dunham). Fans also say that the finale, which featured Hannah becoming a mom and moving away from New York, felt rushed.
Only two of the main characters appeared in the final episode: Hannah and Marnie (Allison Williams). Hannah and Marnie's friendship was a significant part of the series, but fans claimed that their big argument wasn’t the right way to end the last episode. Will Marnie stay and help Hannah raise her new baby? Will Marnie always put her love for Hannah above her own happiness? We may never know.
Ross and Rachel had a bumpy on-again,-off again relationship throughout Friends. Their relationship was also the focal point of the final episode, leaving no time for the other characters’ conclusive endings. Fans had grown tired of Ross (David Schwimmer) and Rachel’s (Jennifer Aniston) whole back-and-forth affair.
After 10 seasons and 236 episodes, fans wanted to see anything except the bleak endings Joey (Matt LeBlanc), Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow), Monica (Courteney Cox) and Chandler (Matthew Perry) received. Fans hoped for Joey to find love, Phoebe to sing Smelly Cat one last time, and Chandler and Monica to pursue successful careers. However, viewers saw none of that.
Longtime viewers became attached to Seinfeld’s hilarious characters, Jerry (Jerry Seinfeld), Kramer (Michael Richards), Elaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and George (Jason Alexander). However, the final episode of the popular NBC sitcom disappointed many fans.
In the episode, Jerry, Kramer, Elaine and George are arrested after violating a “Good Samaritan law,” basically, failing to help another person in trouble. During the trial, many witnesses confront the four about the trouble they’ve caused throughout the series. Although some thought it was a great way to call back to the best moments in the show, others believed too many characters appeared in the final episode.
FBI Special Agents Fox William Mulder and Dana Katherine Scully wowed viewers of The X-Files for nine seasons. When David Duchovny, who portrayed Mulder, left the show in 2000 following Season 7, many fans were disappointed. Duchovny made appearances throughout Seasons 8 and 9, but that didn’t stop the show’s creator, Chris Carter, from pulling the plug.
Although Duchovny also came back for the series finale, some fans criticized the finale, saying that it raised more questions than it answered. Some viewers believe The X-Files reboot in 2016 has helped the show redeem itself from the awful 2002 finale.
The insane and groundbreaking series, Nip/Tuck is known for portraying the dark and twisted acts of two plastic surgeons, Dr. Sean McNamara and Dr. Christian Troy (Dylan Walsh and Julian McMahon). Entertainment News warned Nip/Tuck fans in advance, saying, “If you're looking forward to a signature Nip/Tuck jaw-dropping, cringeworthy conclusion, you may want to lower your expectations just a teensy bit…”
While some fans and critics didn’t think the final episode was that bad, others disapproved of Nip/Tuck's unexpectedly soft ending. Audience reactions to Sean and Christian dissolving their partnership and going their separate ways were mixed. Some fans were disappointed that the surgeons stopped working together while other fans thought the scene worked perfectly.
Two and a Half Men
Some fans argue that Two and a Half Men became terrible after Ashton Kutcher joined the show in 2011. However, many viewers will say the most awful moment of the show occurred in the season finale. In the very last scene, a piano drops on a Charlie Sheen stunt double, killing him.
Next, the camera turns to the show’s creator, Chuck Lorre, sitting in a chair. Lorre looks at the camera and says “winning,” a phrase popularized by Sheen after he was fired from the show. Finally, another piano drops, this time on top of Lorre. The camera moves back and displays the show’s set — the end.
This storyline that highlighted the co-existence of vampires and humans in Louisiana made an extremely dark, yet excellent show. Many fans couldn’t help but fall in love with Sookie (Anna Paquin) and Bill (Stephen Moyer). However, fans were torn when Sookie took an interest in bad boy Eric (Alexander Skarsgård).
A lot of viewers wondered if Sookie would end up with Eric or Bill, but in the finale, Sookie killed Bill after he asked her to do it. In a flash-forward scene, the show paired Sookie with a guy no one had ever seen before, leaving fans critical and bewildered.
Beverly Hills 90210
Beverly Hills 90210 was full of teen angst and drama for 10 seasons. In the last episode, the audience watched Donna (Tori Spelling) and David (Brian Austin Green) tie the knot. Kelly (Jennie Garth) established a relationship with known drifter and ladies’ man Dylan (Luke Perry) instead of moving forward with her life.
Fans were critical that one of the main characters who left in the previous season of the show, Brandon (Jason Priestley), didn’t appear in person to say goodbye. Instead, Brandon sent a video message with best wishes for his old pals.
Sex and the City
Sex and the City followed Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) and her friends, Samantha (Kim Cattrall), Charlotte (Kristin Davis) and Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) in New York City. After six fabulous seasons, loyal fans expected a love story with a happy ending for Carrie and her friends. But that didn’t happen.
Fans hoped for a happy ending for Carrie, and were disappointed to see that she went on to pursue her on-again, off-again relationship with “Mr. Big” (Chris Noth) instead. Longtime fans shook their heads in disappointment with the lackluster ending, especially for a show known to depict powerful and strong women.
Fans say the well-respected and much-hyped show, Lost, left more plot holes than it closed in the series finale. Longtime viewers had many questions. Had the characters been dead the whole time? Did they die in the finale? Was it all a dream?
Lost fans had no idea which parts of the season finale were real or were part of a dream sequence. Creators J.J. Abrams, Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof left fans with many unanswered questions. As a result, viewers called the mysterious show’s finale one of the worst endings of all time.
If you didn’t like how Desperate Housewives ended, you’re not alone. The show followed four female friends living on the fictional Wisteria Lane. After eight seasons of friendship, insane secrets and even a few deaths, fans had high hopes for a grand farewell.
Instead, some fans say none of the characters received proper endings. The audience watched the women of Wisteria Lane experience the ups and downs together for eight years, but in the end, the ladies never saw or spoke to each other ever again. Fans also criticized the cliffhanger of a secret box and called the ghost montage strange.
Life on Mars
According to Indie Wire, the creators of Life on Mars had planned the show’s ending since the very beginning. The creators thought they could get away with concluding that the series was all a dream, but fans wished for a better conclusion. Plenty of fans say that the ending was definitely shocking, just not in a good way.
In Life on Mars, detective Sam Tyler (Jason O’Mara) gets hit by a car in 2008, and wakes up back in 1973. Fans had unanswered questions. Was Tyler dead? Did he really travel back in time? The season finale revealed that neither of Tyler’s timelines were real. Instead, Tyler was actually a member on a ship heading to Mars.
Pretty Little Liars
Pretty Little Liars took fans on many twists and turns throughout the show. It’s no surprise, then, that their last big reveal was also unexpected. After seven seasons of lies, creepy text messages and drama, fans finally learned the identity of the terrorizing “A.”
The finale revealed that the group’s longtime and mysterious tormenter was Spencer’s evil twin with a British accent, Alex Drake. How? Good question. Fans also have no idea how that’s even possible, but they do know that after seasons of build-up, the finale wasn’t a good pay-off.
How I Met Your Mother
For nine seasons, viewers anticipated finding out how Ted Mosby met the mother of his children, Tracy Mosby, and learning about their love story. Many fans think the last episode of How I Met Your Mother, Last Forever, should be renamed because Ted and Tracy’s relationship actually didn’t last forever.
Fans only saw the Mosbys together for a short moment. In the end, Tracy died of cancer and Teds’ kids suggested that he start dating Robin, who they already called “aunt.” Even though viewers saw Ted (Josh Radnor) and Robin’s rocky relationship throughout the show, he still rekindled a relationship with Robin (Cobie Smulders) in the end.
After 10 fun-filled seasons, Smallville fans couldn’t wait to see Clark Kent (Tom Welling) finally become Superman in the season finale. It (kind of) didn’t happen. Longtime viewers desperately wanted to see Clark Kent in his full Superman outfit (cape and all).
However, fans only received a quick glimpse of Clark ripping off his shirt, revealing the iconic Superman symbol. That was it. According to Entertainment Weekly, Tom Welling later explained that the suit-less season finale was actually a deliberate choice, making loyal fans even angrier.
The Originals took place in a dark world filled with vampires, witches, werewolves and hybrids (a cross-breed of two or more different supernatural species). The series followed the drama-filled lives of vampire-werewolf Klaus Mikaelson (Joseph Morgan) and his family. No matter what they did, Klaus and his family suffered, often getting the short end of the stick.
As the last episode drew closer, fans wanted Klaus and his family to finally get their happy ending. However, fans actually saw the exact opposite in the series finale. Klaus and his beloved brother Elijah (Daniel Gillies) died. Fans were also disappointed that Klaus never began a relationship with his love interest, Caroline Forbes (Candice King).
The Big Bang Theory
The last episode of The Big Bang Theory angered some fans with its predictable storyline. The episode revealed that Penny (Kaley Cuoco) and Leonard (Johnny Galecki) were going to have their first child. Many fans called the pregnancy too predictable for a female character.
Some viewers criticized the pregnancy, due to the fact that Penny stated multiple times in the season that she didn’t want kids. Other viewers were critical of the fact that the episode didn't include Penny's reaction to the pregnancy.
Game of Thrones
The highly-anticipated series finale of Game of Thrones disappointed many loyal fans who had stuck with the show for eight intense seasons. In fact, many of these fans were critical of the entire final season. Viewers were so disappointed, that over a million of them called for a remake of the last season in a Change.org petition.
After waiting almost two years for the final season, viewers complained of poor character development and rushed plot arcs. Many fans didn’t expect Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) to suddenly become the Mad Queen. Longtime viewers also didn’t expect an exiled Jon Snow (Kit Harington) or King Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright). Many GoT fans believe that key characters deserved better endings.
Angel is a spin-off of the TV series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. After five incredible seasons, viewers say they were ready for a satisfying ending. But for some fans, that didn’t happen. Many fans complained that Angel didn’t wrap up loose ends, and others called it thrilling, yet frustrating.
In the finale, Angel and his crew must battle the Circle of the Black Thorn. As Angel, Spike, Gunn and Illyria run with their swords to fight the evil army, the screen fades to black and the credits roll. What happened next? Nobody will ever know.
Season 8 of Scrubs ended on a good note, which is why many fans were surprised when the show came back for one more season. Season 9 crushed the hearts of many Scrubs fans, due to the fact that only a few of the original cast members made appearances.
While most of the original cast members returned for the series finale episode, fans were still disappointed. Many viewers say “no thanks” to Season 9, choosing to ignore its existence, because Season 8 featured a proper send-off. Other fans see the last season as a spin-off rather than a continuation of the show.
The ending of Gilmore Girls fell short of expectations for many fans (and even a few cast members). Before Netflix rebooted the show in 2017, the final episode of Gilmore Girls just didn’t leave fans with a proper goodbye. In the original ending, longtime viewers believed Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and Luke (Scott Patterson) went back to each other in the last episode, but the show never confirmed their relationship.
According to fans, the finale, which featured Rory (Alexis Bledel) abruptly leaving the small town of Stars Hollow to cover Barack Obama's campaign trail, just didn’t work. Even the show’s cast spoke up about the lackluster ending. Kelly Bishop, who portrayed Emily Gilmore, said, "I see a series of dots after the last scene of the show, rather than a period, or better yet, an exclamation point."
That ‘70s Show
That ‘70s Show ran into trouble as soon as two of the main characters left the show: Eric Forman (Topher Grace) and Michael Kelso (Ashton Kutcher). Forman left to go to Africa in Season 7 and Kelso moved to Chicago, Illinois in Season 8.
Eric and Kelso returned for the show’s last episode, but many fans had already grown tired of the plot, so it wasn’t an exciting or satisfying ending. Many fans found it weird that Jackie Burkhart (Mila Kunis) and Fez (Wilmer Valderrama) suddenly started a relationship. Viewers also believed the jokes on the show felt stale. How many times can Red Forman (Kurtwood Smith) threaten someone before it stops being funny?
Heroes started out as a thrilling and fun superhero show. However, after Season 1, the show’s viewership took a dive. Some fans called Season 2 “slow and boring.” Seasons 3 and 4 have also received harsh criticism as “nonsensical” and “sad.”
Many fans gave up on Heroes because it had too many characters and variant plotlines. While many characters appeared in the show, fans didn’t see any character development or character-driven stories. NBC canceled Heroes after the fourth season. The show’s reboot, Heroes Reborn, was also canceled after one season in 2015.
The Vampire Diaries
Fans are still not over the last episode of The Vampire Diaries. In the end, many of the characters remained alone or ended up dead. Matt (Zach Roerig), Caroline (Candice King), Bonnie (Kat Graham) and Alaric (Matthew Davis) all ended up alone. Stefan (Paul Wesley) died in the last episode right after getting married to Caroline, crushing the hearts of many fans.
Fans and critics alike thought that the last episode seemed rushed. Elena (Nina Dobrev) had a large ring on her finger, so fans assumed she had tied the knot with Damon (Ian Somerhalder). However, no one got to see the wedding. All of the characters moved on with their lives and lived in peace. Fans believed it would’ve been more satisfying to see each of their journeys instead of the short glimpses that were provided.
Admiral Al Calavicci (Dean Stockwell) teamed up with Sam Beckett (Scott Bakula) for five grueling seasons to travel in time and try to right history’s mistakes in Quantum Leap. Throughout the series, Beckett repeatedly tries to leap back home, finding the task more difficult than expected.
During each leap in the last season, fans hoped to see Beckett return home, but he never made it there, even in the series finale. In the epilogue, a black screen appears with a message that reads, “Dr. Sam Beckett never returned home.”
Portraying the difficult reality of working at a hospital in a big city, St. Elsewhere was an incredible show. The ground-breaking medical drama made fans fall in love with the intense storylines of the doctors. However, imagine waiting for six seasons to find out the entire show existed in the mind of an autistic boy looking at a snow globe that contains a mini hospital.
Many fans say that “they got played.” Even the show’s cast had bad things to say about the ending. William Daniels, who played Dr. Mark Craig, confessed to Entertainment Weekly in 2012 that many cast members didn’t care for the show’s ending. Craig thought the ending was provocative. Bonnie Bartlett, who portrayed Ellen Craig, called the finale terrible.
Fans wanted some answers in Chuck’s series finale, but creators didn’t give them any. Chuck is about a computer geek whose life gets turned upside down after he uploads government secrets into his brain. CIA agent Sarah Walker protects him from assassins and international terrorists who want the information in Chuck’s head. Chuck and Sarah eventually develop romantic feelings for each other.
According to fans, the ending had great potential, but ultimately didn't hold up. In the finale, Sarah gets amnesia, so Chuck tries to restore her memory by telling her their love story, starting with the first time they met. Next, he kisses Sarah and the screen cuts to black. Did Sarah get her memory back? Did they live happily ever after? Fans have no idea.