Worst series finales of all time: 20 most hated TV series endings ever

Worst series finales of all time: 20 most hated TV series endings ever

Sometimes being a fan can feel like rolling the dice: will your favourite show get the ending it deserves, or will it flop? Even in shows with tons of fans and stellar writers, that perfect ending is never a guarantee. Some shows start with a bang and end with a whimper earning a slot in the list of the worst series finales of all time.

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Worst series finales
Four reels of film lying on a white table. Photo: @Denise Jans
Source: UGC

Sometimes good series can go wrong at the worst of all possible times - right when they’re coming to an end. As a result, instead of leaving the fans reflecting fondly on a show that they loved and lost, they are stuck with an unpleasant aftertaste and a nagging question: It wasn’t always this crummy, was it?

Worst series finales of all time

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When series finales are a total letdown, it is usually for a few reasons. First, a finale may leave too many unanswered questions or reach an ambiguous conclusion. This makes it seem like the show's writer could not come up with an ending. Here are the top 20 most hated TV series endings ever.

1. Game of Thrones

IMDb rating: 9.2/10 | Runtime: 57 min

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What is considered the worst TV show ever? Game of Thrones finale is regarded as one the worst TV show's ever. In the beginning, the show had a very deliberate sense of pacing. The creators took their time to build up the characters and create an exciting world slowly. As a result, each decision made by the character felt both organic and perfect.

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During the 7th season, the majority complained about the expedited timeline, but things seemed to go off rail during the 8th episode. In the end, Daenerys eleventh-hour heel-turn resulted in her demolition of King’s Landing and its citizens. This was followed by a train of slapdash character send-offs, nonsensical plotting, and truncated storylines. The finale felt rushed, making it a huge turn off to millions of fans who had invested too much time and emotion in the series.

2. Dexter

IMDb rating: 8.6/10 | Runtime: 53 min

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Even though the first four seasons of Dexter were highly praised by critics and audiences alike, the show quickly started to go downhill in its later seasons. It lost so much of the charm and compelling narrative through-line it once had.

When the show was airing the final episode, fans had already washed their hands off the serial killer drama. The murder of Debra took place with the minimal-most fanfare while Dexter drove off into the eye of the storm, presuming his killing.

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As much as that was bad enough, the post-credits of the show sequence revealed that Dexter did not die. Instead, he was alive and working as a logger in the middle of an unknown place.

3. How I Met Your Mother

IMDb rating: 8.3/10 | Runtime: 22 min

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How I Met Your Mother was centred on the mystery of who Ted would end up. But, unfortunately, the show managed to make the question feel pointless when the series was coming to an end. So instead, the show began with an exciting take on the will-they-won't-they type of romantic relationship between Robin and Ted since it was evident they couldn't end up together.

The show had one of the worst finales in history. A series of events occurs in the last episode; Robin divorces Barney, the show's titular mother dies, and Ted and Robin reunite. Unfortunately, the show wrongly assumed fans were still invested in the Ted-Robin romance.

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4. Roseanne

IMDb rating: 7.0/10 | Runtime: 21 min

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Among all the possible directions that the popular film Roseanne could have gone during its final season, what fans ended up with remains one of the most bizarre and worst TV show endings of any show in TV history.

For some context, Roseanne’s final season saw a sharp change of course, with the previously working-class family suddenly winning the lottery. This altered the show's tone so much that it was almost unrecognizable to loyal fans.

As Roseanne’s series finale goes a step further, it’s revealed that Rosanne’s husband Dan didn’t survive his heart attack at the end of season eight. The entire final season’s events took place in Roseanne's imagination, thus rendering the whole thing pointless and needlessly depressing.

5. Chuck

IMDb rating: 8.2/10 | Runtime: 43 min

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The series finale of NBC's fan-favourite spy-comedy Chuck was well-received, boasting an impressive 9.3 on IMDb. But, unfortunately, this isn't a list of the worst series finales of all time, but a list of the most hated. And some fans hated it.

With the romance between lead characters Chuck and Sarah serving as the crux of the show’s story, fans were shocked when Sarah suddenly lost her memory. But, unfortunately, she forgot her entire past with Chuck in the process.

While fans may have assumed the writers would reverse this, the show was left on an ambiguous note, as the pair’s future was left uncertain; star Zachary Levi claimed a move that left certain fans "apoplectic".

6. Skins

IMDb rating: 8.2/10 | Runtime: 46 min

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Skins decided to add an extra season of doom and gloom as if each generation's final episode wasn't gloomy enough. The series is notorious for killing off each generation's most beloved and innocent character (Chris, Freddie, Grace), but season 7 takes this to a whole new level.

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When viewers were hoping to get some closure on their all-time favourite characters, the show does the exact opposite. Split into three parts; season 7 picks up a few years after the events of the regular seasons to follow the adult lives of Effy, Cassie, and Cook. Effy is sent to prison, Cassie has a stalker, and Cook is still wrapped up in drugs and violence, only on a much bigger scale. The episodes are bleak, and the endings are utterly devoid of hope.

7. Little House on the Prairie

IMDb rating: 7.5/10 | Runtime: 60 min

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Selling the farm was one thing, but blowing it up with dynamite was unexpected. The explosive conclusion to Little House on the Prairie saw the titular house reduced to smithereens, along with the rest of Walnut Grove.

In the TV special The Last Farewell, the residents destroyed their property to stop it from falling into the hands of a sinister development tycoon. So naturally, those Prairie fans who had grown to love the locale were astounded.

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8. Reign

IMDb rating: 7.5/10 | Runtime: 42 min

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The CW's Reign premiered out quite strongly. It gathered steam for a little while until the show's tone changed entirely after Francis's death. Of course, this was inevitable, given how rooted the series was in history, even if it never took a few liberties.

In season 4, Mary returns to her home country of Scotland, which is an interesting story arc, but the show is undeniably darker. Instead of rushing through Mary's life, the series takes its time to expand on what is recorded in history, which is why the series finale comes as such a shock.

Until a week before filming wrapped, the creators weren't sure if the series would be renewed or cancelled, so they had already filmed a final scene just in case. When the news came, they had no choice but to cut Mary's story short and skip ahead twenty years to her execution.

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9. Jane the Virgin

IMDb rating: 7.8/10 | Runtime: 1h

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The CW's critical darling Jane the Virgin concluded in 2019 on its terms. After five seasons and one hundred episodes, it seemed like a good place to end the show on a high. But, unfortunately, Jane had faced so much already, as had her family and friends.

Some important characters like Lina had already faded into the background, but season 5 decided to bring one back: Michael. Only he is no longer Michael, but a cowboy who goes by Jason. He's unrecognizable and feels like an insult to Michael's memory. He only sticks around to throw Jane back into the love triangle that fans had gotten tired of three seasons ago.

In the end, Jane marries Rafael, who behaves immaturely and irresponsibly throughout the entire season, so their union feels wrong. Furthermore, the narrator's identity is revealed to be Mateo, something most viewers had guessed long ago.

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10. Star Trek: Enterprise

IMDb rating: 7.5/10 | Runtime: 1h

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Arguably, Star Trek is one of the most hated finales of any shows to date. Star Trek: Enterprise delivers a final episode that is both disappointing and frustrating. With the events of the episode being viewed in the distant future via holodeck by none other than The Next Generation’s William Riker, the show’s fans and cast expressed anger at the finale.

Feeling the episode’s disconnected framing device cheapened the importance of Enterprise’s key characters and events. At this point, the viewers could not help but feel let down by “These Are the Voyages…” ending four seasons of increasingly well-told stories on a sour note.

11. Lost

IMDb rating: 8.3/10 | Runtime: 44 min

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Lost is one of the few shows whose fall from grace is as widely mocked. Initially, it was one of the freshest, most compelling mysteries ever seen on television. Unfortunately, the show quickly ran out of steam during its fourth season, but its loyal fans hoped that it had a satisfying endgame up its sleeve.

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For the most part, the fans were wrong about it. It turned out the events of the entire show were part of some purgatorial judgment. This revelation had crossed everybody’s mind already and also cheapened years of interesting, complex mythology.

12. 13 Reason Why

IMDb rating: 7.5/10 | Runtime: 1h

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As if viewers didn't already have enough reasons to hate 13 Reasons Why, the finale completely ruined all hopes of an uplifting storyline. Clay spirals into what appears to be delirium, Jess is forced to forgive Bryce, and nobody ever learns the truth about any of the crimes committed by the teens.

What's more, the group of friends has lost all faith and trust in one another right when they should be growing closer together. There's also Ani's unexplained absences, and of course, Justin's death to top it all off.

13. The Sopranos

IMDb rating: 9.2/10 | Runtime: 55 min

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Which of these TV shows famously aired a series finale that abruptly cuts to black? The Sopranos finale abruptly cut to black. This took place when a shady character entered the room where Tony and his family was eating dinner.

The next occurrence is left unclear whether the man ultimately killed Tony or not. This decision infuriated many fans who saw the show’s ambiguous ending as a cop-out. Others, however, thought it was the perfect end to Tony’s story, indicating that he either dies or spends the rest of his life looking over his shoulder.

14. Two and a half men

IMDb rating: 7.0/10 | Runtime: 22 min

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Following the infamous fallout between Two and a Half Men star Charlie Sheen and the show’s creators, Sheen’s character Charlie Harper was killed offscreen. He was replaced with Ashton Kutcher’s Walden Schmidt in the show’s final few seasons.

While this already rubbed fans the wrong way, teasing the return of Charlie Harper in the show's final episode only to kill him off again was probably not the best decision. Instead, the show's last seconds consist of a piano crushing Sheen's character before cutting to show creator Chuck Lorre, who shouts "winning!"

Whereas most series finales attempt to provide some sense of comfort and closure to fans who’ve stuck with it for so long, it’s clear that Two and a Half Men’s ending was made for the pleasure of one person, and that is none other than Chuck Lorre.

15. The Undoing

IMDb rating: 7.4/10 | Runtime: 5h 37min

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Hugh Grant and Nicole Kidman’s tense psychological thriller had viewers entranced when it aired on Sky. However, many were disappointed by the finale’s predictable grand reveal. In a two-star review of the episode for The Independent, Eamon de Paor wrote: “The finale of David E Kelley and Susanne Bier's The Undoing contains a big reveal alright – but this wasn't a bombshell regarding the killer of Elena Alves.

The glossy and seemingly ingenious series had been given too much credit that it ended up disappointing many people. In the end, it turned out the killer was the obvious suspect. Everything else was a mere distraction. For the past five weeks, the series had been skating by on smoke, mirrors and Grant’s Hollywood smirk.”

16. St. Elsewhere

IMDb rating: 7.9/10 | Runtime: 1h

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In its final episode, what TV show revealed that the hospital was actually inside a snowglobe? The TV show, The Last One revealed that the hospital was actually inside a snowglobe. So six seasons of a medical drama ended up being a daydream world from a little boy named Tommy Westphall. He just so happened to have a snow globe with the hospital-building setting in it.

The funny thing is that St. Elsewhere was recognized for its gritty, realistic drama, so the series finale just kind of spat on that. But, at the same time, this is the rare lousy series finale that, despite its implications, didn't retroactively "ruin" the whole series.

17. Quantum Leap

IMDb rating: 8.1/10 | Runtime: 1h

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Quantum Leap followed a scientist, Sam Beckett, who was stuck leaping from body to body across time and space. He helps whoever he inhabits and then moves on to the next person.

It's a fun and popular show that usually finished a story a week as Sam helped whoever he was tasked with helping and then moved on to new characters each week. But, the finale tried to state that Sam always had the power to leap home, and the final images are of a title card saying that Sam never made it home.

18. The 100

IMDb rating: 7.6/10 | Runtime: 43 min

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The entire seventh season of The 100 felt confused and lost. After introducing some big ideas in the previous seasons, fans expected a lot of season 7. But, instead, Clarke seems to be wholly sidelined, sometimes disappearing for a whole episode at a time, and Bellamy only appears in three episodes - just to be pointlessly killed off.

Right at the height of the tension, the show's creator decides to deviate from the action entirely and throw a backdoor pilot into the middle of the season. Unfortunately, the pilot undermines the current cast of characters.

Worse still, The 100 ending portrays the extinction of the human race. What kind of message are viewers supposed to take away from this? Not only does it not make sense for the characters to support Clarke at this moment, but the finale leaves no room for any hope.

19. Gilmore Girls

IMDb rating: 8.2/10 | Runtime: 44 min

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Gilmore Girls is another lovable show that faltered in its season finale. It failed to give its character a triumphant send-off. Instead, the show ended with Lorelai and Rory leaving town, and everyone's come together to throw them a hasty going away party.

Luke and Lorelai's relationship is still fuzzy, although it's implied they might have gotten back together, and then the episode ends. It was an abrupt finale for most fans, but the Netflix revival helped quell a lot of the frustration of the original finale.

20. Supernatural

IMDb rating: 8.4/10 | Runtime: 44 min

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Supernatural was a long-running show that seemed never to end but recently had its final episode in 2020. The original showrunners left after the 5th season, and many feel that the show started declining after that.

Many fans were upset with the final episode in season 15 that attempted to end the Winchester brothers' story. Fans felt that Dean Winchester didn't have a satisfying ending, neither did Sam. In addition, Cas, who had been in the show for several seasons, and a fan favourite, wasn't even mentioned.

If you invest your time in a series, it's only fair to believe that it will all pay off poignantly with a fantastic send-off. But unfortunately, the worst series finales of all time have missed the mark, leaving viewers empty, angered, or cheated out of a proper goodbye.

Yen.com.gh shared a piece about the top 13 latest Ghanaian movies in 2021. For this last decade, the Ghanaian film industry has grown by leaps and bounds. The growth stems from the widening number of Ghanaians and Africans in general who greatly adore these movies.

Ghanaian films have found their way into all corners of the African continent. The family-oriented content coupled with infused African culture has made the recent movies a cache in Ghanaian and diaspora’s living rooms.

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