Like a bad ending can completely ruin an otherwise good film or book, a TV show’s final episode can leave such a bad taste in one’s mouth that it can change one’s perspective on an entire series. And there have been a lot of truly terrible series finales over the years, both for shows that were already awful and for ones that were extremely popular during their runs.
One particularly admirable Imgur user put together an interesting graph that uses IMDb ratings to pinpoint just how people received the series finales for a slew of different shows, as compared to the show’s average rating, and we’ve rounded up the worst 10 of the bunch. There are some surprises and some definite anti-surprises, and something we don’t get to mention is that Baywatch’s finale got a decently higher score than most of the other episodes. The more you know, right? Let’s get to it with a choice that I hate having to put on here. (Spoiler warning for certain shows.)
A series whose final seasons weren’t received nearly as well as its first ones, Futurama bid farewell to viewers and Comedy Central in 2013 with an episode featuring Fry and Leela’s wedding in a world where time has stopped. It didn’t get a horrible rating, but fell far enough below the series’ norm to make the number 10 slot. Still, that episode was rated much higher than the Fox finale, the Season 4 closer “Where No Fan Has Gone Before,” which featured a Star Trek-themed plot and appearances from Leonard Nimoy, William Shatner and others.
On the whole, the later seasons of the British superpower-tinged drama Misfits weren’t loved as much as the first, as the cast changed up and the plots got more ridiculous. And Season 5’s ending, in which the central gang gets out of their allotted community service, was a decent wrap up in my eyes, but didn’t make some IMDb reviewers as happy as they hoped to be. That said, it’s still a fairly high rating.
For those of you wondering, we’re talking about Scrubs’ finale for Season 9, the one where the location changed and most of the original characters were mostly absent. So it makes a little more sense that “Our Thanks” wasn’t extremely beloved by fans, and it’s worth noting that the Season 8 finale was also included in the list, and it got a much higher rating.
7. Star Trek: Enterprise
Talk about a weird episode. “These are the Voyages…” largely failed to bring any sense of closure to the series by framing the events of the episode as a Holodeck recreation put forth by The Next Generation’s crew. So while it allowed for guest stars like Jonathan Frakes and Jeffrey Combs, not even the show’s cast was impressed with how things played out, and the death of Commander Tucker was also a big point of contention.
6. The Sopranos
This is one of the most famous series finales in TV history, and The Sopranos creator David Chase decided to end the saga of Tony Soprano and his clan by giving audiences…something that wasn’t really an ending at all. Rather than an ultra-violent death or a jail-based fate, The Sopranos ended quietly inside an ice cream shop, with a cut to black that spawned seemingly billions of fan theories on what it all meant. Still, endless conversations aren’t indicative of people’s fondness for that episode.
After tons of rumors that Charlie Sheen would bury the hatchet with Two and a Half Men creator Chuck Lorre and return to the show for its series finale, viewers got their hopes dashed by a final scene in which a Sheen stunt double showed up at the house and was quickly crushed to death by a grand piano that fell from a helicopter. Other stuff happened, too, but nobody seemed to care.
After years of waiting to meet the titular mom, fans of How I Met Your Mother were delivered a weird shock when the series finale offered up the explanation that Ted’s story was being told years after the mother died, and that he was actually in love with Robin this whole time. Not the best way to pay respect to seasons of Robin’s development that had nothing to do with Ted.
3. True Blood
True Blood did some truly ridiculous shit over its seven seasons on HBO, and the series finale “Thank You” made a lot of people want to forget that it never aired. There was a marriage that didn’t really matter, a bunch of gory shit that didn’t really matter, and Bill and Sookie’s epic romance ended with him asking her to kill him, and then her killing him. Ah, true love. Those who’d stopped caring years earlier probably didn’t think it was so bad.
2. Dragon Ball Z
The oddest inclusion on this list, at least to me, is Dragon Ball Z’s finale “Goku’s Next Journey,” which features a fight between Goku and Uub that ends up with the former deciding to take the latter away to train him in flight and fighting. It doesn’t have the same level of hatred behind it that some of the other choices on this list do, but somehow still managed to earn a pitiful rating.
Who’s surprised to see this here? If you are, then you were probably surprised by a lot of the predictable things that Dexter did in its later years after the writing went way off the rails. By not killing Dexter and instead pushing him out of Miami as a lumberjack, this ending allowed for Dexter’s story to potentially continue one day, but with the stigma of millions of viewers no longer giving a shit. Worst. Ending. Ever.
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Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper. Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.