The 21 TV Shows with the Most Disappointing Endings

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Great TV shows can bring us joy, laughter, and emotional growth. However, even the best TV shows sometimes miss the landing. Often, audiences are greeted with a finale that wraps their favorite show up in a nice little bow.

But other times, the finale fails to meet expectations. Some finales are so egregious that they stain all the episodes before it. Today, we would like to look at some of the worst season finales ever to air.


Spoiler Alert: The discussion of these show endings does reveal facts about how they end.

1. The Sopranos (1997-2007)

Photo Credit: HBO.

Many people found the season finale of The Sopranos to be a fitting ending. However, the “cut to black” ending confused and frustrated many viewers. For those who don’t already know, The Sopranos ends in the middle of a sentence as the screen cuts to a black image.

This surprise ending confused people who thought their cable cut out at a miserable time. It wasn’t until later that they were informed that this was meant to symbolize Tony’s death. Although it’s a very effective ending, people at the time were justifiably upset. 

2. Game of Thrones (2011-2019)

Photo Credit: HBO.

After HBO ran out of content from George R.R. Martin’s book series Game of Thrones, the show started to go off the rails. David Benioff and D.B. Weiss did their best to wrap up this sprawling epic but failed miserably.

Instead, audiences received a different show entirely after season 5. Storylines were scrapped or wholly changed, leading to fans’ confusion about where the show was heading. This all climaxes in the final episode, in which Daenerys becomes a mad titan for unexplained reasons. Fans were disappointed to watch the most fantastic show in recent memory fail so spectacularly. 

3. Dexter (2006-2013)

Photo Credit: Showtime.

How do you end a series about a ruthless serial killer? Simple. You turn him into a lumberjack hiding in the woods. Instead of giving Dexter any consequences for his grave actions, the series ends with the killer getting away with it all. This lack of moral accountability left fans with a sour taste for the series. 

4. Lost (2004-2010)

Photo Credit: Touchstone Pictures.

This is what happens when you start a project without an ending in mind. Lost is a spectacular mystery horror about the survivors of Flight 815. Each season, audiences are given more questions than answers. 

The ultimate disappointment came when it was revealed that all the characters were dead. Audiences felt betrayed by this seemingly phoned-in answer that failed to resolve the show’s major plot points. 

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5. How I Met Your Mother (2005-2014)

Photo Credit: CBS.

This series had one goal: to introduce the mother of Ted’s children. Seeing as that is the series name, fans expected this to happen in the final season and offer some closure to the series. While they did introduce Tracy eventually, it failed to provide the conclusion fans expected.

How I Met Your Mother quickly kills off the mother character—choosing to have Ted confess his love to Robin, circling back to where the series began. Luckily, the DVD copy of the series offers a much more satisfying ending. 

6. Roseanne (1988-1997)

Photo Credit: Carsey-Werner Company.

This series tried to retcon its entire story arc in the final episode. After eight seasons of Roseanne, audiences felt that they had come to know the Conner family pretty well. However, the final episode features Roseanne explaining that everything up until this point had just been a fantasy she was having while writing a book.

Many people who had been watching the show for nearly a decade felt like they had been slapped in the face. Luckily, the reboot of the series retcons things once again, essentially ignoring the finale of the original series. 

7. The Walking Dead (2010-Present)

Photo Credit: AMC.

This is what happens when a studio prioritizes profits over substance. Creating a satisfying ending to The Walking Dead would have been difficult. However, audiences were upset to learn that the ending of their beloved series was merely a jumping-off point for three new spin-offs.

Instead of a well-thought-out ending, each set of characters began heading off on their own adventures. This wouldn’t have been so bad had the spin-offs succeeded meaningfully. Unfortunately, audiences haven’t had any such luck so far. 

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8. Scrubs (2001-2010)

Photo Credit: ABC Signature.

This is what happens when a series continues for one season too many. Scrubs started to go downhill after much of its original cast had moved on to different projects. To fix this problem, the series tried to transition into a reboot of sorts.

However, this transition did not go smoothly, and the series was scrapped after its ninth season. As their goodbye, viewers were left with an odd and unfamiliar last season. 

9. Supernatural (2005-2020)

Photo Credit: The CW Television.

This show refused to give fans what they wanted. Supernatural has a rabid fanbase who idolize the show and its characters. The show wouldn’t have been able to continue without the support of a niche group of individuals.

So, when it came time for the series to end, many expected their wildest dreams to be fulfilled. Instead, the showrunners treated them with what felt like intentional disrespect. Cass is sent to super hell for loving Dean, Sam goes on to live an everyday life, and Dean dies by accident.

10. American Horror Story (2011-Present)

Photo Credit: FX Network.

This series is all bark, no bite. Outside of season one, American Horror Story continues to suffer from the same problem. Each season provides a new provocative and terrifying theme for fans to enjoy. However, the show always seems to run out of steam before the climax, making audiences grow bored and frustrated by the lack of follow-through. 

11. House (2004-2012)

Photo Credit: NBC Universal Television.

This series just couldn’t pull the trigger. House did a fantastic job highlighting a morally gray doctor who didn’t play by the rules. However, the final season implied that he would finally face repercussions for the harm that he caused. 

Unfortunately, the whole thing was a bait and switch. House fakes his own death and gets to ride off into the sunset. This unsatisfying conclusion didn’t address any of the larger conflicts in the show and frustrated longtime viewers. 

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12. Two and a Half Men (2003-2015)

Photo Credit: The WB Television Network.

The series finale of Two and a Half Men had little to do with the show. The series has already gone downhill following Charlie Sheen’s removal, but fans still had high hopes that the finale would bring closure to the show.

Instead, show creator Chuck Lorre used the final two episodes to poke jabs at Sheen. This odd finale frustrated fans who cared little for the two creators’ conflicts and wanted a decent ending to their favorite show. 

13. Will and Grace (1998-2006)

Photo Credit: KoMut Entertainment.

The ending of Will and Grace ruined what made the show famous. For nearly ten years, audiences tuned in to watch the lovely friendship between the titular characters.

However, the season finale creates a rift between the two friends, causing them to go their separate ways. Twenty years later, their adult children reunite with them. This ending felt out of place and frustrated longtime fans of the show. 

14. Shameless (2011-2021)

Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Television.

After 11 seasons, Shameless ended with a question mark. The Showtime series chose to leave almost all of their story arcs unresolved. This lack of closure frustrated fans who had supported the show through good and evil. 

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15. That ’70s Show (1998-2006)

Photo Credit: Casey-Werner Company.

That ’70s Show had been losing steam long before it ended. However, the final nail in the coffin came when Topher Grace didn’t appear in most of the final season. The loss of this central character led to a disjointed final season that left fans feeling underwhelmed. 

16. Community (2009-2015)

Photo Credit: NBC.

One of Dan Harmon’s greatest works, Community is a show about a group of friends attending community college. The comedy was a smash hit and developed a large fan base. Unfortunately, Harmon had a falling out with the network and was removed from the show.

Harmon was brought back after a fall in ratings, but the damage was done. The series continued to flounder before being canceled. Community was brought back for a final season on Yahoo, but it was too late to save the series. Fans were forced to watch their beloved show die several times before it finally ended. 

17. Gilmore Girls (2000-2007)

Photo Credit: The CW Network.

This series failed due to a network dispute. Gilmore Girls is a beloved series about a young mother and her teenage daughter trying to make their way in life. However, when their network merged with another to create The CW, some changes occurred in the writing room.

These changes led to the original showrunners being replaced. This resulted in the last season of the show feeling odd by comparison. Fans were disappointed to see their beloved characters acting differently than they had come to know them. 

18. Criminal Minds (2005-2020)

Photo Credit: Touchstone Television.

This series left with a whimper. After 15 seasons, fans had high hopes for the finale of Criminal Minds. Unfortunately, audiences felt underwhelmed as the series ended with a boring dinner party. All in all, the ending of Criminal Minds was satisfactory. However, after 15 years, people expected something better than this lackluster finale. 

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19. Constantine (2014)

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

This series suffered from low ratings. Constantine is a beloved antihero in the DC Comic Universe. His battles with angels and demons have made him a fan favorite. So, when it was announced that he would be getting his own series, fans were very excited to see what could be done with the character.

Unfortunately, the media was experiencing superhero fatigue at the time, so the series gained little traction. Constantine was canceled after the first season and has not received a proper conclusion. 

20. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (2018-2020)

Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Television.

The finale of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina was troubling, to say the least. We are left with our heroine killing herself to rejoin a complicated ex-boyfriend in hell. Not only is this an unsatisfactory ending, but using suicide as a tool to get what you want raises significant concerns over the show’s messaging. 

21. Mad Men (2007-2015)

Photo Credit: Lionsgate Television.

There was a hope that Don Draper would reach enlightenment by the time Mad Men concluded. The series had become an analogy for people burdened by consumerism and living hollow lives. Each was making small steps to improve themselves and the world around them.

Knowing this, the ending of Mad Men feels like a cruel prank. We see Draper meditating on top of a hill at a resort before having a realization about a new ad for Coke. The implied moral is that no amount of soul-searching will overpower the intrinsic need for money and success.

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Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.

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