22 TV Shows That Ended in Disappointment

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There’s a few things you’ve got to really nail to have a great TV series: the beginning, the middle, and the ending. I mean, that’s pretty much the whole thing, admittedly. But one of the things that stuck with us about the show is its ending, so that’s a pretty crucial piece to get right.

Think about it: there are probably several TV shows you’ve seen where the middle has faded a bit but you can still recall the last episode almost exactly. Well, today, we’re breaking down 22 TV shows that might’ve hit the ending jackpot—but not in a good way. So, grab your popcorn, and let’s dissect some finale fiascos!

1. Alf: The Animated Series (1987)

Photo Credit: Alien Productions.

Imagine this: the show was all set for a cliffhanger, but guess what? It got the boot, leaving us hanging in suspenseful limbo. So, what did they do? They wrapped it up with ALF getting captured and carted off for a dissection party.

Hold on to your Melmac hats because they attempted a rescue mission with a made-for-TV movie called Project: ALF about five years later. Spoiler alert: It didn’t quite rescue the situation. There are almost no familiar faces from the original series, and let’s just say it got a universal thumbs-down. Someone even reminisced about the good old days when ALF belted out “Old Time Rock ‘n’ Roll” with a cucumber—because, why not?

2. The X-Files (1993)

Photo Credit: Ten Thirteen Productions.

Who can ever forget the The X-Files finale, which left many fans scratching their heads? The last three seasons had their highs and lows, creating a rollercoaster of supernatural drama. The resolution to Samantha’s disappearance? It was a confusing mess with aggravating plot holes that fans downright hated.

Someone even suggested the final episode should’ve been creator Chris Carter explaining it all with a flipchart. So, The X-Files ended on a note that left more questions than answers, leaving fans with a collective “What just happened?”

3. My Name Is Earl (2005)

Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox Television.

My Name Is Earl took a nosedive in the eyes of fans thanks to a classic case of the cancellation blues. The show ended on a cliffhanger, leaving viewers dangling in suspense, and the only closure offered was a brief mention in the next project, Raising Hope. It’s definitely a bonehead move by NBC, catching everyone off guard and forcing a last-minute scramble for an ending. Yup, unexpected cancellations—the ultimate buzzkill for our favorite karma-driven list-maker.

4. Heroes (2006)

Photo Credit: Tailwind Productions.

Did Heroes really plummet from superhero stardom to the depths of disappointment? Well, people on Reddit said that it was largely due to the notorious writer’s strike that sent the storyline careening off course. The series witnessed Hiro’s powers taking a hit every season, a consequence of what some deemed lazy writing to rein in an overpowered character.

Attempts to revisit the last season left viewers scratching their heads, wondering how the show that once held such promise nosedived into utter trash. Fans remain upset and puzzled, lamenting the lost potential that spiraled into a frustrating downfall.

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5. Pretty Little Liars (2010)

Photo Credit: Warner Horizon Television.

This 2010 drama became a victim of its own mystery, as the creator’s lack of a clear endpoint left viewers with a show that started strong but unraveled into terribleness after the initial charm wore off. The series teased countless mysteries but failed to deliver satisfying resolutions, earning it the dubious title of the blue b-show. As fans tuned in, hoping for a grand masterpiece, they were instead served a concoction of a long-lost evil British twin and Mona’s dollhouse, leaving them really disappointed.

6. House of Cards (2013)

Photo Credit: Netflix.

There are shows that should have ended when they still made sense and the story connected, instead of running for another season and deviating from the original story. House of Cards stumbled in its later seasons, losing the driving force that made Frank Underwood compelling. Viewers argue that the show should have concluded when Frank achieved the presidency, as his subsequent motivation lacked the intensity that defined the earlier seasons.

For them, it’s a missed opportunity that occurred at the end of Season 4, where Frank’s impeachment and arrest could have neatly wrapped up his character arc and aligned with the thematic structure of the series. The once-prominent knock on the president’s desk, a signature move, could have served as a poignant final scene, leaving fans with a lasting impression.

7. Merlin (2008)

Photo Credit: Shine TV.

Another unlucky TV show on our list is the 2008 drama Merlin, which left many fans frustrated with its perplexing ending as Arthur rejects magic, undoing the progress built throughout the series. The abrupt shift to modern-day times and the revelation that Merlin endured centuries of waiting for Arthur’s return added a layer of misery and pointlessness to the narrative.

On top of that, the decision to continue into Season 5, without a satisfying resolution, fueled disappointment among viewers who felt the series should have concluded after the fourth season. This ending left many wishing for a different outcome, and some users  even resorted to fanfiction for a more satisfying avenue for the beloved characters.

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8. Sherlock (2010)

Photo Credit: BBC.

Sherlock, once celebrated for its logical mystery-solving, faced a dramatic downturn with its last season, where Sherlock’s sister seemingly possessed mind-control abilities, a departure from established rationality. This abrupt shift left fans disheartened, with some expressing a sense of physical discomfort at the show’s deviation from its earlier excellence. The decline was palpable for many viewers, leading some to caution others against watching the final season.

9. Jericho (2006)

Photo Credit: CBS Broadcasting.

Jericho had this cool idea going in the first place. But then the network decided to play spoilsport and pulled the plug right in the middle of things. The ending on TV left many fans hanging, and it wasn’t even the writers’ fault—it was the bigwigs. They did try to patch things up with comic books later, giving a bit more closure, but many fans wished they could’ve seen more on the small screen. Jericho had potential, but it got tangled up in network shenanigans, leaving us all a bit unsatisfied.

10. Xena: Warrior Princess (1995)

Photo Credit: Renaissance Pictures.

Xena: Warrior Princess left a lasting mark, and even two decades later the dissatisfaction with its ending lingers. Fans express lots of frustration, reminiscing about the unnecessary brutality, the introduction of a pivotal character in the finale, and the unfortunate fate of innocent villagers.

The emotional toll on viewers, especially Gabrielle’s heartbreaking reaction, continues to resonate, making the series finale a subject of collective disappointment and the cause of enduring “emotional support threads” among those who expected a more fulfilling conclusion.

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11. Star Trek: Enterprise (2001)

Photo Credit: Paramount Television.

In the galaxy of TV shows, Star Trek: Enterprise ventured boldly into prequel territory, chronicling the birth of the United Federation of Planets. Yet, amidst a generally underrated series, its ending became a cosmic controversy. The finale, marked by the unexpected demise of a central character in a TNG holodeck, left fans fuming, feeling more like a cosmic insult than a fitting conclusion.

Despite a strong last season, the decision to warp into such an ending stands as a warp core breach, with viewers questioning the interstellar wisdom behind this final narrative choice.

12. The Last Man on Earth (2015)

Photo Credit: The Si Fi Company.

This show was a good mixture of comedic journeys through a post-apocalyptic world, delivering laughs like a sitcom oasis in the desert of TV. However, as the show aimed to draw its final curtain, fans were left stranded in a comedic wasteland. The cancellation came at a cliffhanger, leaving viewers in a comedic limbo yearning for closure. While Brooklyn 99 found its TV resurrection, The Last Man on Earth seemed forgotten, and the echoing cry for closure persisted.

In the annals of TV endings, this one stands out not just for its laughs but for the comedic cliffhanger that never got its punchline.

13. Teen Titans (2003)

Photo Credit: Warner Bros Animation.

Imagine the animated superhero world of Teen Titans—it’s like a burst of emotions and action on Cartoon Network. But when it came to the end they threw in a curveball, giving us a taste of grown-up storytelling that you don’t see often in animated shows. Picture this: a crucial relationship takes a surprising turn, leaving us all a bit shook.

Now, the plan was to give it a neat wrap-up in the sixth season, but that season was eventually completely cancelled. And now here we are, stuck with an ending that’s a mix of bittersweet brilliance and a dash of “what if.” Teen Titans, you left us hanging, but we still love you for the wild ride!

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14. The 100 (2014)

Photo Credit: Allow Entertainment.

Buckle up, because The 100 took its viewers on a rollercoaster ride only to drop them off at a head-scratching destination. It’s ending left many people shaking their heads, muttering, “What did I just watch?” It’s like the writers flipped a switch and said, “Let’s go for maximum confusion.”

Bellamy, poor guy, got the short end of the stick with a character transformation that left fans scratching their heads. The final season had its fair share of “my people” moments that, if turned into a drinking game, might just lead to an early trip to the ER. The 100, you had us hooked, but that ending? A head-scratcher for the ages.

15. The Man in the High Castle (2015)

Photo Credit: Amazon Studios.

The Man in the High Castle started with such promise, but just like the other shows on this list, it did take a nosedive for many viewers. There seemed to be a grand vision in Season 1, and then it slowly slipped away, leaving characters like John Smith, Minister Tagomi, and Chief Inspector Kido to carry the show on their charismatic shoulders.

And that ending has been stirring up more frustration than even Game of Thrones. Confusion seems to be the prevailing emotion as viewers scratch their heads, trying to decipher a supposed profound message that got lost in the shuffle of everybody moving in. The Man in the High Castle, you had a high bar, and that ending? Let’s just say it’s not winning any awards.

16. Star vs the Forces of Evil (2015)

Photo Credit: Disney Television Animation.

This show also started as a promising one but took an unfortunate turn that left many fans feeling more than a little betrayed. The entire narrative seemed to derail just to make a popular event play out, and the execution left viewers scratching their heads.

To add salt to the wound, the characters decided that the best way to deal with a genocide in their kingdom was to unleash an even larger one on a multiversal scale—all in the name of love. It’s like Game of Thrones-level bad, and that’s saying something. The first two seasons were a blast, but then, alas, the pitfalls took over, and it all came crashing down like a poorly cast spell.

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17. Game of Thrones (2011)

Photo Credit: HBO.

We all know how the epic fantasy series Game of Thrones ended, and it leaves many fans feeling more puzzled than enchanted. The character Bran Stark, who used to win hearts, ended up becoming king, and some folks wished he’d just stayed climbing castles. The line, “Why do you think I came all this way?” hinted that Bran might have been the mastermind behind everything, turning him into one of TV’s unexpected bad guys. It was like they switched from a thrilling tale to a confusing puzzle, and fans were left scratching their heads at the not-so-happily-ever-after.

18. How I Met Your Mother (2005)

How I Met Your Mother (2005 - 2014)
Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox Television.

How I Met Your Mother had fans hooked for years with its laughs, love, and the enduring mystery of meeting “the mother.” However, when the big reveal finally happened, it left viewers feeling like they’d been slapped with a yellow umbrella.

Ted and Robin’s romantic resurrection felt more like a plot twist from the Bro Code than a satisfying conclusion, and some folks wondered if the showrunners had misplaced the real script and replaced with a farce. Well, what do you think?

19. Gossip Girl (2007)

Photo Credit: The CW Television Network.

The big reveal of Dan Humphrey as the mysterious Gossip Girl was like finding out the girl next door was secretly running TMZ. It’s the kind of revelation that made viewers question the writers’ judgment faster than Blair Waldorf could deliver a cutting remark. Some argued it was a betrayal of character development, like discovering your best friend is the one spreading all your secrets.

The ending left a taste in fans’ mouths that was more bitter than Blair’s worst breakup, making them wonder if Gossip Girl’s identity should’ve stayed the ultimate mystery.

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20. Killing Eve (2018)

Photo Credit: Sid Gentle Films.

Killing Eve left fans with a bitter aftertaste as its finale hit the small screen. The once-dynamic cat-and-mouse chase seemed to lose its spark, and the ending left more questions than answers. Some viewers felt the writers missed the mark, turning the suspenseful journey into a head-scratching final act. Did the show’s exit not have the stylish goodbye fans were hoping for?

21. Misfits (2009)

Photo Credit: Clerkenwell Films.

Misfits had fans hooked with its unique blend of superpowers, irreverent humor, and youthful rebellion. However, as the series approached its finale, some viewers felt the writers stumbled over their own powers. The departure of key characters and the attempt to introduce new faces left some fans yearning for the chemistry of the original gang.

The once-edgy and unpredictable plot took a turn that didn’t resonate with everyone, making the ending a bittersweet moment for fans who had been on the wild ride from the beginning. It seems the super-powered rollercoaster ended on a note that left some craving a different twist.

22. Arrested Development (2003)

Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox Television.

It’s true that Arrested Development was once a comedic masterpiece, but seemed to lose its magic in its later years. For fans of the original seasons, the Netflix additions felt like someone trying to revive a once-vibrant party that had long lost its spark. The clever writing that made it a fan favorite was overshadowed by a sense of forced humor and disjointed storytelling.

Also, the awkwardly executed scenes and a lackluster court scenario in Season 5 left viewers scratching their heads. It’s as if the show that once soared to comedic heights took a nosedive into mediocrity, and fans couldn’t help but feel a tinge of disappointment watching the series they once cherished fizzle out in its later iterations.

Source: Reddit.

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