The worst finales of all time (that aren’t ‘Game of Thrones’)
We’re not Olympic athletes, but we know how hard it can be to stick a landing. So many shows have had years of buildup with the vague promise that all of the answers would eventually be explained: Fox’s The X Files, ABC’s Lost, Freeform’s Pretty Little Liars, the secret to Connie Britton’s perfect hair on NBC’s Friday Night Lights, and we were all left disappointed in the end.
Some finales stick out more than others for their truly awful endings. HBO’s Game of Thrones was a stunted mess, CBS’s How I Met Your Mother was a disaster, and when you Google “Showtime’s Dexter,” the second result is “Dexter what went wrong.”
We agree with all of it. But not enough online energy is dedicated to all of the other lackluster finales, the ones that aren’t Game of Thrones. Or How I Met Your Mother. Or Lost. Or Dexter.
Wow, a lot of shows really dropped the ball at the end, didn’t they?
The conceit of Veep was very simple: What if Julius Caesar was stuck in political purgatory, trapped in a thankless, nominal role and surrounded by a mix of sycophants and Senators ready to stab him at a moments notice?
It was great.
Watching Julia Louis-Dreyfus have major and minor rage-strokes for 30-minute intervals every Sunday as Vice President Selina Meyer was somehow relaxing, a balm compared to watching the actual U.S. political landscape at the time. But at the end of the third season, she became President, and it was all downhill from there.
The conclusion to its seven-season run was even more disappointing. In the finale, Meyer got everything she ever wanted with the sacrifice of the one thing she really needed (poor Gary).
It made sense from a narrative perspective, but it made no sense whatsoever for the character. Meyer had always been ruthless, but by the final few seasons, she transformed into a monster. What was so engaging about the first few seasons was watching someone capable and driven to be constantly stonewalled at every turn. Meyer was ambitious, but she was also a person trying her best to make a difference in the world.
The finale kind of forgot about that.
There are two things we know to be true. One: If Seinfeld had been set in modern times, Seinfeld fans would have been annoying and all over Twitter. Two: The amount of rage-tweeting over the finale might have set the Twitter servers on fire.
The two-part finale led to Jerry (Jerry Seinfeld), Kramer (Michael Richards), Elaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), and George (Jason Alexander) stuck in a jail cell for breaking the Good Samaritan Law.
It felt kind of like a clip show, as they were forced to face off against all of the people they treated terribly over the programs nine-year run. It was judgment day for these terrible New Yorkers, but it didn’t give any sort of closure or finality to a program that had been a staple of television for almost a decade.
The CW’s Gossip Girl
Dan Humphrey (Penn Badgley)? Dan Humphrey was Gossip Girl the whole time?
HBO’s True Blood
The first three seasons of True Blood was a beautiful, hot mess; like a beauty pageant held in Florida.
It was campy, it was fun, every episode had at least one person covered in blood, the accents by the (mostly) English cast sounded like minor characters from Looney Tunes. It was the perfect summer show.
But as the years passed, it started to become bogged down by the nonsense plotlines that had previously been so much fun to watch. There were not just werewolves, there were also werepanthers. And while shapeshifters could turn into canines, they were somehow not related to anyone else in the were-community.
All of the side characters we had known and loved had been killed off years before, leaving behind just Sookie (Anna Paquin) and freakin’ Vampire Bill (Stephen Moyer).
Much of the episode is wasted over Vampire Bill’s death, before the program has a three-year time jump of a happily married Sookie and an unnamed man. There is no real closure for anyone else, and viewers never even got to see who Sookie ended up marrying.
We would have preferred if everyone had just engaged in a vampire bloodbath orgy/mass murder. It would have fit thematically with the earlier version of the series.
House kind of jumped the shark when House (Hugh Laurie) drove a car through Lisa Cuddy’s (Lisa Edelstein) front door, but the finale was a dour, depressing nail in the coffin of a once-entertaining show.
“Everybody Dies” mirrors the Sherlock mythos, in a boring way. House fakes his death after hallucinating previous cast members for a solid 20 minutes, and drives off into the sunset with his best friend and terminally ill conscience, James Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard).
Honestly, lupus would have been more entertaining!