Good TV shows with bad endings are a more common occurrence than you might think. That disappointing finale usually happens when a series has already run its course, but the network insists on keeping it around for the sake of ratings. A bad finale could be due to the creator - for instance, perhaps they tried taking a huge risk that didn't exactly pay off the way fans were hoping.
Everyone makes mistakes, especially in TV land. Some shows start shaky, but eventually find their groove, like The X-Files. Others lose momentum when they decide to pair up two of the main characters - remember how hard The Office stumbled once Jim and Pam settled into happy cohabitation? Even in the era of TV on demand, when viewers have little patience for bad plots and stale dialogue, a mishap or two can be forgiven along the way. But when a great show jumps the shark towards its end, you can’t help but scratch your head in disbelief.
The worst TV show endings carry an extra sting because viewers have already invested years following the series, and want their loyalty rewarded. They’re accustomed to a certain level of quality, so they buckle up for an exciting final ride - only to have the show fizzle out. There's nothing else to do but try to move on with life, and work out that angst by voting on these TV shows with bad final seasons.
It’s never a good sign when a lead of a show leaves and the series continues. That was the case on That 70’s Show. Eric left for Africa, Kelso only appeared sporadically, and Season 8 introduced Randy, a character who never managed to fully become a part of the group. Don’t even get viewers started on the Jackie-Fez romance or Hyde's stripper wife.
Season 8 ushered in the end of an era both on the show and in it, according to The New York Times: "But with both [Ashton Kutcher and Topher Grace] absent from the regular cast and the others looking a bit too mature still to be partying in dad's basement, the program...experienced its own sort of energy crisis."
Oh, Dexter. It still breaks fans' hearts to acknowledge that horrible last arc - not to mention the finale, which was a slap in the face to long-time viewers. Everything that happened during Season 8 was dumbfounding. Hannah, once a complex character, lost pretty much all her layers. Deb suffered no repercussions after shooting LaGuerta. Masuka had a daughter for some reason. New characters were introduced, only to be disposed of quickly. Overall, it was a mess of a season that barely resembled the Dexter that we once knew.
Critics were harsh as well. "Dexter has become almost laughably predictable and the creators have hardly sought to take any major steps outside of the dramatic structure and machinations set up in the first season and reinforced in the second," Slant Magazine's Chris Cabin wrote.
True Blood was a bloody good time during its early run and was always highly entertaining. Then... Season 7 happened. Lackluster storylines. Meaningless new characters. The ending was particularly insulting to viewers. Bill dies? Sookie is happy with someone else who is never shown on screen? Maybe someone should have put a stake in the show’s heart sooner.
U.K. Telegraph critic Rebecca Hawkes said the finale's forced ending: "[It] felt very anodyne - a betrayal of everything that originally made the series so much fun... At its very end, True Blood had lost its fangs."
One Reddit user put it more succinctly: "I'm just glad this is the last season."
Do you remember what happened in the final season of Heroes? No? That's understandable, since most fans had tuned out by then. The show started strong, but fizzled. Season 4 was a bit of an improvement, since it dialed down the world-ending drama and focused on characters instead. Still, this wasn't enough to bring viewers back and the series was ultimately canceled. Even the 2015 reboot of the show flopped.
What’s wrong with everything from Season 2 onward? One Redditor summed it up: "[The seasons] make no sense. Writers painted themselves into a corner. Stupid characters doing stupid things... constantly. Disjointed. Badly acted. Side stories that go nowhere. Pretty much anything that can go wrong in a serialized drama, did."