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 ratings’ sake. Or, it could be due to the creator - maybe 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 Peak TV, 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 used 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.
One viewer thinks that the show was done before the final season even aired. "It wasn't just Season 8 that ruined it. It's like for this season they took the 1 or 2 main characteristics from each character and just overplayed them every chance they got... I'm halfway through Season 7, and it just completely dropped off."
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 once was.
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. Sure, it was never one of the best shows on TV, but it was highly entertaining. And then Season 7 happened, with its lackluster storylines and 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.
Writing for The Telegraph, critic Rebecca Hawkes said the finale's forced tying up of lose ends "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."
How could you ruin a perfectly good sitcom about a middle-class family? Make them win the lottery. That’s what Roseanne did in its ninth and final season. With no more problems to face together and hard times to survive, the Connor clan lost their charm, making for a disappointing final run. And then viewers arrived at the finale, which reframed everything that had occurred as a coping mechanism for Roseanne - it hadn't actually happened.
As one critic put it, "All in all, Season 9 comes off a grade below the rest and is best reserved for the fans."