10 Widely Hated Series Finales That Should Be Re-evaluated

At the time they aired, these shows' finales received negative reviews. However, maybe it's time to re-evaluate and give them the credit they deserve?

The series finale is a tricky thing to master. Some TV shows land the ending and finish the story on a narratively and emotionally satisfying note. But more often than not, shows flounder near the end and present an ending that is met with wide and divisive reactions. Some people love it, others hate it. And sometimes an ending proves so controversial that everyone can agree on its negative qualities.

However, could it be argued that some criticisms may be a little harsh? After all, there have been many pop-culture references in TV/film that have inherently linked back to supposedly bad endings and have managed to tarnish their reputation further. If someone decides to re-evaluate these shows, they may find that they weren’t as bad as they remembered them to be.

Lost (2004-10)

Lost The Ending

Lost will forever remain one of those shows that are intrinsically linked to their bad endings. Unlike many shows, Lost didn’t just have a bad ending – many fans consider the entire sixth season to be far inferior to its five predecessors. And while opinion remains divided over the quality of the ending, many people wrote off Lost – and continue to write it off – owing to its infamous ending.

But it’s not that bad. Most of the mysteries were answered, the story was concluded, and the finale was emotionally resonant. It’s not perfect, but it’s not as bad as its reputation would suggest.

Game Of Thrones (2011-19)

Dany looks over King's Landing

Are people upset with Game of Thrones‘ ending? Or are they upset with how the show got to that ending? It’s expected that George R.R. Martin will end his series in a similar, if somewhat divergent, fashion. In that way, some fans expect the ending to be the same but the journey to be different and more fleshed out.

It’s a fair assumption, because the ending itself wasn’t that bad, with many (but not all) character arcs getting suitable closure. The eighth season was sloppy and rushed, but the ending itself could have proven far more disastrous.

How I Met Your Mother (2005-14)

How I Met Your Mother also contains a widely detested finale, with many critics pointing to the rushed conclusion to Robin and Barney’s marriage, the sloppy method in which the Mother’s death was conducted, and Ted ditching his deceased wife’s memory to get with Robin.

With a bit more refining, this could have made for a great, if somewhat imperfect, ending. As it is, it’s a flawed, but not disastrous, ending. The Mother’s death doesn’t hurt as much upon re-watches, and Ted displaying the blue French horn has a certain poetic beauty to it.

Dexter (2006-13)

Dexter as a lumberjack

Dexter is one of those shows with a spectacular beginning, a floundering middle, and a disappointing ending. Most fans will agree that the first four seasons were among the best on television, the middle seasons were disappointing, and the ending was a complete disaster.

But perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate the ending? The show has been over for six years, which is certainly enough time for the pain to have worn off. Many movies and TV shows get past their negative reputations with time – could Dexter be one of them?

Seinfeld (1989-98)

George, Elaine, Kramer, and Jerry in jail at the Seinfeld Finale

Seinfeld‘s finale has long been heralded as one of the worst in TV history. But making a finale for this type of show would prove incredibly difficult. Seinfeld didn’t have an over-arching story and the characters never really developed as people. That was always part of the charm.

So either the showrunners needed to do something big (which they did), or the finale would be “just another episode,” and that may have proved equally disappointing. The characters going to prison may have been tonally jarring, but it was a respectable risk that fit with their selfish character traits.

The Sopranos (1999-2007)

Tony and his family sitting in a restaurant in The Sopranos

It seems like opinions on The Sopranos‘ finale is slowly changing, with many finding it a respectable and suitably ambiguous ending to the series. But for the longest time, this ending was widely mocked and derided.

The abrupt cut to black proved confusing and frustrating, and fans believed that it was an anticlimactic end to Tony’s story. However, opinion is slowly turning with time, perhaps thanks to some re-watches and academic analysis.

Roseanne (1988-97)


Before Seinfeld and Two and a Half MenRoseanne proved the benchmark for horrible sitcom finales. Titled “Into that Good Night,” the ninth season finale ripped the rug out from under viewers and revealed that the entire ninth season – in which the Connors won the lottery – was a fictional concoction envisioned by Roseanne.

It was certainly jarring, and people hated the twist. But there’s also a lot to like here, including the narrative risk and the surprisingly downcast ending that was perfectly in keeping with the series’ tone.

Two And A Half Men (2003-15)

Two and a Half Men series finale ending Charlie returns piano

Two and a Half Men provided another controversial ending – but not one from a story perspective. Rather, fans were upset with the sudden breaking of the fourth wall, as creator Chuck Lorre turned to the camera and said “Winning!” after a piano was dropped on Charlie.

It was also accompanied by a vanity card explaining the creative decision behind Charlie’s appearance and death. It wasn’t the perfect way to end the series, but again, its creative risk must be commended – especially its sudden shift into the realm of meta-humor.

ALF (1986-90)


“Consider Me Gone,” which sees ALF being captured by the government’s Alien Task Force, wasn’t intended as the series finale. The story was supposed to continue with ALF living at a military base, but the show was canceled before production on the fifth season could begin. As such, the cliffhanger served as the ending to the story, and it left a lot of fans understandably upset.

And while the story would eventually conclude with a TV movie, ALF getting captured by the military proves so brazen, unexpected, and dark that it makes for a weirdly perfect ending to the series.

Sherlock (2010-17)

Sherlock The Final Problem

While the fifth season of Sherlock is still a remote possibility, it won’t be coming for a very long time – if it ever comes at all. As it is, fans must contend with the fact that “The Final Problem” was the final episode. The fourth season wasn’t as well-received as its predecessors, and many fans and critics took issue with the final episode.

While the plot may have been outlandish, it served as an otherwise decent ending to the story, with Sherlock and John moving on to solve more crimes as a brotherly duo.

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