Any TV writer (and Olympic gymnast) can tell you, it’s hard to stick the landing. Coming up with a series finale that wraps up loose ends, completes character arcs and answers lingering questions in an original, satisfying, thought-provoking fashion that doesn’t resort to tired tropes, stays true to the show’s roots and appeases legions of fans is a Herculean task.
And, yes, “worst” is an objective term. Most of the shows on this list have inspired one too many think pieces and endless debate about whether their endings were indeed subpar. Fifteen years after it abruptly cut to black, people are still discussing “The Sopranos” finale, so bad or not, creator David Chase did something right. Its entry on this list is contentious not just among fans, but Variety staffers alike. “Man Men,” “Lost,” “Seinfeld” and “St. Elsewhere” are other shows on this list with divisive adieus.
Others, meanwhile, induce a collective groan at the mere mention of their final episodes. “Game of Thrones,” “Dexter” and “Battlestar Galactica” are some of the critically adored, boundary-pushing, TV-landscape-redefining properties on the list that fumbled their endings, no matter how you look at it.
Considering the volume of TV shows ending their runs this year (and overall volume, in general), this list is bound to grow with new entries. “Ozark” and “Killing Eve” bowed in disappointing fashion, while “Better Call Saul” and “Better Things” delivered the goods. We’ll see where “Atlanta,” “The Good Fight” and others will fall at the end of the year.
Below are the worst series finales ever, not presented in any particular order.