Worst Finales to Good TV Shows

Graham Host

Some shows end on a high note. Some end on a low note. Then you have the shows that took a good thing, ran at the cliff and jumped straight off the edge. Considering how well the shows went during the rest of their run, it is almost inconceivable that the endings could have been screwed up to the extent that they did. We look at some of the worst finales in modern TV history.

Two and a Half Men

This show was given a yellow card from the moment that the ‘half‘ from the title took leave from the show in season 10. Having Charlie Sheen’s character – also named Charlie – die off and have a random billionaire suddenly buy the house and let Alan – Jon Cryer – remain was the second strike. The finale – last episode or no – ultimately buried it.

Charlie/Charlie wasn’t actually dead. Long-term stalker Rose had kept him prisoner in her basement. The final clip shows a Charlie look-alike approaching the door from behind only to be crushed by a falling piano. We then cut to onlooker and Two and a Half Men creator, Chuck Lorre, declare “Winning!” with Charlie Sheen’s catchphrase. Then he himself is crushed by a piano. The entire episode seems to be an insult directed at Sheen instead of an actual ending to the successful show.



Watching Superman grow from farmhand to hero was a good story. There was action, romance, intrigue, and bald people. But the main premise was watching Clark Kent of Smallville evolve into Kal-El of Krypton and Superman of Metropolis. We were treated to a few prophetic scenes showing his cape and a cool black outfit, but the real deal was highly disappointing.

smallville finale superman suit behind ice

We see the suit in an ice stand. The ultimate ending of Smallville gave us a brief glimpse of the red and blue on his chest before cutting to credits. What an absolute let-down. Given just a few extra seconds of footage to watch Superman take off would have saved them from this list.

Quantum Leap

This ground-breaking sci-fi series was widely followed and highly enjoyable. The protagonist was involved in an experiment and flung through time. Just one problem — only his mind moved. He would awaken in a new person’s body in a new time and be forced to correct any disturbances that his arrival would make. Each leap took him further along the path to returning to his own time and body.

quantum leap ending title card Dr Sam Becket never returned home

Except that, it didn’t. This show has the worst ending out there. Squabbles between the network and creators lead to the worst ending possible. A series of messages throw out a few clues and the depressing conclusion. That’s how they ended the entire program.

How I Met Your Mother

For many, How I Met Your Mother was this generation’s answer to Friends. But the finale undid the vast majority of the previous nine years. Barney and Robin split, the Mother died, and Robin got back together with Ted.

Let me save you nine years of wasted time.
Mosby: “Kids, I want to date your Aunt Robin. I think I still like her.”
Kids: “Okay. Mom died years ago, it’s good to see you’re moving on.”

That’s it. The entire nine-year story boiled down to Ted asking his kids if he could date Robin. The creators were at least kind enough to leak an alternate open ending. This one shows what happens if the Mother lived and pokes fun at the entire series.



Lost was a weird series from beginning to end. Especially the end. From what tattered fragments of sense are available, it appears that everybody died. Then they met up in some church with crazy lightning. And then you have the ‘flash-sideways’ timeline where the plane never crashed — which wasn’t real. Lost did a wonderful job of keeping fans guessing for six years but ran away when solid answers were demanded.

The Office (U.S. Version)

the office US version finale Michael Scott played by Steve Carell at a wedding

Based on the British show of the same name, The Office was widely loved by fans on either side of the pond. Despite nine seasons of comedy awkwardness, the finale ruined the ending of a good thing. All the characters returned for the last bow, including Steve Carell’s long departed Michael Scott. But the sheer cloyingness of the end ruined the last season of an otherwise good program.

Graham Host is a member of the Fan Contributor program. In his spare time, he enjoys the works of Terry Pratchett, DC Comics and a wide assortment of video games. Under no circumstances should he be fed after midnight.
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