4 Controversial TV Series Finales
When popular television shows come to an end, the final episode becomes an event. There’s always anticipation: What will happen to fan favorite characters? Will the on-again, off-again couple who fans rooted for get a happily ever after?
Sometimes — like with Breaking Bad and Friends — fans are satisfied with the resolution. Other times? Not so much. Whether the last episode is universally disliked, or whether fans are split on their favorite show’s final moments, series finales can be extremely controversial. Here are four iconic shows that left fans feeling frustrated, furious, or full-on confused.
1. Seinfeld – “The Finale” – aired May 14, 1998
This ‘90s sitcom never claimed to be normal. Over nine seasons, it brought viewers countless surreal, out-of-the-ordinary moments, from the soup nazi to Elaine’s terrible dance. Still, the final episode of the “show about nothing” — in which Jerry, Kramer, George and Elaine ended up on trial — was a little too much for many fans. Many felt that the last episode, which featured dozens of cameos from previous characters, insulted the viewers and left them with no resolution. Still, at the time, it was the fifth-most watched television episode ever, making it an unforgettable piece of television history.
2. Lost – “The End” – aired May 23, 2010
From the get-go, Lost was a show that always left viewers guessing. So after six seasons of mysterious smoke monsters, polar bears, and time travel, fans of the show eagerly anticipated the series finale, hoping it would answer some of their burning questions. The Lost finale wrapped up many loose ends, but left others dangling, which polarized fans and critics alike. Some felt it was emotionally satisfying, despite its lack of complete resolution. Others felt like they’d invested six years in a show that left them feeling just as confused at the end as they were at the beginning.
3. The Sopranos – “Made in America” – aired June 10, 2007
In many ways, The Sopranos revolutionized television, engaging viewers and forcing critics to reevaluate the merits of serialized drama. When the final episode of the series aired, it took fans and viewers by surprise, not because of a late-stage plot twist or violent death, but because of what it didn’t reveal: namely, the fate of Tony Soprano and his family. At first, reception to the finale was mixed to negative, with many fans feeling unsatisfied. Over time, as the series has been revisited by fans and critics, many have come to appreciate the ambiguity of The Sopranos’ last moments.
4. How I Met Your Mother – “Last Forever” – aired March 31, 2014
There are series finales that fans find disappointing, and then there are series finales that fans just plain hate. How I Met Your Mother was built on the premise of the main character, Ted Mosby, telling his children how he fell in love. The last episode of the show laid out how they spent their life together before his wife died, a revelation that many fans hoped would not come to pass. That alone would have been enough to infuriate loyal viewers, but they were livid when it was revealed that Ted ended up with an old flame. The final episode was so poorly received that fans started a Change.org petition to have the creators re-write and reshoot the episode. An alternate ending was included in the final season’s DVD set.