Jul 10, 2016

The 9 Worst TV Series Finales in History

If you watch every episode of a 100-episode sitcom, you've spend 2300 minutes, not including reruns.  That's the equivalent of 19 feature-length movies or 11 novels (at the average adult reading speed).

If it was a 60-minute dramatic series, make that 38 feature length movies and 22 novels.

Then comes the series finale.  There will be no more episodes.

You know the characters better than many of your real-life friends.  Saying goodbye is going to be painful.

For years you've set aside a special part of your week for the program.  You rarely missed it, and when you did, you taped it to watch later.  You watched all of the summer reruns.There will be a hole in your life for quite some time.

So you sit down for the series finale, hoping for a warm, funny, memorable sendoff.  But instead, you get garbage.  Mind-destroying, depressing, confusing, WTF garbage.

May 10, 1983: Laverne and Shirley (1976-1983).  A sitcom about two bromantic "girlfriends" sharing an apartment in 1950s Milwaukee, right?  Except by 1983, there was just Laverne, it was Los Angeles, and the heart of the 1960s (Laverne's boyfriend is a Star Trek fan).  Way to destroy your premise.

But the series finale isn't even about that; it's about Laverne's singer/dancer/male prostitute friend Carmine going to New York to audition for Hair.  

We don't find out if he got the role or not. And we don't see his nude scene.


May 21, 1990: Newhart (1982-1990): For eight years, Bob Newhart played the owner of a bed and breakfast in a small New England town full of quirky residents, whom you grew fond of over the years.  Who can forget "I'm Larry, and this is my brother Darryl, and this is my other brother Darryl?"

But on May 21st, 1990, Bob wakes up in bed as Dr. Bob Hartley, the psychologist in his old series, and tells his old wife, Emily, "What a dream I had!"  Way to destroy beloved characters, Bob!

July 20, 1994: Dinosaurs (1991-1994).  A nuclear family spoof starring cute, cuddly dinosaurs in ABC's kid-friendly Friday night lineup.  Remember "I'm the baby, gotta love me"?

How best to end the hearwarming series:  how about with a eco-catastrophe that kills every dinosaur on the planet?  Including the entire Sinclair family?  Including the baby?






May 20, 1997: Roseanne (1988-1997).  The queen of lower-middle class urban blight and her ragtag family spent eight seasons being the anti-Cosbys, not affluent, or educated, or elegant.  It featured Johnny Galecki as a teenager with a terrible hairdo.  Then Roseanne wins the lottery, and spends the last season hob-nobbing with the rich and famous.

That's not the worst of it, though -- in the last episode, we are told that this has all been a story that Roseanne has written.  The real people are all different.  Dan is dead.  Jackie is a lesbian, so her husband and child don't exist.  But Mom isn't a lesbian.  The daughters switch husbands.  Everything we thought we knew about the show is wrong.

May 14, 1998: Seinfeld (1989-1998). In this execrable finale for what critics termed the best series in the history of television, the Fab Four are facing jail time for violating a "good Samaritan" law that, if it existed, would get them a fine, at most.

And everyone they've interacted with comes rushing to town to complain.  Their honest attempts to help are recast as diabolical plots.  Mistakes and accidents are recast as deliberate malice.  Everything we thought we knew about the show is wrong. Oh, and they go to prison.




August 9, 1999: Mystery Science Theater 3000 (1985-1999).  For 12 years, Dr. Forrester and TV's Frank tortured the hapless heroes on the Satellite of Love, Joel/Mike and the bots, with "cheesy movies, the worst that we can find."  The only way they could keep their sanity was to riff on the cheesy plots.  In the series finale, Mike and the bots finally escape.

Do they change the world? Reveal the diabolical plot in a tell-all book?  At least find a life far removed from their 12-year imprisonment?  No -- they are shown living in a small apartment, eating pizza and riffing on bad movies.

At least they don't meet girls.



September 8, 2004: The Drew Carey Show (1995-2004).  This program was all about setting: the sprawling Winfred-Lauder Department Store in downtown Cleveland, where Drew worked as a middle-management drudge, Mr. Wick as head of personnel, and Mimi as his secretary.

So how to handle the last season: end the department store, drop some of the characters, and give the others nonsensical new jobs at a new store. Oh, and have Drew and Mimi live together, raising a 10-year old boy who was a baby last season.



May 18, 2006: Will and Grace (1998-2006).  After endless seasons of proclaiming that gay men are really women, that gay men all have sex with women,  that gay people simply do not exist, Will and Grace went out with a bang: Will and his cop beau adopt a daughter, Grace and her husband gave birth to a son, and twenty years later, the son and daughter marry.

Whatever momentary glitch being gay caused in the cosmic order, it has been resolved with a man and a woman gazing into each other's eyes forever.




May 20, 2010: Lost (2004-2010).  For five seasons, we were told that the crash survivors facing paranormal peril on a crazy island weren't in Purgatory.  Well, guess what -- they are.  Well, actually, in an alternate world where they forget that they were ever on the island, until they are reminded.  Then they get back together and go into the light.

And Vincent the Dog dies.