There’s that moment of extreme tension in every viewer when you’ve spent years watching a great TV show, and it gets down to that final episode, where everything should presumably be wrapped up, and viewers are left with a nice, usually emotional send-off to their beloved show. While we need only look as far as the likes of Six Feet Under and The Shield to see how to deliver a finale that’s both satisfying and also dripping with integrity, the 10 shows we’re about to document did not manage that; instead, we got a finale that left us shaking with anger, either because it was distressingly open-ended, didn’t follow the tone of the show prior, was down-right weird, or openly showed contempt for the audience that ensured it kept going for so long.
Here are the 10 most infuriating TV series finales of all time…
10. The Sopranos
The end of The Sopranos features crime boss Tony (James Gandolfini) sitting in a restaurant with his family, when he picks Journey’s classic “Don’t Stop Believin’” to play on the Jukebox, a tune that will as a result of this episode forever be associated with one of the most WTF moments in the history of television. The song plays out as the family talk about their lives and chew on onion rings. We see Tony’s daughter Meadow (poorly) try to parallel park her car, and she eventually runs over to the restaurant. We hear the door open, Tony looks up, and then…nothing.
The screen cuts to black, causing many viewers to assume that their cable box had gone kaput, but after 30 seconds or so, the end credits roll, and The Sopranos is over. It’s a crucial moment to cut things off, given how shrewdly the scene was staged; several possible antagonists of Tony’s are spotted around the restaurant, and one man even goes to the bathroom not long before the cut-to-black, causing some to suggest it was a reference to the scene in The Godfather in which Michael Corleone runs to the bathroom to fetch a gun. Thus, some believe the cut to black was, in fact, the end of Tony’s and perhaps his entire family’s lives, reflecting a conversation earlier in the season between himself and brother-in-law Bobby, where they wondered whether you hear anything when getting shot to death.
The other explanation is that the song ending on the lyrics, “Don’t stop…” suggests that life continues for Tony, but he has to spend the rest of it looking over his shoulder for someone who might try to pop him. Though it is a clever ending either way, its ambiguity is extremely frustrating.
This article was first posted on December 4, 2012