10 Great TV Shows That Lost It By The End

They promised us the moon, and then showed us their asses on the way out.

It€™s risky, plotting out a show with any form of arc-based narrative. No one€™s likely to throw all their toys out of the pram if NCIS or CSI or any other acronym-based television programme gets cancelled out of nowhere, because they€™re procedurals, taking advantage of the formulaic structure of your basic network television show. They€™re built to be pretty much the same in season ten as they were in season one, that€™s how they function.

But when you build in any form of over-arching story to a show, you form a social contract with the viewer: you€™re saying, €œthis will entertain/intrigue you right up until we choose to end it, at which point you will leave satisfied that the story has been told.€ It doesn€™t necessarily have to have the ending that the viewers want, but it should have the ending that the show, the characters and the story demand. It should make sense €“ there should be closure for the viewer. It should feel right.

That doesn€™t always happen. For whatever reason, sometimes a show enters the final stretch and it€™s lost everything that made it an important part of your life €“ the cast has changed beyond recognition, or the show€™s been cancelled before it had a chance to finish organically, as intended. Sometimes the producers have lost sight of what made the show great. Sometimes the show hasn€™t delivered on its promise. Sometimes it€™s just bad now.

For every Friends, finishing on top with a feelgood finale, there€™s a Rules Of Engagement, where it€™s blindingly obvious that no one working on the show was remotely interested by the time it limped to the end. And just like Highlanders 2, 3 and 5 don€™t exist and never did; you can retcon your enjoyment of the show to leave off the offending final chapters. Hey, it€™s your right as a fan.

Be warned: there are likely to be spoilers lurking ahead€


Professional writer, punk werewolf and nesting place for starfish. Obsessed with squid, spirals and story. I publish short weird fiction online at desincarne.com, and tweet nonsense under the name Jack The Bodiless. You can follow me all you like, just don't touch my stuff.