Well, Game of Thrones is over. Sunday night, the HBO series aired its final episode, bringing to an end this chapter of Westeros' story and, well, to say that fans aren't happy with it would be an understatement. In fact, fans have been displeased with the entirety of the massively popular fantasy series' final season but the series finale -- entitled "The Iron Throne" -- has fans so upset that it's already being included lists of worst series finales of all time.
And that list? It's no joke. While placement on the "worst" list tends to shift depending on who you ask, there are shows that are almost always listed. Lost comes to mind, as does How I Met Your Mother, Dexter, and even Roseanne. These shows ended their runs with episodes that were either enormous letdowns or simply made no sense. Now, Game of Thrones joins it. From issues with pacing, so-called "lazy storytelling", and some plot decisions that have fans wondering what the point of character development over the previous seasons was for in the first place, it's safe to say that people will be talking about Game of Thrones' finale in negative terms for years to come.
So, with Game of Thrones firmly on the "worst" list, the question remains: where on the list does it belong. Well, we're going to take a crack at that and stack "The Iron Throne" up against some of television's biggest bad endings. Now, a couple of things to note before diving into the list. First, just because it's on the list doesn't mean the show itself was terrible. There are plenty of great shows that just had crap endings. Second, "worst" is kind of subjective. Some of the shows on the list may rank higher because their endings were especially confusing or weird, not just necessarily "bad". And, finally, this is just an opinion. Don't like it? I invite you to share your list in the comments below or, better yet, hit me up on Twitter @lifeinpolaroid so we can chat all things bad tv finales.
Are you ready? Here we go!
Kicking off the list with one of the most depressiong finales ever, Dinosaurs ended with extinction. Literally. The dinosaur folks had taken planet Earth for granted and inadvertently triggered the Ice Age. The ensuing global cooling was similar to a nuclear winter that would take tens of thousans of years to dissipate and the series ends with the Dinosaur family bundled up in their coats and blankets preparing for the inevitable end of the world and their death by freezing. Baby is reassured that they will always be a family even in the end and the series last moments are of a news anchor literally saying goodbye to the world. Bleak stuff.
Another series finale that was meant to be a season finale, ALF ends with the titular alien receiving a broadcast form SKip and Rhonda revealing that they have purchased a planet and are trying to create a new Melmac. They want him to join themm. ALF bids the Tanners farewell and leaves, but before ALF can be picked up by his friends, the Alien Task Force captures him, having intercepted Skip's transmission. The episoded ended with a "To be continued..." but it never was.
A TV movie aired six years later, Project ALF, tried to wrap things up but it was more horrible than not knowing and we're not going to say anything more.
For a show about nothing, Seinfeld had one of the most-watched series finales in history and it was, well something. The series ended with the show's core four characters going to jail after witnessing a carjacking while a long list of witnesses testifying at trial about how awful the characters are. In the end, the gang is convicted and end up in prison. That's it.
It's been 26 years and this one is still on the list of worst finales. Now, to be fair, Quantum Leap's series finale was one of those that had to be sort of ambiguous as it wasn't clear if the series would be renewed. It ultimately wasn't which led to two screenshots being added on to the end of the episode. One revealed a happy ending for Al while the other revealed that Sam, who had been hopping through time solving issues over the course of the series all in the hope of finally making his way home, never returned to his own time.
It's an unsatisfying ending, one made even more so by the enduring mystery of a possible alternative ending that sees Al go after Sam, leaping into the future.
After eight seasons of dealing with Dexter Morgan and his whole need to kill thing you'd expect for Dexter to go out with him ending up in prison or dead or something rather big and final, right? Wrong. Instead, Dexter went off to live the lumberjack life in the woods far away from others after faking his own death.
Lumberjack, people. Lumberjack.
Here's an old one, but one that remains a head-scratcher. After six seasons, St. Elsewhere wrapped up with a strange conclusion. The final shot of the series is of an autistic boy holding a snow globe with a replica of St. Eligius hospital inside. The suggestion? The entire series and all of its incredible groundbreaking stories had all taken place inside his imagination.
Yes, Roseanne made a comeback (and then became The Conners) but we're talking the original series finale here and it's a weird one. After a strange lottery win a final monologue reveals that Dan Conner had actually died seasons before and that much of the series had all been some weird extended fantasy on the part of Roseanne Conner. Like I said, it was weird and felt kind of like a cheap cop out for a series that shined a major light on what it meant to be in a blue collar family in America.
Yep. I'm putting Game of Thrones in the top three. Now, while I don't agree with how the story shook out -- Bran being appointed king because stories is one of those things just really makes no sense -- I'm willing to try to go past some weird ultimate choices and just look at how rushed the whole thing felt. By having only six episodes, Game of Thrones' showrunners really sold their finale short by rushing up Daenerys' descent into supposed madness. The turn was sudden, hard to believe, and in the end when Jon killed her it just seemed like a knee-jerk reaction. The fact that everything sort of self resolved soon after was just too tidy, too easy. All of the characters -- and the audience -- deserved better.
Talk about a botched ending. After waiting for years for two things, Robin and Ted to get together as well as to find out who the Mother actually was, How I Met Your Mother finally gave fans both and failed spectacularly. Turns out? The Mother wasn't Ted's real love (oh an she died not too long after we meet her, by the way) and he tells this whole long story that was the series to his kids only to get up and go after Robin. I'm sure it sounded good on paper, but it did not play out well at all.
Okay, I know: this is a controversial choice. People either love Lost and it's finale or they hate it and I'm going to be honest -- I wasn't a huge Lost fan. That said, I can respect the show overall and with that in mind I have to say the series finale fell very flat. Were the survivors of Oceanic 815 dead the whole time? Was the whole series about something more? Why are we not getting any answers? Did we really get all the answers and just not know it? Did Jack really just die? It was a fascinating episode, but nearly a decade later and I still have no idea what's it was all about and neither do many viewers. Lost is one of those shows that will always be plagued by its finale, for better or worse.