It's not easy to name a TV show or two that managed to stay on air for more than five years without failing its final season spectacularly.
It's understandable, really: once you've set up fans' highest expectations, it's difficult, if not even impossible at all, to meet them again and again, season after season. Here are five popular TV series that failed to do just that, and failed enormously, ending up ruining the whole experience for many viewers.
How I Met Your Mother
You could easily say that HIMYM is the new Friends – at least when it comes to the level of popularity. Over the course of nine seasons we all had been waiting for that mysterious Mother to finally appear in the series, all the while following ups and downs in the lives of our favorite group of friends. Ted and Robin relationship was short-lived, although incredibly romantic, so many fans were not all that surprised when Robin ended up with Barney.
The final season was all about Robin and Barney wedding with rare glimpses of The Mother's backstory and how she met every one of Ted's friends. In the end, though, just as soon as we'd celebrated Barney and Robin exchanging their vows and Ted finding The One, the writers ruined everything with the final episode of the show. It's not that the group drifted apart – in adulthood it happens all the time, and while it's sad, it's also very relatable. The biggest beef fans had with the show was that the writers effectively destroyed all the progress our beloved characters made over the course of the story. Barney and Robin divorced, The Mother died, and Ted ended up loitering under Robin's windows again – just like in the very beginning. It's understandable that the HIMYM fans were heartbroken and angry, given how much progress the characters made (and how invested were the fans in said progress). Many refused to accept the series finale at all, choosing to believe in Ted and The Mother's happy ending instead.
The first season was great, and the second one even better – which is quite rare on TV, to say the least. Don't get us wrong, the follow up was not all that bad either, and antagonists were intriguing enough, but making Dexter – who is essentially a serial killer – a father changed the show's whole dynamic, with the series gradually shifting into something else. Dexter had been such a success that renewals were justified and eagerly awaited – but in the end the showrunners found themselves backed in a corner.
To make the finale more dramatic (read: purely for the shock value), the writers made some very questionable creative choices. Debra was killed off, and Hannah became so flat and two-dimensional with a poorly written motivation to boot, that fans declared her basically dead to them. The biggest problem was Dexter himself, who, after being a serial killer through and through, somehow, miraculously, reformed and suddenly didn't feel like killing anymore. Maybe all of it could have been balanced with Dexter's death, but nope – he just disappeared instead, becoming some sort of a lumberjack, and fans felt cheated and extremely aggravated by that choice of an open ending. It was obvious that the writers left a room for some sort of a sequel – and, N years later, we indeed got another season, this one finally ending Dexter's story for good.
In the history of "They just don't know when to quit" the Scrubs' final season was – still is – one of the biggest examples. For eight years straight Scrubs was one of the most popular shows on TV, delicately balancing comedy and drama, heartfelt moments and lessons in humanity. Characters had been developing gradually and progressing naturally, and the ending of the story was nearly perfect: the students became the teachers, The Janitor found his perfect match, Cox and Kelso made peace and even entered a tentative friendship, JD and Elliot got together for good this time, and Turk and Carla found out they were gonna be parents. The finale episode saw our favorite characters saying their goodbyes and wrapping everything up perfectly with a bow on top. It seemed that the showrunners managed to achieve something almost impossible, actually creating a perfect ending.
…And then came season 9.
Centered around a group of new characters, season 9 tried to recreate the success of the Scrubs' first seasons, once again introducing viewers to a bunch of interns. Except the new characters were flat, poorly written and plain unlikable, their story arcs boring, and even Cox, Turk and JD being mentors couldn't possibly save that disaster of an unnecessary season. With its ending as lackluster as its beginning, the Scrubs season 9 went down in history as the biggest showrunners' mistake.
Just like Scrubs, House MD could have become a rare example of a TV series with a perfect ending – if only the showrunners decided to wrap it in season 7. The season 7 finale with House deciding to leave everything behind could have served as the perfect series finale, but the showrunners decided that the characters had to suffer some more.
Suffer quite literally: season 8 saw Wilson getting diagnosed with cancer and Lisa disappearing entirely. What were extremely complex procedures (bone marrow, anyone?) in the previous seasons now became something mundane and almost comically easy. House torturing everyone around him was also nothing new, however hard he tried to outdo himself in season 8. So yeah, when House told Wilson that "cancer is boring", we couldn't help but point out that it was the season 8 that was boring.
Somehow the series managed to get to season 6 without being riddled with glaring continuity mistakes and questionable plot twists, but those final episodes ruined all that. The actors clearly didn't want to put their all into acting anymore, the writers weren't interested in creating interesting story arcs and making the characters believable, and, well, it wasn't all that surprising when True Blood fans basically declared the show dead before it was actually cancelled. Season 7 was, by all accounts, a disaster: Tara and Alcide were written off in the very beginning, Bill was unceremoniously killed off, there were no vampires vs humans face offs that could spark at least a bit of interest. And Sookie ending up with some random guy whose name we didn't even get to learn was, quite frankly, just a cherry on top of that very unfortunate cake.