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Does a bad series finale ruin an otherwise great multi season show?

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Does a bad series finale ruin an otherwise great multi season show?

Old 06-28-19, 09:22 AM
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Re: Does a bad series finale ruin an otherwise great multi season show?

House of Cards rocked when Kevin Spacey was on. Once he got fired, it was fucking godawful.
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Old 06-28-19, 10:14 AM
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Re: Does a bad series finale ruin an otherwise great multi season show?

I think the main difference is if a series is primarily comprised of standalone episodes or if it's a long story arc show. So something like LOST is worse because the series was just a long story arc with a terrible ending. But Seinfeld is fine because each episode was standalone so it's easy to just completely ignore the suckass finale and still enjoy the rest of its episodes.
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Old 06-28-19, 11:17 AM
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Re: Does a bad series finale ruin an otherwise great multi season show?

And sometimes a series finale makes me love the show even more. Hello "Newhart" and "Six Feet Under".
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Old 06-28-19, 12:08 PM
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Re: Does a bad series finale ruin an otherwise great multi season show?

Originally Posted by Groucho View Post

The tough thing about Lost is that it bounced back with an amazing fifth season, and then threw it all away for the last one.


Season four was the Pinnacle. Season 5 began the long slow decline to the finale.
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Old 06-28-19, 12:38 PM
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Re: Does a bad series finale ruin an otherwise great multi season show?

Originally Posted by dhmac View Post
I think the main difference is if a series is primarily comprised of standalone episodes or if it's a long story arc show. So something like LOST is worse because the series was just a long story arc with a terrible ending. But Seinfeld is fine because each episode was standalone so it's easy to just completely ignore the suckass finale and still enjoy the rest of its episodes.
Agree. When a series is comprised of standalone stories like a sitcom or procedural, then it's easy to ignore bad episodes or seasons that don't work. Seinfeld sort of took a hit after Larry David left in last two seasons.

But when you have a serialized or mythology based show, but episodes, seasons, and finales tend to drag the whole thing down. Lost is a good example of this; Game of Thrones is probably going to end up like Lost, where the shit final seasons drags down the whole series and kill the replay value.

X-Files is an odd case, where it's part procedural and part serialized mythology. They botched greater the mythology, but the standalones are still watchable.
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Old 06-29-19, 05:40 PM
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Re: Does a bad series finale ruin an otherwise great multi season show?

Agreed that a rock solid finale would enhance the stature of the series. The best series finale I saw the in the past three years was by 12 Monkeys, and it really elevated the overall journey from beginning to end.
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Old 06-29-19, 05:47 PM
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Re: Does a bad series finale ruin an otherwise great multi season show?

Not completely, but it sure doesn't help.
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Old 06-29-19, 06:38 PM
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Re: Does a bad series finale ruin an otherwise great multi season show?

Miami Vice had a good season finale which made up for the suckiness of season 5.
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Old 07-01-19, 10:04 PM
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Re: Does a bad series finale ruin an otherwise great multi season show?

Originally Posted by B5Erik View Post
I don't get it.

If you like a series, like most of the episodes, why would you NOT watch it again in the future just because the last episode or even the last season wasn't good?

That would be like not watching Star Wars, Empire, or Jedi ever again just because you hated the prequels.
There's a difference there though. The first three Star Wars movies were their own self-contained trilogy. You can watch them and get a full story with beginning, middle, and end. Hell, just watch Star Wars. It's how I can like The Matrix and just ignore the sequels.

With a serialized TV show, you often don't have an ending if you don't watch the finale. It's a bit like saying "why would you not read a novel again just because the ending isn't any good?" You can't just read half a novel and have a satisfying experience.

That said, I voted "it depends." Heavily serialized TV shows is a relatively new occurrence. Some serialized shows take the story season by season, with nearly every season being its own story, or there may be good end points before the finale. Buffy could've ended after the first season and been a satisfying show. Or after season 3. Or season 5. And for shows that are much more procedural with some serialized elements, just watching up until it jumps the shark may be fine. Bones I stopped watching after Bones and Booth got married. Honestly, it had started going downhill before that, but I got to that point and was like, "I'm good." I watched Castle until the end, and even though the finale had a hastily slapped on final scene, I was fine with it, because the show didn't really have any loose ends to tie up.

Shows that have nearly no serialized elements can be stopped at any time. Columbo didn't really end on a high note, and the last episode wasn't made with the knowledge that it'd be the last, but it doesn't diminish the excellent show that came before it. Married with Children also had a non-final finale, and had been going downhill for a while, but it was still enjoyable and doesn't take away from the show in its prime. I don't know if The Simpsons will ever end, and I stopped watching years and years ago, but the first dozen or so seasons are still fondly remembered.

Last edited by Jay G.; 07-02-19 at 06:56 AM.
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Old 07-02-19, 09:18 AM
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Re: Does a bad series finale ruin an otherwise great multi season show?

I was trying to vote yes when my tablet slipped. I have no desire to watch GoT again after the fiasco of the last season. It is more than unfortunate that the producers were allowed to ruin such a great series. Even if everyone was getting burned out, they should have still been able to complete two final normal-sized seasons and brought a fleshed out, satisfying ending to arguably the greatest series ever made (up to a couple of years ago).
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Old 07-02-19, 09:42 AM
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Re: Does a bad series finale ruin an otherwise great multi season show?

Obviously it comes down to how much you can separate the finale from the rest of the show. Serialized shows, you're always going to be thinking of how everyone ended up, I don't think there's a way around that. That's why something like How I Met Your Mother is hard for me to watch, it wasn't as serialized as most shows but the premise is right there in most episodes and I just can't forget the finale.

On a completely different note, this also applies to separating how you feel about actors from their performances. It's hard to watch OJ on the Naked Gun. I'm not sure I can ever watch the Cosby show or Fat Albert again.
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Old 07-02-19, 10:50 AM
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Re: Does a bad series finale ruin an otherwise great multi season show?

Originally Posted by Michael Corvin View Post


Season four was the Pinnacle. Season 5 began the long slow decline to the finale.
FWIW, in Lost Sheep, season five beat out season four as the most-popular answer for "best season other than the first".
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Old 07-02-19, 04:26 PM
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Re: Does a bad series finale ruin an otherwise great multi season show?

Originally Posted by leeta View Post
I was trying to vote yes when my tablet slipped. I have no desire to watch GoT again after the fiasco of the last season. It is more than unfortunate that the producers were allowed to ruin such a great series. Even if everyone was getting burned out, they should have still been able to complete two final normal-sized seasons and brought a fleshed out, satisfying ending to arguably the greatest series ever made (up to a couple of years ago).
It's a lot like Dexter. The first four seasons still have replay value, but from five to eight, it's a downward spiral.

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Old 07-05-19, 02:42 PM
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Re: Does a bad series finale ruin an otherwise great multi season show?

As many others have said, it depends. On the one end, I haven't rewatched the Seinfeld finale since it first aired, but it doesn't impact my enjoyment of any of the other episodes. On the other end, I doubt I'll ever rewatch Lost or The X-Files because of their final seasons. And, somewhere in the middle, I can just pretend that Enterprise never had a finale since (no spoilers) it barely felt like it was part of the same series.
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Old 07-05-19, 03:17 PM
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Re: Does a bad series finale ruin an otherwise great multi season show?

Originally Posted by printerati View Post
On the other end, I doubt I'll ever rewatch Lost or The X-Files because of their final seasons.
Which "final season" of The X-Files are you referring to? I never watched season 9 or seen the original finale, but I did watch seasons 10 & 11. Those later seasons are rough, but have at least one gem of an episode: "Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster".
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Old 07-05-19, 03:19 PM
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Re: Does a bad series finale ruin an otherwise great multi season show?

Originally Posted by Josh-da-man View Post
Seinfeld sort of took a hit after Larry David left in last two seasons.
"Sir, you are entitled to your own opinion and it is wrong." -Howard Cosell (I think)

Sorry, but I'm so sick of people making this untrue claim. The fact is Seinfeld was perfectly fine after Larry David left. Nearly every David Puddy appearance, Festivus, George's boss Mr. Kruger, Yada Yada Yada, Serenity Now, Frogger, and a lot of other great Seinfeld stuff all came after Larry David left the show. The only genuine shark jump moment in the entire series occurred when Larry David returned to the show to write the finale. Without him, Seinfeld probably would've had a decent finale. With him, it had one of the worst finales ever.
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Old 07-05-19, 06:08 PM
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Re: Does a bad series finale ruin an otherwise great multi season show?

Originally Posted by dhmac View Post
"Sir, you are entitled to your own opinion and it is wrong." -Howard Cosell (I think)

Sorry, but I'm so sick of people making this untrue claim. The fact is Seinfeld was perfectly fine after Larry David left. Nearly every David Puddy appearance, Festivus, George's boss Mr. Kruger, Yada Yada Yada, Serenity Now, Frogger, and a lot of other great Seinfeld stuff all came after Larry David left the show. The only genuine shark jump moment in the entire series occurred when Larry David returned to the show to write the finale. Without him, Seinfeld probably would've had a decent finale. With him, it had one of the worst finales ever.
It's not like Larry David shits gold or anything (he wrote the finale, after all) but I think Seinfeld peaked in the third and fourth seasons, and as it dragged on, the plots became odder and more cartoony, and less relatable and more contrived. I think the first episode where I really picked up on this was "The Puffy Shirt" back in season five.

I don't know that Larry David departure was the issue, or the death of Susan (which David was also responsible for) at the end of Season Seven, but much of seasons eight and nine just seem forced and peculiar. There's a definite tonal shift as the series goes on, and the last two seasons seemed to amp this up. Almost all sitcoms go through this cycle, and Seinfeld was no exception.

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Old 07-06-19, 11:15 AM
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Re: Does a bad series finale ruin an otherwise great multi season show?

Originally Posted by Josh-da-man View Post
It's not like Larry David shits gold or anything (he wrote the finale, after all) but I think Seinfeld peaked in the third and fourth seasons, and as it dragged on, the plots became odder and more cartoony, and less relatable and more contrived. I think the first episode where I really picked up on this was "The Puffy Shirt" back in season five.

I don't know that Larry David departure was the issue, or the death of Susan (which David was also responsible for) at the end of Season Seven, but much of seasons eight and nine just seem forced and peculiar. There's a definite tonal shift as the series goes on, and the last two seasons seemed to amp this up. Almost all sitcoms go through this cycle, and Seinfeld was no exception.
I would agree that Seinfeld's best seasons were when Larry David wrote a majority of the episodes, but he stopped doing that a couple of seasons before he left. So I see no inconsistencies in the show between Seasons 6-7 and Seasons 8-9 and I think the idea that it declined AFTER he left is total bunk.

Here's the number of "Seinfeld" episodes written or co-written by Larry David...

Season 1: 4 out of the 5 episodes (including the actual pilot episode)
Season 2: 8 out of the 12 episodes
Season 3: 13 out of the 23 episodes
Season 4: 13 out of the 24 episodes
Season 5: 9 out of the 22 episodes
Season 6: 6 out of the 24 episodes
Season 7: 6 out of the 24 episodes
(Larry David leaves the show)
Season 8: 0 out of the 22 episodes
Season 9: 2 out of the 24 episodes (counting "The Finale" as 2 episodes)


BTW, I recently got a stark reminder of how bad the "Seinfeld" finale was when the "Legal Eagle" channel did a lawyer's review of the episode for legal accuracy (spoiler: it gets a very low rating) and just the clips used show just how painfully bad the episode is. As someone who still likes to watch "Seinfeld" reruns, "The Finale" is actually worse than I remembered.

Watch it for yourself if you want to share the pain:



Inviting Larry David back to write the finale (which was SOLELY by him, no co-writers) was such a mistake that it's the worst mistake that the show ever made.

Last edited by dhmac; 07-06-19 at 11:20 AM.
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Old 07-06-19, 11:43 AM
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Re: Does a bad series finale ruin an otherwise great multi season show?

I rewatched every episode in the last couple years and the finales awfulness is way overblown. It's a good episode just not the greatness everyone was hoping for.
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Old 07-06-19, 12:30 PM
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Re: Does a bad series finale ruin an otherwise great multi season show?

Originally Posted by Jeremy517 View Post
FWIW, in Lost Sheep, season five beat out season four as the most-popular answer for "best season other than the first".
I've been rewatching Lost over the last few months for the first time since it aired so that I could decide for myself if the last season really did ruin it for me (spoiler alert: it didn't), and I found that I enjoyed season 5 much more than season 4. Even after just watching them the two kind of blur together, but I think the writer's strike really hurt season 4. I just didn't care much about the freighter business and we were never given the proper time to care about those characters. Season 5 is kind of bonkers, but it's at least fun.

I will say that watching it outside of the context of the day to day hype and lindelof and cuse's back and forth with the fans was a refreshing experience. I get that was a lot of the appeal at the time, but it was nice to just view it as a tv show and nothing more.
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Old 07-06-19, 04:00 PM
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Re: Does a bad series finale ruin an otherwise great multi season show?

The Constant is better than all of season 5 which helps elevate it for me. Season 5 wasn't bad but once they introduced Jacob as a character it just started going downhill. Which looking it up was the season 5 finale. Season 6 is still straight up trash.

Originally Posted by The Questyen View Post
I rewatched every episode in the last couple years and the finales awfulness is way overblown. It's a good episode just not the greatness everyone was hoping for.
I feel the same about the final season of Friends which also gets shit on. When I catch them mixed into all the other episodes in syndication, they are no worse than what came before. There may be fewer jokes but it's awfulness is overblown.
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Old 07-06-19, 08:45 PM
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Re: Does a bad series finale ruin an otherwise great multi season show?

There were plenty of great Seinfeld episodes after Larry David left the show as full-time showrunner/writer, though consistency definitely took a hit. I thought the last season was a bit so-so even before the much derided finale.
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Old 07-07-19, 09:13 AM
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Re: Does a bad series finale ruin an otherwise great multi season show?

Seinfeld is all about the individual episodes, so the finale didn't really hurt its legacy IMO. In fact, if you count David's Curb Your Enthusiasm episodes about the "proper send off" as canon, then it kind of did get a better ending. Entourage sucked in its last two seasons, but then they did the movie to rectify a lot of it. I still love Entourage overall and each season is kind of a self contained story, so no real harm there. GOT is complicated. I find that while the later seasons pretty much sucked in terms of story , they were still a blast to watch if you're someone who's into deep fantasy. But therein lies the rub. Martin's original story was never really about the deep fantasy stuff , it merely served as a backdrop to the characters. I like both and will probably get the deluxe Blu-Ray set if it's really loaded down with extras. I can go back and visit the earlier episodes to tide me over until Martin delivers the "real" ending (if that ever happens).
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Old 07-07-19, 09:35 AM
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Re: Does a bad series finale ruin an otherwise great multi season show?

Originally Posted by The Questyen View Post
I rewatched every episode in the last couple years and the finales awfulness is way overblown. It's a good episode just not the greatness everyone was hoping for.
Iíve always felt this way about it too. Not a great episode and I can see why some people were disappointed in it to a degree, but it definitely is watchable and not nearly so bad to the point that it meets the topic of this thread.
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Old 07-07-19, 02:55 PM
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Re: Does a bad series finale ruin an otherwise great multi season show?

I am not sure about final episodes, but final seasons can make me never want to watch it again. Such is the case with Lost and Battlestar Galactica from a few years back.

The Seinfeld reunion, while not great, was not bad either. I think their being assholes all those years catching up with them was pretty clever. Also, seasons 8 and 9 are as good as any other seasons of the show.
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