The 9 Worst Sci-Fi/Fantasy Season Finales of All Time

Thursday, 07 April 2016 - 9:27AM
Comic Book TV Shows
The Walking Dead
X-Files
Thursday, 07 April 2016 - 9:27AM
The 9 Worst Sci-Fi/Fantasy Season Finales of All Time
The Walking Dead just murdered its viewers--literally--with a terrible, anticlimactic season finale that was almost universally despised by fans and critics alike. But where did it rank among the blunders of sci-fi and fantasy TV show for the past few decades? Here's our list of the worst genre season finales, vaguely in order from least to most facepalm-worthy:

Arrow season 3



The third season of Arrow was already a disappointment, particularly as a result of its increased focus on melodramatic romance subplots. Big Olicity fans might have been happy to see Oliver literally ride off into the sunset, but for everyone else it was a huge letdown.

Gotham season 1



It almost feels unfair to single out one episode of Gotham, since pretty much every episode is an absolute mess, but the first season finale was particularly absurd. Barbara randomly became a full-on villain because the audience already hated her, Nygma descended into a psychotic break faster than you can say "Riddle me this," and at one point there was a failed mob hit involving a rocket launcher. I've heard season two got marginally better, but after this mess I wasn't prepared to subject myself to more of this terrible show.

X-Files season 9



A disproportionate number of the episodes on this list are series finales, because they are the most likely to fail at the daunting task of wrapping everything up. And while we didn't expect the X-Files series finale to answer all of questions posed by the convoluted mythology, we did expect some sort of big payoff after nine seasons, and instead we got Mulder and Scully lying together in a hotel room (aw) awaiting an apocalypse--that wouldn't happen for ten more years. They were clearly setting up a movie franchise, which made it even more infuriating when they didn't address the alien apocalypse in the terrible follow-up film or the almost equally terrible television reboot.

Heroes season 3


Heroes spectacularly fell apart after the first season, so it's hard to pick just one, but the third season finale was particularly absurd. The Nathan/Sylar twist was mind-numbingly stupid, made even more frustrating by the fact that Sylar had so clearly overstayed his welcome. If Heroes doesn't teach writers to kill their darlings, I don't know what will.

True Blood season 6



True Blood was once beloved for its soapy romances and brutal bursts of violence, and the series finale somehow failed to deliver on either. All of the final couplings were entirely forced and contrived, and the entire finale was completely lackluster and lacking in fangs. When you've built an entire show on a love triangle, and your protagonist somehow ends up with a nameless character who is essentially a glorified extra, you've done something wrong.

Quantum Leap season 5


When they shot the finale for Quantum Leap, the producers were trying to leave the door open for a season six, which meant an ambiguous, cliffhanger ending. This might have been fine, but the news that it was canceled led to the hastily added, gut-punching postscript: "Dr. Sam Becket never returned home." Really? They couldn't even spell his name right??

The Walking Dead season 6



This one has the benefit of immediacy, but I think going forward, it will rank pretty highly. I've hardly ever seen a fanbase so united in its hatred for an episode, and for all that we thought The Walking Dead was invulnerable in the ratings, this shameless trick will likely cost them some viewers. The only shows that beat Walking Dead for shitting the bed, in fact, are the two most hated sci-fi finales of all time:

Battlestar Galactica season 4



After four seasons of building a complex, ambiguous mythology, BSG ruined it all with ridiculously neat endings for all of the characters and an insultingly simplistic deus ex machina. It's still one of our favorite shows, but we're also still bitter that it didn't get a worthy ending.

Lost season 6



You knew this one was coming. As the mythology became more and more convoluted, the powers-that-be continued to insist that A) the island wasn't purgatory, and B) they knew what they were doing. The series finale proved that the latter, at least, was a total lie, that after six years of fans tracking every detail of the mythos, they really were just yanking our chains all along. Shows like X-Files or Battlestar also failed to satisfyingly wrap up their mythologies, but Lost tops the list because the mythology was basically the entire point. I would still tell anyone to watch Battlestar who will listen, because it has amazing characterizations and philosophical themes, but why would anyone watch Lost if they know they'll never get to find out what the island is?
Science Fiction
Sci-Fi TV Shows
Comic Book TV Shows
The Walking Dead
X-Files

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