The 10 Most ‘WTF’ Television Series Finales

Published 4 years ago by , Updated March 3rd, 2014 at 6:44 am,

top 10 wtf series finales The 10 Most WTF Television Series Finales

Everybody loves television. If you don’t, you’re lying and if you’re not lying then why are you reading an an article about television? Either way, week after week, hundreds of millions of people tune into their favorite televisions shows.

Each year, a select few series must come to an end – either by their own choosing or because of cancellation. In a series finale, writers are forced to find a way bring together everything that viewers have seen in the past seasons and provide a conclusion that leaves fans feeling justified for investing so countless hours watching over the years.

Due to the recent Lost series finale outcry, we put together a list of the top television series finales – not the best ones, not the worst ones, but the ones that make you say, “WTF?”

While I’m sure that many finales could fit this bill, we’ve narrowed it down (using an extremely complicated and nerdy mathematical formula) to the top ten. Some finales that were considered, but not included are Roseanne, The X-Files, Felicity, Veronica Mars, Twin Peaks, M*A*S*H (yes, M*A*S*H) and the aforementioned Lost series finale.

Although, with over 1,700 comments (and counting) in our Lost finale explanation piece, it does appear that maybe I should amend this article and include it as an honorable mention.

Be warned, if there are now-canceled TV shows that you plan to watch on DVD or Blu-ray, this article contains MASSIVE spoilers about what many would consider the most critical episode in a television series entire run.

You have been warned…

In any case, sit back, relax… and get ready to say, “WTF?”

10. Life On Mars (US): “Life Is a Rock”

wtf television series finales life on mars us The 10 Most WTF Television Series Finales

WTF? It’s literally about life on (the way to) Mars.

What better way to start off a WTF list then with an Americanized version of a popular British television show. While the U.K. version of Life on Mars was a brilliant series, the U.S. version paled in comparison. This was never more obvious than in the terrible series finale.

The story of Sam Tyler, a modern-day police detective, who gets hit by a car in 2008 (2006 in the U.K. series) and wakes up in 1973 was a brilliant premise. The mystery of the series was whether or not Sam Tyler actually traveled back in time, is dead or simply in a coma.

After 17 episodes (that’s 1 more episode than the U.K. series had), it was revealed that Sam Tyler had not actually traveled back in time, nor was he was dead or in a coma.

As it turns out, Sam Tyler was actually an astronaut on the first manned mission to Mars, sleeping in a hibernation chamber. The chamber was equipped with computer software that helped the astronauts dream about whatever they wanted. Unfortunately, Sam Tyler’s computer screwed up and thus created the world of 1973.

Suffice to say, this is nowhere near the brilliant ending of the original version. While I won’t spoil it for you, I will tell you that the U.K. version of Life on Mars was voted the #1 greatest TV ending of all time.

You can check out both the terrible U.S. ending as well as the far superior U.K. ending, but if you were at all interested in this series on ABC, I implore you to seek out the original version – you won’t be disappointed.

U.S. Ending

U.K. Ending

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180 Comments

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  1. I’ve just watched the Prisoner remake – everyone responsible for that should go into hiding. Except for Ian McKellen.

  2. the movie was called “Project Alf”

  3. “The Sopranos” finale was indeed WTF but also brilliant, but only for the people that “got it.” I think that’s why the writers of Lost have such a hard on for that ending. Tony was shot and killed. The 10 seconds of black represent his point of view, since that whole sequence was all about what Tony was seeing. I remember “getting it” when I saw it on TV, but I was still pissed! It was a very tense scene.

  4. Man those Alf, Dinosaurs, and David the Gnome selections really caught me off guard. I was young when they aired and watched them, but I never knew how they ended. Alf was like one of my favorite series. I even watched Alf the animated series and Alf tales. Damn. Truly some WTF endings indeed. Good list.

  5. Didn’t someone get abducted by a UFO at the end of The Colbys?

    • You may be thinking of night court

  6. Lois and Clark had a WTF ending as well!!

  7. artisttheone, so you think that Tony Soprano died???

    • I absolutely think he died. I mean, the shots were all from his point of view. The shooter walked to the bathroom, which the camera clearly followed. Then we, as the audience, got to see and hear what Tony saw and heard, which was absolutely nothing! No bell ringing, no vision of his daughter coming in the door, just blackness, to signify death. Because death can happen when you least expect it.

      Also, why pay so much attention to the guy in the coat, not to mention the obvious Godfather reference of when he went to the bathroom to get the gun.

  8. Couple other shows that had wtf endings.

    Sarah Connor Chronicles

    Dark Skies

    Sliders

    • Sarah Connor Chronicles was only intended as a season 2 finale, though. That show was supposed to keep going.

      • I loved Dark Skies, I don’t think it was an ending as more to a start to the next series that never happened.

  9. Some other shows with the wft ending:

    Crusade

    Sleeper Cell

    Jericho

    Earth 2

    American Gothic

    Prison Break

    Jeremiah

    The 4400

    Tilt

    Odyssey 5

    • nerd….

  10. Interesting,,,
    artisttheone, all have to rewatch that. ;-)

  11. i have to agree with the 4400 ending regarding the comment above, as far as PB, did you watch the dvd prison break the final break?

  12. Yeah I did Lippy, it was great.

    I mentioned it because Final Break was a Dvd.

  13. Uh… BATTLESTAR GALACTICA? Hello?
    That piece of crap was apocryphal after the title read “One Year Later” in the season 2 finale. After that, the entire series was “WTF?”.

    BSG deserves the #1 spot. I was VERY surprised it didn’t even make it to the top 10.

    • I understood BSG just fine. Matter of fact, the ending couldn’t have been any better. No way in hell it should be on this list. It is one of the absolute best, beginning to end, shows I have ever experienced. You might want to give it a watch again and make sure you didn’t skip any episodes.

    • BSG wasn’t difficult to understand at all. It wasn’t my favorite series finale but it was pretty good.

  14. (If I may,,,)

    I don’t have a problem with environmentalists but I do have problems with those that use going green and cap and trade as a solution to reverse the so called (man-made) effects of the climate.

    Those same groups all have agendas and they’re not about saving the world. There about making money off of ignorance.

    The biggest problem we as culture face in my opinion is the constant lying news media not carbon dioxide.

    • What are you going on about? This is about WTF tv endings.

  15. You know, with all of this Quantum Leap talk, it brings to mind another show that’s very similar. Kevin McKidd in Journeyman. It wasn’t really such a “WTF” ending but it did just end since they meant it to continue but it ended up being cancelled instead.

    The show was ok, except they really lost me in the whole time jumping plots. Not the concept, but the stories involved in each jump. The people they saved didn’t really seem that important in my opinion. It seems like the only real “bad guy” was a FBI agent, and all of the “good guys” that were soooo important to save were a bunch of hippies from what I remember, lol. Ok, I’m not being completely accurate, but anyway, I did remember that the people being saved in each episode to be less than relatable…

  16. Thank you so much for having Quantum Leap on this list, that was the first show I thought of when I saw the title of this article.
    Some other shows with WTF endings.
    Angel
    Tru Calling
    Charmed
    X files

  17. have i read this somewhere before?

    • Wow, someone wasn’t paying attention…

      So you really think that when a popular tv show with millions of followers ends in a “WTF” way that there won’t be more than a few people in the blog industry that would write about it?

      I’m sure if you look up “best action movies of all time” that there will be several lists that are very similar as well, because most likely more than one person agrees on the matter…

      BTW, this was all addressed already… :-D

    • I find it very strange that the writing style of the Cracked article was very different than Tony’s, since Tony obviously copied from that site, right? :-)

  18. How about TWIN PEAKS?

    • I agree! A midget dancing and talking backwards in a red velvet room, I think it should be no. 1.

  19. Las Vegas had a major cliff hanger ending.

    • well that show got axed unexpectedly, the jerks lol

  20. don’t see what wrong with Seinfeld’s ending. the gan had been jerks for all 8 seasons and now it had come back to bite them. They never reused footage either for that matter.

    Don’t know if they are any anime fans out here but Neon Genesis Evangelion takes the cake. hope you like tang.

  21. Anyone notice the Ron Moore (producer creator) cameo during the last scenes of BSG?

    He’s the guy holding up the National Geographic that has the bones of the Galactica ancestor girl.

    • Yeah I found it a bit jarring actually.

  22. Tony did not die In the finale. The crreator gave an interview after it aired and said so. Should have killed his whiny son and end on a smle.

  23. Hey guys, what about Chris Carter’s Millennium. All Frank Black did was run away with his daughter and his partner joined the bad guys.

    • Frank Blacks’s story ended on an XFILES ep. And I thought Angel had one of the best endings ever.

  24. Personally, for me, the biggest WTF tv ending was The X Files. I watched that show religiously never missing an episode. For what…… did the Aliens ever invade and take over the world, NO. To be honest after reading through the WTF tv endings you have here and remembering the tv shows in the past I have watched. I have come to the conclusion that most script writers don’t know how to end a tv show. Maybe they should all go to a special school for how to not make a WTF ending, and maybe the network execs should go to a school on when to end a tv show and not milk every last bit of cash out of it. SMALLVILLE. SUPERNATURAL. SCRUBS. etc etc.

  25. You do a good job listing what you think the worst endings are, but fail to mention WHY you think any of them are bad. What’s the problem exactly with any of these? Why are they bad?
    Would you rather they do some boring, cliche cookie-cutter ending where the couple that’s been dancing around each other for however many years finally kisses, the badguy is finally defeated and everyone rides off into the sunset?
    I’d rather take an ending that does something I didn’t expect any day.

  26. Yeah…you can add LOST to the WTF…pretty much beginning with the crazy mom episode as the “penultimate” pile of crap they called an episode. My jaw hit the floor when they showed the lighted glory hole, and crashed through the floor when Locke got up out of the wheelchair. I knew exactly where they were going and damned near smashed the TV with the remote.

    I swear to GOD that if I ever see Cuse or Lindelof, I will hit them smack across the face with a fish for that offense. They should be banned from producing anything but Sesame Street and the 700 Club.

    • What exactly was the problem? The fact that they all moved on? Or the fact that they included all religious beliefs in the end (which is clearly not something 700 club would be okay with)?

  27. Agree with all the comments on Trek: Enterprise. Season 4 was just getting good, but the network wasn’t having anymore, so they cobbled this mess together.Stupid final episode, bad choice to cut off the speech, poor casting for the TNG Season 6 actors (tighter girdles and more black dye to cover the grey, please!), but a very nice tag at the end. They skipped 7 years, not 2. The series covered 2150 to 2161 in 4 years.

    Stargate Atlantis needs to be on this list. Nothing resolved, and no movie to tie it all up (so far).

  28. Neon Genesis Evangelion’s ending had a lot to do with it’s budget. It had a proper ending with End of Evangelion movie.
    And, now has a series of great reboot movies.

    Other bad or WTF series finale not listed on this list:

    ST: TNG
    Charmed
    Battlestar Galactica

    The funny thing is that most shows that have many seasons and lots of viewers will never satisfy the hardcore fans with any type of finale. Too much expectation. There are MASH fans who hate the series finale. Same with Cheers fans as well. Even some Buffy fans.