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? 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.