Sitting down to watch the last episode of a beloved TV show can be more than a little bit nerve-racking. If it's a mystery or horror show, will everything be wrapped up properly or will fans still have frustrating questions? If it's a sitcom, will the characters live happily ever after? If it's a teen drama or even a drama featuring older characters, will everyone end up where they should?
There are some TV series finales that are perfect and others that leave fans with a lot of feelings and confusion. Showrunners often shrug that you just can't make everyone happy, and that does seem to ring true.
Here are the five best and the five worst series finales.
10 Best: Friday Night Lights
Friday Night Lights has one of the best series finales because the characters end up in places that make fans happy. Julie (Aimee Teegarden) and Matt (Zach Gilford) end up together and even decide to get married, which is really sweet. Eric (Kyle Chandler) and Tami Taylor (Connie Britton) leave Dillon, Texas for Philidelphia, which feels right and like the next step for them.
The finale is moving and beautiful and brings up a lot of emotions, which is what any series finale worth its salt should do. A drama like Friday Night Lights is about feeling a lot of emotions, and many fans and critics aren't ashamed to admit that they cried a ton while watching this final go-around.
9 Worst: How I Met Your Mother
How could fans be pleased with a How I Met Your Mother finale where the mother dies? This ending seems like a true fan's worst nightmare.
Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor) finally told the whole tale about his children's mother and shared that she passed away after getting sick. While some fans were pleased that the sitcom suggested Ted and Robyn (Cobie Smulders) ended up together, no one could get down with the sad and heartbreaking storyline about the mother. To say that fans were upset and even angry in some cases would be an understatement.
8 Best: Weeds
Some fans of Weeds felt that the early seasons, which featured Nancy Botwin (Mary Louise Parker) selling weed in suburbia, were the strongest. Others were cool with how the latter seasons featured different locations.
Many fans loved the finale of Weeds because of the scene set to the song "With Arms Outstretched" by Rilo Kiley. Nancy sat on some porch steps while snow fell around her, and she was slowly joined by Doug (Kevin Nealon), Andy (Justin Kirk) and her two sons, Silas (Hunter Parrish) and Shane (Alexander Gould). They were smoking pot, of course. It was a bittersweet and beautiful moment as Nancy smirked and then smiled, knowing that she would be on her own, but feeling okay with it.
7 Worst: Lost
Lost is often used as an example of a disappointing series finale. People were upset that many of the mysteries were left unresolved (like the polar bears being on the island, for example). With regards to the main storyline, people were really annoyed that the final explanation amounted to the characters waiting in a kind of "limbo" so they could all go to "the afterlife" together once they had all passed away.
Not every fan of a TV show agrees and there are definitely some people who were fine with the ending. But for the most part, people were more dissatisfied with it than they were happy.
6 Best: Mad Men
Two major fans of a TV show can watch the same finale episode and one can love it and one can hate it. That could be the case with Mad Men since perhaps some fans had a certain vision for the way the show should wrap up.
From a storytelling perspective, though, the Mad Men series finale is really nicely done. It's honestly the very end that makes this such a beautiful episode. Don Draper (Jon Hamm) is meditating and then we see a really famous Coca-Cola 1971 ad. It's the one that everyone knows; it's called "Hilltop" and has the song "I'd Like To Buy The World A Coke" and, of course, we learned that Don created it. Although some might call that corny, it's hard to argue with that last scene's emotional resonance. It's also great that Peggy (Elizabeth Moss) and Stan (Jay R. Ferguson) decide to be a couple.
5 Worst: The Sopranos
Fans weren't satisfied with the ending of The Sopranos for one main reason: fans aren't sure if Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) dies or not. This has been talked about ever since.
Recently, the show's creator David Chase has been interviewed and people think that he let it slip that Tony did pass away, but that's not completely clear, either.
The truth is that while some creators and showrunners might want to leave a show's ending very open because it feels like the artistic thing to do, fans rarely if ever are into that. They want a clear ending and they want to know what happens to the characters they have been attached to.
4 Best: Dawson's Creek
The series finale of Dawson's Creek is an interesting case because the characters had grown up so much since the pilot. In the first episode, the main characters are teens living in Capeside and going through typical growing pains. In seasons five and six, they were in college.
The finale featured a time jump and the friends were definitely adults. This is one of the best series finales because it's truly satisfying and ensures that everyone ends up where they should. Okay, so it's sad that Jen (Michelle Williams) dies and fans could probably do without that, but Pacey (Joshua Jackson) and Joey (Katie Holmes) end up together. Furthermore, Dawson is doing well and has followed his filmmaking dreams, even earning the opportunity to meet Steven Spielberg. It's a sweet finale.
3 Worst: Seinfeld
The Seinfeld series finale is widely considered one of the worst, and it's honestly tough to believe that this is the same sitcom that had been on the air for nine seasons.
It felt like a clip show since the gang was on trial and many former minor characters came forward to mention former situations. The best episodes of the show feature intertwining storylines that come together at the end and this episode had none of that. It felt very silly and not funny at all. After so many elegant and sophisticated jokes and set-ups, this send-off was incredibly disappointing.
2 Best: Friends
There might be some Friends fans who didn't like the finale because it's not possible to please everyone... but for the most part, people thought this was a good send-off. The six best pals live happily ever after, but not before waving farewell to Monica's apartment (aka the main setting of the show).
It's sweet to know that Ross and Rachel will finally be together, that Monica and Chandler are still in love, and that the rest of the gang are doing well. What more could fans ask for? Honestly, nothing. It was a nice way to say goodbye, especially since the characters decide to grab some cups of coffee together. (Cue the tears.)
1 Worst: Game Of Thrones
The Game of Thrones finale is definitely considered to be one of the worst. While some fans were indifferent to the ending, the majority were disappointed.
Many fans felt the writing had dipped in quality over the past few seasons, particularly the last one. The final season is really rushed and abandons many of the elements that made the earlier seasons really good, such as the political intrigue and deep character moments. It felt like it was just in service of getting to the conclusion as quickly as possible.