TV Shows That Are Better If You Skip The Final Season

According to a 2016 study by consulting firm Deloitte, 70 percent of U.S. consumers binge-watch TV shows, averaging roughly five episodes per couch- or bed-surfing session. Sadly, with so much great TV out there, it's practically impossible to catch up on the backlog of shows that may have caught your fancy over the years. Luckily, certain TV shows are better if you skip the final season—which means you can have your That '70s Show cake and eat it, too.


There's a reason IGN referred to Season 6 of Lost as "quite possibly the most scrutinized season of television in history." After introducing the concept of time travel into the series' premise in Season 4, the final season of the ABC drama dropped that storyline completely in favor of a new mythology that failed to resolve many of the show's central mysteries: Why were they on the island? Who else was on the island? Is there magic here, or just some weird science stuff with the Dharma Initiative? Why were Hurley's lottery numbers bad luck? And why did they make such a big deal about the four-toed statue?!

Granted, there was no way to satisfy all fans, given the vast amount of loose ends showrunners were left with as Season 6 drew to a conclusion. And for every fan who took to Twitter in anger, there are others who remember Lost as one of "the most thrilling, surprising, memorable dramas in the history of American network television."

That '70s Show

A blonde Donna? A Jackie and Fez relationship? The truly terrible character that was Randy? Let's face it: without Eric and Kelso—whose portrayers Topher Grace and Ashton Kutcher left the series at the end of Season 7 and early in Season 8, respectively—That '70s Show lost much of the goofy humor and quirky optimism that made it such a hit following its 1998 premiere on Fox.

In all honesty, the show had the opportunity to come to a satisfying end in Season 6, with just a few tweaks. Think about it. Donna and Eric could have gotten married like they planned, Kelso could have moved to Chicago a bit earlier to be closer to his daughter and make a go of it with Brooke, and Hyde could have proposed to Jackie at Donna and Eric's wedding after finding his real father. Sounds perfect, right?

The Office

While most people would point toward the final season of The Office as the series' worst, others are of the opinion that the last two seasons would be better left disappearing into TV history. Season 8 was the first without Michael Scott, whose portrayer Steve Carell left after Season 7 to concentrate on his movie career. From focusing on awful characters like Andy Bernard and Robert California to the introduction of the documentary crew and Andy's weird storylines, the deadpan humor and spirit of the earlier seasons seemed to fade away right along with Michael's departure from Dunder Mifflin.

If you decide to dive into The Office for the first time, you might be better off stopping with "Goodbye, Michael."

How I Met Your Mother

How I Met Your Mother's series finale stirred up a fair share of controversy when it aired in 2014, but truth be told, Season 9 in general was largely a waste of time. Attempting to stretch an entire season over a single weekend resulted in far too many filler moments and silly plot points. (Marshall and Daphne's road trip, anyone?) Forcing viewers to watch Barney and Robin's wedding unfold—only to have the finale tear the still-newlyweds apart—angered many longtime fans who had invested themselves in the unlikely (but also kind of perfect) relationship.

And although it was lovely to learn more about the titular Mother over the course of Season 9, the too-brief glimpses we saw of her life before she met Ted lessened the impact of her eventual death. The show's final moments, which saw Ted reunite with Robin a few years after Tracy's untimely demise, might be the most divisive five minutes in television history.


Glee started having problems long before Season 6 premiered in 2015, but for every great storyline over its final 13 episodes (Santana and Brittany's wedding! Rachel's reunion with Jesse St. James!), there were other plot points Glee forgot about (like Quinn's relationship with Puck, which was rekindled in Season 5 and then promptly abandoned) or never should have introduced (like Rachel's silly relationship with Sam).

Regardless, the tragic death of star Cory Monteith—combined with the show's juggling between Lima and New York beginning in Season 4—made it hard for Glee to recapture the magic of its earlier seasons. Luckily, the Season 5 closer can easily serve as a series finale.


Though it's no secret the Dexter finale was less than loved by fans—even series star Michael C. Hall hated it—the entirety of Season 8 is better left unwatched. After a creative resurgence in Season 7 that saw the potty-mouthed Deb murder Captain Maria LaGuerta to protect everyone's favorite serial killer, Dexter's final season failed to tell the story most viewers wanted to see. Though a majority of TV shows require a suspension of disbelief, the idea Miami Metro's squad members would fail to see the killer they had worked with for so many years was simply too implausible.

Throw in Dexter's baffling fate as an anonymous Oregon lumberjack, and even the trend of TV reboots couldn't right the showrunners' tragic wrongs.

The O.C.

To put it simply, The O.C. should have died at the end of Season 3, just like main character Marissa Cooper. Though the teen soap was never "must-see" TV, it created some pop culture icons over time, what with introducing the world to the concept of Chrismukkah and Season 2's glorious Spider-man kiss between Seth and Summer. But when series star Mischa Barton flew the coop in search of bigger and brighter things, the show brought the secondary character of Taylor Townsend (played by the lovely Autumn Reeser) to the forefront and sent Summer off to college to pal around with a supremely annoying guy named Che. Though Taylor had her moments, it was just plain weird to see Ryan with anyone other than Marissa—and The O.C. was never the same after that.


The award-winning sitcom featuring the Conners, an average American family living in Illinois, ran for nine seasons at ABC. What made Roseanne different from other family shows was that it defied "the classic ... stereotypes with good storytelling and a basic understanding of the human psyche," according to The Artifice. But Season 9 saw the working-class Conners win the lottery and saw the titular Roseanne imagine herself in a number of ridiculous scenarios, including dreams that thrust her into the alternate realities of Evita, I Dream of Jeanie, and The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

The kicker? In the series finale, a voiceover reveals that none of it was real—the Conners never won the lottery, and everything else that happened over the previous 23 episodes was a story Roseanne wrote to deal with the death of her husband, Dan. That's right, the lovable family man known as Dan Conner never recovered from his Season 8 heart attack, and that's not the only thing that turned out to be a lie. (Jackie's the lesbian?)


Weeds started to go off the rails after Season 3, when the Showtime comedy ditched its catchy theme song "Little Boxes" along with town of Agrestic and fan-favorite character Celia. But suburban-mom-turned-pot-dealer Nancy Botwin—who was never the model parent—became even less likable in the show's final season, which featured jumbled storylines that were seemingly brushed aside as quickly as they were introduced. The series finale jumped forward several years to reveal that Nancy never really changed. Luckily, though, most of the people around her were able to transcend the consequences of her selfishness. (Sorry, Shane.)

Gilmore Girls

Granted, Amy Sherman-Palladino and Dan Palladino—the creators behind Gilmore Girls—redeemed themselves with 2016's Netflix revival of the former CW property. But before Lorelai and Rory's triumphant return to our TV screens, its much-maligned Season 7 cast a dark shadow over the show's legacy for years.

What happened is no secret. The Palladinos exited the show at the end of Season 6 after contract negotiations went poorly. Under the new showrunners, longtime fans of the show noticed a dip in quality and an uptick in awkward pacing, not to mention the travesty that was Lorelai's marriage to baby daddy Christopher. If you're going to watch any part of Season 7, skip ahead to the erstwhile series finale ... even though it took 22 long episodes for Luke and Lorelai to find their way back to each other, their reunion (and subsequent wedding in A Year in the Life) is worth tuning in for.