If a TV Show Ends Badly Does it Affect a Viewer Re-watching it?
As someone who loves to binge watch television programs, I get the attachment both to the characters and the story being built over hours and hours of entertainment. People differ in their taste of what makes a show entertaining, of course they do. But there are those shows which absolutely everyone seems to watch and they are discussed with the assumption that everyone has seen every single second of them on the screen. People dash home from work to watch, whether they are live on TV or via a streaming service, sometimes both.
There is an addiction there with popular shows, we become a part of them and they in turn become a part of us. Maybe we identify with a character, a plot, or a relationship within the show. Maybe we like how it makes us feel; whether that be amused, scared or maybe even a little creeped out. Maybe we just watch because everyone else is. Whatever the reason, we get stuck into shows. They draw us in right from the first few scenes, the first few moments.
Something resonates with us and we are so thankful for this show and its ability to pull us into its world for the duration of the episode(s). We fall in love with the characters and we laugh, cry, feel for them in all of their adventures. The first seasons are the best; when the writing is the freshest, the acting is on point and, more importantly, our interest is at its highest.
We all have our favourite shows where the whole thing was perfect, more or less.
The characters acted as you wanted them to. The story took the twists and turns which made sense to you. The ending was well thought out and planned — as if you had written it yourself.
Then, there are those other shows. We all have those too. The ones that leave you speechless, for all the wrong reasons. The ones whose endings leave a lot to be desired. The ones which destroy that perfect world, that perfect character or that illusion of perfection which it had spent so long creating. You could be alone with your views or you could be part of a huge group of people very vocal about how bad the ending was and how disappointed you all are.
That Game of Thrones ending.
Of course the recent example was the extremely popular show, Game of Thrones. Possibly a show as unlikely to be popular as any other — an R rated show about life in times of kings and queens, of warfare with swords, incest, and dragons. However, it soon had this massive cult following and everyone was watching. As soon as it was on. Streaming services were taking over it seemed, until GoT and then, suddenly, people are watching live TV again. This show was being watched at the same time around the country and talked about in earnest. People fell in love with the characters and the complicated plots and the sheer violence of it all.
The two year gap between the final seasons did the writers no favours in my opinion, and neither did Martin’s failure to write the final book — leaving them to shoulder the huge responsibility of ending the show the right way. I think they were doomed before they started. This show was so loved that no ending would possibly satisfy everyone.
As it happened, I loved the ending. I felt like it tied everything up and both huge things (no spoilers here) were perfect in my eyes. Very symbolic and very apt.
I think the main reasons for my enjoyment of the ending were; a) I hadn’t read the books, and b) I joined the show very, very late. I didn’t experience the long wait for the final season. That wait where the show is probably re-watched while the anticipation builds and it becomes this perfect show, on this huge pedestal and the final season cannot possibly be as good because of this.
I have had my fair share of disappointing endings, however. Not least was Dexter. I joined late, but not too long after the show started. So I was there for the journey. I feel like that’s important when it comes to the ending. It hurts more if you were there every step, rather than binge watching — in my opinion.
I was devastated with the ending of Dexter (again no spoilers here) I was attached to the characters and I felt like it was a poor ending. Apparently people agreed, the show is rated at 8.7 on IMDb and the finale has a measly 4.6. I think the reason for the disappointment here was the shock factor in the demise of one of the show’s best-loved characters.
Other shows which ended badly in my opinion include; How I Met Your Mother, True Blood, Scrubs, and Lost. The first one there suffered, I think, because of the clear shift in narrative. Suddenly it wasn’t so much about The Mother anymore (hopefully that’s not a spoiler!) and fans were angry, myself included. Scrubs suffered after the loss of so many of its main characters. True Blood and Lost got stranger and stranger in my opinion. Meaning that a lot of fans were alienated by the end. Although Lost’s finale was rated highly, 8.2… it almost always appears on ‘worst ending’ lists. Maybe fans were simply glad for some answers.
I have since re-watched all of the above shows, and enjoyed them again. Up to the horrible endings of course. I enjoy the journey, and as a writer, it intrigues me to look at where I think they went wrong and what I would hypothetically do better. It’s good for my writing to re-watch shows I love. To watch those characters develop and the plotlines unravel. I like to write while watching something which is a completely different genre to the piece or book I’m working on. I find it takes away the silence and the pressure to put words into a document.
These shows are all a part of me, just like everyone’s favourite shows are a part of them. For every Friends, which ended perfectly, there’s a Scrubs. For every show which left viewers wanting more by ending too soon, there’s a Prison Break which just does not know when to quit. But, more importantly, where would we be without these shows? Maybe reading more books, but more likely, we’d be uploading even more photos or finding other things to complain about.