Even as someone who never got into ‘Lost’, I can sympathize with those who lament it’s problematic and nonsensical ending.  After all, I was in my teens when I first encountered ‘The Prisoner’, and that show’s final episode will leave you confused, frightened and oddly craving gyros.  (That last one may just be me, though.)  Still, there are a great many shows that never even got to do that much, leaving our characters adrift forever in the world of syndication, as seems to be the case with the recent cancellation of ‘Community.’  Of course, for certain series it actually works to their advantage.  The lack of a wrap-up is sometimes credited with the success of ‘The Brady Bunch’ and ‘Gilligan’s Island’ in syndication, knowing that you can jump in anywhere and the story will make about as much sense, a theory that seems pretty attractive when contrasted with television moments like the tonally odd (and widely disliked) wrap-up of ‘How I Met Your Mother.’  Indeed, the whole enterprise of the wrap-up story raises today’s query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) found his ten-year-old’s deconstruction of the plot holes of ‘Rescue From Gillian’s Island’ to be both astute and pride-inducing, reminding me of Hermes’ legendary words, “That raises even MORE questions!”, asking: If you had to choose between a bad end orNO ending at all for your favorite pop culture, which would you prefer?


About Author

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.


  1. Give me no ending- at least it leaves open the dream of more instead of a ham-fisted and unsatisfactory closure.

    • Ragnabot9000 on

      I’d much rather no ending than a bad ending. A bad ending doesn’t in anyway ruin your enjoyment up until that point but I’d rather be left wondering “What if…” than “it was good until seas on six.”

  2. Malone_hasco on

    Given choice from those two, definitely no ending. That leaves at least room for imagination what could happen or hope for more in the future.

  3. I’m going to have to agree with everyone else here and go with no ending. Either way we will be angry, less so than if the end of our show was bad.

  4. Some of my favorite short-lived series ended on cliffhangers or were otherwise unresolved, and I much prefer the non-ending they had to some of the horrible endings of other series.

    Of course, we also live in an age where TV/DVD movie continuations/endings are almost the norm, where series like “Dead Like Me” got a wrap-up movie and the “Stargate SG-1” continuation movies wrapped up a few loose ends from the series that were left over after the series ended. And we also get info online from things like creators outlining where the story might have gone or ended or where things might get a wrap-up in a novel/story/comic, so unless the company is either going bankrupt or hates the fans, there is almost no excuse for a bad/rushed ending.

  5. No ending, I’d prefer if something like the Dresden Files got cut short (after years of investment), then have the BAT turn out to be utter crap. This is because, I can live with filling in the gaps of who lived & who died. Plus a non-ending would have greatly improved Dexter, HIMYM, and many more.

  6. I’d prefer no ending to a bad one. With no ending it leaves things open for a possible return. Or I can just imagine my own ending which would satisfy me. A bad ending is just all around disappointing and leaves a bad taste.

  7. Daniel Langsdale on

    I’m going to voice what appears to be a minority opinion here; I’d prefer the bad ending. I like knowing there’s closure to be had to a story, even if it isn’t the best.

    If I’m into a story & enjoying it, and it never ends, then I’m just not very likely to ever want to revisit that work again; why re-read/watch something that is guaranteed to leave me hanging forever?

    Conversely, if I’m into a story & enjoying it, and it has a bad ending, then I might go back and revisit the earlier work but just opt out of the horrific finale.

    Comics examples: Big Numbers? Never likely to crack those two lonely issues open again. Legion of Super-heroes? So many bad endings, I can pick out just the back issues I want to re-read & ignore what comes next, secure in the knowledge that I’ve got all the “good” they had to offer me.


  8. Oldcomicfan on

    While my Eggos heat up in the toaster, I am also going to waffle, here, as well. It entirely depends on the television series.

    Some truly episodic series, such as Wild Wild West, Bonanza, Outer Limits or Combat really didn’t need a final episode. Situation comedies like the Addams Family or Mr. Ed didn’t deserve or need final episodes because they really didn’t include any episode to episode continuity.

    And in some cases, such as Star Trek the original series, the lack of a final episode was a blessing, given how badly the show had degraded in the third season. Jim Kirk in a woman’s body? Space Hippies? REALLY??? It did leave the series open to a whole slew of movie sequels, whereas where Next Gen was involved, the movie makers had to sort of pretend the final episode of the TV show hadn’t happened. MASH was the first television show I can remember where the series was allowed to come to a satisfactory end.

    I can’t think of a TV show that had a really bad ending that I appreciated. Witness the Bob Newhart show where Bob simply wakes up in the final episode and realizes that the entire TV show had just been a delirious dream. Part of the problem here was that through the 60s -80s, few television shows were allowed to end with final episode. Most were simply cancelled in mid-storyline or, like the Flintstones or Bonanza and Gunsmoke (and the Simpsons) were allowed to run far beyond a point when they ought to have been allowed to fade away. Witness how Bonanza turned into the “Michael Landon Ego Masturbation Show” in its final years. So here is where I waffle – in cases like that a bad final episode might have been better than allowing the program to go on for another five or ten years.

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