Nasa / Space

Poll: What sci-fi TV series ended in the worst way?

In recent weeks, the re-imagined version of Battlestar Galactica aired its final episode to much gnashing of teeth and dissatisfaction amongst its fandom. Let's stand "Daybreak, Part 2" up against some of the more infuriatingly unsatisfying sci-fi series finales of recent vintage, some of which hail from the land of Trek.

In recent weeks, the re-imagined version of Battlestar Galactica aired its final episode, "Daybreak, Part 2," to much gnashing of teeth and dissatisfaction amongst its fandom. In fact, the series finale was so poorly received that SF Signal asked a host of sci-fi scribes how it should have been fixed. (Be warned, there are spoilers, but if you want a hint of what happened without ruining the surprise, this clip from Angel pretty well sums up the BSG finale.) Suffice it to say, the are many suggestions for improvement.

Over at io9, they polled the readership as to how the end of Battlestar Galactica compared to the finales of each successive Star Trek TV series. That seems inadequate, so let's stand "Daybreak Part 2" up against some of the more infuriatingly unsatisfying sci-fi series finales of recent vintage, some of which hail from the land of Trek [SPOILERS!]:

  • Star Trek: Enterprise "These Are The Voyages..." - Turns out, none of the brain-dead retcons that Enterprise made to Star Trek continuity were true. It was all just a badly written holodeck program inside a lesser episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Put simply: Even for a TV show, the whole series was meaningless. As a metaphor for the pale copy-of-copy this show represented, this was appropriate. Captivating, worthwhile television? Not so much.
  • The X-Files "The Truth, Part 2" - Mulder and Scully fail, end up as fugitives, never really learn the truth, but end up spooning in a hotel in Roswell, New Mexico. Oh, and its their replacements and supporting characters and guys from the failed Lone Gunmen spinoff that do all the work, meaning our heroes were plot devices, not protagonists. Yeah, that was worth the nine year wait.
  • Stargate SG-1 "Unending" - In a finale that does nothing to resolve the (rather lame) Ori invason plot threads that plagued the series' final seasons, the SG-1 Team -- sans Richard Dean Anderson -- are trapped in a time loop that forces them to have maudlin character moments before hitting the big reset button, negating the bad writing we just endured.
  • Battlestar Galactica "Daybreak, Part 2" - God did it, but he's not telling why. Earth wasn't Earth, but they get to Earth anyway. The only way to evolve is go back to being cavemen. Starbuck is dead, but she's not, but she's sad, but she's not, but she's gone. Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan were subliminal FTL navigators from beyond the stars. The Sony AIBO will kill us all. Awesome?
  • Quantum Leap "Mirror Image" - Dr. Sam Beckett finally meets the strange force that has been bouncing him through time, and it's a bartender in a 1950s Pennsylvania mining town. And all his past missions might have been minor league trial runs to train him for the real job. Yes, Sam does finally make a selfish leap and save Al's marriage, but we also never get any real answers -- except an assurance that Sam never goes home. Thanks for nothing.
  • Angel  "Not Fade Away" - Yes, Joss Whedon had to cobble up a finale after the network canceled the series at the last minute, but sending the whole gang on a suicide mission that never gets resolved onscreen is just painfully unsatisfying. The metaphor of a neverending battle is a little lost when the audience feels cheated. Plus, they showed us a dragon, and then we never saw anybody fight it. Not cool.
  • Star Trek: Voyager "Endgame, Part 2" - Everything that was wrong with Voyager was encapsulated in this episode. The nigh-unstoppable Borg defeated as a B-plot. Borg tech and time-travel used as deus ex machina fixes for idiotic plot problems. Key points of past Trek lore (like the Borg Queen not being physically vulnerable) are ignored, and finally arriving at Earth is treated almost like an anticlimax. Aren't you so glad that UPN built its network around this show?
So, now we ask the question: What sci-fi TV series ended in the worst way? Justify your answers in the comments section, especially those of you who vote Other.

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Jay Garmon has a vast and terrifying knowledge of all things obscure, obtuse, and irrelevant. One day, he hopes to write science fiction, but for now he'll settle for something stranger -- amusing and abusing IT pros. Read his full profile. You can a...

84 comments
ste_davies
ste_davies

Crusade (the sequel to Babylon 5)

noahjuan
noahjuan

"Space: Above and Beyond" because it should not have ended!

darpoke
darpoke

A little redundant given that this was declared in the original article, but Boy! did this thread sure ruin the endings of a lot of shows that, from the sound of it, I might have done well to watch :-)

psquare11
psquare11

I voted "Other"... I don't watch the shows listed. However, the ABC series "Life on Mars" attempted to leap into the SciFi genre with it's series ending episode. This cop drama had been an excellent show up 'til then... the theme being an NYPD detective having been struck by a car and left in a coma in 2008 "wakes up" in 1973, still a NYPD detective, but now a very confused one. The show's producers were forced to end the series with a contrived piece of crap wrap- up ending because ABC pulled the plug. Suddenly, the detective and the entire cast "wake up" from an artificially induced sleep aboard a Mars-bound ship. The poor audience is force fed a crock of "it was only a dream" B-S. A massive dose of double disappointment: first, the cancellation of a good show, and then a really bad conclusion to wrap it in. So sad!

bobc4012
bobc4012

I do not remember any that ever ended the series satisfactorily. One that did come close was Babylon 5. I attribute this to J. Michael Straczynski's having a set beginning, middle and ending. Unfortunately, the same could not be said for his follow-on shows, "Crusade" and "Jeremiah".

BlueCollarCritic
BlueCollarCritic

First off it is rare that a series be it a TV show or a mini-series or even a movie series will end in a way that the majority of viewers (not just a sizeable percentage) are happy. People are individuals and not carbon copies so we think differently and we imagine differently. And so to that end we often have our own specific takes on how something should be, should or should work or look. If you sat down 100 hard core trekkies and asked each to give their ideal ending to teh show and have them do it seperately so that each does not hear the others endings you will probably get a wide variety of endings. This is simply human nature. With series like BSG that are setup with a goal in mind as opposed to Star Trek which is more of a variety adventures show, the ending people imagine will tend to differ less then for other shows. Even then you still are unlikley to produce something that more then %50 of the viewing audience will find perfect or close to pefect. Instead of whining about how something didn't end the way you wanted it to, spend some appreciating the fact that it didn't end the way you wanted and so you were actually suprised. Do you really want to alwasy know the ending of a story before you've finsihed it?

BlueCollarCritic
BlueCollarCritic

I'm not saying STE (Start Trek Enterprise) wasn't in need of help but it most certainly did not end up being nothing but a bad holidack program. How in the world does anyone get from watching the series finale the idea that the whole show was a bad holideck program and that none of what happened was real? I'm sorry but that first statement from the reviewer reveals they have no clue as to how ST Enterprise progressed and I have to wonder if they ever wacthed anything more then the series finale.

ncudmore
ncudmore

I guess it's blame it on the network for canceling the show, but I liked them. I get the feeling that they had 'great potential', but like a lot of programmes which are a bit 'heavy' on the old grey matter American studios seem to cancel them, so they can do remakes of old programmes. No I'm not against remakes of Battlestar Galactica which was less cheesy than the original and the benefits of modern fx, but 90210 or US versions of The Office, Life on Mars...... why, oh why... ugh!

walter_hoenen
walter_hoenen

Hey, come on, think about a series where the author, maybe tired of his 4 years work, just kills the main characters in the more stupid way anyone could imagine. And it is filmed and aired that way!! Four years leading to a big, great, huge disappointment. If I could strangle him...

jplong42
jplong42

Babylon 5! It continues after the story ended...

ericbush
ericbush

Life on Mars... hands down the worst sci-fi ending.

flexnfx1
flexnfx1

Original BSG! They discover a transmission from earth...and then cancelled!

rmagahiz
rmagahiz

Space: Above and Beyond, with Shane and 'Phousse missing, presumed, dead, and Wang most definitely dead, and Hawkes and Nathan in PTSD.

deepsand
deepsand

What classic system do you wish you worked on or miss working on? * VAX * Burroughs * Cray * Tandem NonStop * Other -- let us know in the forums ?????? 1) A bad holodeck program? 2) A Borg invasion? 3) An inevitable loop in time? 4) Other?

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

real stories NEVER end... We just stop watching/reading.

techrepublic
techrepublic

What about the Prisoner... I think its ending was stunted because not all of the original series was aired (I think only 11 of the planned 13 were shown). I guess we will never know as the creator sadly passed last year.

BigBlueMarble
BigBlueMarble

I can't say Star Trek ended badly, but the existence of Yeoman Janice Rand was certainly one of the all-time "unworthy" ends to a popular character. One day, she was standing in a corridor and simply beamed out. For good. No explanation - no nothing. It was as if she never existed. Sucked for me; I was young and wanted to BE Janice Rand.

BFilmFan
BFilmFan

I am thinking there are some candidates you missed there... Star Trek the original series' final episode was Turnabout Intruder in which Kirk's consciousness becomes trapped in the body of a woman bent on killing him and taking over his command while inhabiting his body. The Invaders finale where David Vincent and Edgar Scoville attempt to warn a senator that a governmental official is an alien, while Andy Hatcher tries to prove otherwise. There was no finale. The series simply ended. Anyone ever see the finale to Land of the Lost called Medicine Man? That wasn't medicine they were a smokin' when they wrote that one... And my favorite screwed up ending of ALL time was Nowhere Man. I think the writers where trying to top the WTF? factor from The Prisoner when they came up with Gemini Man. I spent hours saying WTF? And the series which MOST disappointmed me in the final show was Babylon 5. I invested a lot of time in the show only to feel really cheated watching that last episode. And my favorite ending episode? Buffy's Chosen. What a way to go out!

k41184
k41184

Right now, at 7:45 PM CSt 4/7/9, the poll reads "What classic system do you wish you worked on or miss working on?" Those don't seem like sci fi tv shows, unless I'm missing some good tv out there.

bj15
bj15

FarScape...the first time it ended in a what just happened kind of way...then they fixed it and ended it in a everyone smiles and gets what they want kind of way...

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

No, it's not sci-fi, but neither is Angel so I feel justified in including it. What became the next-to-last season was clearly intended to be the last one. The girls got new identities, they blew up the house, waved good-bye to their cop buddy, and walked into the sunset. Then WB decided to pay for another year of one of it's few profitable series, couldn't get all the production or on-screen talent back under contract, and wound up with a mess that violated what little continuity was left. The actual final episode is pretty good compared to the rest of the season, but it shouldn't have existed at all.

NotSoChiGuy
NotSoChiGuy

...was the Starbuck subplot. I may not have liked everything else, but I can take it for what it was. The Starbuck subplot seemed to be mystic mojo just for the sake of mystic mojo...and in the end, didn't seem to serve any purpose. I don't mind things being left to the imagination, but only when they seem to have a purpose in doing so (yes, I know, I'm going all Agent Smith on this point). Oh well, it is what it is.

adamsg
adamsg

Actually, The final episode of the fourth and last season of Farscape was to be a cliff-hanger for Season 5. Farscape had been contracted for Seasons 4 and 5 by Sci-Fi (and the story arc planned accordingly), but Sci-Fi cancelled the contract during the filming of the final episode of the fourth season, hence the strange ending (including the "To Be Continued" at the end). As I understand it, the story arc of the fifth season was the basis for the "Peacekeeper Wars" movie that followed. IMHO, compressing the story arc from 20-some hours down to two did not help, but we can thank Sci-Fi for that.

CaptBilly1Eye
CaptBilly1Eye

Farscape was one of the few I watched every episode of. ...and therefore I agree whole-heartedly. The ending was a betrayal of the show's followers. The single-season series Surface spiraled to a terrible conclusion. What ever happened to Eureka? Was there ever a 'final' episode? .

lucien86
lucien86

They did a final series set on Earth in modern day America. To say it merely sucked is beyond an understatement. Its waiting out there for all SF fans in room 101. :)

Rainier_d
Rainier_d

Maybe not Sci-Fi and again another non-finale; Eric Close as the re-brained genetically advanced Mr. Newman and Dennis Haysbert as his creator and handler. A full season of 22 episodes, a cliff hanger season ender where his family is kidnapped... and canceled, no resolution, nothing!

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

When those shows were being produced, no one in U.S. TV did 'series finale' episodes. I think 'Mary Tyler Moore' was the first U.S. show to attempt one.

gadgetgirl
gadgetgirl

Total let down. What I don't understand is why they agreed to JMS's stipulation about scripting, non-alteration, timelines etc. and funded the whole "5 years" of it, then it just sorta faded out at the end. Fizzled. Totally fizzled. No "bang" at all. Mind you, the above opinion is totally coloured by two things: I wish it hadn't ended in the first place and also if it hadn't they wouldn't have made the abysmal "Lost Tales" (also total letdown) (again, gagged OH, locked doors and windows, took phone off hook, switched off mobile, same as I did for Blakes 7 finale, and again, all for what?) Now, sadly, there is no chance of a B5 revival: having lost the doctor, G'Kar and Zathros to a higher power it wouldn't be the same anyways...... :( oh well. Back to trawling eBay for a decent priced boxed set...... ;) GG

gadgetgirl
gadgetgirl

That was such a bloody let down. I remember the evening it aired: I gagged my (then) OH, locked all the doors and windows, took the phone off the hook and for what? Paul Darrow did try to revive this some two or three years ago, and despite the interest being there, the funding wasn't. Damn shame. You're right - literally killed off. Dammit. GG

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

The ending to Blake's 7 was the worst possible ending I have ever seen. I have the entire series in Tape and the only one that has any chance of living any real time is the Finial Episode as I can not bring myself to watch it. Col

BFilmFan
BFilmFan

I was never really into the series huge, but I had a friend that was. She kept me informed of all the plot points and character actions.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Have they ever touched anything and not had it turn to crap? It's been so long since I bothered with it; maybe it's changed. The TV listings look like the "Slasher Channel".

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

and garnering relatively high numbers. Excellent series. Love it. Character interplay is great, and the premise itself provides for a plethora of episodes providing TV writer/producer imagination doesn't run dry. :D "The remaining episodes of season 3 will begin airing July 10, 2009." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eureka_(TV_series)

JamesRL
JamesRL

Take away all the charecters we liked (Starbuck, Appollo and Boomer), create a mutant child with white hair, age Adama, and cheap out by having 2 guys roam around the earth. WORST SEQUEL EVER. James

rmagahiz
rmagahiz

Actually Space 1999 and Space: Above and Beyond were two different shows.

seanferd
seanferd

I don't even remember what the last episodes of that show were like. Thanks for the link. :)

deepsand
deepsand

Still working on decoding the others.

bwiedor
bwiedor

I'd have to say this is the same situation as Firefly - they didn't even get a finale, so this became the de facto ending. An incredible shame too, Now & Again was one of the more brilliant shows I ever had the pleasure to watch. The actors were something really special, too - the interplay between Haysbert and Close was fantastic.

jakelly404
jakelly404

I agree with everything said about the ending of Blakes 7. The show did have potential. So what about the ending to The Prisoner? The writers (McGoohan?) didn't so much snuff it out, as blow it to hell. No resolution to the fate of No 6 was given. Are we at the start of a new era as they drive away in KAR 120C or is this the restart of the adventure and No 6 will drive back to London and re-resign? Being as it was years ahead of its time, the average viewer didn't understand what was going on anyway! So the ending left the majority totally baffled!

Jkirk3279
Jkirk3279

I've concluded that British Sci-Fi is just different. Michael Moorcock was fond of killing off his characters too, and he's supposed to have been the schitznit of British SciFi before Douglas Adams... who ALSO killed off his whole cast in Hitchhiker II ! Blake's 7, for those who don't know, was the British Star Trek: they reversed everything. The crew of the Liberator were escaped criminals, not explorers. The Star Trek "Delta" logo is there, just turned 90 degrees to the left. The Federation in Blake's 7 is evil, not beneficent. In Star Trek stuff works out for the better. In Blake's 7 everything goes to Hell. Imagine if the last scene in classic Star Trek was Spock deciding Kirk had betrayed him and gunning him down.

NotSoChiGuy
NotSoChiGuy

...on SciFi's pupu platter du jour of "Original Movies". They cancel show after show citing production costs, but continue to run out 52 train wrecks a year. They'd be better off renting cameras to fans, letting them Swede SciFi/Fantasy/Horror classics, and then airing those. The quality couldn't possibly be worse, and at least the plots wouldn't be so preposterous. SciFi Channel is obviously not run by SciFi fans!

road-dog
road-dog

Love Eureka. Good interaction between quirky and brilliant characters where the "average" guy has to save the day.

seanferd
seanferd

Would that be a DS9 or a 007 Dax? Or possibly even Danielle Dax? I regret missing the misconfigured poll, so thanks for the list. What a hoot.

JamesRL
JamesRL

..for the new "The prisoner" starring Jim Calveial (sp?) on AMC. They did a good job on Breaking Bad... James

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Again, I don't remember the details, but the same article that mentioned a 'V' revival said someone is redoing 'Prisoner'.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

No that is just plain wrong You have to Imagine Spock gunning down Kirk and as Kirk lies dieing on the floor with his last breath he shoots and Kills Spock. :( Lousy Ending give me more of Terry nations Characters he wrote things better. OH Whoops Blake's 7 was written by Terry Nation wasn't it? :_| Col

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