Buffy the Vampire Slayer - "Chosen"
Original airdate: May 20, 2003
Loved Buffy, but that last season was a mess. The series kind of lost me in the season six finale, when Xander brings Willow back from the dark side with a story about crayons. The series finale was a little bit ridiculous, partly because the producers wanted to make it a two-hour episode, but the network wouldn't let them. Angel's cameo was a little forced; the First taking on the visage of Buffy felt like an elementary school creative writing assignment; and Buffy and Spike's hands literally caught fire as they said goodbye. It was just a cheesy mess. (I'm sure a lot of people will disagree with my feelings on this.)
Sex and the City - "An American Girl in Paris Part Deux"
Original airdate: February 22, 2004
To be fair, I never watched this show. I saw two episodes and wanted to blow my brains out. But my understanding of the show is that it was about four single women who enjoyed dating lots of people, and having lots of sex with no strings attached. So it seems antithetical that in the series' last episode, the leader of the gang, Carrie, gets a "happily ever after" ending where her on-and-off boyfriend finally proposes. It kind of negates all the girl power the show was allegedly portraying.
Chuck - "Chuck Versus the Goodbye"
Original airdate: January 27, 2012
I loved Chuck. It was the little show that could, with a devoted fanbase that managed five seasons despite terrible ratings. I was disappointed by the finale, though. There was a lot of sentimentality, and Sarah's memories have been wiped. The series ends with Sarah and Chuck on the beach, with him trying to remind her of their love. He kisses her, in the hopes that will jog her memory (because apparently this is a Disney fairytale), but the show fades to black before the kiss ends. I didn't like it being left so open-ended. The season four finale would have been a much better series finale. Sarah and Chuck got married and received millions of dollars as a gift, allowing them to open their own freelance spy agency. Producers thought that season four would be the last, so they tied up all the loose ends, then had to untie them for a fifth season.
How I Met Your Mother - "Last Forever"
Original airdate: March 31, 2014
It was an often clever series based on an annoying conceit: Ted telling his teenaged kids about the often-inappropriate minor stories that eventually led him, to, well, meet their mother. The final season focused exclusively on best friend Barney and ex-girlfriend Robin's marriage to each other (which is where Ted met their mother). But in the season finale, it was revealed that the titular mother died of cancer a few years ago, and Ted was using this loooong story to justify pursuing Robin, who was recently divorced. "Mother" fell by the wayside and ultimately the show should have been called "All the Sh*t I Went Through to Get Your Stepmother."
Lost - "The End"
Original airdate: May 23, 2010
I never liked Lost and didn't follow the series very closely, so this suggestion comes from friends and fans who were disappointed in the series' end. It was a series that was made up of lots of intense, inexplicable storylines and ended with more questions than answers. I firmly believe the producers didn't know where they were going in the middle of the series and wrote themselves into so many corners that the only way out was to make the island a weak metaphor for purgatory. That's what I took away from it.
Two and a Half Men - "Of Course He's Dead"
Original airdate: February 19, 2015
I don't know how this show lasted 12 seasons, but it did. I never liked this show, but the series finale was especially insulting. Charlie Sheen left the show a few years prior to the finale, in a fantastic outburst of crazy that was every publicists' wet dream. Though Charlie's character exited with his death, it later turned out that he wasn't actually dead. So in the series finale, "Charlie" comes home (though this is clearly a stand-in, because Sheen didn't return for the finale) and is promptly squished by a piano falling from the sky. If that wasn't cheesy enough, the camera pulls back to reveal series creator Chuck Lorre sitting in his chair, watching the final scene. He turns back to the camera and with a coy smile says "Winning," Charlie Sheen's mental breakdown catchphrase.
Roseanne - "Into That Good Night"
Original airdate: May 20, 1997
Roseanne didn't just have a terrible finale; it had a terrible final season, one that I have found unwatchable in reruns. The story of the working class Conner family is upheaved when in the last season, the family wins the lottery and moves into a new tax bracket, while still maintaining their blue-collar sensibility. If this wasn't painful enough, in the final episode, we discover that Roseanne is writing a story, and decided to give her family a happy ending. It was a way to deal with her husband Dan's death of a heart attack, and for whatever reason, she swapped her daughter's husbands, which negates the entire series.
True Blood - "Thank You"
Original airdate: August 24, 2014
After season three, the quality of True Blood was on a steady downhill slide. I originally wrote that the final episode "read like pages out of a 14-year-old's diary." It was sappy and cheesy, with a lot of sentimental crap. Sookie pines over Bill for most of the episode before finally killing him -- at his request -- while the two are entwined in a grave. Jessica and Hoyt got married, which was sentimental in a sweet way. Eric and Pam find success with their New Blood. The episode ends with a scene of most of the characters having Thanksgiving dinner together. Everyone is happy, everyone has a lot of children, and Sookie has a husband whose face we weirdly never see.
Will & Grace - "The Finale"
Original airdate: May 18, 2006
This seminal sitcom wrapped up eight seasons with Will and Grace having the fight that separates them for good. Grace and her husband raise a daughter, while Will and his partner raise a son. The children don't meet until college, which reconciles Will and Grace - but then the kids get married and everyone lives happily ever after. It feels like a lazy way to end a series.
Dexter - "Remember the Monsters?"
Original airdate: September 22, 2013
I was a HUGE fan of Dexter, even through the last couple of seasons, when the plot got a little dicey. (Dexter's adopted sister falls in love with him? Then she finds out he is a murderer - and starts helping him?) But that series finale was so unimaginably bad that it infuriated me for weeks. I loved the part with Dexter performing a mercy killing on Deb, then dropping her in the ocean. It was an act of respect, selflessness, and love. But things all went to sh*t. Instead of fleeing the country to meet his girlfriend Hannah and his son Harrison in Argentina, like they had planned, Dexter sails into a storm. But he isn't killing himself; he is faking his death. That would be great - if he were going to Argentina to meet his new family, but he doesn't. Instead he settles into a new life, a burly lumberjack in the middle of nowhere, angry and alone. It was completely out of character and intensely unsatisfying.