This question has been bugging me for the longest time now. When it comes to a series, is it the final destination or the journey to get there that really matters? Now, what I mean is whether the end of a series matters more than everything that precedes it. Does the ending make or break the series? If a series has been nothing but phenomenal up until the final book, do you then disregard the rest of the series because you weren't satisfied with the conclusion. What's finally got me to write up this post isn't even a book series, it was a couple of lengthy discussions I have had recently about Dexter.
Dexter proved to me that the ending of a series, whether it be a book, TV show or movie series, can actually make or break it. It can ruin or redeem everything that came before it. A disappointing ending can leave you so disheartened that you just feel bad that you ever made it that far. Or there's the final seasons, book or movie that seems to redeem that series. It blows you away, it connects up things that might not have made sense and it makes you so glad you made it to the end. Then there are those endings that are just mediocre, they weren't bad but they weren't amazing either.
Are endings the most important thing? You don't want to read a series whose only decent book is the final one. You equally don't want to read a series where the only decent book is the first one. But an ending is still crucial, the ending has to be satisfying otherwise why has the reader bothered to follow the series. In my opinion a series ender either has to be either amazing, good or just okay for it to work. If it's really bad and disappointing then it does ruin the series for me.
Examples (no spoilers)
Ones with series ruining endings:
Dexter, for anyone who doesn't know (everyone does know, right?), is a TV show that was absolutely brilliant. It's main character is a serial killer who only kills bad guy, basically other killers, rapists and so on. It had a genius premise, the characters were brilliant and it was funny even at times when it probably shouldn't have been. You can't help but root for Dexter most of the time, and then feel like you're a bit of a psychopath too. This show hasn't been all shining brilliance though, it's been very up and down. It's had amazing seasons and then really disappointing ones. But overall I had always loved the show and considered it one of my favourites. Until the final season. Fans were very excited to see how it ended, but I don't think anyone was expecting the season that they got. It's one of the worst things I have ever had to make myself watch. Watching the final episode actually made me throw one of my books across the room. My books are my babies, I never throw them. It was such a bad series ending that it actually has ruined the whole series for me. I can't bring myself to rewatch it, knowing what's going to happen. I own every season on DVD, except that final one. And I never will. I was actually shocked how one season had managed to ruin my love for a series that I had followed and loved for eight years.
|How I felt at the end of Dexter.|
How I Met Your Mother was a series that started really well but, like a lot of series, got worse the longer they dragged it on. You kind of started to have less love for it near the end but your love of certain characters keeps you watching. The last season though, I don't know how that even got made. It was awful. It's the worst TV series ending I have seen since Dexter, it's not as soul-crushingly awful but it is really bad. I finished that season and wondered why I bothered to keep watching after series 5.
The show that did it right:
Breaking Bad was a show that managed to be almost perfect from beginning right up until the very ending. It has one of the greatest series endings I have ever seen, and I mean the whole season not just the last episode. I think Breaking Bad did such a good job because they had learnt a lesson that other series hadn't. Don't drag a series out just because it's making money. Breaking Bad could have gone on and on and on, people would have watched. But it wouldn't have been as good a story, it probably would have ended badly.
Sums up all the feels when I watched the last season:
The ending that ruined the series:
X-Men: Last Stand was just awful, that movie was just not the way that series should have ended. I am so grateful that, once enough time had gone by that we'd forgotten about the awfulness that was X-Men: The Last Stand, they decided to reboot it with a prequel series. I also adored the fact that they used the prequel and the use of time travel to just completely f**k with the that movie.
Shouldn't even have been a series:
Pirates of the Caribbean should have ended at The Curse of the Black Pearl. The second movie wasn't bad, but it wasn't that brilliant either. Then there's the third one, which was just very disappointing and lacked most of the humour that I'd come to expect from the series. And you think that's it, but then they make another one, which really wasn't very good and had the weirdest and most pointless mermaid subplot... ever! And they are still making another one. That shows a series that's only continuing because it makes money. I won't be continuing it, I'll just watch The Black Pearl and cry over the fact they went on to ruin it.
How I feel each time a new Pirates movie is released:
Too good to be ruined by a bad ending:
The Return of the King is an amazing movie, until it gets to the end. It's problem is that there are about a million endings. One thing you need to do when you end a movie is to actually end it, don't end it and then end it again and then again. Just pick one ending and stick to it. What Return of the King has going for it is the fact that every movie was brilliant, practically flawless in fact. One small hiccup of an ending isn't enough to ruin it. We all know it should have ended with the crowning of the King and everyone bowing down in appreciation of the hobbits. That's it, the end.
My feelings towards Peter Jackson at the end of it:
|And then The Hobbit happened...|
The last film better save the series:
Desolation of Smaug SUCKED! I hated that film. People actually left the cinema and they didn't come back. Unfortunately I had to sit through it. From the awful introduction of a subplot sort-of-romance between an elf and a dwarf, to the dragon that takes an hour to say one sentence. This is one series that needs an amazing ending to save it.
My feelings towards Peter Jackson and the Hobbit #3:
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is a lesson to everyone on how to successfully end a series. Everyone had such high expectations for the final book and I don't think anyone was disappointing. J.K. Rowling really did an amazing job with this book. She hits you in all of your feels, makes you sob like a baby and then hate her a little bit. And yet you love her even more for it.
I honestly thought that Champion was okay, I know a lot of people loved it but for me it was just okay. I think it was just the fact that the end was a bit too soap-opera like in how ridiculous it was. It really was ridiculous. But the majority of the book was solid, and I enjoyed the series overall.
Allegiant is a hideous book. You should always try to be fair when reviewing a book, and try not to be too harsh... unless that book is Allegiant. I still can't comprehend how that book even got published. I get annoyed by people who go on and on about the ending of that book. I didn't even care by the end. Why are they forgetting everything that came before the end? The whole book was bad. It was badly plotted and had a lot of pacing issues. It had a new POV introduced that was just identical to Tris's. It just reused the same storyline from a previous book, changing nothing but the fighting groups. I don't want to bore you with all the reasons that Allegiant is the most disappointing and series ruining book in the world. You can just check out my spoiler-filled or spoiler-free review for all the details.
My thoughts exactly!
Allegiant and Dexter were definitely the two finales of series that showed me the importance of a good ending. Both of those actually ruined the whole series for me. Why would I want to watch or reread either when I know how they end? I could always stop before the end but then what's the point of reading it at all. I know the ending of the boo isn't the only thing that matters, but it's still very important. For me the ending needs to be amazing, satisfying or at least okay. Anything less and you are just left disappointed and wondering why you bothered with the series to begin with.
Do you have any examples of last books/movies/seasons that made a series for you? Do you have any that actually completely ruined the series for you?
I have read and loved both of Abigail's books, Dangerous Girls & Dangerous Boys. To celebrate the release of Dangerous Boys, I am giving 1 winner the chance to win paperback copies of both Dangerous Boys and Dangerous Girls. It's open internationally, as long as Book Depository ships to you!
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