You know that feeling of betrayal when you’ve invested years (or OK, maybe a whole weekend) to watching a show and you get to the final season and it’s just awful? Like it’s so bad you wonder if the writers turned their offices into a meth shack and chose plot lines based on drug-fueled hallucinations. And then when the news comes that the show is being cancelled, a part of you is a little bit relieved, because something had to end this madness, shark-jumping shitshow. You’ll still tell people it’s your favorite show, you just have to add the caveat “Up until season X” so they don’t think you’re a tasteless nincompoop.
With that in mind, we decided to make a list of all the shows whose final season (or in some cases seasons) need to be retconned. That way for those coming to them late, you’ll know when to stop watching so you’re not filled with a lingering rage ball for years to come.
Seasons that need to be erased: 6-7 (and maybe 5).
As painful as it is to ever besmirch the beloved Gilmore Girls, the final seasons are AWFUL and a large part of that is Amy Sherman-Palladino’s fault. We’d love to blame her leaving for why the show went to shit, but the fact is, all the worst atrocities of the seventh season were largely set up by her. Rory becoming a personality-less society Logan woo-girl? April the worst surprise child in TV history? Lorelai’s ultimatum to Luke and sleeping with Christopher? Lane getting married to a dumbass man-child after they broke up because he ruined her shot at her music dreams ? All Amy. In an attempt to make the Gilmores grow up, all they effectively accomplished was a lot of character assassination, and it all began when Rory dropped out of Yale in season five. Sure, it was the first time Rory faced criticism in her life and that was well overdue, but the idea of her dropping out (and being allowed to by any Gilmore) and breaking up with her mother is absurd. Furthermore, the fact that either of them were able to function not speaking for half a year considering their freakishly codependent relationship, more or less meant that aliens had replaced our beloved mother-daughter duo and anything that happened after that point can in fact be ignored. Fingers crossed that the reboot will eliminate the horror show of the final days of the Gilmore Girls.
Seasons that need to be erased: 8-9
David Duchovny peaced out of the The X-Files at the end of season seven after (finally) being abducted by aliens. You would think that a show built entirely around one man’s quest to believe would mean that therein ends the show. But no, for reasons still not understood, it kept going, only now Scully’s mysteriously knocked up with a magical half-alien/half-Mulder love child, the world is going to end in 2012, and two new agents you couldn’t give a shit less about have shown up to run around and look confused at the plot lines. After coming off some of its best work (seasons 5-7) it was heartbreaking to see a show in its prime crash and burn so horrifically. And while it chugged on for another two years, and an awful movie after, we’re just going to pretend it didn’t exist. After all, in the 2016 reboot, most of the plot was devoted to skipping over the weirdo black oil crap and trying to fix the unwieldy conspiracy that ran the show into the ground. So when even Chris Carter is trying to go back on his own show, you know it’s bad.
Season that needs to be erased: 4
The O.C. continues to be one of my favorite shows of all time, but I refuse to re-watch season 4. The second someone in the writing room said, “Hey, wouldn’t it be a great idea to kill of Marissa in a fiery car crash?” the show was ruined forever. Some of the best plot lines and dramatic moments were all thanks to Marissa (played by Mischa Barton), and without her, the show just couldn’t function. The entire fourth season tried to revolve around a stupid relationship pairing (Ryan and Taylor? Really?) and didn’t bring nearly the drama that was presented in seasons past. It tried entirely too hard to take the show on a “comedic” route, and it was doomed to fail from the start. Perhaps the only saving grace to that season was the series finale, which tied up every loose end in a nice little bow (though I still think Sandy and Kirsten should have stayed in Newport).
Seasons that needs to be erased: 2-3 (and the upcoming season 4)
OK, so this show hasn’t actually been cancelled, but it should be. With the death of beloved Abbie Mills (played by Nicole Beharie), the renewal for a fourth season feels like a slap in the face. When the show first premiered 2013, it was clear Lt. Abbie Mills ran the show, she was a WOC and a lead character in primetime TV and it added to her complete badassery. The relationship between Abbie and Ichabod Crane [played by Tom Mison], made the show comical; they were a good match despite the awkwardness of Crane being from the 18th century. After that first season, I’m convinced someone in the writers room either bumped their head, really hard or found enormous joy in breaking beautiful things because the seasons that followed were a train wreck. Abbie was marginalized in favor of Crane’s wife, Katrina [played by Katia Winter] and it was as if Abbie was slowly but surely fading away, we knew almost nothing of Abbie’s personal life, she became a background character [which could very well be seen as a set up for Beharie’s exit. It’s been said that she was unhappy and had been itching to leave the show], but my issue isn’t with her or her desire to leave, it’s with the shows disrespect of both Abbie as a character and Nicole as an actress [Beharie stated that she was not invited to give commentary for the shows DVD release, which had many fans as well as fellow actors suspecting something fishy, fans citing racism and misogyny were at play]. Who could blame her for being unhappy? Killing Abbie (and choosing to continue the show) was a shitty way to repay Beharie for the amazing work she had put into making Abbie come to life. When another show (and lead role for said show) comes Beharie’s way, I hope they do a much better job of appreciating her.
HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER
Seasons that need to be erased: Season 9
I’m still not over how this show ended. How I Met Your Mother is a gift to comedy TV, and the season finale was the least satisfying ending of any show I’ve ever watched all the way through. I’m both team Ted-Robin and team Robin-Barney. I like them both enough for different reasons that I would’ve been content either way. But it is so annoying that they spent an entire season building up to Robin and Barney’s wedding and then in the end, you find out they get divorced. I loved that Ted marries Tracy. That was a good ending. But then she DIES of CANCER and then six years later Ted and Robin end up together? Sorry, but no. Either the entire season needs to be re-written to not completely revolve around Robin and Barney’s wedding, in order for the divorce to be less of a random plot piece just so Ted and Robin can be together. Or, (preferably) the show should end like it does in this fan-made alternate-ending, which is exactly what we wanted, but what we didn’t get. With Ted and Tracy together, and us not knowing she allegedly dies of cancer, and everything is right in the world.
PRETTY LITTLE LIARS
Seasons that need to be erased: 5B, 6, probably 7. (But if we’re being harsh, 3, 4 and 5A as well.)
The first two seasons of PLL are perfection. The main girls are beautiful and fucked up, their nemesis, “A”, is a terrifying, invisible psychopath (cyberbullying, so relevant!), and Sasha Pieterse does a great job as Alison, the missing/presumed-dead Queen Bee who appears to them in flashbacks and hallucinations. Then it all goes horribly, horribly wrong: relationships get unbearably creepy (why can’t the girls date people who don’t spy on them?!), time makes no sense, characters make the exact same mistakes over and over and over, plotholes abound! So many promising storylines and characters were abandoned without explanation. There are still many individual episodes that were well done—the Dollhouse episodes were a huge thrill—but the second “A” mystery never REALLY made sense, was pretty offensive to the LGBT community, and was surrounded by SO many filler episodes. PLL isn’t over yet… but I don’t know if I can bring myself to watch any more. However, #spobyforever because those are some hot make out scenes.
Seasons that need to be erased: 5 and 6
Is there a single person in the universe that enjoyed the ending of Gossip Girl? IT MAKES NO SENSE. Why would Dan Humphrey blast about his sister’s loss of virginity, the secret sibling he shared with his girlfriend, photos that actually incriminate HIM (the rumors, the teacher kiss, the STI test when he was dating Vanessa)? The Gossip Girl reveal aside*, things started to go awry when the show reached the stage of every main character having hooked up with each other, and then we got to introductions of not-so-awesome new characters and inconsistent shakeups (Dan and Blair, Louis having a split personality, Lily and Ivy trying to destroy each other, anything Spectator, Rufus and Ivy—when it aired, I yelled, “My eyes! My eyes!” and TBH I still haven’t recovered). Remember the good old days of bitchy brunch sessions, false identities, and imprisonments? Sigh.
*But really, it should have been Dorota or Nelly Yuki.
What shows do you wish you could erase? Tweet us @litdarling