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Famous TV shows that ended in controversy

Stacker Logo By Erin Joslyn of Stacker | Slide 1 of 16: Whether discussing character arcs with co-workers around the water cooler or dissecting developing storylines on social media, there’s a special kinship among fans of critically acclaimed television shows. The bond is strongest when a series is poised to end, with viewers gathering around televisions all over the country to bid adieu. The much-anticipated conclusion of AMC’s “Breaking Bad” inspired watch parties complete with cocktails chilled with blue-tinted ice cubes, while the series finale of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” rewarded the cable giant with record ratings. When the final episode of a beloved series falls short, however, the backlash can be severe. It can be particularly distressing when the program in question has set an exceptionally high bar and then fails to live up to expectations. What exactly makes for a controversial finale? Clever writers with overly cerebral ambitions tend to polarize audiences, as do characters who fail to stay true to form. Audiences also take issue with unresolved questions and unbelievable plot twists. Occasionally, the off-screen antics of the show’s star—or even his or her absence—will impact the tone of a show’s final episode. Several award-winning series will exit stage left after the current season, including ABC’s “Modern Family” and HBO’s “Homeland.” How these shows are resolved, and more importantly, how viewers respond to these resolutions, will impact their legacy as well as pack a financial punch. Stacker curated a gallery of 15 television shows marred by season finales that generated controversy—all of which have won at least one Emmy or Golden Globe in any given category. Click through the slides to see if any of your favorite programs made the list, as well as which shows to watch during your next weekend television binge. You may also like: Fan campaigns that saved TV shows from cancellation

Famous TV shows that ended in controversy

Whether discussing character arcs with co-workers around the water cooler or dissecting developing storylines on social media, there’s a special kinship among fans of critically acclaimed television shows. The bond is strongest when a series is poised to end, with viewers gathering around televisions all over the country to bid adieu. The much-anticipated conclusion of AMC’s “Breaking Bad” inspired watch parties complete with cocktails chilled with blue-tinted ice cubes, while the series finale of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” rewarded the cable giant with record ratings.

When the final episode of a beloved series falls short, however, the backlash can be severe. It can be particularly distressing when the program in question has set an exceptionally high bar and then fails to live up to expectations. What exactly makes for a controversial finale? Clever writers with overly cerebral ambitions tend to polarize audiences, as do characters who fail to stay true to form. Audiences also take issue with unresolved questions and unbelievable plot twists. Occasionally, the off-screen antics of the show’s star—or even his or her absence—will impact the tone of a show’s final episode.

Several award-winning series will exit stage left after the current season, including ABC’s “Modern Family” and HBO’s “Homeland.” How these shows are resolved, and more importantly, how viewers respond to these resolutions, will impact their legacy as well as pack a financial punch.

Stacker curated a gallery of 15 television shows marred by season finales that generated controversy—all of which have won at least one Emmy or Golden Globe in any given category. Click through the slides to see if any of your favorite programs made the list, as well as which shows to watch during your next weekend television binge.

You may also like: Fan campaigns that saved TV shows from cancellation

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