Nothing disappoints a binge-watcher more than a sudden, unsatisfactory end or a teary farewell to their favourite television show. This year has had its fair share of both.
At least 157 television shows ended in the year 2019-20, according to TV Series Finale, a website that tracks television shows and their finales.
Some of these shows, like Mindhunter, caused a storm on social media as they were suddenly cancelled by their networks. Other creators like Daniel Levy, whose show Schitt’s Creek became a ray of sunshine during the time of the Covid-19 pandemic, ended up consoling fans online when the last season was aired.
Here is a list of 10 favourite shows which will be fondly remembered.
1. The Good Place (2016-20)
“Pissed off,” reacted Ted Danson, the actor who plays a central role in the well-loved afterlife comedy The Good Place, to the producers’ decision to cancel the show in January. The two words by Danson ended up capturing the audience’s reaction to its ending.
In the show, Danson plays the role of Michael, an ‘afterlife architect’ who designs a place for dead people, who have been ‘morally good’ in their life on earth. Things go berserk with the entry of Eleanor, who is anything but morally righteous. The show, critically acclaimed for its the thrilling end and writing, revolves around the afterlife journey of Eleanor and her friends.
According to an entertainment site, the audience felt that the show ended in its peak, despite having funny moments and cliff hanger endings.
While the show ended with a tear-jerker scene, where Eleanor’s (Kristen Bell) friends bid her a goodbye, fans were left dissatisfied. Fans grew attached to actors of the show, including Jameela Jamil, D’Arcy Carden and Manny Jacinto, who played major roles in this series created by Michael Schur; and paid glowing tributes on social media for their performances when the show ended.
2. Schitt’s Creek (2015-20)
“I wasn’t ready to go, but the story was set up to end,” said co-creator of the show, Daniel Levy to GQ Magazine.
The six-season and 80-episode-long Canadian series created by the son-father duo, Daniel and Eugene Levy, was one of the most talked-about shows of the year for bringing happiness and warmth to people in the midst of a pandemic. The show was effortlessly inclusive, funny and light without much effort- making it feel like a hug on a bad day.
The plot revolves around a rich, white family of four, who are forced to move to a town called Schitt’s Creek, into a house that the family had bought as a joke when their company, Rose Video, was thriving. When their company closes due to tax invasion, the lives of the four characters take a complete turn.
Hilarious, witty and intelligent, the show swiftly takes the audience into the lives of these four people- Moira (Catherine O’Hara), David (Daniel Levy), Alexis (Annie Murphy) and Johnny (Eugene Levy). The show surged in popularity with each season. In April, viewers bid farewell to the critically-acclaimed show but that was not all. Later, the creators released an additional episode which gave viewers a peep into the behind-the-scenes life of the show. The show won several awards at the 72nd Emmy Awards.
3. Dear White People (2017-20)
With its satirical take on racism in Ivy League colleges, Dear White People’s main prop for narration became a radio show, which attempted to address the systemic oppression that people of colour are subjected to. Though the show started off with promise, but it soon lost the plot in the subsequent seasons and was cancelled abruptly this year.
The show showed an uptick in viewership as the ‘Black Lives Matter’ protest in the USA gained momentum in June (Source: Parrot Analytics, a research firm). Despite a haywire plotline in its third season, viewers kept up with the show and were shocked when it ended.
4. Mindhunter (2017-20)
Mindhunter‘s first season became wildly popular for its investigation into criminal psychology as the shows lead, Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) and Bill Tench (Holt McCallany), carried tapes to prisons across the country to record versions and statements by psychopaths to help catch other murderers.
The show was not cancelled formally but viewers are not hopeful of it returning anytime soon. In an interview with Vulture, Fincher confided that making a second season was challenging and said that the viewership didn’t seem high enough to justify the cost for the show.
5. 13 Reasons Why
This dark teen drama series had the most popular and controversial four-season stint when Netflix and it’s showrunner decided to put “a natural conclusion to it” this year.
The show revolved around the suicide of Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford), a high school student. In the past, it had been praised for starting a conversation about the mental health of high school students. At the same time, it was also heavily criticised by mental health professionals, as a graphic scene of Hannah’s suicide in the final episode of the first season had led to ‘copycat’ suicides among teenagers. The scene was eventually deleted in 2019.
According to Netflix, the show had reached its conclusion. Since the show was about the American four-year high school life and students, extending it further would have made it seem unreal, Netflix stated. The series starred Dylan Minnette, Brandon Flynn, Alisha Boe, Ross Butler.
6. BoJack Horseman (2014-20)
When Netflix’s widely popular show BoJack Horseman ended in January, the internet was rife with theories on why it was ending.
The show created by Raphael Bob-Waksberg, which is an adult animated comedy centred around a washed-up sitcom star called BoJack Horseman, found a large following as it addressed several difficulties of adulthood that other shows barely touch upon. Its realistic portrayal of mental health, addiction and relationships made the characters deeply relatable.
According to Bob-Waksberg, the show ended as Netflix chose to cancel it. Alleged reasons of the show ending were algorithm issues and slipping viewership concentration. However, Netflix is yet to confirm the statement.
7. How To Get Away With Murder (2014-20)
Cancelled in July 2019, this gripping show aired its finale episode of the sixth season in May.
This legal thriller show has broken many barriers and made history as Viola Davis, who plays the role of Annalise Keating, made history by becoming the first black woman to win an Emmy in the Best Actor’s category in 2015.
The reason for cancellation cited by showrunner Pete Nowalk was that the story had come to its the natural end, breaking the hearts of ardent fans.
8. Modern Family (2009-20)
One of television’s most loved comedy series, Modern Family ended its story in the 11th season to avoid spin-offs or overstretch of the show.
The announcement of the show being renewed for its final season was made during the 2019 Television Critics Association winter press tour. When the show ended, popular stars who acted in the show took to Instagram to say farewell.
First aired in 2009, this American mockumentary, about a quirky family living in Los Angeles, was created by Christopher Lloyd and Steven Levitan. It ended on April 8. The final episode was watched by 7.4 million viewers. The show won 22 Emmys from 75 nomination mentions. In 2012, it was the tenth-highest revenue-generating show, earning $2.13 million per episode.
Modern Family brought diversity to the table, as it included an openly gay couple and their adoption of an Asian child, and a traditional white man marrying a Mexican woman. The ensemble cast included famous names like Ed O’Neill (Jay Pritchett), Sofia Vergara (Gloria Marie Ramirez Delgado-Pritchett), Julie Bowen (Claire Dunphy), Ty Burrell (Phil Dunphy) and others.
9. Homeland (2011-20)
Based on Gideon Raff’s Israeli series Prisoners of War, this political and psychological thriller aired its final episode after eight seasons on April 26.
The story is about Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) being held captive by Al-Qaeda as a prisoner of war and his connection to CIA agent Carrie Mathison’s (Claire Danes), who has bipolar disorder. Mathison believes that Brody was turned in by the enemy, and now poses a threat to the USA.
According to show runner Alex Gansa, it was the right time to end the series in season eight and move on. Homeland ends with Mathison living in Moscow, still working as a secret spy. The final episode had many scratching their heads and pouring over explainers on the internet.
The show exposed the murkiness within the Central Intelligence Agency. Viewers found it difficult to part ways with the grey area that the series showcased with grace.
This show, which was the longest-running American live-action television series, saw an eruption of fan fiction, theories and tributes online when the finale was aired on November 19.
The story, about two brothers and their fight with supernatural beings like demons, monsters and gods, gained notoriety and sustained its continued popularity for 15 seasons and over 300 episodes. The pilot of the show, which was made in 2005, was viewed by at least 5.69 million viewers.
The show’s fans will miss their favourite actors, on which the show’s popularity clung on to- Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki- who played the two brothers Dean and Sam Winchester. Supernatural, according to the creator Eric Kripke, was supposed to last only five seasons. To avoid revisits to older seasons, ending the show seemed a sensible end to the creators and producers.