Shows Suddenly Ending versus Having a Last Episode?


Monkey Boy
Nov 23, 2005
Reaction score
I was thinking recently, should TV shows go all out and just tell everything they can right away in their shows, in case they are canceled? Or should TV shows take their time and let the stories unfold and hopefully have enough time to tell those stories?
Recently several cartoons I liked got canceled. Spectacular Spider-Man, Avengers: Earths Mightiest Heroes, Batman: Brave and the Bold, Young Justice, and Green Lantern.
Spider-Man was canceled right after season 2 I think (or 3) and left off on such a sad note you could clearly tell that they didn't expect it. The bad guy was secretly alive and in hiding, Peter had dumped his girlfriend because he was finally going to get together with Gwen but she was stuck in a bad relationship with Harry Osborne. Everything seemed sad and dark. And thats how it ended.
Avengers introduced ideas in their show you could clearly tell were going to be used later, had the show gone on longer. Wonder Man never became a good guy like in the comics.
Batman: Brave and Bold had enough time and foresight to tell one last episode, a wrap up on the show with Batman saying goodbye no less. Not sure if they knew it was coming in enough time to spend money on that or if they had decided on their own.
Young Justice tells a long serialized story that evolves over time, things pay off in the long run. But with the show being canceled I bet not everything will be wrapped by the end of the season. Maybe they will be able to make one last episode.

Another show that ended recently, and maybe with enough foresight to sort of wrap things up was Leverage. The last episode seemed to end things, characters left the show for good, and things were changed forever. But did they actually know they wouldn't be back?

Leverage and Futurama are both shows that have been threatened with cancellation and have actually be canceled so often that I hear they plan each season finale as if it was the last episode ever. But that can lead to each season finale being so epic.
But does that beat a show just suddenly ending?

Arrow, I hear, is going all out telling everything they can and wasting no time in telling it probably just in case the public doesn't take to their show and its canceled. So they are bringing in everything and not holding off like Smallville did. Smallville seemed to hold off the first few seasons, not bringing stuff from the comics into the show too much until later. Arrow is going with everything from the comics they can it seems.

I was thinking maybe a show can leave room in their budget, set it aside, for one last episode. Just in case. So that if they are canceled they could take that money and do one last episode to wrap things up. So, in the case of Spider-Man, they could end it on a better note. Have Gwen and Peter end up together, maybe do something like what JLU did with going several years into the future with their Batman Beyond looking back at Batman and the Justice League. I just mean they could end their show how they want to end it and not on a sudden and possibly sad or bad mark.

What do you guys think? How can shows end, or prepare for the end in case they are canceled so that their show ends they way they want it to?
Last edited:
Shows should be planned out according to how many episodes and seasons are needed to tell the story that the showrunner wants to tell.
I hate it when good shows don't get a chance to finish the stories they started! *cough*Point Pleasant*cough*

I think Buffy is the best show I've watched that wrapped things up with good timing. Season four was the only finale that I would have hated for the show to end on. That probably has to do with each season having a different big bad, though.
They should live by Joss Whedons feeling

"treat every season like it is the last" unless you know for sure you are getting picked up.
i loved Justice League/Animated Series-universe ending with Terry already a grown man making a life for himself and accepting that unlike Bruce, he can lead a happy life AND be Batman

still disappointed that Spectacular Spiderman didn't get another season or at the very least a proper ending. that was a great show and seriously the best animated incarnation of Spiderman i've seen, even better than the 90s animated series
Thats just what I mean though. Spectacular Spider-Man was such a great show, only to be left on such a dark note because I guess the creators didn't know they were getting canceled. But the Whedon style doesn't work for every show.
Like "How I Met Your Mother" has a storyline that has been unresolved since the start of the show till now (years later). What if they had canceled the show after season 2 or 3? A few years back they tried to bring back the Fugitive TV show starring Tim Daily, and it was canceled after one season and they couldn't resolve the show at the end of season 1 so the show ended unsolved. Who killed his wife? Who was the one armed man?
Elementary, new Sherlock Holmes show, just introduced the idea of Moriarty. But what if it got canceled right now? The show would end on this big cliff hanger and without resolving the Moriarty thing. Mentalist does this too, their Red John story keeps going and going and going and going and going. Seemingly without an end. Some day they might just get canceled because people aren't interested in the Red John story anymore. But what would happen then? Would they be able to make one final episode to reveal and resolve the Red John story?
Cartoons I think have the hardest time with this. So many shows just end without a word or an announcement even. They just suddenly go off the air. Rarely do they get final episodes, but when they do they are usually really touching, like the last episode of Brave and the Bold or (I think) the last episode of Chowder. But usually its like that Flapjack cartoon show where its just suddenly gone.
I am just curious what a TV show could do to make sure that they end it they way they want to. Should they set money aside for one last episode just in case. Like an emergency episode fund? Should they always film one final episode as part of their season, work it into the budget, and when they don't get canceled add it as an extra on a DVD "Here's what the last episode could have been like?" Maybe ever show should just plan an ending from the beginning instead of assume they will go on forever. For example Avatar the Last Air Bender. It had an ending planned. Maybe at the start a show should plan for an ending and set that up or something. Or is it inevitable that some shows will just never be able to plan for this and will end on bad notes because they didn't know they were getting canceled?

When a show knows the end is coming they get that whole season to plan for it. 30 Rock announced back in 2009 or 2010 that they would end in 2013, and they did and they wrapped things up and had characters evolve and move on and reach final destinations.
Monk, while they couldn't have him grow much through the series, allowed him to fully grow and evolve the last season and reach a final ending to his story (that also had an unsolved plot the whole show). By the end he had grown, but that was because they knew the end was coming.
Last edited:

Users who are viewing this thread

monitoring_string = "afb8e5d7348ab9e99f73cba908f10802"