We are lucky to live in the era of Peak TV. But, as with every explosion of light, there are shadows. A dark side. And in the case of Peak TV, it's the ending. The TV landscape is littered with formerly favorite shows that failed to stick the landing, and thus remain bitter in memory. "Lost." "Dexter." "Seinfeld."
Genre shows have no superpower or mystic spell to avoid the same doom. Perhaps the best example is "Game of Thrones," once one of the most talked-about shows in history.
Here are a few of things that didn't sit well with me. (NOTE: Spoilers for "Game of Thrones," "Vikings" and "Chilling Adventures of Sabrina" ahead.)
The majority of "GoT's" faults are the result of simply rushing through the final season, which was shorter than any previous season. Actions and decisions in the last few episodes needed room to breathe, so the audience had time to accept them — room they didn't get.
So: Rushing to the end is bad. That fault erupted in our next candidate, "Vikings." The series finale did indeed feel rushed, but that was not the only fault.
But rushed? You bet. When the last 10 episodes dropped in December on Amazon Prime, they began with Ivar, Hvitserk, Oleg and Igor in Novgorod; Ubbe and Torvi in Iceland; Floki missing; Olaf and Harald captives of the Rus; and Bjorn Ironside fatally injured but striving to protect Kattegat.
Those 10 episodes whizzed through the second Rus attack on Kattegat, the discovery and abandonment of Greenland, the discovery of the New World, the Great Heathen Army invading Britain (which lasted 14 years IRL), the death of Harald Finehair, the death of two of Ragnar's sons and happy endings for everyone else. Thanks for nothing, "Vikings" finale.
Lastly we come to "The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina." This series was absolutely terrific for 3 ½ seasons. But, oy, those last few episodes really jumped the hellhound. First, there's the tonal shift. "Sabrina" had always walked the line between horror and humor, and successfully so. It even dipped into silly and sexy occasionally, as the stars were supposed to be high school kids.
But not at the end, which was unrelentingly grim — and resulted in the death of the titular character. For a show that treated death as a revolving door ("going to Hell and back" wasn't an expression, it was a day trip), this sudden, cruel finality was sudden and cruel.
It's also thematically weird. We started the season with too many Sabrinas (two) and ended with too few (zero). Essentially, the last couple of episodes of "Sabrina" felt like an entirely different show than what had gone before. Was it rushed? Unknown. Was it badly planned and executed? Absolutely.
Which means that "CAOS" is another show I can scratch off my list to recommend to others, along with "Vikings" and "Game of Thrones." In all three cases, These were shows that I gave my heart and soul to, enthusiastically evangelized for and binged completely at the first opportunity. Now, I'm too disappointed for a re-watch — knowing how things end spoils all that came before.