Which popular series is the biggest TV disappointment?

Which popular series is the biggest TV disappointment?

The winter season is the perfect time to sit back, relax and watch a new TV series. However, nobody wants to sit through multiple seasons of a show, only to feel let down by a disappointing ending! And equally, there are some shows which may start off slow, but are worth sticking with until the end!

But with so many shows to choose from, how can you know where to begin? To help you decide which show to invest your time in, Vape Superstore investigated 200 of the most popular TV shows on IMDb to find out which were the biggest hits and which left fans feeling disappointed.

Which TV Shows Experienced The Biggest Drops in Ratings?

We found that House of Cards left loyal viewers the most disappointed, with the average rating plummeting by over 4 stars between the first and last series.

Game of Thrones came in close second, with the controversial final season having an average rating of 2.55 stars lower than the first, followed by The Witcher, which saw a 2.54 drop in ratings.

Ranking TV Series Average First Season Rating Average Last Season Rating Difference in Rating
1 House of Cards 8.41 4.28 -4.13
2 Game of Thrones 8.97 6.42 -2.55
3 The Witcher 8.29 5.75 -2.54
4 The Flash 8.56 6.12 -2.44
5 Two and a Half Men 7.91 5.51 -2.4
6 13 Reasons Why 8.35 6.15 -2.2
7 Scrubs 8.13 6.27 -1.86
8 Killing Eve 8.34 6.49 -1.85
9 Fear the Walking Dead 7.63 5.83 -1.8
10 American Horror Story 8 6.2 -1.8
11 Star Trek: Discovery 7.53 5.75 -1.78
12 Sex Education 8.24 6.5 -1.74
13 Riverdale 7.87 6.37 -1.5
14 Altered Carbon 8.14 6.66 -1.48
15 Rick and Morty 8.57 7.09 -1.48
16 Family Guy 7.47 6.03 -1.44
17 Doctor Who 7.92 6.55 -1.37
18 Top Gear 7.23 5.94 -1.29
19 Dexter 8.74 7.46 -1.28
20 The Simpsons 7.68 6.4 -1.28
21 Black Mirror 8.03 6.82 -1.21
22 Arrested Development 8.32 7.12 -1.2
23 Futurama 8.08 6.88 -1.2
24 That '70s Show 7.86 6.68 -1.18
25 True Blood 8.04 7.01 -1.03
26 Heroes 8.21 7.21 -1
27 True Detective 9.23 8.23 -1
28 Dragon Ball Z 7.89 6.95 -0.94
29 American Dad! 7.4 6.47 -0.93
30 Westworld 8.86 7.94 -0.92

If you’re wanting a series which gets better over time and won’t leave you disappointed, Parks and Recreation comes out on top, with the popular comedy seeing the biggest rise in ratings between its first and last series, increasing by over 1 star.

Or why not try watching BoJack Horseman, which had the second biggest ratings bump, with the final season achieving an average rating of 8.77, up from 7.81 in season 1.

Ranking TV Series Average First Season Rating Average Last Season Rating Difference in Rating
1 Parks and Recreation 7.15 8.27 1.12
2 BoJack Horseman 7.81 8.77 0.96
3 Fleabag 8 8.9 0.9
4 Succession 8.26 9.16 0.9
5 Seinfeld 7.4 8.26 0.86
6 The Office 8.05 8.9 0.85
7 Schitt's Creek 7.5 8.29 0.79
8 Star Wars: The Clone Wars 7.35 8.11 0.76
9 Breaking Bad 8.7 9.39 0.69
10 Gravity Falls 8.22 8.89 0.67
11 Avatar: The Last Airbender 8.24 8.88 0.64
12 The Wheel of Time 7.51 8.09 0.58
13 The Newsroom 8.42 8.97 0.55
14 Mr Robot 8.69 9.22 0.53
15 Person of Interest 8.59 9.12 0.53
16 Smallville 7.75 8.28 0.53
17 Buffy The Vampire Slayer 7.49 8 0.51
18 Killing 7.97 8.45 0.48
19 The Bear 8.24 8.7 0.46
20 Mad Men 8.15 8.61 0.46
21 The White Lotus 7.72 8.16 0.44
22 Star Trek: The Next Generation 6.75 7.17 0.42
23 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D 8 8.42 0.42
24 Better Call Saul 8.7 9.1 0.4
25 Fringe 8.03 8.43 0.4
26 White Collar 7.91 8.3 0.39
27 Sense8 8.4 8.78 0.38
28 Friends 8.14 8.49 0.35
29 Teen Wolf 8.05 8.4 0.35
30 Six Feet Under 8.4 8.74 0.34

Which TV Shows Had The Most Disappointing Finales?

When you’ve invested hours and hours of your free time watching a TV show from start to finish, there are few things more frustrating than a disappointing finale! However, it’s a surprisingly common occurrence, according to our research.

House of Cards had the most disappointing finale out of all the shows we analysed, with viewers rating the episode a measly 2.6 stars, a huge fall from the premiere’s impressive 8.5!

Killing Eve’s finale also left fans disappointed, with a score of just 3.5 - a drop of 5 stars from the premiere.

Ranking TV Series Average First Season Rating Average Last Season Rating Difference in Rating
1 House of Cards 8.5 2.6 -5.9
2 Killing Eve 8.4 3.4 -5
3 Game of Thrones 8.9 4 -4.9
4 Two and a Half Men 8.1 3.8 -4.3
5 Rick and Morty 8.7 4.5 -4.2
6 Dexter 8.2 4.7 -3.5
7 The Flash 8.3 5.3 -3
8 How I Met Your Mother 8.4 5.5 -2.9
9 The Witcher 8.2 5.3 -2.9
10 True Blood 7.9 5.4 -2.5
11 Pretty Little Liars 7.6 5.4 -2.2
12 Doctor Who 7.5 5.4 -2.1
13 Westworld 8.8 6.9 -1.9
14 Family Guy 7.6 5.7 -1.9
15 Shameless 8.4 6.6 -1.8
16 Fear the Walking Dead 7.5 5.8 -1.7
17 American Horror Story 7.9 6.2 -1.7
18 Scrubs 8 6.3 -1.7
19 Supernatural 8.5 6.9 -1.6
20 The Blacklist 8.2 6.6 -1.6
21 Sex Education 7.9 6.5 -1.4
22 Star Trek: Discovery 7.2 5.8 -1.4
23 American Dad! 7.1 5.7 -1.4
24 Castle 8.3 7 -1.3
25 Top Gear 7.1 5.8 -1.3
26 Fargo 9.3 8.1 -1.2
27 Ozark 8.4 7.2 -1.2
28 Altered Carbon 7.8 6.7 -1.1
29 South Park 7.5 6.5 -1
30 Firefly 9.3 8.4 -0.9

However, it’s not all bad news. Sometimes the opposite can be true, with a show giving fans the send-off they deserve.

At the other end of the table, The Big Bang Theory’s finale impressed viewers the most. With a rating of 9.5 stars by viewers, the finale was rated a whole 3 stars higher than its premiere episode.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars is another worthwhile investment if you’re looking for a new show to binge, with the finale earning a whopping 9.9 stars, up from just 7.3 for its premiere.

Ranking TV Series Average First Season Rating Average Last Season Rating Difference in Rating
1 The Big Bang Theory 6.5 9.5 3
2 Star Wars: The Clone Wars 7.3 9.9 2.6
3 Parks and Recreation 7 9.5 2.5
4 BoJack Horseman 7.1 9.5 2.4
5 Schitt's Creek 7.1 9.3 2.2
6 Star Trek: The Next Generation 6.9 9.1 2.2
7 Gravity Falls 7.8 9.9 2.1
8 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D 7.5 9.4 1.9
9 Andor 7.3 9.1 1.8
10 Banshee 7.7 9.5 1.8
11 Spartacus 7.9 9.7 1.8
12 The Office (2001-2003) 7.6 9.3 1.7
13 The Office (2005-2013) 8.1 9.8 1.7
14 The Wheel of Time 7.3 9 1.7
15 The Bear 7.7 9.4 1.7
16 Sons of Anarchy 7.8 9.5 1.7
17 Brooklyn Nine-Nine 7.7 9.4 1.7
18 Friends 7.9 9.6 1.7
19 Fleabag 7.7 9.3 1.6
20 Buffy The Vampire Slayer 7.7 9.3 1.6
21 Ted Lasso 7.8 9.4 1.6
22 Severance 8.1 9.7 1.6
23 Succession 7.9 9.5 1.6
24 The Good Place 7.9 9.5 1.6
25 Sex and the City 7.3 8.8 1.5
26 The Vampire Diaries 7.8 9.3 1.5
27 Avatar: The Last Airbender 8.4 9.9 1.5
28 Person of Interest 8.3 9.8 1.5
29 Sense8 7.4 8.9 1.5
30 The Expanse 7.5 9 1.5

So, if you’re looking for a new show to binge over the festive season, hopefully this research will help ensure you make the right choice and aren’t left feeling disappointed!

Methodology

200 of the most highly-reviewed, English language TV shows on IMBd were analysed to find which were the biggest hits and disappointments.

The biggest hits and disappointments were determined by the difference between the average rating of the first and last (or most recent) series of each respective show. The most pleasing and disappointing finales were also ranked, based on the difference between average viewer rating of the first episode of series 1 and last episode of the final (or most recent) series/episode.

For shows which are currently in the middle of a season, an average was taken of the currently available episodes.

As ‘The IT Crowd’ has a standalone final special episode, the average was calculated by combining this rating with the ratings from the most recent complete series.

All data accurate as of December 2023.

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Author Image: David Phillips
About the Author: David Phillips
David Phillips is the lead content writer at Vape Superstore, with a decade of involvement in the vaping industry. Armed with a journalism diploma, he has spent the past ten years exploring the world of vaping. David has a hands-on research approach and is committed to delivering fact-based content that is useful to readers. As a former smoker, he has personally experienced the advantages that switching to vaping has to offer, not only for well-being but also for cost savings. David is enthusiastic about raising awareness about vaping’s benefits and helping people make the switch away from tobacco.

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