A twist ending in a movie can be a nice surprise, especially if the audience doesn’t see it coming. It causes them to look back at everything that came before it with a different set of eyes. While most people associate twist endings primarily with movies, there have been a handful of TV shows that had twist endings to their entire series. Twist finales, you could say. Some of them went over well, and some of them are still considered huge flops by today’s standards. Here are five television shows that had twist endings to their entire series that, good or bad, I never forgot.
Perhaps one of the most polarizing TV endings in television history, this twist ending caught so many people off-guard, we are still talking about it almost three decades later. St. Elsewhere (the name says it all, but no one picked up on that) was a show very much like E.R. It focused on the goings on at one hospital in Boston. While the show itself was pretty good, the series finale had a twist ending that blew minds.
You find out in the last scene of the last episode, that the whole show went on within the mind of an autistic boy who had a snow globe with the St. Elsewhere hospital in it. You know, that moment when you find out an entire run of a show you loved was all in some kid’s mind? Yeah, that upset some people. I thought it was brave. Most people didn’t.
Okay, not so much a twist ending as an ending no one saw coming and that traumatized all the Alf fans in the world for life. The final shot of the final episode of Alf that ever aired was Alf finally being caught. Yup, caught, as in about to be cut up and experimented on by the Men in Black. No joke. What people didn’t know is, that wasn’t the actual finale.
The problem was, the show got canceled, so that is the last image people ever saw of Alf. Him being surrounded and captured by the man. Great way to traumatize a whole generation of kids.
Maybe the best twist ending series finale of all time is from the second Bob Newhart show, Newhart (redundant much?). The whole show took place at Bed and Breakfast run by he and his wife. They were constantly visited by kooky and colorful guests, and it was a fun show (for old people). In the finale, you see Bob wake up in bed with the wife from his FIRST show he was in. He looks over at her and gives her the “I just had the strangest dream” line and the audience goes nuts. This time, in a good way.
In most “it was all a dream” endings, it feels like a cop out. But in this case, it gave a nod to his first show and ended up being a brilliant send-off.
I am going to have to dance around spoiling this ending, because I know there are people who are just now discovering this wonderfully surreal television show by David Lynch. The whole point of Twin Peaks was that it was a mystery, and the final moments (with the mirror, you’ll know it when you see it) at the end of the second (and final) season was nothing short of shocking and chilling.
There are some folks who didn’t like it because they didn’t understand it (which happens a lot with Lynch’s work) but if you ever need it explained, hit me up. I can help you out. So can multiple viewings of the seasons.
People call me a nerd for knowing the lore of this show so well, but I was the same age as the kids on this show when it was on, and was going through all the same stuff (albeit in less dramatic fashion). Why wouldn’t I have loved it?
But to kill off a main character in the finale’ without any warning whatsoever was a brave and twisted thing to do. Remember, the best twists don’t always leave a good taste in your mouth, but you never forget them. This lists tell you the TV twist endings that stayed with me. What are some that stayed with you?
[Photo via WB]