Building up to a finale is an important part of a good TV series. Sometimes, a show will give too much information too soon, spoiling the finale.
It's not easy to avoid television spoilers, especially when a show gets popular. Within hours—sometimes even minutes—of an episode's release, details, screenshots, and, yes, spoilers are often found across all social media platforms. It can be a minefield to navigate for those that have not yet seen the show's latest episode.
But sometimes it's the show itself that drops a spoiler or two, often unintentionally. There's a big difference between foreshadowing and spoiling, and while one can be incredibly useful in telling a good story, the other can feel lazy and uninteresting. If a series finale feels unsatisfying or overly predictable, it's possible that the show managed to spoil its ending in some way or another before reaching its climax.
Although it can be difficult to create an original story from preexisting narratives, such as the Arthurian legends, there are many examples of unique and interesting rewrites of the legends of Arthur Pendragon. BBC's Merlin, however, spoiled its own ending before the show had even finished its first season.
Since the beginning of Merlin, fans had been expecting the moment when Merlin would reveal his magical abilities to Prince Arthur. Yet despite becoming King as early as Season 4, Arthur continued to enforce the ban on magic and postponed the big moment until the series finale, treating it as a twist, as though it hadn't been the expectation all along.
The popular series Lost is known for its divisive and poorly received finale, likely due to the poor execution of its final season. After building suspense and mystery over the first three seasons, the show's timeline began to blur and reveal flash-forwards of the character's lives in Season 4.
By the time Lost's final season aired and revealed the show's big twist—that the characters had died and were in purgatory—most of the fans had already guessed something similar. Instead of being cathartic, however, fans saw the reveal as unsatisfying and predictable, perhaps as a result of poorly paced foreshadowing.
The action-packed series Voltron: Legendary Defender, based on the 80s television show Voltron, was well-received in its initial seasons. Its final season, however, was criticized for being rushed and out of character. Fans claimed that the story had resorted to predictable, unoriginal plot points to maintain momentum through the series' climax.
A primary example includes the identity of Honerva. Despite being introduced as the witch Haggar for most of the series, her importance to Voltron: Legendary Defender's plot had never been a well-kept secret. As the other villains from the series were all defeated by the Voltron paladins, it was expected that the single remaining antagonist, Honerva, would be needed to maintain conflict during the final season.
The adventures of Sam and Dean Winchester, protagonists of the long-running Supernatural series, finally reached their conclusion in late 2020. Some fans, however, argued that the show's true ending was when the show's creator, Eric Kripke, stepped away from the series in Season 5.
By the end of Supernatural's fifth season, Sam and Dean had died and been resurrected, had both befriended and angered various angels and demons, and had wrestled with the concept of a life beyond that of a hunter. Ironically, the show's final season addressed a similar series of events, perhaps unintentionally paralleling the show's successful formula from its earlier episodes.
The Legend of Korra takes place decades after the events of its predecessor, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and documents the adventures of the now-avatar Korra. Its finale, however, follows a strikingly similar pace to its predecessor's and parallels several character arcs and story beats.
Both The Legend of Korra and Avatar: The Last Airbender's final seasons begin with the avatars being unable—or unwilling—to enter the avatar state due to past trauma. The character arcs of both final seasons include overcoming this and a final large-scale battle with a mechanized weapon. While each series does have its own distinctive plot, the show's predecessor may have "spoiled" its successor's pacing unintentionally.
The hit miniseries Wandavision, one of the first television series in the MCU, was well-received for its unique tone and utilization of sitcom tropes in its early episodes. Yet it dropped some of this effect in the later half of the show, arguably spoiling its own climax by revealing its hand a bit too soon.
Wandavision's true villain, Agatha Harkness, is revealed as early as episode 7: "Breaking the Fourth Wall". The following episode is almost exclusively a flashback and postpones the final confrontation to the finale, shifting the tone of the show from that of a mystery-thriller to more of a superhero action film. Perhaps the show solved its mysteries too early and spoiled itself before the climax had even occurred.
Challenging the expectations of an animated superhero series, Invincible managed to appeal to its adult audience by including plenty of violence, language, and a mature plot. One of its boldest choices, however, was revealing the true nature of Omni-Man in the final scene of the first episode.
Knowing that Nolan had sinister intentions altered the expectations of its audience. Rather than trying to identify the culprit of the crime, Invincible's audience is left to wonder how long it will take the characters to figure it out. It's a bold and seemingly successful choice, however, it could be argued that the emotional impact of the season's finale was lessened somewhat by the knowledge that Omni-Man had been an antagonist all along.
The controversial series 13 Reasons Why had mixed reviews due to its discussion of sensitive topics. Despite being based on the book Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, the series had its own take on various plot points.
While it's clear from the first episode what the fate of Hannah Baker is, the finale of 13 Reasons Why as a whole revolves around some of the same discussions that are had in the first season. Perhaps less of a "spoiler" and more of a drawn-out plot point, the fate of characters like Bryce were not only expected from as early as Season 2, but were strung out to maintain conflict in the later seasons.
While initially well-received in its first season, Under the Dome started to lose some of its fanbase in its later half. By the time the series' finale had arrived, many of the viewers felt as though they'd already seen the twist coming and had been strung along for the sake of drawn-out conflict.
By the beginning of Season 3, the characters had discovered a way out from within the mysterious dome. But it had been clear since Season 2—and subsequently unsurprising throughout Under the Dome's final season—that an alien influence had orchestrated things and that the lives of those outside the dome were fictional realities.
Adventure Time ran for over eight years, drawing a large fanbase of adults and children. Its dark lore and subtle storytelling contained plenty of mystery, but perhaps its most interesting moments occurred in its earlier seasons, leaving the finale barren of a proper climax.
Most of Adventure Time's most notable arcs—Ice King's past, the fate of the Lich, the identity of Finn's parents and his disjointed memories—had all been addressed and solved before the series' final season had even begun. Many of these arcs are utilized in the final confrontation with GOLB, but there is little mystery left to be solved. By the time the finale arrived, there was little more to learn about the characters and their pasts.
NEXT: 10 Dramas That Should Have Ended In Their First Season
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