Every year, television fans have to say goodbye to some of their favorite shows. But there is a huge difference between "ending" and "cancellation." We're very sorry if you're still holding on to some shows that were gone too soon, but this article is in celebration of shows that are getting their proper endings beginning this fall.
Some haven't changed that much over the course of their runs, while others are nearly unrecognizable from where they started out. But all of them have devoted fanbases that will look back at the shows with fondness and affection. As you may have guessed: spoilers ahead.
The Last Ship, Final Season Premieres Sept. 9, TNT
When this show premiered in 2014, the crew of the USS Nathan James learned that while they've been at sea, a deadly virus has infected 80 percent of the world's population and the safest place to develop a vaccine is out on their ship in the open ocean.
Fast forward to the end of season four and the crew has secured a supply of seeds for Elaeis virilis, the only known plant alive today with proven immunity to the virus (which jumped from humans to plants in season two). In the final season premiere, the world is recovering from the global pandemic, but the political unrest may still set off the next world war. While the threats may have changed some, the show is still the action-packed drama that at its core is about the toll prolonged war can take on the people fighting.
The Big Bang Theory, Final Season Premieres Sept. 24, CBS
When this hit CBS comedy takes its final bow, it will go down in history as the longest-running multi-camera series in television history, with twelve seasons and 279 episodes under its belt. But what fans will remember is that this show started out about four science geeks who all work together at a university, and is ending as a lovely look at a tight-knit group of friends. Making Kaley Cuoco's role of neighbor Penny more involved and introducing Amy (Mayim Bialik) and Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) to round out the group was when The Big Bang Theory really found its stride and its heart, cementing its place as one of the all-time great ensemble comedies.
Versailles, Final Season Premieres Oct. 6, Ovation
This historical fiction show chronicles the reign of Louis XIV in France during the construction of the incredible Palace of Versailles. King Louis built the palace in response to political unrest, using it as a sort of prison for the nobility.
Going into the third season, not much has changed about the show at its core — it is still about Machiavellian palace intrigue, buttressed by the most incredible costumes and set dressings. But in season three, the focus is going to be on the king's loyal valet, Alexandre Bontemps (Stuart Bowman), whose loyalty to the king is about to be tested. King Louis will also face a challenger for his wife's affections in the form of Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I (Rory Keenan).
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Final Season Premieres Oct. 12, The CW
This CW musical dramedy is a show that might appear to have changed a lot in four seasons, but actually hasn't changed as much as people think — it has simply gotten darker in its realistic portrayal of mental illness.
In the first season, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend seemed to be a hilarious musical about type-A lawyer Rebecca (Rachel Bloom) who ditches her high-powered NYC life to follow her camp crush to California. But even back then, the show was planting seeds of Rebecca's struggle with mental health — family issues, intimacy issues, self-esteem issues.
In season three, Rebecca spiraled into a suicide attempt and other extremely dangerous behavior. Going into the fourth and final season, Rebecca might finally be on the road to some sort of mental well-being because she has at least started to face up to the consequences of her actions by pleading guilty to attempted murder.
House of Cards, Final Season Premieres Nov. 2, Netflix
Netflix's political drama is arguably the most-changed show beginning its final season since its lead character is no longer on the show — Kevin Spacey was fired amid sexual assault allegations in late 2017.
Of course, many House of Cards viewers (us included) have felt like Claire Underwood (Robin Wright) was the true star of the show for many seasons now, so watching her take over as president of the United States should be a lot of fun in this eight-episode season.
The most interesting thing in the final season will be to find out how the show gets rid of Frank Underwood. In the season five finale, Jane (Patricia Clarkson) mentions to Claire that Frank's liver could fail at any time, implying they could poison him and no one would be the wiser. We hope that's the way the show goes, dispensing with that matter quickly so that fans can watch Claire kick ass and take names all by herself for the rest of the shortened season.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Final Season Premieres January 2019, Netflix
From the start, this Netflix comedy has unapologetically skewered, well, pretty much everything it can get its hands on — the legal system, cable news, the wealthy elites, gentrification, you name it. It continued to do so in the first half of its final season when it tackled toxic masculinity by introducing "the Innocence Broject," which attempts to help "persecuted" men, like the Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne (Jon Hamm), the man who imprisoned Kimmy in a bunker for years.
The through line has always been Kimmy finding her way in the world after that terrible ordeal, the horrible specifics of which have been lightly peppered in throughout the series. So we would expect the back half of season four will bring Kimmy some needed closure. While most of her cohorts have changed only marginally over four seasons, Kimmy herself has really found her voice and her purpose.
You're the Worst, Final Season Premieres January 2019, FXX
It will be interesting to see if the characters at the core of this dark comedy actually have changed by the end — because in season four, just when you thought everyone had started some kind of evolution toward being a good person, all of them became completely awful again. Except for Edgar (Desmin Borges) because he's a prince among these garbage people.
At the 2018 TCA summer press tour, star Aya Cash teased that the final season features the absolute worst thing they've ever done and frankly, we can't even begin to imagine what that is.
Broad City, Final Season Premieres Midseason, Comedy Central
This comedy about two best friends trying to make it in New York. It started out focusing a lot on their hapless work life in a gig economy. This is still a main theme in the show's penultimate season, but along the way, the girls' friendship has been more fleshed out, along with their outside relationships. We would expect the final season to be more of the same, though perhaps one or both of the women will have a steady job by the time it ends.
This superhero drama was originally about a young Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) becoming Batman. But the season four finale basically reset the entire series and set up a final season that promises to be completely insane (cue the Joker's maniacal laughter).
The finale was titled "No Man's Land," a nod to a comic book arc from the 1990s where Gotham became an anarchic state, cut off from the rest of the world when all the bridges off the island are destroyed. And that's just what happened in the season four finale. Now, villains are positioning themselves all around the city, ready to go to war both with the law and also each other as they try to gain control of the city. It should be a wild ride.
iZombie, Final Season Premieres Midseason, The CW
When this comic book series began, Liv Moore (Rose McIver) found herself transformed into a zombie who can have psychic flashes of the lives of the people whose brains she eats. Naturally, as a good person who wants to help other people, she partners with a local detective to help solve murders.
Going into the final season, Liv still sometimes solves the case of the week, but the show focuses more on a large section of the population "living" with their zombie condition and dealing with people who are bigoted against them. Seattle has had a wall built around it to keep the zombies contained, but when 1000 zombies breached the wall, the U.S. government stopped sending brains to "New Seattle" for the zombies to eat.
Regardless of how the series wraps up, it'll be fun to watch as we wait on Veronica Mars renewal news from shared showrunner Rob Thomas.
Jane the Virgin, Final Season Premieres Midseason, The CW
Jane (Gina Rodriguez) began this series as the titular virgin who becomes pregnant when she is accidentally inseminated at her annual gynecologist check-up...did we mention this is based on a telenovela? This leads to the mother of all love triangles between Jane, her boyfriend Michael (Brett Dier) and her baby daddy Rafael (Justin Baldoni).
Fast forward to the middle of season three when Michael dies suddenly from complications after being shot. The show jumps ahead in time several years so that season four sees Jane and Rafael trying to figure out their relationship and how to co-parent their son. Until — dun dun dun! — the season four finale reveals that Michael is still alive. The show's creator, Jennie Snyder Urman, is staying pretty mum about the plot here, but she did tell The Hollywood Reporter after the season four finale that season five will feature a wedding, implying that it will be between Jane and one of her two love interests.
So, through all the twists and turns, the show is still about this love triangle. But what makes Jane the Virgin work so well as a show is that the characters feel like real people with real emotions and real problems, so expect that to continue unchanged through the show's ending.
Shadowhunters, Final Season Premieres Spring 2019, Freeform
When this supernatural teen drama premiered, it primarily focused on Clary Fray (Katherine McNamara) discovering she's destined to be a Shadowhunter, which is a human-angel hybrid who hunts down demons. By the season three midseason finale, Clary has become a full-fledged Shadowhunter who is seemingly killed by an explosion. Is she really dead?
Executive producer Todd Slavkin told TV Guide that what happens to Clary is "a really cool spin on the books" and "a great tale" is ahead for the main character. The show wraps up with 10 episodes that are the back half of season three, plus a two-hour finale movie that Freeform ordered after it decided to cancel the series.
This political satire has come full circle in its six seasons. Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) has gone from a lowly vice president ("lowly" because the president never lets her do anything important) to president to political poison to back on top. The final season is going to see her take one more stab at the presidency, having eschewed her "happy ending" of leaving politics altogether to be with a man who actually made her happy in favor of taking one last shot at political glory.
Expect the final season to be full of scheming, backstabbing and the most foul-mouthed, laugh-out-loud insults anywhere on TV. And we'd bet on another award coming JLD's way.
Game of Thrones, Final Season Premieres Spring/Summer 2019, HBO
Game of Thrones has changed dramatically since its premiere season, largely due to the vast amount of painful character deaths. When the show premiered, most of the female characters were kept out of the action, supporting characters for the men fighting for the throne — but now most of the main characters are women (badass women to boot) and it should be quite the clash of the titans as they all collide in a quest for the Iron Throne.
Hopefully the final season takes some time to breathe and wrap up all the storylines in a satisfying (and, we assume, emotionally painful, way). The penultimate season was full of so many great moments, but it also didn't allow for any character arcs to grow, and the frenetic pace left our heads spinning a little. It'd be nice if the final six episodes could slow down just a touch.
This is another entry that looks a lot different from when it started out. Homeland was initially the story of CIA agent Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) becoming involved with rescued POW Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis), who may or may not have become an al-Qaeda agent, and the fallout of their alliance and romantic dalliance.
After Brody's death in season three, the show continued by focusing on Carrie's CIA work and her struggles with bipolar disorder, though it never did quite find the magic of the first three seasons. Season seven, however, brought a U.S./Russian conflict to the forefront and turned in one of the strongest seasons in years.
The final season is still a ways off, so details are nil, but we do expect that Carrie's relationship with her colleague and father figure Saul (national treasure Mandy Patinkin) will take center stage for the final stretch.