While the ending of a TV show seems simple in concept, the results of various other shows demonstrate the difficulty of the actual execution.
The main reason for this topic coming back to light again is the recent controversy of one of the most popular Japanese manga in the past few years, Attack on Titan. A previous story of mine naively said that no matter how it ended, this story of Eren Jaeger would go down as one of the greatest in anime history. While that still stands to a degree, it is undeniable that to some, it has made it considerably worse. Even the creator himself, Hajime Isayama admits this in an interview: “With the last chapter, I thought I was making everyone happy. I was too confident.”
Attack on Titan isn’t the first notable piece of media to be affected by its ending. As of writing this, it has been almost 2 years since the infamous final season of Game of Thrones aired its last episode on May 19th, 2021. This ending was known to be so bad that even those outside the fandom like me, who has never seen an episode of it in my life, knows how horrifically it was butchered. What was going to be regarded as one of the best modern tv shows has now had itself known as one of the most disappointing. There is the majority mindset that the ending did not do its world justice, and Georgia Tinkler is no exception. Such can be seen on by a tweet by her: “I don’t think I will ever be as let down by anything as I was by the ending of Game of Thrones, still not over it.”
With Attack on Titan and Game of Thrones, it can be wondered how an ending can not only change the initial perception of its quality, but also about its long-term relevance in pop culture. Shows and movies stand the test of the time by having a complete and entertaining story with little flaws; the audience is left having a fond memory of the whole journey. But since the ending comes last, it can be the last, bitter memory of a piece of otherwise sweet art. And Game of Thrones is a perfect example of this- George Griffiths, reporter for the Metro Magazine, states how this applies: “It was the most popular show of the decade. But, just look around on the internet today, search for Game of Thrones. It was such a sudden and complete grind to a halt, we think it’s given every single viewer emotional whiplash.
It’s truly a tragedy how these circumstances for these influential pieces of art end up. Instead of gushing about how good these shows were, many are left wondering what these shows could have been, and what their impact could have been on the cultural landscape.