Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Series - Is The Final Destination What Matters Most?



This question has been bugging me for the longest time now. When it comes to a series, is it the final destination or the journey to get there that really matters? Now, what I mean is whether the end of a series matters more than everything that precedes it. Does the ending make or break the series? If a series has been nothing but phenomenal up until the final book, do you then disregard the rest of the series because you weren't satisfied with the conclusion. What's finally got me to write up this post isn't even a book series, it was a couple of lengthy discussions I have had recently about Dexter. 

Dexter proved to me that the ending of a series, whether it be a book, TV show or movie series, can actually make or break it. It can ruin or redeem everything that came before it. A disappointing ending can leave you so disheartened that you just feel bad that you ever made it that far. Or there's the final seasons, book or movie that seems to redeem that series. It blows you away, it connects up things that might not have made sense and it makes you so glad you made it to the end. Then there are those endings that are just mediocre, they weren't bad but they weren't amazing either. 

Are endings the most important thing? You don't want to read a series whose only decent book is the final one. You equally don't want to read a series where the only decent book is the first one. But an ending is still crucial, the ending has to be satisfying otherwise why has the reader bothered to follow the series. In my opinion a series ender either has to be either amazing, good or just okay for it to work. If it's really bad and disappointing then it does ruin the series for me.




Examples (no spoilers)

TV

Ones with series ruining endings:

Dexter, for anyone who doesn't know (everyone does know, right?), is a TV show that was absolutely brilliant. It's main character is a serial killer who only kills bad guy, basically other killers, rapists and so on. It had a genius premise, the characters were brilliant and it was funny even at times when it probably shouldn't have been. You can't help but root for Dexter most of the time, and then feel like you're a bit of a psychopath too. This show hasn't been all shining brilliance though, it's been very up and down. It's had amazing seasons and then really disappointing ones. But overall I had always loved the show and considered it one of my favourites. Until the final season. Fans were very excited to see how it ended, but I don't think anyone was expecting the season that they got. It's one of the worst things I have ever had to make myself watch. Watching the final episode actually made me throw one of my books across the room. My books are my babies, I never throw them. It was such a bad series ending that it actually has ruined the whole series for me. I can't bring myself to rewatch it, knowing what's going to happen. I own every season on DVD, except that final one. And I never will. I was actually shocked how one season had managed to ruin my love for a series that I had followed and loved for eight years.
How I felt at the end of Dexter.

How I Met Your Mother was a series that started really well but, like a lot of series, got worse the longer they dragged it on. You kind of started to have less love for it near the end but your love of certain characters keeps you watching. The last season though, I don't know how that even got made. It was awful. It's the worst TV series ending I have seen since Dexter, it's not as soul-crushingly awful but it is really bad. I finished that season and wondered why I bothered to keep watching after series 5. 


The show that did it right:

Breaking Bad was a show that managed to be almost perfect from beginning right up until the very ending. It has one of the greatest series endings I have ever seen, and I mean the whole season not just the last episode. I think Breaking Bad did such a good job because they had learnt a lesson that other series hadn't. Don't drag a series out just because it's making money. Breaking Bad could have gone on and on and on, people would have watched. But it wouldn't have been as good a story, it probably would have ended badly. 

Sums up all the feels when I watched the last season:


Movies

The ending that ruined the series:

X-Men: Last Stand was just awful, that movie was just not the way that series should have ended. I am so grateful that, once enough time had gone by that we'd forgotten about the awfulness that was X-Men: The Last Stand, they decided to reboot it with a prequel series. I also adored the fact that they used the prequel and the use of time travel to just completely f**k with the that movie.


Shouldn't even have been a series:

Pirates of the Caribbean should have ended at The Curse of the Black Pearl. The second movie wasn't bad, but it wasn't that brilliant either. Then there's the third one, which was just very disappointing and lacked most of the humour that I'd come to expect from the series. And you think that's it, but then they make another one, which really wasn't very good and had the weirdest and most pointless mermaid subplot... ever! And they are still making another one. That shows a series that's only continuing because it makes money. I won't be continuing it, I'll just watch The Black Pearl and cry over the fact they went on to ruin it.


How I feel each time a new Pirates movie is released:


Too good to be ruined by a bad ending:

The Return of the King is an amazing movie, until it gets to the end. It's problem is that there are about a million endings. One thing you need to do when you end a movie is to actually end it, don't end it and then end it again and then again. Just pick one ending and stick to it. What Return of the King has going for it is the fact that every movie was brilliant, practically flawless in fact. One small hiccup of an ending isn't enough to ruin it. We all know it should have ended with the crowning of the King and everyone bowing down in appreciation of the hobbits. That's it, the end. 

My feelings towards Peter Jackson at the end of it:
And then The Hobbit happened...

The last film better save the series:

Desolation of Smaug SUCKED! I hated that film. People actually left the cinema and they didn't come back. Unfortunately I had to sit through it. From the awful introduction of a subplot sort-of-romance between an elf and a dwarf, to the dragon that takes an hour to say one sentence. This is one series that needs an amazing ending to save it. 


My feelings towards Peter Jackson and the Hobbit #3:



Books

How to end a book series:

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is a lesson to everyone on how to successfully end a series. Everyone had such high expectations for the final book and I don't think anyone was disappointing. J.K. Rowling really did an amazing job with this book. She hits you in all of your feels, makes you sob like a baby and then hate her a little bit. And yet you love her even more for it.

The okay ending:

I honestly thought that Champion was okay, I know a lot of people loved it but for me it was just okay. I think it was just the fact that the end was a bit too soap-opera like in how ridiculous it was. It really was ridiculous. But the majority of the book was solid, and I enjoyed the series overall. 


Worst final book ever:

Allegiant is a hideous book. You should always try to be fair when reviewing a book, and try not to be too harsh... unless that book is Allegiant. I still can't comprehend how that book even got published. I get annoyed by people who go on and on about the ending of that book. I didn't even care by the end. Why are they forgetting everything that came before the end? The whole book was bad. It was badly plotted and had a lot of pacing issues. It had a new POV introduced that was just identical to Tris's. It just reused the same storyline from a previous book, changing nothing but the fighting groups. I don't want to bore you with all the reasons that Allegiant is the most disappointing and series ruining book in the world. You can just check out my spoiler-filled or spoiler-free review for all the details. 

My thoughts exactly!

Allegiant and Dexter were definitely the two finales of series that showed me the importance of a good ending. Both of those actually ruined the whole series for me. Why would I want to watch or reread either when I know how they end? I could always stop before the end but then what's the point of reading it at all. I know the ending of the boo isn't the only thing that matters, but it's still very important. For me the ending needs to be amazing, satisfying or at least okay. Anything less and you are just left disappointed and wondering why you bothered with the series to begin with.

Do you have any examples of last books/movies/seasons that made a series for you? Do you have any that actually completely ruined the series for you? 





I have read and loved both of Abigail's books, Dangerous Girls & Dangerous Boys. To celebrate the release of Dangerous Boys, I am giving 1 winner the chance to win paperback copies of both Dangerous Boys and Dangerous Girls. It's open internationally, as long as Book Depository ships to you!








Films for Thoughts on Thursday: Guardians of the Galaxy 7/10 Review
Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas: 4.5/5 Review & Giveaway
Five Friday Favourites: Favourite Films
My Weekly Book Haul: 16/08/2014
Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover: 4.5/5 Review
Summer Surge: Challenges




42 comments:

  1. Call me crazy but I Really want all the endings to be great, but I want all the beginnings and in betweens to be great as well.
    But I will admit that when an ending suck, it does ruin the whole series for me. I wish that wasn't true but the truth is that it is how I feel, however right or wrong that is.

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    1. You're not crazy, I do too. I think a series should be fantastic all the way through, that's what makes it good enough to become a favourite series. But I hate when a fantastic series just ends so badly that you can't really comprehend it.

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  2. I absolutely agree with you on Allegiant and HOw I Met Your Mother. Authors also should be given a class on when to stop their series *cough* Cassandra Clare *cough*Kiera Cass *cough*

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    1. Oh yes, I forgot to mention that but it is so true. I was really surprised to here that they are going to do two more novels for The Selection series. I don't see why it's needed.

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  3. Honestly, for me the journey is important but I also want to see a great and satisfying ending. For me, the ending is usually what makes or breaks a series.

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    1. I feel like that too, especially if it has such a terrible ending that I just can't get over it. But I don't think an amazing ending can always save a really bad series, one that you haven't enjoyed up until that point. I care more about the ending when it's a series that I love.

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  4. I am so with you on this, sometimes the last book/movie/season is so heartbreakingly terrible that you wondered why you kept watching/reading. Particularly with TV shows this seems to happen, isn't it better to stop while its awesome than to fizzle out and wait until everyone gives up watching ( Glee should have got this memo at the end of season 3 and with MAXIMUM FREAKING RIDE AFTER BOOK 3) but then there are those ones that even though you know things are getting rubbish, but you're so attached that you just keep going (Grey"s Anatomy for me atm,Divergent trilogy) but then sometimes things really pick back up again (Supernatural after the atrocity of seasons 7 and 8 and Vampire academy after book four, which everyone else seems to love?)
    It's so conflicting!

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    1. Yes, I really wish I could learn to stop watching. GLEE - So true! That should have ended years ago, it's just so bad now. I think the first season was probably the best, it slowly got worse from there.

      I loved Grey's Anatomy but, even though I own more on DVD, I have only got up to season 6. I still need to watch the others, something I should probably not bother with but still really want to. I think I'd rewatch it all though, start from the very beginning.

      I love Supernatural, I can't get enough of Dean. I do worry they ruin it the more they drag it out though. I still love it, but I do miss the simplicity of the first couple of seasons - where they were literally just going on hunts. There's far too much focus on BIG storylines now.

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  5. Oh yes, the ending of Dexter!! So awful. I want to forget it but I CAN'T. It really ruined everything. And exactly, Breaking Bad DID IT RIGHT. The last Harry Potter book was just okay for me though :)

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    1. It really did, and no matter how hard I try to block it out and pretend it never happened, I can't. I actually just get so mad every time I think about it, not sure how the scripts for that one got the okay.

      Breaking Bad ended before they could ruin it. They found more importance in telling a great story than they did in dragging out a series because it can make you a lot of money. Other shows should learn that lesson.

      HP devastated me so much, but I think it was my complete paralysing fear the whole way through that one of the 3 would die that made me so happy at the end. Even despite the fact she killed off some of my favourite characters.

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  6. I didn't even bother with the ending of Dexter. My husband said how horrible it was and I completely gave up on the last season. SO SAD!
    Allegiant too did not work for me. I know some people had feels, I just just had a bad taste in my mouth!
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

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    1. I wish someone had warned me, then I could have saved myself from it. But, nope, I sat all the way through that series and just HATED IT! You got off lucky, NEVER watch it, haha. Just make up your own ending, whatever you come up with will be better than what they did.

      I got no feels from Allegiant, other than anger. I didn't cry at the end or anything, I was just in shock that anyone had let that get published. It felt like a first draft that had yet to be edited.

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  7. You know, I've been thinking the same thing lately. Finishing series does that to you. Gallagher Girls, Percy Jackson and Awaken have been good, but Sweet Reckoning could have been stronger, same with Mockingjay, but with those, it's how I've come that distance with them before finishing them that means they mean more to me than others. TV shows, I'm less fussed about, if I start going off a show, I tend to abandon it, like Arrow or Doctor Who, oops, but it's life, you will judge books differently based on how they made you feel, but an ending can make or break I think.

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    1. I used to always finish TV shows, I abandon them a lot more easily now. But Dexter and Allegiant are still bugging me, almost a year since they even happened. That's how badly an ending can affect my love of a series. I just want my endings to be as amazing as the rest of the series.

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  8. I think it's definitely more about the journey- especially in longer series, I find myself favoriting the books toward the middle, where I get a lot of character development, world building, relationship building, etc (like with HP or TMI). Although if the ending is truly, truly horrid, it makes me cringe to reread even the prior books I loved because I know what's coming and that it's awful (like Allegiant- I haven't even READ it yet but I know what happens in the end and I can't bear to even pick up the series again!) Great post!

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    1. Haha, it's not even the end of Allegiant that got to, it was the fact that the whole book was awful. I think the journey is very important, and amazing ending won't save a series that's been awful up until that point. But a truly horrific ending can definitely destroy my love for the series, it will make me never want to reread it, which has happened with Divergent.

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  9. How I met Your Mother was probably the worst finale of a TV show for me, I was so disappointed in it. Book wise Allegiant I couldn't finish it, I kinda want to one day when it won't hurt so much but I am in no hurry. Also Pendragon by D.J. MacHale the last book was pretty good but the epilogue...just no. The author managed to ruin the whole 10 book series in the very short epilogue, I still love the series but I can't think of the ending without feeling furious.
    This is a great topic, awesome post! =)

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    1. HIMYM! I can't even comprehend the ending to that series. That was not what I wanted to see happen. I think it was the worst ending to that show. I will never rewatch that season, EVER! Oh dear, why put an epilogue on the end when you have already given it a decent ending. That would infuriate me so much. I have to admit to not really liking the HP epilogue though, it just felt weird for some reason.

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  10. Oh yes. The ending is very important to me. Less for tv since I don't watch too much but in books? Definitely. Charlaine Harris is a great example of ruining a series for me. I loved that series then the last book was a total WTF?!! I can't pick up her books anymore from any series. She totally ruined it for me. I can't think of one that went the other way though and ended and made the others better for me. I'll have to pay more attention to that. Great post :)

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    1. I only got as far as book one with that series, so I am happy I stopped if it has an awful ending. I think it's hard to think of the second because you don't really continue series if you don't really love them.

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  11. *cries a little* But but...I kind of feel like there are so many different KINDS of people in the world who look for different things in an ending, right? So not everyone is going to love the same ending because then we'd all have to be the SAME, right?! RIGHT. Okay. *nods* So while I totally get what you're saying and I don't for one second think you're wrong...I just...*shrugs* I've hardly got any series that I loathe the ending of. Except maybe Of Poseidon by Anna Banks. I read book #2 and nearly cried because it was so boring and lame, and I didn't even read book #3. I couldn't. I wasn't thrilled with how Rangers Apprentice finished, but I feel like I grew too old for them while I waited. I...I loved Allegiant. *covers self with Captain America's Shield* DON'T SHOOT ME.

    And...and can I admit I'm just a LITTLE TINY BIT SCARED ABOUT HOW SARAH J MAAS MIGHT END THE THRONE OF GLASS SERIES????? I'M SCARED.

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    1. Haha!!! You can't say you loved Allegiant and then not explain, seriously... I NEED EXPLANATIONS! I have been waiting for someone to explain what they got from that book. I thought it was a really boring book, and I hated Tris in that book and all the arguing with Four just got on my nerves.

      I definitely think endings never work for everyone, but some are just ten times more terrible than anything you could imagine in your own head. Dexter is like that for me... it was horrifically bad. HORRIFIC!!!

      ME TOOO!!! OH, SO SCARED! I am just terrified that someone I love is going to die, or the world just implodes and that's it. I don't want that series to end... EVER! I don't want it to be dragged out, I just don't want it to END.

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    2. lol YES I KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN. I don't want it to the end...but then I kinda do because I know as long as it continues SO DOES MY PAIN. *breaths deeply*

      Okay, well I DO like Allegiant because I thought it stayed true to Tris and what decisions she'd make. I think Four acted like a bit of an idiot, but truthfully? He kind of acted that way the whole time. >.> So I don't think he was out of character. It wasn't the action-packed-novel-climax-ending-thingy I was expecting but at the same time I'm GLAD. Because I'm so tired of trilogy conclusions being one long battle. -_- It bores me. I'd rather know the sciencey-detailed-y side. But anyway! I don't mind you don't like it HONEST. I'll stop rambling, lol!!!

      Okay, now that I've used so many words that aren't even English...I'LL STOP. *disappears into darkness*

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    3. Is it weird that we love this series so much despite how much it hurts us!?! I feel like one of those people who stay in an abusive relationship because they love the other person. Maas is abusing all of my feels, yet they LOVE her for it, haha.

      See... I think that's why I disliked the end a lot. Tris just always makes STUPID decisions. I think it would have been a better ending if she had turned out to NOT be immune to the serum and that was what killed her. I thought the ridiculous shooting storyline was just really silly.

      I think I just found them both really annoying in that book. I kind of wanted Caleb to be able to redeem himself. I thought that would have been a better conclusion. He had been such a huge penis, it would have been nice for him to do ONE decent thing in the entire series.

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  12. Damn, I really wanted to watch Dexter. I think I'll get around it to after all the other series that I want to watch. And I completely agree with your opinions on Allegiant and Champion. Honestly, I really liked Allegiant at first, but the more that I think about that series, the more I'm coming to realize how much of a disappointment that ending was. Same with Champion. It wasn't terrible, but it was disappointing. I just don't think it was very strong. For such strong and independent heroes and heroines, I don't think the ending really did any of them justice.

    I also agree about the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. They need to stop making them.

    Great post!

    Tori @ Bookish Affairs

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    1. I kind of want to tell you not to watch Dexter. You'll fall in love with it and then it will break your heart. I had high expectations of Allegiant and then none of it worked for me, I was very bored when I was reading it. I think Champion was interesting, but it fizzled for me at the end and I was quite disappointed.

      They really do, they are ruining my love of Captain Jack Sparrow!

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  13. Absoutely fantastic post, Charnell! I definitely think the ending of a series/tv season/etc either make or break the entire thing - although it's not all that matters. As you've shown with your wonderful examples, the ending can "ruin" it for you (even though you enjoyed the beginning and the middle), but they can also redeem a series.

    I completely, completely agree with you on a few of these examples, but none more so than Dexter. Oh. My. Good. Lord. How angry I was by that ending.

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    1. Me too. It's been a year and I am still angry about it. Like, talking about that series makes me go into such a rage that I worry I might die from a heart attack. They can, but I have rarely seen many redeemable endings to TV series that were rubbish up until that point.

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  14. HIMYM ending!!! What. The. Absolute. Fudge. Was. That? It made the entire series seem pointless and was just God awful and NOPE. I'm refusing to accept it as the ending, because seriously . . . it was ridiculous and felt a bit like a slap in the face.

    And this is coming from a person who didn't even watch the final series, because they'd dragged it on for so long. After it ended I YouTubed the final scene, because I was excited to see how it wrapped up after being drawn out for so long . . . so disappointing.

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    1. I KNOW!!! I was so mad at that ending. It did feel like a slap in the face. Especially when you consider the fact you watch an entire season that only takes place over the course of a couple of days, for Robin and Barney's wedding. What happens in that last episode... I DON'T APPROVE. I never liked them as a couple, so I was kind of furious that they copped out and had them end up together. I liked that we learnt early on that it wasn't her. Pissed it still works out that way in the end. I am still so annoyed. I am just going to pretend it ends another way.

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  15. God the HIMYM WAS SO AWFUL...why would they do that? Ugh
    I didn't like Allegiant but I didn't hate it. I just didn't care anymore. The HP ending was amazing. There aren't many conclusions I loved. Ignite Me, The Last Olympian (but that is not really the end),HP & Clockwork Princess are the only ones that come to mind right now. I hate the disappointig endings...why do the authors do that to my favorite series. The Immortal Rules series ending,the Grisha trilogy ending,ALLEGIANT..
    Also I love longer series (becouse trilogies usually can't wrap up everything in 3 books and then screw everything up). But as much as I want some things to last forever( Throne Of Glass,The Lunar Chronicles,Bloodlines) I know that it's better that they end. BUT I JUST WANT TO BE HAPPY WITH THE ENDING.

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    1. I KNOW!!! It made me so bloody angry, I just couldn't deal with that ending. I NEVER wanted those two to get together. That ending just SUCKED!

      I didn't care by the end of Allegiant. I cared at the beginning, but by the end I had already rage quit on the whole thing.

      Disappointing endings are the worst, I don't know why they do it to us.

      ME TOO! I adore Throne of Glass but I am so scared of how that one is going to end. Petrified in fact.

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  16. You know what's the worst for me? Open endings. How are those even allowed?! Give me an end. It's a total cop-out. And even if loved the rest of the series there is no way I will ever recommend this series to anyone now. Why would I? So they can be left feeling unsatisfied, too? I'm not that mean.
    I haven't yet had a series completely ruined by an ending. Even if I didn't love it or it wasn't the outcome I wanted I'll learn to deal with it. Or try my hardest to forget it ever happened. Although there are some series I've yet to finish because I'm kind of concerned about the ending. Like Dreams of Gods and Monsters and The Chaos Walking trilogy. My cousin finished the last book and said he was beyond angry. I'm not one of those readers in love with the first two books so if I'm just going to be left feeling angry I could really care less about finishing the trilogy then.
    I don't know. I think it's always changing for me. More recently I was really unimpressed with the ending of Ruin and Rising. Mostly because it didn't make sense and it made me angry. But I still loved the 400 pages before that. So I'll just have to get over it.
    Why can't authors just end the series how I want? What is wrong with wanting that?
    Happy reading!
    Brittany @ This is the Story of My(Reading) Life

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    1. I think open endings should be banned. That is just no way to leave a series. Those authors are cruel or just really lazy. I wouldn't recommend the series after that either.

      I don't remember the Chaos Walking ending making me angry, but it was so long ago that maybe I just don't remember. I do really need to reread those.

      I want to start the Grisha series, but I have heard quite a lot of bad things about the last book and that makes me very nervous.

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  17. Allegiant is probably my example of a ruined series as well. But generally, I enjoy the journey throughout the series and certain episodes themselves instead of the whole thing. My example being Doctor Who, where I don't love all the episodes but I watch my favourite (mainly David Tennant's) over and over again. I liked Once Upon a Time, and certain How I met your mothers are funny, but not necessarily the ending itself.

    As for ones that seem to do it right every time, it must be something like the Gone (book) series by Michael Grant. And Noughts and Crosses. This is why I love them completely and every single book included. It was just amazing for them both, and done right in every way.

    http://olivia-savannah.blogspot.nl/2014/08/legacy-glow-book-review-giveaway.html

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    1. I definitely agree. I feel it's easier to forgive with TV shows like HIMYM, you can just watch your favourites. But book series are harder, at least for me.

      Noughts and Crosses!!! YES!!! I didn't even think of that but it's an amazing series and I love every single book in that series.

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  18. This post is perfection. I could not agree with you more (about the shows/movies/books I've actually read/seen). As soon as I read your opening paragraph Allegiant immediately popped into my head. Terrible book. The overall ending of the series was so wrong I still can't formulate words to express how I feel about it. Not only that, but the entire book was bad. It moved so slowly, the two POVs like you mentioned were the exact same making it super hard to distinguish who was who, and the general plot was boring. It took me almost a week to finish that book, whereas the others took me 2 days max. And then to throw in that ending just made the whole thing even worse. I was so disappointed and it made it feel like the entire series was pointless.

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    1. I am so happy that so many others hated that book as much as I did. All the glowing 5 star reviews were starting to get on my nerves, at least I am not alone. The whole ending is definitely wrong, it just doesn't fit with the rest of the series for me.

      It took me a very long time to get through that one too, even though the others got devoured within a day or two at most. Made me feel the series was pointless too, don't think I could ever reread it.

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  19. Haha, I LOVE The hobbit movies, all of them, but that's not what this post is about. The ending does ruin is for me. Even when I absolutely love the first two books, if the last book ends with a horrible ending I'm still left with an unsatisfying unhappy feeling - and that spoils the fun from the other two books. I might still recommend the series (like with the Grisha trilogy. I didn't like the ending), especially if all the aspects are good enough. But sometimes it's SO bad it completely ruined it for me.

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    1. I really enjoyed the first one, but I thought the second one wasn't anywhere near as good. It was originally just going to be a two movie series. You can kind of see that it's just a filler, with a lot of stuff just added in to make it a long enough film.

      I want to read Grisha so bad, but all the bad things about the last book are turning me off it. I still want to read it but I am just really scared to finish it now.

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  20. I want it all, I have to say. I want to love the journey and the final destination. If either is not good, I will not love the final book, but I can still love the series overall. For example, I loved Delirium and Pandemonium, but I didn't love Requiem (didn't even really like it). But I still love the series. I also loved Divergent and Insurgent, but hated Allegiant for so many reasons, although if it ended well I would have overlooked some of the issues with the book. There's another series ender I recently read where one of the main characters dies in the last book and that pretty much ruined it for me (again, I would say I like the series, though, with that caveat). I actually loved Champion, I would much rather have that ending than Allegiant's ending! :) ~Pam

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    1. I want it all too, haha! I am just greedy like that, but aren't we all. Who doesn't want a series to be perfect from beginning to end.

      I would rather that ending too, but it wasn't completely satisfactory for me. I think I might have been able to overlook some issues from Allegiant if the ending hadn't been so stupid. I might not have hated it anywhere near as much.

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