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Alternate Endings: How Did Your Favorite Show End?

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It’s never easy to watch the series finale of your favorite show. Imagine how hard it is to write the finale. Creators need to satisfy the audience, do something unexpected, and give beloved characters a good sendoff. However, in the process of writing an ending, it is not uncommon for writers to come up with more than one possible ending. And even the endings broadcast are not necessarily the best options. Fans of shows long gone may still be frustrated decades after the program was canceled. Here are some shows whose alternate endings could have, or could not have, been better than the original.

How I Met Your Mother

Many fans of How I Met Your Mother, were not satisfied with the finale of this long living show. After multiple seasons of anticipation leading up to who the mother was, she was finally revealed as Tracey, the bass player. Then she was written off, dying from a terminal illness 11 years later. The children realize Ted’s 9-year explanation of how he met their mother was a way of letting him date the woman they know as their “aunt.” In the end, Ted ends up with Robin, who is divorced. The nine seasons of building up the relationship with the mother was gone in an instant.

The alternate ending ends on a much happier note (I mean this is a comedy). The DVD release shows a shot of Ted and Tracy meeting at Farhampton Station as a train arrived. The famed yellow umbrella is seen floating down the road. Robin stays with Barney and the audience is left with more closure.

Sex and the City

The heart of Sex and the City was the friendship between the four women. At the end of their journey, all four women had initially found satisfaction in friendship, work, casual relationships, and shopping were paired off with a monogamous partner. However, some of the fans were disappointed when Carrie leaves Mikhail Baryshnikov for her jerk of a long-term love interest, Mr. Big. Even creator Darren Star hated the finale, claiming it betrayed the message of the whole series.

However, Carrie’s fate could have turned out much differently. In essence, the best ending would be one where she ends up single. In this ending, Carrie goes back to Manhattan, swears off men, and embraces her friendships instead. After all, the message of the show was one where women don’t have to find happiness from marriage alone, but in their friendships with each other.


Dexter tells the story of a Miami-based blood spatter expert who doesn’t just solve murders. The real story is that Dexter Morgan is a serial killer who kills the guilty. No one in his family knows about his secret except for his adoptive father, Harry, who helps Dexter hone his skills. The finale shows Dexter’s sister, Deb, having surgery after Dexter’s enemy, Saxton, shoots her. Though the surgery is successful, Deb suffers a stroke and is brain dead. Dexter stabs Sexton with a pen. He returns to the hospital to take Deb off of life support and drops her body in the water. Dexter then drives his boat into a hurricane in a suicide attempt. Seems like a solid ending? Well, what had fans upset was that Dexter faked his death. He leaves and becomes a lumberjack.

The alternate ending? Clyde Phillips, former producer, had a different ending in mind. He wanted the show to end with Dexter being executed by the state of Florida for his crimes. It is then revealed that the whole series was Dexter’s life flashing before his eyes during his final moments alive.


Lost told the story of the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815. They were 1000 miles off course when they crashed onto a mysterious island that harbors a monstrous security system, a series of underground bunkers, and a group of violent survivalists hidden in the shadows. How could a show like this end? Desmond, one of the main characters, initiates the destruction of the island when he is lowered into a glowing cave to pull a rock from a golden pool. This causes the pool to turn red. Then everyone enters an interdimensional church and they ascend to heaven together.

The alternate ending was pretty much the same, except they wanted a big expensive volcano instead of a cave. Damon Lindelof said, “We were going to have lots of seismic activity, and ultimately there was going to be this big fight between the forces of good and forces of evil, which ended up in the series manifesting as Jack and the Man in Black, in the midst of magma. Magma spewing everywhere!”

Though that would have been very expensive, it also would have been equally awesome to watch.

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