Knowing how common it is for even beloved shows to get canceled, it’s sometimes hard to put your faith in watching a full season of a new show not knowing what will happen next. After all, a lot of us tuned in and got invested in shows like Sense8, Mindhunter, or Fate: The Winx Saga only to find out soon after that the storylines and characters had come to an abrupt end. No ending with a bow, no resolutions.
But, for every story of untimely cancelation, there are at least a few other examples of shows where their creators ended right when they wanted. Whether the fans or the studios themselves wanted more, writers and showrunners have spoken out about seeing their vision come to life at the pace they wanted, regardless of how many (or how few) seasons it took.
Most recently, Ted Lasso‘s Jason Sudeikis spoke to Deadline about just that. “This is the end of this story that we wanted to tell, that we were hoping to tell, that we loved to tell,” Sudeikis said, referring to season 3 of the show (out March 15), which will also be the last. Other shows that followed that same pattern are Schitt’s Creek, Breaking Bad, Girls, and Atlanta.
Check out 10 of the best shows that ended on their own terms and what their writers had to say about their decision below!
The hit series Ted Lasso, which follows the wholesome Ted (Jason Sudeikis) on his journey to become the newest soccer coach for AFC Richmond, has garnered fans and esteemed awards worldwide. But, even with a huge fanbase, and a whopping 11 Primetime Emmy Awards, creators of the show (including Sudeikis) have talked about the third season of the show (out March 15) being its last.
“This is the end of this story that we wanted to tell, that we were hoping to tell, that we loved to tell,” Sudeikis recently told Deadline. “The fact that folks will want more and are curious beyond more than what they don’t even know yet—that being Season 3—it’s flattering. Maybe by May 31, once all 12 episodes of the season [have been released], they’re like, ‘Man, you know what, we get it, we’re fine. We don’t need anymore, we got it.’ But until that time comes, I will appreciate the curiosity beyond what we’ve come up with so far.”
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, in a nutshell, follows a rather impulsive Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom) on her move across the country to track down her ex-boyfriend Josh Chan (Vincent Rodriguez III). Talking to The Hollywood Reporter back in 2019, co-creators Bloom and Aline Brosh McKenna discussed their intention to have four seasons to the show, no matter what.
“We told them from the beginning that four seasons was what we wanted, and they were always on board,” McKenna shared.
When Fleabag was released, viewers fell in love with Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s dry humor as a somewhat lost woman in London. After two seasons of the show, however, Waller-Bridge called it a day.
“She went on the biggest journey over the past two seasons, and she started as someone who sort of hated herself and ended up as someone believing that she could love again and forgive herself,” Waller-Bridge told The Hollywood Reporter after the second season aired. “I have to respect that arc and let her go and live for a bit.”
‘The Good Place’
The Good Place, a show about a series of characters facing the complex depths of the afterlife, ended entirely on its own terms.
Per Newsweek, the creator of the show, Michael Schur, announced his decision on Twitter in June 2019. “After The Good Place was picked up for season two, the writing staff and I began to map out, as best as we could, the trajectory of the show,” Schur tweeted. “Given the ideas we wanted to explore, and the pace at which we wanted to present those ideas, I began to feel like four seasons—just over 50 episodes—was the right lifespan. At times over the past few years we’ve been tempted to go beyond four seasons, but mostly because making the show is a rare, creatively fulfilling joy, and at the end of the day, we don’t want to tread water just because the water is so warm and pleasant. As such, the upcoming fourth season will be our last.”
‘Please Like Me’
The Australian show Please Like Me, created, and written by Josh Thomas, came to an end after four seasons. “Hey I have news,” Thomas tweeted in 2017, per TVLine. “We have decided Season 4 #PleaseLikeMe is the last. I’ve loved making this show for you all so much. Thank you.” He then explained their biggest reason for the decision: “because we are really happy with what we’ve made and feel like it’s complete.”
Girls, which followed a group of best friends navigating life and love in New York City, ended after six seasons. “We always we wanted to go out while people were still engaged in the show, still talking about it,” Lena Dunham, creator of the show, told Rolling Stone. “It felt like the saddest thing that could happen would be for people to be like, ‘Is Girls still on?'”
She continued, “During Season Four, we started talking about wrapping it up; we then were able to clearly see the 20-episode arc of Seasons Five and Six that took Hannah and the girls to their logical conclusion. It’s an intense, painful sort of breaking up of a family but it’s also one of the most inspiring creative experiences that you can have.”
Critically-acclaimed Breaking Bad ran for five seasons before coming to an end. Vince Gilligan, the creator of the show, opened up to the press at the time about why they ended it before they technically had to. “I pushed harder than anyone for it to end when it did,” Gilligan told Digital Spy.
“Y’know, as someone making money on the show, in very crass, basic terms, I would have loved for it to go on forever,” he continued. “But I had worked on The X-Files for years before that, which was a wonderful job. I loved it. I was such a fan of the show when I got involved, and I had such a good time being a writer on it. For seven years, I was on it.”
“Then suddenly, I looked up one day and realized that everybody else was watching something else entirely,” he recalled. “I learned at that point: you don’t want to leave the party too late. You want to leave folks wanting more.”
Dan Levy, star and co-creator of Schitt’s Creek, a show about an ultra-rich family who loses everything and moves to a small town, has also talked about ending the show right when he wanted to.
“I think the structure of the show was that this family slowly but surely learn the value of love — and the structure of the show was built in from day one,” he told Deadline after the finale aired. “Our hope was that if we were afforded multiple seasons of the show, we would continue to peel back the layers on who these people were and what truly made them happy.”
Donald Glover, the creator and star of Atlanta, announced the end of his show even before the last season of the show (season 4) aired last year. “Death is natural,” Glover said at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour, per Newsweek. “I feel like when the conditions are right for something, they happen, and when the conditions aren’t right, they don’t happen. I don’t feel any longevity. Because then things start to get weird. The story was always supposed to be what it was. And the story, it really was us. Everybody in that writers’ room, everybody on set. It really was what we were going through and what we talked about. I think it ends perfectly.”
‘Dead to Me’
After two seasons of the dark Netflix comedy Dead to Me, series creator Liz Feldman announced that the third season would be it’s last. “From start to finish, Dead To Me is exactly the show I wanted to make. And it’s been an incredible gift,” Feldman told Deadline. “Telling a story sprung from grief and loss has stretched me as an artist and healed me as a human. I’ll be forever indebted to my partners in crime, my friends for life, Christina [Applegate] and Linda [Cardellini], and our brilliantly talented writers, cast and crew.”
Applegate, who was diagnosed with MS mid-season 3, also spoke about the end of the show. “We felt this was the best way to tie up the story of these women,” she added.
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