We can't believe these classic shows ended like this
Legacy shows. Abrupt endings.
When you form an attachment to a show, it's about more than a long laugh or good cry at the end of an episode. It's about caring for the characters and escaping into their worlds. That's why pulling the plug on a beloved show is just about the cruelest thing a network can do.
Throughout TV history, we've seen plenty of shows canceled and even some shows miraculously brought back from the dead. This memorably happened with the '70s sitcom Taxi, famously canceled twice and definitely on our list below.
But it wasn't just sitcoms that stopped sooner than we'd have liked. Star Trek fans sent in thousands and thousands of letters to stop Gene Roddenberry's show from getting the axe. (Don't worry, we'll get into that one, too.)
So, while all the shows listed below live on forever as treasured installments of classic TV, we've taken a moment to highlight some of the biggest lingering questions that television history left us. See if we included the question that's been nagging you!
1. Star Trek
Last episode: "The Turnabout Intruder"
Premise: One of Captain Kirk’s former flames steals his body, endangering the Enterprise.
Final scene: Kirk orders the woman’s death with a dramatic, “If only…” wishing things could have ended differently. (Us too!)
Biggest lingering question: What happened to the last two years of the crew's 5-year mission?
2. The Brady Bunch
Last episode: "The Hair-Brained Scheme"
Premise: Bobby sells Greg some defective hair tonic that dyes his hair orange on graduation day.
Final scene: We see Greg with his brown locks restored, holding his diploma, in a final scene that doesn't even include all the siblings, but does feature a lot of Cousin Oliver.
Biggest lingering question: Did Jan Brady make it through high school?
3. Gilligan's Island
Last episode: "Gilligan, the Goddess"
Premise: A king from a neighboring island demands a female sacrifice to his volcano, so they dress Gilligan up as a goddess to save all the women.
Final scene: Gilligan does NOT go in the volcano (phew!) but instead our last glimpse of Gilligan sees him drop a trunk on the Skipper’s toes while trying to kick The Skipper out of their bungalow, because Gilligan is “royalty” now.
Biggest lingering question: Did they ever make it off the island?
4. Lost in Space
Last episode: "Junkyard in Space"
Premise: The whole gang is in danger of running out of food while visiting a junkyard planet.
Final scene: They don't starve (for now), and the last shot shows Dr. Smith almost getting sucked into an incinerator then saved by the Robot, who insults Smith by calling him 100% fat. Smith's final stab back: “I’m a fine figure of a man and I always was!”
Biggest lingering question: Did the Robinson family and crew ever make it home?
5. Hogan's Heroes
Last episode: "Rockets or Romance"
Premise: Hogan's trying to get everybody on board to stop a missile from being fired, but there's a very pretty lady around distracting his soldiers.
Final scene: The mission "fails," but Hogan at the last minute rigs the control so when Klink fires the missile, it goes the wrong way.
Biggest lingering question: Did they ever escape the prison camp?
Last episode: "Simka's Monthlies"
Premise: Latka’s hugely concerned when Simka’s strange behavior threatens to prevent her citizenship from being approved.
Final scene: Simka is granted citizenship and told “Welcome to America.”
Biggest lingering question: Did Alex ever stop driving a taxi?
7. I Love Lucy
Last episode: "The Ricardos Dedicate a Statue"
Premise: Lucy destroys a statue by accident and her solution is to pose as the statue for its unveiling.
Final scene: A deceived mob descends on Lucy, as she's dressed as a statue and armed with a musket.
Biggest lingering question: Did Lucy ever learn?