In a strange, difficult year, our favorite TV shows took on new meaning — as escapes, as comfort, as a way to laugh or make sense of tragedy, and as a form of connection with friends who were far away. That made it even harder to say goodbye to the shows that ended in 2020, whether they were suddenly canceled like Teenage Bounty Hunters and One Day at a Time or went out on their terms like The Good Place and Schitt’s Creek.
Adding insult to injury, some series were even “un-renewed” this year — including, most painfully, Netflix’s GLOW, which was already filming its fourth and final season when production was shut down in the spring. Now, thanks to what Netflix called the challenges of “shooting this physically intimate show with its large ensemble,” that fourth season will never be finished. Losing GLOW, or any TV show, isn’t actually the worst thing to happen this year, but it doesn’t help.
Both GLOW and the similarly un-renewed The Society aired their last episodes in 2019, so you won’t find them on this list, as much as we’ll miss them. (What was the deal with the dog on The Society?? We need to know!) Because we can only mourn so much at a time, we’ve stuck to shows that aired their final episodes this year — and there were plenty of them. From absurdly long-running series to new favorites that were just getting started, here are 10 of the shows that signed off in 2020 that we’ll miss the most. Plus, check out the gallery below for the full list of shows that ended this year.
Final episode aired: Jan. 28
Arrow changed the face of The CW almost a decade ago, becoming the flagship series for a shared television universe, not unlike what Marvel has done on the big screen. The show ended with Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) getting a happy reunion with Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) in the afterlife, which was a welcome respite after the hooded hero spent so much of his vigilante tenure tortured and convinced that he had to live a solitary life to keep those he loved safe. The end of Arrow meant the true end of an era for The CW, and it’s strange to think of its universe continuing on without the original show. The solace is that the Arrowverse has been left in very capable, heroic hands. Read our finale recap, as well as actor David Ramsey’s thoughts on the finale. – Megan Vick
Final episode aired: Jan. 30
Before this year went full Jeremy Bearimy, The Good Place walked into its own afterlife with a sincere, emotional series finale. It was an episode about saying goodbye on your own terms, delivered by a show that was able to say goodbye on its own terms. Everyone’s ending was fitting, but nothing has stuck with us this year like Michael’s (Ted Danson) joy at simple human pleasures like burning his hands on microwave dinners and getting a rewards card from a neighbor. In the end, The Good Place gave fans one last look at how to live: gratefully, doing the right thing just because it’s right. “I really, really hope that people look at (The Good Place) and be like, I kind of want to make relationships in my own life feel a little bit more like this,” star William Jackson Harper told TV Guide. Read more of Harper’s thoughts on the end of the show, as well as our series finale review. Plus, check out star D’Arcy Carden’s ranking of the show’s many Janets.
Final episode aired: Feb. 14
When Hulu first announced it was adapting High Fidelity into a TV series and gender-swapping the main role, the news was met with plenty of skepticism. But as soon as people saw Zoë Kravitz as Rob, doubts were cast aside. High Fidelity’s thoughtful musical choices made the series instant TV comfort food. In addition to the seriously talented Kravitz, the cast included Kingsley Ben-Adir and Da’Vine Joy Randolph, whose fan-favorite character would have been at the center of a second season. The show made us think, laugh, and feel, but alas, it was a one-season wonder. Read our review. – Diane Gordon
Final episode aired: Feb. 21
The perennially underrated Fresh Off the Boat drove into the sunset early this year after a sixth season that sent the Huangs into the new millennium. We’ll miss the family at the center of this sweet, groundbreaking sitcom: the unshakably confident Jessica (Constance Wu), with her bitingly hilarious one-liners; eternal optimist Louis (Randall Park), who really loved his hair; and their three boys, who were as funny and likable as any kids on television, because Fresh Off the Boat actually liked and respected kids. The ’90s were never more fun to relive. Read our tribute to the show.
Final episode aired: April 7
One of TV Guide’s favorite shows signed off this year with a sweet, simple finale that gave showrunner and star Dan Levy the chance to wrap up the story of the Rose family on his terms. “The idea was, let’s tell the sentimental stories first and leave the celebration for the end so that we’re not leaving our audience with something that’s too heavy-handed. It should feel like a really great episode of Schitt’s Creek, and I feel like that’s what it is,” Levy told TV Guide. “To just say goodbye was far more powerful than anything else we could have done.” In a year that benefited from the beloved Canadian sitcom’s generous optimism, saying goodbye to Schitt’s Creek wasn’t easy — but that Emmys sweep sure softened the blow. Read more of Levy’s thoughts on the series finale, as well as our review of the final episode.
Final episode aired: June 16
One Day at a Time already came back from the dead once in its too-short life, and not surviving 2020 doesn’t make it any less miraculous. The earnest Norman Lear reboot endeared itself to both critics and fans, who clamored for the show to be saved when it was first canceled by Netflix in 2019. The sitcom was eventually brought back for a fourth season by Pop TV and was in the middle of filming and airing that season when production was shut down this spring. We may not have gotten the proper ending we deserved, but at least we got a few extra episodes — and if there’s any justice, the show’s legacy will continue to play out on TV. “I want to see doors open up for other people like us,” star Justina Machado told TV Guide in 2018. “I want to see shows out there. I want it to be the norm as opposed to the exception.” Read showrunners Mike Royce and Gloria Calderón Kellett on how the show’s final episode, an animated political special, came together, and what they hope fans take from the story.
Final episode aired: June 27
The timeline-spanning Dark, which explored the intricate connections between four families in a small German town, was already pretty difficult to follow before the third and final season introduced multiple universes and split realities. Cementing its legacy as TV’s most deliciously confusing show, Dark wrapped up this summer with a finale that we really can’t explain at all, except to say that it was great — and that your opinion on whether it was hopeful or bleak probably says a lot about you. In any case, it was our favorite show to watch with the aid of flowcharts. Read our recap of the Dark series finale, our explainer of how everyone on Dark is connected, and our full breakdown of the Dark timeline.
Final episode aired: Aug. 14
A favorite show getting canceled always hurts, but the premature ending to Teenage Bounty Hunters stung especially hard. The Netflix dramedy came out of the gate with an extremely fun and wholly original first (and only) season, centering on two teenage girls who — you’ll never believe it — get themselves a side hustle as bounty hunters, which naturally results in plenty of madcap adventures and quickly spins out of control in the most ridiculous of ways. But the thing that really grounded the show, and part of what made it such a joy to watch, was always the chemistry between the unlikely trio at the show’s center: the teens, Sterling (Maddie Phillips) and Blair (Anjelica Bette Fellini), and their grizzled, disaffected mentor, Bowser (Kadeem Hardison). “It’s such a weird, delightful love story between these two different universes that come together,” Hardison told TV Guide. “Just a really awesome take on what people can be, the goodness in us that’ll shine through no matter what.” Read more of what Hardison said about his time working on the show, as well as our review of the first season. – Allison Picurro
Final episode aired: Nov. 19
Honestly, the idea of a TV landscape without Supernatural hasn’t fully sunk in yet. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the horror series had its final run dragged out for most of 2020, and after a decade and a half on the air, there was never going to be a perfect way to end the show. There are fans of this show who weren’t alive when it first premiered back in 2005. TV Guide honored the departure of the show with five days of content — dubbed Winchester Week — paying tribute to the impact of Supernatural’s iconic episodes, memorable guest stars, and unwavering belief that family is everything. If it’s too soon for you to relive the Winchester brothers’ journey from the beginning again, at least there are several shows like Supernatural to get us through the pain of having to say goodbye. Read our review of the Supernatural series finale. – Megan Vick
Final episode airs: Dec. 30
In the last days of 2020, Vikings fans will get to find out how that midseason cliffhanger is resolved when the final 10 episodes of the drama drop on Amazon on Dec. 30. This is a huge shakeup from the show’s norm; episodes previously aired weekly on History (which will still air Season 6 Part 2 on a later, unannounced date). But one thing probably won’t change: We expect that a lot of characters won’t get out alive. Speaking at Comic-Con this summer, creator Michael Hirst teased, “The characters who we all — including me — have grown to love will all have their fates decided. Whether they live or die is of course in the hands of the gods — although I had a hand in it, too.” He went on to add, “I think the conclusion of the saga is deeply satisfying, a proper and meaningful ending. And I hope all of our fans will feel the same way.” Read what Vikings star Alexander Ludwig told TV Guide after the midseason finale, as well as what Hirst had to say. Plus, read up on upcoming spin-off Vikings: Valhalla, and check out 10 other shows like Vikings to make the pain of Its departure easier to handle.
READ MORE: All the TV Shows That Ended in 2020