Series Fauxnale

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

So... you're the creative force behind a television show. You've managed to get your concept off the ground, and into the homes of millions. But you're just not sure if it has been enough millions. Ratings are wavering, the advertising isn't selling as well as you've hoped, and the network has made it not at all clear whether you'll be picked up for another season. You're not certain if you've told the complete story that you've wanted to tell, and are far from certain that you'll be granted the forum of a TV-Movie in order to Wrap It Up.

But still, there are the thousands of fans out there, signing petitions, talking about it on their favorite television wiki, and generally supportive in every facet of your show. Don't they deserve closure? Don't they deserve to not be Left Hanging? Of course. So, with the Season Finale looming high, and it almost certainly the last episode to be aired, you decide to go out with a bang and give the folks at home a nice curtain call. It's the Grand Finale after all!

... then you get Only Barely Renewed... heck, maybe even Uncancelled.

The Series Fauxnale is an episode of a series that was planned to serve as an adequate, even great, final episode of the show, brought upon by how its future on television was uncertain. Often precedes a Post Script Season, though some shows last for many, many years thereafter. It is likely to have all the attributes of the Stock Series Finales. If the following years of the show are considered lackluster, there'll be more than a couple fans that claim Fanon Discontinuity on it, and say that this was when the show really ended.

Will more often than not overlap with Status Quo Is God.

Examples of Series Fauxnale include:

Anime and Manga

  • The Southern Cross story arc of Fist of the North Star (the first ten chapters of the manga and the first 22 episodes of the anime) was written so that it could stood on its own in case the manga wasn't picked up. Shin's status as Kenshiro's Token Motivational Nemesis (being the guy who engraved Ken's seven scars and stole his girlfriend) is cemented afterward when the manga continued beyond his death.
  • Fushigi Yuugi gives us an epic battle between Nakago and the Suzaku Seishi (and Seiryuu and Suzaku themselves!) in Tokyo before fast-forwarding to three and a half months later to symbolically wrap things up with Cherry Blossoms. This was supposed to be the Grand Finale for both the anime and the manga, but... y'know.
  • The twenty-sixth episode of Futari wa Pretty Cure appears to have been written under the assumption that it would probably be the last. The Big Bad is unambiguously killed off by a climactic Theme Music Power-Up, the last of the Quirky Miniboss Squad is eliminated, the Garden of Light is restored, the Queen gives Nagisa and Honoka a heartfelt thank you, and there's even a happy reunion between the main characters and the Mons in the final scenes. Of course, this was the series that kicked off Pretty Cure--Post Script Season doesn't really cover it. Amusingly, everyone in the series spends the next few episodes confused and not exactly sure where things were going now.
  • Sgt Frog sort of does this in episode 51. In this episode, the Keroro ("A.R.M.P.I.T.") Platoon[1] receives a message from headquarters ordering them to return to Keron...or they will die. There are even scenes that show them packing everything up, and erasing everyone's memories (including the Hinatas'). It turns out though, that they only had to return for a regular medical checkup, and as a result they never really had to leave "Pekopon" after all.
  • Season 1 of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha was the very first TV anime of Seven Arcs and was The Anime of the Game to boot, so it ends in a rather final way with the Big Bad dead, the MacGuffins safely secured, Fate having a tearful farewell with Nanoha, the last scenes showing everything going back to the way they were, and... whoops, looks like Seven Arcs' first attempt at a series was successful enough to kickstart a franchise! Contrast the finales of the subsequent seasons, whose Where Are They Now Epilogues are unambiguous in its intent of setting things up for the next season.
  • Sailor Moon (both the manga and anime) was supposed to have ended with original Big Bad Queen Metalia's defeat, but everyone knows that didn't happen....
  • GaoGaiGar has a similar example to that of Pretty Cure's, with Big Bad Pasder being defeated for good in episode 30. Then the Primevals happened.
  • That one episode of Kirby: Right Back at Ya! with the Dedede dolls (dolls that are designed to mimic King Dedede's actions) in it. Throughout the episode did King Dedede use the Dedede dolls to torment his subjects. At the end of the episode, Kirby swallows one of the Dedede dolls, and as a result King Dedede is literally flung into space and is last seen flying past a planet that's actually shaped like him. However, despite all of these events occuring, he's back by the next episode!
  • The second season of Hell Girl ultimately became this due to a third season coming along.

Comic Books

  • Occasionally, comic books undergoing a Cosmic Retcon present a variation of these, tying up previously ongoing story-lines to a certain degree before a new continuity takes over. The most famous example is Alan Moore's Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?.
  • The intended finale of Milligan's Shade the Changing Man was supposed to be a Downer Ending, at the end of 'A Season In Hell' arc. Executive Meddling forced the creator's hand, and what followed may have made a better story under a different title (as Milligan probably intended.)
  • IDW's Trasnformers comic recently had a delibirate example. Issue 31 of the Ongoing is purposely written so that it can be used as the final issue for the entire IDW continuity. As such exactly what's happened between the previous issues and issue 31 is unclear. It takes place hundreds of years in the future, Ironhide and Alpha Trion are some of the few remaining memebers of the original Autobots, the Transformers live on Gorlam Prime instead of Cyberton, and Megatron and Optimus Prime have disappeared.


  • Friday the 13 th: The Final Chapter: It was indeed meant to be, but... wasn't.
    • Also, Friday the 13th (film): The Final Friday, which was the ninth movie in the franchise. It was followed by two more Jason films, and a remake of the original.
      • Also the eighth movie where Jason is turned back into a little boy. The sequels stopped directly following one another after that.
      • Well, since the main character had just been shot up with heroin, some people consider that a hallucination. And Jason's appearance in part 9 looks like his mask had melted to his face, like by the toxic waste he was hit with in part 8...
  • Likewise, Halloween H20 was very clearly meant to be the definitive final film in the series. Then Halloween: Resurrection came along, retconning the ending of H20 into a Downer Ending to set the stage for yet another slash-by-numbers affair, which ended up failing to revitalize the franchise anyway, so it was all that for nothing. The series then got rebooted to a new continuity with Rob Zombie at the helm.
  • "Destroy All Monsters" was going to be the last Godzilla film, as it takes place in the future, the Big Bad is killed, and they all live hapilly ever after. But, it was not, as a REALLY bad sequel followed, as did others, that were not quite as bad.
  • Saw III was clearly intended to finish the series since it wraps up everything pretty nicely. There was even a box set released of the "Saw Trilogy". A few SequelHooks were added (Jigsaw's brief flashback, as well as the wax covered tape and Amanda's letter) so that the series could continue.


  • An in-universe example in Misery, where Annie forces Paul to write a sequel to Misery's Child, even though he had intended it to be the last of the series, and had gleefully killed off the main character.

Live-Action TV

  • With its lagging ratings and mid-season hiatus, Community's continuation into a fourth season was uncertain. The third season finale ended with a Last Episode Theme Reprise, a relatively happy ending for the main characters, and a sense that "if it ends here... that's not too bad."
  • Fresh Prince of Bel Air had "Philadelphia Story" which was supposed to be the finale but when NBC brought the show back, they had NBC reps kidnap Will and bring him back to Bel Air in the beginning of the next season
  • Magnum, P.I.'s episode "Limbo" in which Magnum literally walked off into the sunset - after having been shot and in a coma, visiting his friends one last time as a spirit.
  • The half season episode of The Adventures of Brisco County Jr titled "Crystal Hawks" was structured in case the series wasn't extended for a full season: Brisco catches John Bly, forms a partnership with Lord Bowler, resolves a No One Could Survive That moment from the pilot, and finally gets some vague information on the series MacGuffin, the Orb. The final scene where Socrates tells Brisco that Bly had escaped Diabolus Ex Machina style was put in once the full season order had come through.
  • All in The Family: "The Stivics Go West", which wrapped up season 8 with Mike, Gloria, and Joey bidding a tearful goodbye to Archie and Edith and moving to California. Norman Lear had indeed intended for this to be the show's finale, but CBS executives (along with Carroll O'Connor and Jean Stapleton) convinced him to let the show continue for another season without his participation.
    • It can be argued that the show's actual finale, "Too Good Edith", was this as well, since All in the Family was then re-tooled into Archie Bunker's Place, which lasted for four more seasons. Ironically enough, that show - and thus the entire 13-year story of Archie Bunker -- never got a proper finale.
  • Arrested Development: Season 1 finale, "Let 'Em Eat Cake", which ends with George Bluth escaping prison, Tobias and Lindsay reconciled, George Michael deciding not to pursue Maeby, and Michael Bluth deciding to let the family fend for themselves.
  • Happened to Babylon 5 when it appeared that it was going to be canceled at the end of its fourth season (five seasons had been planned). So J. Michael Straczynski (the show's creator and writer) squeezed the first half of the fifth season's plot into the three penultimate episodes at the end of season four in order to resolve most of the major story arcs, resulting in season four's second half containing nothing but Wham Episodes. Then the show got Uncanceled, season five happened on schedule, and JMS had to scramble to fill the gap in season five's plot by stretching out what was planned as a minor continuing storyline into a half-season-long arc. Pacing Problems result, with most fans agreeing that the first half of season five is the weakest stretch of the entire show.
  • The season 4 mid-season premiere of the 2000s version of Battlestar Galactica, "Sometimes a Great Notion", was written with the intent of serving as a finale in the event that the 2007 writer's strike prevented the remaining episodes from being made. It would have been quite the cliffhanger.
  • Blake's 7: the third season ends with the destruction of the protagonists' almost-magical spaceship, the Liberator. In the 4th season, the actual series finale very strongly suggested the protagonists were all killed, but left a little wiggle room, in case there was a fifth season. (There wasn't.)
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Most finales, except the second, were intentionally designed to serve as possible series-enders in case the show was unexpectedly canceled. Out of all possible finales, the only one that would be really unsatisfying as The End is season four's Denouement Episode, which is wall-to-wall cryptic foreshadowing for future episodes in the fifth season ("Be back before Dawn!").
  • Corner Gas' Season 4 finale "Gopher It", where Hank pitches an idea that takes off, eventually leading to Corner Gas and the Ruby getting bought out by a large chain gas station, Emma being elected mayor, and Lacey leaving Dog River to open up a restaurant in Toronto (among other things). At the end of the episode, it is all revealed to be one giant Imagine Spot by Hank after Brent, Wanda, and Lacey told him to think about his idea before pitching it.
    • That was actually a parody of grand finales. In actuality, the show was a huge hit for CTV throughout its run, and would only have ended if creator, showrunner, and star Brent Butt had wanted it to. He did end it on his own terms two years later, with a much more subdued finale.
  • Dollhouse has one of these as its DVD-only 13th episode of the first season, jumping ahead a decade or so and showing that the technology showcased has, not unsurprisingly, been used for terrible purposes. The end result? Worldwide apocalypse, of course! Shockingly, the show was not canceled, but the second (and now final) season moved in a direction that indicates that episode is the likely conclusion. Of course, this is a Joss Whedon show, so a happy ending was probably never likely anyway.
  • Friday Night Lights: "State", the season one finale, where the Panthers go to the state championship. The third season finale "Tomorrow Blues" also served as this in case the move to DirecTv didn't work.
  • Strangely, the Volume 4 finale to Heroes feels like one of these. Sylar is seemingly defeated once and for all, and all the Heroes come together to contemplate the future and start "a new beginning". There's just two little hitches in the plan...
  • The iCarly episode "iQuit iCarly", but this is more of an example of They Just Didn't Care.
  • Lizzie McGuire graduated middle school and grew romantically closer to Gordo during "Bye Bye Hillridge Junior High" and The Lizzie Mcguire Movie, but since Disney Channel aired several of their shows' episodes at this time in an order that sometimes differed drastically from the production order, 10 more pre-graduation episodes (some even dating back to before Miranda got Put on a Bus) aired afterward.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: Season 7 finale, the last on Comedy Central, where Mike and the Bots escape the SOL and Dr. Forrester is transformed into a baby.
  • Word of God says that the episodes of News Radio at the end of seasons two, three, and four were made with the expectation that they would be the finale. The actual finale was also made with enough wiggle room in case the show could continue.
  • Northern Exposure: "The Quest", where the show's main character finishes his work in Alaska.
  • Only Fools and Horses: "Time on Our Hands", where the Trotters succeed in becoming millionaires.
  • Power Rangers has had a bunch of these; even if you don't consider the Super Sentai formula was adopted after Season 6, making every season finale a series finale, because of the amount of times it has been Uncanceled.
    • Due to a lack of understanding and faith in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers for long-term survival by the various networks, when it was finally given its chance by Fox it was only meant to last for one season of 40 episodes total, only to be replaced by a more suitable long-term show once found. The show's intended series finale would have been the two part episode Doomsday in which Rita Repulsa would have been permanently defeated in a similar manner as her counterpart in Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger. Due to the show's unforeseen popularity however, the Doomsday episodes were edited last minute to leave them open ended. In addition, new suits and footage were quickly and specially commissioned from Toei by Saban to expand the first season to 60 episodes total, as Saban had only minimal usable footage of Zyuranger left after episode 40. At this same time Saban also secured the rights to the subsequent Super Sentai series for future seasons of Power Rangers.
    • The finale of Power Rangers in Space, "Countdown to Destruction", was also made to end the series, with all the villains of the past and present launching a full-scale conquest of the universe, only for Zordon's death being required for his power to spread through the universe, reducing the overwhelming majority of the villains to dust and purifying a small handful of fan-favorites into non-evil humans.
    • Wild Force was also meant to serve as the last season for the series, as the plan was for Disney (who'd bought out the series) to end it and put it into syndication. The seasonal content reflected this; in addition to featuring a 10th anniversary special that had every Red Ranger ever return, the two-parter finale was tellingly named "The End of the Power Rangers." And then someone convinced Disney to move filming to New Zealand and cut costs by a third.
    • The season finale of Power Rangers RPM was supposed to be the series finale, but since Saban bought the rights to the franchise back, it will become this. It is the finale for Disney's ownership of the show, for better or worse. Its predecessor, Power Rangers Jungle Fury, was also intended to be the last season, but the toy company begged them into one more season - RPM.
  • Kamen Rider Den-O ends on a satisfactory note, but was so popular movies were made to follow it. Then there was "Farewell, Kamen Rider Den-O: The Final Countdown." That sounds pretty much like a done deal, right? Nope, then came The Onigashima Warship, and the Super Den-O Trilogy. The name "trilogy" makes the third of those films final-sounding... but then came "OOO, Den-O, All Riders: Let's Go, Kamen Rider!" And so, the climax goes on.
  • Prison Break: "Sona", the second season finale.
  • Scrubs was intended at least two years beforehand to end with its eighth season. It almost didn't get an eighth season due to the Writers Strike, but Channel Hopped from NBC to ABC (who owned the show) and ended with a Grand Finale that both poked fun and emulated most series finales... before being picked up for its ninth season, with a mostly new cast.
  • SeaQuest DSV: "An Ocean on Fire", where the titular sub is destroyed.
  • 7th Heaven is a weird case, as they weren't told to wrap it up because they were being canceled; they were intending to end the show after 10 seasons. Then The CW told the writers that they wanted the show around to help with the transitional period after the UPN/The WB merger, so make an eleventh season. It didn't quite work out.
  • Season 1 of Sledge Hammer! ended with a very large bang, as Inspector Sledge "Trust me, I know what I'm doing" Hammer attempted to disarm a nuke... and failed. When the show got picked up for a second season, the cliffhanger was handwaved away by setting the new episodes "five years earlier", while continuing all ongoing story elements and character development unchanged.
  • Stargate SG-1 had four of these throughout its run: the finales of seasons 5, 6, 7 and 8. The first two came when the writers were almost sure the network would end the series, and both ended on cliffhangers that were intended to lead up to a follow-up theatrical movie, which in turn would set up the spinoff series Stargate Atlantis; both times, the series got renewed for a new season after all. For season 7, the planned theatrical movie was reworked into a two-episode Grand Finale that would lead directly into Atlantis... but the series was renewed yet again, resulting in the finale's ending being rewritten so that Atlantis would be set in a different galaxy (to limit crossovers, as it was going to be contemporary with SG-1 rather than replacing it). The fourth and final Series Fauxnale was a full-blown multi-part Grand Finale that ended with an epic battle, the defeat of every major antagonist in the series, and the resolution of 8 years worth of character threads and plotlines. In fact, it wrapped things up so completely that the next season necessitated a complete Retool of the show. Ironically, when the series was actually cancelled after season 10 the writers were expecting an extra year, so they weren't able to make a proper Grand Finale; instead, the series ended with most major storylines unresolved, and the planned arc for season 11 was reworked into a direct-to-DVD movie follow-up Stargate: The Ark of Truth.
  • The seventh season of Charmed ended with the gals forsaking magic and assuming new identities, due to the possibility that the show might not be renewed.
    • Before that, way back in season 1 the episode "Wicca Envy" was meant to act as the finale should the show not get renewed for more episodes. It features the closure of the Rex/Hannah story arc and features a nice uplifting ending where the sisters proclaim themselves "witches for life".
  • The first thirteen episodes of How I Met Your Mother ended with "Drumroll Please" in which Victoria would be the mother. When more episodes were ordered, Victoria was Retconned into being just another of Ted's girlfriends. Similarly the last episode of season 3 was created with the idea that Stella would be the mother if the show didn't get renewed.
  • Episode 13 of the first season of 24, written when the producers were unsure they'd be coming back for another half-day, has Jack rescuing his wife and daughter, and has all the hallmarks of a climactic happy ending. Only the addition of a couple of scenes, revealing a new threat, were necessary for the show to keep on going. This led to one of the hallmarks of the series: invariably, the problem that started the arc of the season, and the villains behind it, always turn out to be Disc One Final Boss material as either the real plan was helped by the heroes effort, provided a worthwile benefit or the bad guys adjust their strategy and plan B is even worse than plan A. Whatever the season was advertised as being about, is long-forgotten old news by episode 15.
  • The Movie of The X-Files was meant to be the ending of the show, then Fox decided to hang onto their cash cow a while longer. The film's third act shows definite signs of being hastily rewritten to leave things open enough for the series to continue (Cigarette Smoking Man showing up in Antarctica and then leaving without actually doing anything being the most obvious).
    • Word of God says that "Requiem," the last episode of season seven, was written to serve as a series finale if they didn't get picked up again. Some X-Philes actually use it that way.
  • Also, let's not forget that Police, Camera, Action! has had this trope. Not once, not twice, but... 'four times'. Is this a record?
  • The intended finale of Citizen Smith got turned into a Fauxnale due to Executive Meddling. Originally, the series was going to end with Wolfie Smith being chased out of Tooting by an irate local gangster. The BBC decided that they didn't want the series to have a Downer Ending though, and so they took an episode that was originally intended for the middle of the final season and repurposed it as a Christmas Special, implying that the whole mess seen in the finale blew over and Smith's life went back to normal.
  • The fifth season of The A-Team was already a Post Script Season, then after the supposed Grand Finale, "The Gray Team", they made one more episode, "Without Reservations".
  • The fifth season of Supernatural is a pretty good example, if you ignore the cliffhanger at the very end. The story that had been building for the past 5 seasons had finally been resolved, the Big Bad was defeated, Kripke stopped writing the show, and it could have all been over. Except it wasn't...
  • Chuck: Since the show's future seems to be in a state of perpetual doubt, it's peppered with a good number of them.
    • Season Two has "Chuck Versus the Ring", with Chuck and Morgan both quitting the Buy-More only to return the very next season.
    • Season Three has "Chuck Versus the Other Guy", in which Chuck and Sarah resolve their UST, and "Chuck Versus the Ring, Part II" has the Buy-More destroyed only to be rebuilt by the CIA in time for the next season.
    • Season Four has "Chuck Versus the Push Mix", where Ellie gives birth to Clara and Chuck and Sarah get engaged.
      • Season Four actually had two of these - it was originally planned as a 13-episode season, before being extended to 24; even then the show's future was still in doubt. Episode 24 ended with Chuck and Sarah getting married, Vivian happily reunited with her father (and leaving the newlyweds Volkoff Industries), Chuck and Sarah getting the team back together for their own private spy venture... and Morgan becoming the Intersect. The title? Chuck vs. the Cliffhanger.
  • The Season 1 finale of Dead Like Me was filmed as an adequate ending to the series, with George finally accepting her life as a Reaper and her family reconciling with her death, but the series ultimately got one more season.
  • While the seventh-season episode of The Office (US), "Goodbye, Michael", is not technically an instance of this trope (as the show was always intended to continue past the departure of Steve Carrell's Michael Scott), it certainly feels like it could have brought a serviceable end to the series. Interestingly, for such a major change in the show's history, "Goodbye, Michael" wasn't even the season finale, there was still three more episodes left.
  • Now that One Tree Hill has officially been renewed for a ninth season, the season eight finale has become this.
    • Happened twice before. With the gang graduating high school and then Lucas and Peyton driving away with their baby.
  • Miami Vice features a very interesting example of this. The show, which premiered in 1985, faced dismal ratings when it aired and was in danger of being canceled. To that end, the producers Retooled the series with a two-part episode that also served as a finale if the show was canned. The 2-parter, "Calderone's Return", killed off Crockett and Tubbs' commanding officer, resolved Crockett's relationship with his ex-wife Caroline and completed Tubbs' quest for vengeance against the man who killed his brother...then the series was renewed for a second season, and the show continued.
  • This happened to Due South - twice. The second-season finale, "Flashback", is a clip show that was intended to be the final episode (finishing with a "journey continues" ending) after it was cancelled by CBS...then it was picked up by CTV Television and resumed in Canada. The third-season finale, "Mountie On The Bounty", ended with Fraser choosing to stay on with the Chicago Consulate for good, included cameos from many of the supporting characters over the series run and had a definite finality to it...and then the show was renewed again for a fourth and final season.
    • Though whether MotB is a finale or not depends on your region—some areas air the third and fourth seasons as a single season.
  • Since they weren't certain if they would get a full season or not, the 13th episode of Glee is written as a finale of sorts trying to tie up as many loose ends as possible, just in case the show wasn't picked. It was picked up however not only for a full season but two additional seasons.
  • The third-season finale of The Mentalist would have been the big finish if they hadn't been renewed, given that it ended with Jane finally killing Red John. Then season four happened after all, and the first episode hastily re-establishes the status quo by revealing it wasn't him after all, and letting Jane off with the murder.
  • Torchwood: Children of Earth, the third series of Torchwood was written with the possibility of it being the final series in mind, as the BBC seemed very unlikely to renew it for a fourth series, despite higher than ever viewership. So to make it conclusive, Ianto is Killed Off for Real, Torchwood as we know it is wiped from the records, and Jack leaves Earth forever, too plagued by the guilt of his grandson's murder to stay. Oh, and Gwen is pregnant. However, the series was picked up by Starz and BBC Worldwide, and a fourth series, Torchwood: Miracle Day was aired two years later.
  • Little House On the Prairie wraps up things at the end of season four. Mary comes to terms with her blindness and the entire citizenship of the now financially crippled town of Walnut Grove gather at the church one last time to say goodbye. The show was then picked up for a fifth season.
  • CSI: NY did this in its seventh season with 'Exit Strategy', which had Mac leave the NY crime lab to work on identifying the remains of 9/11 victims. It turned into a Ten-Minute Retirement, and he came back in season 8. In season 8's finale, Mac was shot by a drug store robber and spent the episode in a Near-Death Experience, in another "season or series finale". The show will be back for a 9th season, and this format will presumably be used again.
  • Not explicitly, but the season 4 finale of Breaking Bad was written to invoke a feeling of And the Adventure Continues..., since Vince Gilligan was not sure about a 5th season due to struggles between AMC and Sony.
  • Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D ended its fifth season with the Earth saved, but Coulson having sacrificed the cure for the condition that was killing him in the process. With Coulson leaving SHIELD to spend his last days in Tahiti, most of the rest of the team flew off in the Zephyr. There was also the search for Fitz, but that was, at this point, intended to invoke a feeling of And the Adventure Continues. Then the series got renewed. Season 6 played up the search for Fitz, and introduced a new character named Sarge who bears a strange resemblance to Coulson (and the resemblance being played up as one of the season's mysteries).

Video Games

Web Original

  • The final episode of Red vs. Blue (notable for having multiple endings thanks to the magic of the internet)... until Reconstruction, Recreation, and Revelation came along.

Western Animation

  • According to Bob Forward, the writing staff of Beast Wars didn't know if they were going to get a second season... So at the end of the first, there was an impending Earthshattering Kaboom. Then the same thing happened at the end of the second season, which ends with Megatron causing the fabric of time itself to start unraveling. In both cases, this was meant to imply that if there wasn't another season, it meant the world had ended.
  • The Season 4 finale of Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy, "Take This Ed and Shove It", said that the entire series was all just memories being remembered by Eddy in his old age. Season 5 then came along and retconned this.
    • Another one almost happened for Ed, Edd, And Eddy before then. Believing that the they may not get another season, the crew wrote up a series finale known as "All's Ed That Ends Ed". It was written specifically to act as the series finale, revolving around the Eds and the rest of the kids trying to stop the Cul-De-Sac from being demolished for a construction project. It ends up tying up pretty much every single plot idea in the series (the Eds finally get accepted, Johnny loses Plank but ends up developing a friendship with Rolf, Ed stands up for himself for once, etc.).
  • The Fairly OddParents did this at least twice: the TV movie Abra-Catastrophe, and the 1-hour special Fairy Idol.
    • Many, also, think that Wishology may have been intended as a series finale. It certainly has a "finale" like feel to it, especially if you read the original script drafts. However, it was renewed for two more seasons, so it's definitely not a finale. Whether or not it was intended as one is still an open question.
    • Pretty much any of the TV movies would have worked as a finale. The final Jimmy Timmy Power Hour was supposed to be the finale but they keep getting renewed.
  • Futurama has had two of these. Devil's Hands are Idle Playthings rather sweetly concluded the fourth season, and it was canceled for several years... until the straight-to-DVD movies, culminating in the real finale, Into the Wild Green Yonder, which ended with all of the major characters flying into a wormhole, not knowing where in the universe it would bring them, but admitting it didn't matter if they never found their way back to Earth, as long as they had each other. Then the show was completely Uncanceled, and it was revealed that the wormhole led straight to Earth, with heavy Lampshade Hanging.
    • In fact, season 6's "Overclockwise" was a third series finale. They say they wrote it in case Comedy Central didn't pick up any more seasons (indeed, they picked up two more seasons, with the option of more). Though if anything can end three times and still come back, it's Futurama.
  • Justice League had two: "Starcrossed", which is the Grand Finale made before the decisions to change it into Justice League Unlimited, and "Epilogue, expected to be the last episode of the DCAU, before another season was ordered.
    • It should be mentioned that every Justice League and Justice League Unlimited season ended with a multi-part blowout that would serve as a finale in case they didn't get picked up again. The reason for this is because the previous DCAU series (Batman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond, and Superman: The Animated Series) never got any major pay-offs due to being dropped unexpectedly. When the creators got to do Justice League, they decided to always end each season with a bang, just in case there weren't anymore. That said, Epilogue was the most final of these finales, and it went on one more season after that.
      • In addition, Epilogue, even if not the last episode of the DCAU to air, is indeed the chronological end to the DCAU as we know it.
  • Kim Possible: "So the Drama", the Made for TV Movie expected to be the end of the show, complete with Last-Minute Hookup.
  • King of the Hill had the episode "Lucky's Wedding Suit," in which Lucky and Luanne got married (and, in a shining example of Continuity Porn , many single-episode characters showed up). The show was later renewed for three more seasons.
  • The Powerpuff Girls originally ended with a Musical Episode, See Me, Feel Me, Gnomey in which the girls make a deal with a reality altering gnome to rid Townsville of the villains plaguing it in exchange for their powers. Realizing that evil still lurks in Townsville in the form of a cult formed by Gnomey, and that evil will always exist as long as there is good, the deal is broken and they go to stop him. Then the 10th Anniversary Special came out.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: The Movie is something of a subversion: despite the blatant Negative Continuity the show has, the creator made it clear that no matter how long the show goes for, the movie will always be the series finale Canon-wise, no matter how little sense it may make due to material in any given post-movie episodes.
  • Teen Titans: The three-part finale of the fourth season, meaningfully titled "The End"...which came before the show was renewed for a fifth and final season.
  • Episode 13 of the 1990s X-Men cartoon, "The Final Decision", has a number of arcs cleanly tied up in case the series wasn't renewed: The Sentinels are defeated, Beast is released from prison, Senator Kelly stops his anti-mutant rhetoric, Magneto and Xavier form a truce, Rogue and Gambit share an Indirect Kiss, and Cyclops asks Jean to marry him. It ends with a clearly-tacked-on voice-over by Mr. Sinister (and it sounds nothing like the actor who eventually played Mr. Sinister! It was all very quick-and-dirty) to set up the next season's arc.
    • There was also Beyond Good And Evil, written to be the finale. It was a massively massive four-parter where damn near everybody takes part in an epic that crosses time and space, from ancient Egypt to the present to Bishop's future to Cable's future and Deathbird (who was standing in the background when Fabian Cortez met Apocalypse back in "Sanctuary;" you knew there was something to that!) shows up. In the end, Apocalypse appears to be defeated once and for all. And they get renewed. The actual finale was more quiet and emotional than either of the blockbuster epic finales: Professor X is dying, and we get some Tear Jerker moments, character exploration, and one fight that ends when Magneto is told he can help save Xavier's life. As it ends with Xavier leaving for intensive care in the Shi'ar galaxy, with those he taught as the caretakers of his dream, it is named "Graduation Day."
  • Aqua Teen Hunger Force played with this by naming one Season Finale "Last Last One Forever and Ever" and ending it with the titular trio moving away, with Carl poignantly saying, "Truly, they were an Aqua Teen Hunger Force." Then it was revealed that the producers were already planning new episodes, and the next aired episode revealed that the Aqua Teens moved into the other house next to Carl's. At the end of the episode, the Rabbot from the first episode returns and destroys the house. The Aqua Teens fully expect a Snap Back, but it doesn't happen, so they go back to their old house.
  • Of course...Episode 29 of KaBlam!. It wrapped the series up in a satisfying manner...then came more episodes. (And even more that never aired!)
  • The Simpsons of all shows had one in the 23rd season. The episode Holidays of Future Passed, the futuristic Christmas episode was written as a series finale because of pay disputes. They were settled, the actors took a pay cut and the show has been renewed for two more seasons.
  • ReBoot ended its third season assuming that there wouldn't be a fourth season. Aside from the Daemon story started in season 3 everything was wrapped up nicely. Then the series was Uncancelled and ended on a Cliff Hanger.
  • Although there aren't many loose ends to tie up, each Robot Chicken season finale involves the show being canceled, should life imitate art. Given the show's high ratings leading to things like two-season orders, at this point it's purely a Running Gag.
  • Johnny Test did this with the finale episode "Johnny X-The Final Ending". It actually did serve as the finale for a few years...until the show was renewed in 2010.
  • Dexter's Laboratory, the show so nice it did it twice! First was the Season 2 closer, "Last But Not Beast", a crossover where Dexter and his family, Monkey, and the Justice Friends battle a Kaiju. Gendy Tartakovsky didn't think this episode was a satisfying conclusion so he made an hour-long TV movie, "Ego Trip", where Dexter teams up with versions of himself from other time periods. Three years later, Cartoon Network noticed the amazing ratings even the reruns were pulling down and produced two more seasons without Tartakovsky's involvement.
  • The original run of Rugrats ended with an episode where Angelica was moving away, and Tommy told the others he would miss her. When the others asked for clarification, Tommy explained how it was Angelica who made them all friends, complete with a flashback origin story. It turned out Angelica didn't have to move, but it ended up in one of her purest Jerk with a Heart of Gold moments. However, the series later got renewed.
  • American Dad's Season 7 opener, "Hot Water", was written to be aired as a finale when the writers weren't certain Fox would renew the show.
    • Similarly, Family Guy's "Meet the Quagmires" and later "Stewie Kills Lois / Lois Kills Stewie."
  • The first Winx Club movie was clearly intended to be a proper ending to the series with Bloom finally finding her real parents, and Sky asking her to marry him, but then we're given a Sequel Hook in which The Trix are possessed by the ancestral witches...and a desire for revenge. Afterwards, the fourth season premiered in Italy...
  • South Park had one in its 15th season. The episode "You're Getting Old," which aired shortly after the dispute over Comedy Central censoring the Season 14 DVD, seemingly wrapped up several series-long storylines, notably Stan, the normally happy and sensible one, falling into depression, Sharon finally divorcing Randy after years of putting up with his nonsense, and lifelong rivals Cartman and Kyle finally getting along. To increase the impact, the song "Landslide" by Stevie Nicks played over the episode's final montage showcasing these changes. Social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook erupted immediately following the episode's broadcast, with many speculating that the episode was a surprise series finale. Four months later, however, the season resumed with another episode that brought everything back to normal, and the series is still going strong.
  1. They are simply the "Keroro Platoon" in the original Japanese version