The 5 Stages of Grief When Your Favorite Series Ends

The series finale of a popular television show may seem like a mundane thing, but in reality it is so much more. (True Blood’s Sunday night kiss-off, anyone?) Not only is it the end of a show, but usually an era as well. There is an attachment that develops after a couple of seasons and there is nothing you can do to avoid it.

We don’t just get obsessed with a TV show, it actually becomes our life. We find ourselves identifying with the characters on a personal level. We understand them, feel for them, and support them. Their tragedies are our own tragedies. It makes sense, this strange attachment; as we spend years with these characters and let them into our homes each week. Or, if you’re guilty of binge watching an entire series in practically one sitting, that last episode is more of a smack in the face sending you back to your own pathetic life.

TV shows come and go, but how are we supposed to just move on with our lives as if nothing happened? As if our relationships with “fictional” characters didn’t just crash and burn? Losing a favorite TV series is painful and just like real loss, it comes with consequences. Here are the five stages of grief, series finale edition.


It is normal to try and pretend this isn’t happening. Maybe you go back and re-watch past seasons, just to feel something again. You’re not ready to say goodbye to your beloved characters. After all, they are the people you spend most of your time with, so that makes them your BFFs right? Denying the truth is just a defense mechanism to try and block the feelings of emptiness. Sooner or later you have to come to terms with the fact that it’s over, but remember that doesn’t mean your life is over, too.


This is the most common emotion felt by fans after a show is put to rest. Mostly, because the series finale is never as fulfilling as we want it to be. We understand it can’t end in a way that EVERYONE will be content with, but that doesn’t mean they should completely eff everything up by betraying the audience with lies and loose ends still tangled. If certain characters don’t end up together that should have (Gilmore Girls) or it was basically all just a dream (Lost) or the whole series was a lie (How I Met Your Mother), we have every right to be angry.


There is nothing more dangerous than playing the “what if” game. There’s no use in wondering what could (should) have been, it will just leave you wanting more. Don’t rewrite the ending in your own terms, because it will just make you more upset. What if all the sudden his cancer went away?! (Breaking Bad) or what if Michael Scott had never left? (The Office) or what if Jack and Liz actually were supposed to be together?! (30 Rock). These are questions we have all asked ourselves at one point or another, and believe me when I say, there are no real answers.


It’s okay to be sad. Let yourself feel any emotion you need to feel. You probably invested a lot of yourself into this. Maybe you are starting to realize how pathetic this is, or that your social life has been compromised. It’s over, just like that. Almost as if you’ve been dumped, or gotten into a huge blowout fight with a close friend. What’s left in your life? Nothing. Maybe alcohol.


When it comes down to it, acceptance is key. Don’t grieve for too long, because there are so many other great shows out there to obsess over. You’ll be scanning Netflix sooner than you think. And when you get bored with that, you can just go back to the original TV show and have it ruin your life all over again!

We all go through the 5 stages of TV show grief, so remember you are not alone. All good things come to an end, and nothing lasts forever—especially television because it just screws with you so badly. Good luck and RIP.

Megan Sweet is currently a student a Michigan State University, and a contributing writer for Her Campus Media. She is an aspiring screenwriter and hopes to one day write for a comedy series. She is addicted to television, caffeine, and tweeting. A proud ginger, professional fangirl, Mean Girls fanatic, and movie-bomb champion. Please no more “sweet puns.” She can’t take it anymore. Check out her Buzzfeed posts (megansweet57) and follow her on Twitter & Vine: @megansweet57

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