As antiheroes more and more frequently become the protagonists of new, popular TV shows, viewers find themselves in an interesting predicament. Like watching Walter White turn from a down-on-his-luck dad into a full on villain in “Breaking Bad,” television fans find themselves becoming invested in TV shows where there are no happy endings in sight.
Here’s a look at some of the most hopeless shows on television that keep us hoping for a light at the end of the tunnel:
Any “Sons of Anarchy” fan should by now realize that this isn’t a show that has any hope of happiness for any of its main characters. Tara is dead. Clay is dead. Gemma is a monster. Jax is a borderline villain. Maybe the kids will get out of the series relatively safe, but even that is unlikely.
Its doubtful that anyone watching “True Detective’s” eight-episode run started out by thinking it would be resolved happily. But as each episode passes and the sense of dread surrounding the show increases, it becomes increasingly clear that however this series reaches its conclusion, it’s going to be messy and heartbreaking.
This Showtime series started out as a dark comedy, but it’s evolved into anything but. Fiona accidentally let Liam have cocaine, for goodness sake! If the Gallagher’s come out of this series in one piece, they should consider themselves lucky.
It’s hard watching a show where you know the point it needs to reach for it to end. “Bates Motel” might be a modern day reimagining of “Psycho,” but it seems inevitable that it will conclude with Norman as a serial killer and Norma’s preserved body in the fruit cellar. And yet we can’t stop hoping for these two to somehow get their lives straightened out and be happy.
It’s become clear over the course of four seasons that “The Walking Dead” isn’t the type of zombie tale where a cure is magically found at the end and everyone survives. Instead, it’s the type of story where its survivors struggle and fight to live before inevitably having a horrible death where they either turn into a walker or get shot through the brain. Every safe haven they’ve found has been destroyed in increasingly brutal ways with more and more of them dying, and yet still record numbers of us tune in week after week.
As Ramsay Bolton said in Season 3 of “Game of Thrones,” “If you think this has a happy ending, you haven’t been paying attention.” You really think the show that killed off its supposed heroes twice is going to let Daenerys Targaryen take over Westeros with her dragons and live happily ever after with Jon Snow at her side? As if.
If “The Following” was just a show about one man trying to catch a serial killer, that would be one thing. But because of Ryan Hardy’s dependency on Joe Carroll, it’s clear that the former FBI agent’s life won’t be complete until he takes the serial killer down for good — and then he will have nothing left to live for in the process.
“Sex and the City,” “Girls” is not. This is not a show where its main characters get their lives together and become success stories. This is a story about a group of girls who struggle and fail and party and get distracted and then try again. Even if Hannah & Co end up making their dreams come true by the end, it won’t be without a whole slew of bruises and broken bones and mortifying memories behind them. It’s with dread that we hope for their successes.
Even those of you out there who are still Team Olitz can’t really believe that these two characters will ever get a happily ever after. As Cyrus told Olivia so emphatically, their story is not a romance novel — and neither is “Scandal.” It’s doubtful that Shonda Rhimes would truly leave any of her characters in dire straights, but even if Olivia does get a skewed happy ending, most of the gladiators’ lives will be left inevitably destroyed.
Don Draper might not be Walter White, but he certainly is no knight in shining armor either. Though Don does tend to land on his feet, his journey seems like it is fated to end with him defeated and alone. Many of the characters on this show have settled and sold out and made poor decisions, and maybe the moral of this story will end up being that success will never come without devastating costs. And yet … we still find ourselves rooting Team Peggy.