Ever love something so much, you let it go? This Valentine’s Day, we’re sharing the fandoms that live in our hearts, even though we refuse to see the end.
Valentine’s Day isn’t just for couples anymore! It’s a time to celebrate all kinds of love, including the love between a person and their favorite TV show, video game, or web series. (Technically that love goes in one direction, but humor us.)
Sometimes that love is long-lasting relationship. Other times, it ends in disappointment; the love runs out, and fans bail on the story before it ends. But occasionally a unique scenario in between develops; fans stop engaging in the story they love, not because they’ve fallen out of love, but because they love that story too much.
Your friendly neighborhood media-obsessives at Hypable are all too familiar with this feeling! Here are a few of the most memorable fandoms we’ve left, but still love.
‘Parks & Recreation’
Oh Parks & Rec, how I love you. True, it took many years of being inundated with Leslie Knope GIFs and Ron Swanson quotes before I was convinced to hit “Play.” But once I forged past the famously shaky first season, I found myself making literal heart-eyes at the sweet souls of Pawnee, Indiana. (Oh, and April, too.)
So when I clicked over to the seventh and final season of Parks & Recreation, I took a pause. I’ve always had an issue with endings. (The Dawson’s Creek finale — the only episode I’ve ever seen — left me in tears, and my state of being when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released is best not explored.) But hey, it was a great season, heartfelt and hilarious, exciting and thematically true, and…
And I did not want it to be over.
Halfway through the shortened season 7, I just stopped watching. Parks & Recreation remains in my Netflix cue, waiting for me — but I’m not sure I’ll ever go back to it. I feel unequal to the emotional task of finishing something that gives me such positive feelings, even though the story has been over for years. My feelings toward Parks & Rec are incredibly positive, and I hear that the ending is satisfying and lovely. I highly doubt that I would be disappointed by the final episodes; I’m pretty sure I would love them.
But even better than that, for me, is not having Parks & Recreation end at all. All stories have to end on their own terms, but that’s not necessarily true for fans. If I don’t watch any further, the story remains poised with potential, ready for me to return to it whenever I chose. It’s still in motion; for me, it’s still alive.
Parks & Recreation, I love you. And that is why I’ve decided never to say goodbye.
by Aaron Locke
As a certified sucker for period dramas and slow-burn romances, the first few seasons of Downton Abbey were a dream for me. The creator Julian Fellowes, having written Robert Altman’s film Gosford Park (a film similar in style and content to Downton Abbey), captured the look and feel of the early 20th century. Complete with dynamic characters, gorgeous costumes, witty dialogue, sumptuous drama, and incredible filming locations, Downton Abbey delivered the whole package.
At the heart of the show, for me, was the relationship and romance between Matthew Crawley and Lady Mary. They were the reason I tuned in so enthusiastically every week. I found Matthew and Mary individually compelling, but it was their journey together – the highs and lows, the desperate longing – that made me fall in love with the show. The way the show wrote their relationship, or as often was the case, their struggle to get past expectations and norms keeping them apart, was the quintessential drama that I desired from Downton Abbey. When they finally got together, I was thrilled and excited to see what was next.
Then came the end of season three. A week before the season three finale, I was spoiled (and I know I wasn’t the only one) that the last episode of season three would be Matthew’s last. Only eight episodes after getting together, Matthew and Mary’s relationship would end after Matthew’s sudden death. Once I was spoiled, I resolved to stop watching. Admittedly the decision was a bit childish, but I simply did not want to see a show I loved go down a path I despised. I never saw Matthew’s on screen death, but maybe one day I’ll come back around to it.
Until then, Downton Abbey exists unsoiled in my mind. Let it remain that way for a while longer.
‘Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: The Breath of the Wild’
by Andrew Sims
Nintendo’s latest console has had a stellar first year thanks largely to the latest games in their Mario and Zelda franchises. Both of their newest entries have a shocking number of things to do.
At the time of this writing I’m 180 hours into Zelda and only 53.03% finished (my Sheikah Slate tells me so!). And you know what? I still don’t want this game to end. Exploring the open world of Hyrule is therapeutic to me. Flying, climbing, and running around from village to village is an utter delight when I sit down with my Switch every night. What will I do with my evenings if I don’t have the beautiful world of Hyrule to look forward to? I refuse to run out of things to do.
Similarly, Super Mario Odyessy’s world is so colorful, fun, and surprising, that I don’t want to run out of Power Moons to collect. The game legit makes me happy when it surprises me with its secrets. I can’t run out of these dopamine shots!
Due to my total love for each of these games, I can’t finish them. Don’t make me. I need something to look forward to every night.
Featuring the unlikely team of an FBI agent (Tim DeKay) and con artist (Matt Bomer) who solve white collar crimes in New York City, White Collar featured one of my favorite casts as well as smart writing and surprising twists and turns. Airing on USA from 2009-2014, White Collar ran for six seasons, though the final season was only six episodes long.
I immediately fell in love with the dynamic between Bomer’s Neal Caffrey and DeKay’s Peter Burke. They were professional rivals who became partners as well as best friends. Neal became a member of Peter’s family, bringing with him his own quirky pals, like Willie Garson’s Mozzie. As Peter inspired Neal to become a better person, Neal helped Peter move away from a black-and-white view of the world. The cases Peter, Neal and their team solved were clever and the character dynamics were ever-evolving.
As much as I had come to love the show, as the sixth season started, I began to feel the weight of impending loss. Knowing I only had a few weeks left with these characters I loved was saddening. So… I didn’t finish the season.
I still have three episodes left to watch. I read recaps to find out how the series ended, but I couldn’t bring myself to actually watch the events play out on screen. Though the actors have moved on to new projects since the end of White Collar in 2014, I haven’t quite been able to let them go, which watching those last three episodes represents. I’m sure I’ll get there eventually, but I’m not quite ready for Neal, Peter, Mozzie and co. to leave me yet.
by Karen Rought
I loved Felicia Day’s web series The Guild. I caught it after Felicia already hit the big time and after I read her book, You’re Never Weird on the Internet (which I highly, highly recommend). After hearing the backstory about the show and what kind of obstacles popped up in her way, I knew I’d like the series just based on the production alone. But I fell in love with the story anyway.
The entire series is on Netflix and it’s really not that long, but for some reason I just stopped watching once I finished season 5. It was so good, the tension was so high, and I cared about these character so much that I couldn’t bring myself to finish it. I knew once the story was over, I wouldn’t get to spend any more time with these people. Plus, what if I ended up hating the end? I couldn’t bear to think any of my faves might end up with the short end of the stick.
I know I’ll finish it one day, but for right now, I’m content to just let it be.
The Fall was one of those “There is nothing on TV, let’s binge a series that has a solid two seasons” show. With only 11 total episodes and Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan in leading roles, how could I possibly say no? The series tells the twisted tale of a serial stalker/killer, Paul Spector (Dornan) and his ability to out maneuver the investigative team led by Stella Gibson (Anderson).
The Fall is dark, gritty, and presented almost perfect roles for both Anderson and Dornan. The suspense of watching Spector creep into his daughter’s room to hide his stalking materials above where she sleeps still gives me chills. It’s second season finale is a major cliffhanger. One that, if I had been watching live, would have made me furious that it would take two years to watch the third season.
But I had the third season one auto-load screen away. It’s been two years and I still have not watched a single second. Why? I loved the first two seasons of The Fall so very much. I’d gladly watch them over and over again. But ahead of watching the second season, I did what any actively-engaged binge-watcher would do — I googled the series. Nothing but headlines declaring the third season a “disappointment” populated the first page.
So I vowed to stop at the end of season 2 and remember the good times watching Spector hunt and kill his victims, and, from what the cliffhanger suggests, possibly get away with it.
Fringe was one of those shows that snuck up on me. I watched it casually at first, started covering it for Hypable, and had to get more invested. Soon, I was obsessed. I fell in love with the characters, I spent hours theorizing about the alternate universe, and once season 5 introduced Peter and Olivia’s daughter and began setting up for a potentially tragic finale, I realized that I just wasn’t ready for this story to end. So… it didn’t.
I put off watching the finale. I continued to cover the show for a bit, but I must have done a terrible job, because I avoided all news and interviews that spoiled the finale! Fresh off the traumatic ending of another of my favorite shows, Merlin, I was terrified of the heartbreak I was (potentially) about to endure. Weeks, months passed. I began to wonder if I should maybe just pull the band-aid off, but I never did, and I can’t really explain why.
Fringe is one of my all-time favorite shows, and I have no idea how it ends. A weird mix of compulsive procrastination and fear of letting go kept me from just getting it over with, until eventually so much time had passed that I couldn’t watch it without first rewatching the whole series (which seemed an insurmountable task — I just got the obsession out of my system, I didn’t know if I could deal with it again. I’m still not sure I can).
Fringe ended in 2013. It’s been five years. I don’t know if Peter and Olivia ended up together (and/or survived), I don’t know what happened to Walter, or Ella, or Astrid, or Gene. When Georgina Haig showed up as Elsa on Once Upon a Time, I almost went back and watched it. Every time I marathon Lord of the Rings, or catch a Dawson’s Creek rewatch, I consider going back to watch it. I’m not sure I ever will, at this point.
I will however continue lie my ass off about having seen it, because it is so damn embarrassing at this point. So, dear Hypable readers, I hope you can keep my deepest, darkest secret. (And let’s be real — it’s pretty neat to live in the alternate universe where Fringe never ended!)
I am a habitual procrastinator in many aspects of my life, but I most avidly employ my ability to put things off when it comes to finishing shows or series that I love. It took me nearly three or four years to bring myself to watch the series finale of Greek that I had stored in my DVR, roughly four years to complete my watching of Dawson’s Creek, and most deftly, a whopping six years before I watched The West Wing’s series finale.
It wasn’t because I didn’t think the endings would be good enough, or because I was afraid of bawling my eyes out in front of family or friends. No, my reluctance to watch the final episodes of these shows had everything to do with not wanting to say goodbye to worlds I fell so very much in love with. And then there’s Smallville…
I credit Smallville with my true immersion into fandom culture. It was my gateway drug. I read fan fiction, commented in forums, clutched desperately to my Chlois theories like my life depended on it, and became absolutely obsessed with all things Clark Kent and company. When the ninth season began I knew we were nearing the end. It hadn’t been announced, but something in me sensed that my favorite show wasn’t long for this world. I had just graduated from college and moved back home to a house that, wait for it, didn’t get the CW. Thanks to some very slow internet and a full time job, putting off watching Smallville’s final two seasons was easy peasy lemon squeezy.
I have since watched most of season 9, and I own all ten seasons on DVD, but I can’t bring myself to press play. As long as I don’t finish it, there will always be an entire season of my favorite show waiting for me. If I ever convince the ReWatchable hosts to take on Smallville I will have to finish it so I can be a proper superfan, but until then, I’m perfectly happy delaying my inevitable depression.
‘The Vampire Diaries’
I started high school around the same time The Vampire Diaries premiered. It was one of the first TV shows I was properly obsessed with. When it ended last year, I never finished it.
When they made the announcement that season 8 would be the show’s last, I knew that they would never end the show in a way I would be satisfied with. How do you stop telling stories about immortal beings? There didn’t seem to be a natural place to end their story.
In The Vampire Diaries, there were also a lot of relationships to deal with. With Elena gone for an entire season — but Nina Dobrev returning to reprise the role for the series finale—I knew there would not be time for the ending she deserved. (Plus, okay, I always secretly wanted her to get back with Stefan.) Despite her departure before the last season, this show was Elena’s story. I wanted goodness for her in the end.
Even though this was Elena’s story, the draw for me was always the Salvatore brothers. I cared so deeply about this story because I cared about their relationship. Through all of their romantic relationships during the series, their relationship with each other remained my favorite. I didn’t want to say goodbye to them.
I still haven’t watched the last four episodes of The Vampire Diaries. I’m not sure if I ever will. I like imagining my Mystic Falls favorites continuing the adventure, their friendships, and, yes, the romance, even though I’m not there to watch it play out. They’ve got a happy ending in my heart. I don’t want to ruin that by seeing their stories end for real.
What stories have you loved and left before the end?
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