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Post-Script Season

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"The battle's done and we kind of won, so we sound our victory cheer... where do we go from here?"

Well, they all said your show was too good to last. You fended off Executive Meddling, and stayed true to your original vision of the series.

Of course, you got cancelled, but that's to be expected. Fortunately, you had plenty of warning and were able to do a Grand Finale. It was a huge spectacle, full of guest stars and special effects and you tied up all the loose ends so that everyone could go home happy with a sense of closure. Nothing left to do now but record the DVD commentary track and sell the props on eBay.

Wait, what's that? The network just called. The fans, bless their hearts, launched the biggest letter-writing campaign ever, and the ratings on the finale were through the roof. They've decided to renew you for another season!

Oh no. What are you gonna do now? You got Voyager back to the Alpha Quadrant, sank the Bismarck, resolved all the sexual tension, and/or saved the galaxy. There's nowhere else for the story to go.

But, hey, don't let that stop you. After all, you got yourself another season. Other producers would kill for a chance like this, so why not just go ahead? The problem is, unless you're very careful with how you go about the new season, you might end up Jumping the Shark.

The Post Script Season is what happens when a show is renewed after it has resolved its plot arc. You end up with a season, maybe two, where the show is forced to try out a whole new premise. This seldom goes well. In the first place, you've got to shoehorn these existing characters into a new premise that doesn't quite fit them. Expect Character Derailment. Secondly, you've already had a Grand Finale, and it's going to be hard to top that. You've already shot your dramatic wad. No wonder fans of other media get just a bit of dissonant feelings when they hear about how you threw away a perfectly good ending just because you wanted more.

However, not all Post Script Seasons are unmitigated disasters. There have been a few creators who've handled their new seasons with care and presented material just as satisfying as (if not more than) the material that preceded. Also, if there are still lingering questions unanswered or plot points that have yet to be solved, this is the perfect place to fix that.

A form of Retool. Sometimes results in Plot Leveling. Can suffer from Final Season Casting. Compare After Show, Sequelitis, and Trilogy Creep. See also Series Fauxnale. If handled poorly it might also cause the show to turn into a Franchise Zombie.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Super Dimension Fortress Macross: When the series was extended by several episodes in the middle of production, the writers added a Postscript Story Arc set After the End.
  • GaoGaiGar had an OVA which retconned the title mecha's original purpose of construction from "fighting the Zonder" to "fighting the new villain we just came up with". It actually went a lot better than it sounds, largely owing to sheer force of over-the-top-itude. Definitely goes under Tropes Are Not Bad.
    • The TV series itself had a "postscript last couple of episodes." The Big Bad Man Behind the Man was finally, decisively and explosively defeated. Happily ever after, right? Unfortunately years before the series began a spore for a "New Machine Species" implanted itself in Mikoto's nervous system and took her over, leading to a new, powerful and nigh indestructible foe to give GGG a hard time. While it seemed at first to come out of nowhere (there was some foreshadowing, but it was only apparent in hindsight), it somehow managed to wrap itself up nicely.
  • Battle Angel Alita: Last Order might be seen as that, because when road accident forced Yukito Kishiro to Wrap It Up, he tacked a Happy Ending onto the series and left it for half a decade, until he returned to it in Last Order. However, as the "Post Script Season" is even longer than the original series, and it completely disregarded said happy ending, it is more like a cross between the sequel, remake and the Revival now.
  • Purple Eyes in the Dark almost ran into this, but Shinohara was given enough notice that more was expected to come out of the manga, so there is a rather decently smooth transition between the first and second half of the manga. Originally, she was planning on Purple Eyes to last six volumes and the sixth volume included the build-up and final battle between Rinko and Sonehara, with both falling over a cliff and presumed dead, with Shinya raising Rinko's daughter Mai. The second half kicks off from the last part, skipping several years ahead and now focusing on an older Mai as the protagonist for the next six volumes. Though there is a bit of a lack of consistency between the first and second half, including the creation of a clan that wants to kill transforming humans, though they were absolutely absent in the first half.
  • Dragon Ball: After Akira Toriyama decided to officially conclude the manga with the Majin Buu storyline, Toei Animation (the producers of the anime version) did their own Sequel Series titled Dragon Ball GT.
    • Eventually the series was continued again, ignoring GT entirely, initially with two original movies and then with a new Sequel Series Dragon Ball Super that adapted said movies first and then created original content.
    • Depending on who you ask, any given arc of the original Dragon Ball manga could be considered this. Kazenshuu has a guide detailing the rumors, but most fans will say at the very least that the Buu arc was the latest point in time for this to have happened, considering that arc started to actively make fun of the very tropes it had built its name on. The fact that many feel Toriyama ended the manga less through narrative conclusion and more personal weariness contributes to this outlook.
    • In general, the two most plausible endpoints tend to be seen as the end of the Pilaf saga, and the end of the Saiyan saga, both of which have had Toriyama claiming that he had an ending planned (in the case of the Saiyans, he even suggested "Dragon Ball Z" as an alternate title for the anime, to imply its nature as a final arc). Both also precede a significant retool (in the case of the former) and a number of retcons (in the case of the latter), which imply the next arc was unplanned to some degree.
  • This was parodied with Evangelion: After the End, an official audio drama Self-Parody released by the cast and crew of Neon Genesis Evangelion. The plot involves the show unexpectedly being renewed for a second season (despite the ending making that unlikely), and the cast subsequently struggling to come up with a decent way to continue the franchise. Among other things, they contemplate Retooling it as a Super Sentai program, a teen drama, and even a reboot... IN SPACE!
  • YuYu Hakusho was meant to end with the Chapter Black saga, but the editors had Yoshihiro Togashi make another arc, which was terribly contrived and rushed through in both the manga and its subsequent anime adaptation (especially the manga, where the final battle is barely even shown!)
  • In many ways, Transformers: Energon seemed to suffer from this in its final quarter, which featured a story that essentially had nothing but the most tangential connection to any of the plot that had come before it (the villains had obtained their main objective and were defeated three-quarters of the way through the show, leaving nothing for anyone to actually do). The frustrating thing, though, is that it's not strictly a postscript — the show was always intended to run to 52 episodes, and this final arc was simply filling out that requirement, even though the actual story of the series had been finished.
  • Fist of the North Star (Hokuto no Ken):
    • Buronson and Tetsuo Hara originally planned to conclude the manga with Raoh's death, but because title was still popular with Weekly Jump readers at the time, it was renewed beyond its originally planned three year run and they were forced to continue the story the week after. Because of this, the post-Raoh arcs are known for being retconfests, particularly with Lin suddenly being revealed to be the long-lost sister of an Empress, as well as Kenshiro, Toki and Raoh themselves having long-lost brothers (Hyoh and Kaioh) who trained in a separate Hokuto martial art style.
    • The post-Shura arcs are a more conventional example of a postscript season, as there are no more major martial arts factions after Kaioh is defeated and the manga becomes more around Kenshiro acting as a force of nature for the characters and situations surrounding him. It's for this reason that the anime series never adapted these later chapters. A similar case happened to the second installment of Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage, which adapts almost the entirety of the manga series, but leaves most of the post-Shura content out except the final arc featuring the villain Bolge.
  • The original plan for Pokémon: The Series was to cover only the first generation games, while giving sneak peeks at the Pokémon of Gold and Silver, which would launch shortly after the anime's end. This was because video game adaptations had a history of being poorly received. However, the show unexpectedly became a massive international hit, causing it to continue running for far longer than initially planned and become one of the longest-running anime in history.
  • When World Events Productions was first editing/dubbing Voltron, the plan was to edit three short-lived, similar but unrelated Combining Mecha Anime shows (GoLion, Dairugger XV, and Albegas) into one series for a combined total of 125 episodes to put into syndication. But with the unexpected popularity of Lion Voltron (GoLion) followed by the equally unexpected backlash against Vehicle Voltron (Dairugger), plans to dub Albegas were scrapped, leaving WEP 20 episodes short. So WEP actually hired Toei Animation to animate 20 new Lion Voltron episodes that are not a part of GoLion at all.
  • Season 3 of Monster Rancher featured Genki returning and reuniting with his friends, followed by a Tournament Arc to try and prevent the Goldfish Poop Gang from getting their hands on a disc capable of reviving the Big Bad Moo.
  • Season 3 of Sonic X. Ratings had been mediocre in Japan, so the anime was unable to get past the initial 52 episode order and had to quickly wrap up its Trapped in Another World premise... and then it became an absolute hit in the international market, resulting in a somewhat Darker and Edgier season that had barely anything to do with the rest of the series before it. Notably, this is one of the few cases in which the post-script season was actually better-recieved by much of the fanbase than the seasons before it, primarily because the show's initial plot had been wrapped up. The first two seasons were a Human-Focused Adaptation consisting primarily of standalone episodes and short arcs, and having Sonic and co. return to their own world at the end of season 2 allowed the third season to shift over to a single serialized plotline with slightly more focus on the video games' characters.
  • Season 2 of Yoroiden Samurai Troopers, AKA Ronin Warriors. Originally everyone was supposed to die in the final sequence except Nasti and Jun ("Mia" and "Yuli"), but the producers were notified that the network wanted a second season... just when Episode 17 was about to air. They then stalled and rewrote the last two episodes to produce a happy ending — and introduce a Hand Wave Deus ex Machina Moment of Awesome that became the central and driving force behind the next season. The second season, unlike many of these things, turned out to also be possibly better than the first.
  • The final two (half-)seasons of Slayers leave this impression. They were drawn ten years after the main series was complete in an attempt to revive it, feature antagonists that are nowhere as awesome and world-shattering as Fibrizzo and Dark Star, and, to boot, are new versions of old enemies Zanaffar and Rezo-Shabranigdo.
  • Shining Heresy, Phantom Arc and Alone Again, the sequel OVAs for Armored Trooper VOTOMS.
  • The original Space Battleship Yamato ends with the crew successfully making it to Iscandar and back with the Cosmo Cleaner D in order to save the Earth from the Gamilas' radioactive pollution. About two years later, a new movie retelling the original story premiered followed by a sequel that many viewers were unhappy with. This lead to the creation of the second series, which was then followed by a TV movie, a third theatrical movie, and a third series. Then, two years after the third series ended, there was a fourth movie that seemed to retcon the events of the previous TV series.
  • The original Science Ninja Team Gatchaman originally ended with Joe making a Heroic Sacrifice in order to defeat Galactor once and for all, with there being no sequel apparently planned.note  Then four years later, a second series premiered in which Joe is revealed to be alive and well, having been brought back as a cyborg. note 
  • After the K-On! manga and its anime adaptation ended with most of the main characters graduating from high school, the manga was relaunched on two separate magazines, one strip following the graduated characters in college, and the other following the remaining characters still in high school. Both of these spinoffs were cancelled after one volume each.
  • Futari wa Pretty Cure ended up through this. It was originally 26 episodes, but the series proved so popular that they tacked on 20+ more. What makes this funny is that the episode following the supposed finale has both heroines and villains trying to figure out what to do since the series is still going before a few more MacGuffin are tossed about. Smile Pretty Cure! tried to invoke this, but all it did was piss off the viewers.
  • The Patlabor TV series was meant to end on Episode 35, but it was extended by 12 episodes at the last minute. Since the Griffin arc was planned to be concluded in the New Files OVA, these final episodes did not follow on it and were instead a series of one-off stories sans the two-part finale. Unlike many other examples, this was not a bad thing, as Patlabor was already an episodic show to begin with, and the "new" finale is powerful in its own right.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure was originally planned on being a trilogy, ending with JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders. However, said part, which introduced the iconic stands to the franchise, ended up being more popular than the manga's author, Hirohiko Araki, had intended and he decided to continue it from there. This led to the next part, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable, feeling much more stand-alone in comparison to other parts, and JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind was even more standalone.note  JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean averted this, since it was a distant sequel to Stardust Crusaders, and as for JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Steel Ball Run and JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: JoJolion, they take place in an Alternate Continuity.
  • Boruto is essentially this trope, with Masashi Kishimoto repeatedly stating that he wanted to end Naruto and have some time for himself. The series, however, had become a juggernaut of a Cash-Cow Franchise, and Shueisha really wanted to keep the money coming in, despite Naruto ending with the biggest villain defeated and all loose ends tied up. Boruto wound up being a compromise in which a different author wrote and drew it with Kishimoto having a distant supervisory role and instead focuses on the children of the main characters and their unique conflicts and struggles. In a twist, though, Kishimoto eventually returned and took control of the series' direction after chapter 51, following the departure of Ukyo Kodachi, the new writer.
  • Ojamajo Doremi was supposed to be a one-off series, but it became so popular that four follow-up seasons were produced.
  • The 2020 finale movie for Violet Evergarden was not part of the plan for the series since Director Taichi Ishidate originally had no plan to reveal Major Gilbert's fate. However, he changed his mind after scriptwriter Reiko Yoshida turned in a sequel concept.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds has a rare case of this being somewhat enforced. Kazuki Takahashi, who had been fatigued from working on the franchise for almost a decade, deliberately chose to create concepts and outlines that only extended so far—his belief was that after that point, he'd be following the franchise as a fan rather than a creator. Consequently, most of Takahashi's concepts were exhausted by the end of the first half with the conclusion of the Dark Signer arc, which forced a very drastic retool.
  • Cyborg 009 was originally intended to end with the "Underground Empire of Yomi" arc, but fan outcry over the ending (which had two of the protagonists dying) convinced Ishinomori to continue it.

    Comic Books 
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics) was in one following issue #50 until at least the departure of writers Ken Penders and Karl Bollers. Depending on who you talk to, the multi-part "Endgame" was intended to end the book with the death of Dr. Robotnik, but was continued to go on due to it either being such a good money-maker or because it wasn't supposed to end there. Story and art quality following #50 is widely considered to be wildly mixed, as the series had to adapt new villains — including bringing Robotnik (well, an alternate universe version of him) back as Dr. Eggman, and was mandated by SEGA to do an adaptation of Sonic Adventure, which the comic managed to somewhat awkwardly squeeze in. Following the assignment of Ian Flynn as head writer, the comics were finally able to enter a new era and was able to shake the post-script status off, and went on pretty strong, even after a continuity reboot brought on Penders' suit with Archie and SEGA, until it was finally cancelled.
  • The maxiseries Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld was originally going to be just a twelve-issue series. At the end of the series, the protagonist and her allies triumph, the Big Bad is killed off, and the heroine returns to her normal life on Earth after peace is restored to the Gemworld. However, the series was so successful that DC Comics decided to do an ongoing series. The first twelve issues, done by the original creative team behind the maxi-series, weren't too bad. But when they left, the new creative team changed the direction of the series drastically, and did a series of Retcons designed to drag the series kicking and screaming into the mainstream DC universe and let's not get started when the First Crisis joins in. The series was cancelled soon afterward.
  • Runaways was only supposed to be eighteen issues, and after Alex was revealed as the mole and the Pride were all killed, there wasn't really anywhere to go, but the series got a second volume with the original creative team that lasted another few years, and continued after they left, and was later relaunched again. Many fans liked the new characters and new directions (especially Victor Mancha), but the overall sense of suspense was lost, and, after the original creative team left, the quality dropped until the series was cancelled.
  • Marvel's original Micronauts series concluded with a Bittersweet Ending. The Big Bad was finally Killed Off for Real, but the heroes' Homeworld had been reduced to a lifeless ruin. With Homeworld in ruins and the war over, the Micronauts decide to go off and explore the Microverse as the series ended. Then the series was relaunched as Micronauts: The New Voyages. Under a new creative team, the series picked up where the original left off, but the series ended up being mostly dull and pointless as the Micronauts (and the story) wandered aimlessly. Eventually, they returned to Homeworld to restore it to life as the series ended.
  • All of the character arcs and plot lines in Cerebus had been resolved by issue 200, yet Sim kept the series going for another 100 issues. The new issues were... not well-received.
  • According to Hergé, The Adventures of Tintin concluded with Tintin In Tibet and the works afterwards (The Castafiore Emerald, Flight 714, Tintin and the Picaros and the unfinished Tintin and Alph Art) were basically this. However, they actually were well received, and still continued the nature a little bit, showing that this trope is not always a bad thing.
  • The main aim of Rogue Trooper was to find the Traitor General responsible for the massacre of his comrades. Then he did. Unfortunately, as the character was one of 2000AD's most popular, cancellation was not an option. So he kept going as an intergalactic bounty hunter, then he was replaced with a Suspiciously Similar Substitute who had a Suspiciously Similar Mission to the original character, then there was a massive Continuity Snarl following a Crossover between both characters before they just decided to screw it and write a series of stories set before the original Rogue completed his original mission.
  • Spider-Girl is probably queen of this trope. It was originally meant to run for five issues before it got shunted aside for another series, but it proved popular enough to keep going. Then, they tried to cancel it at 30, but the vocal fanbase stopped it. Then, they tried to cancel it at about 80 and were stopped again. It was cancelled at 100, only to restart as The Amazing Spider-Girl, which lasted for 30 issues, then restarted as a brief app-exclusive series before finally concluding in one of the many The End titles. The character was then brought back in controversial fashion for the Spider-Verse event in 2014/2015.
  • The Superior Foes of Spider-Man was slated to run for 12 issues, but the vocal fanbase got it extended to 17. By Nick Spencer's own account, this actually worked out for the best, as it allowed him to do Day in the Limelight stories for Beetle and Overdrive.
  • Star Wars: Poe Dameron was supposed to end with issue #25, where it resolved its story arcs and led into The Force Awakens. However, it was successful enough to continue with another six-part story, which served as a P.O.V. Sequel to that movie and The Last Jedi.
  • One of the big causes of the Continuity Snarl that is Hawkman is the fact that Hawkworld was just meant to be a mini series, detailing the post-crisis origin of the hawks (alongside Batman: Year One, The Man of Steel, and several others). But great sales caused DC to extend it into an ongoing and make it take place in modern times, despite how already established canon would make that impossible.
  • The Black Cat ongoing was one of Marvel's many "unofficial" miniseries, intending to only last 12 issues before being "cancelled". Its popularity led it to continue past that for a few more issues and then be relaunched with the same writer at the helm.

  • Any sequel to a pre-1966 Disney animated film (excluding Fantasia) is by definition this, as the original filmmakers always intended on completing their story in one installment due to Walt Disney's well-known dislike of sequels.
  • Star Wars was designed as a six-part story arc revolving around Anakin Skywalker (which originally skipped the first 3). In George Lucas' words, "It was started when he was 9, it ends when he died. There’s no more story to tell." Then came a third trilogy once Disney became owners of the franchise. The creative team behind the sequels tried to combat this perception by ending the trilogy with The Reveal that Palpatine was actually the Big Bad of the Sequel Trilogy all along (effectively making all nine films a saga about Palpatine's attempts to conquer the galaxy), but not all fans were wild about that development. And of course, the movies were always a tiny part of the story to anyone who followed the absolutely massive Star Wars Expanded Universe.

  • For those who took Latin in high school, one can't help but wonder if the writers of the Cambridge Latin Course textbook thought they wouldn't get their contracts renewed after Book I. Vesuvius blows and everybody dies, Caecilius dying onscreen and his son's fate left in question... until next semester. Also, Book IV had a lot of filler arcs, don't you think? Who cares about Those Two Guys at Bath and random weddings? Get back to Salvius and his evil!
  • Dean Koontz's Frankenstein ends the third book by killing Victor, resolving the Unresolved Sexual Tension, and otherwise tying up its loose ends. There is a mention of Victor's clone surviving, but otherwise everything is settled. Book Four came out in 2010, and Book Five came out in 2011. And many, many people really wish they hadn't.
  • Peter and the Starcatchers appeared to end with "Secret of Rundoon". However, in 2009, a fourth book called "Sword of Mercy" was written, taking place after a large timeskip (directly before the events of Peter Pan for that matter.) One probably would have wondered if Barry and Pearson thought their contracts wouldn't get renewed so they wrapped up the arc in "Secret of Rundoon". However, the Big Bad wasn't as easily defeated as they assumed in the original series...
  • Warrior Cats' main storyline lasted four series, and ended with all the past villains' spirits being made Deader than Dead after ganging up to take on the Clans in a huge battle, and with Firestar, the main character since book one, dying. They had no plans to continue the series outside a few Expanded Universe books, but HarperCollins asked the authors to write a fifth series, so they chose to make it a Prequel about how the Clans first formed. Due to fan demand, they published a book taking place after the fourth series, which then continued into a sixth and seventh series continuing the main storyline.
  • After 2 novellas and 2 short story collections, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle intended for the Sherlock Holmes short story "The Final Problem" to kill off the main character for good, as he felt that Holmes' popularity was overshadowing his "serious" historical novels. Public outcry (and sheer profitability) lead Doyle first to write the Interquel novella The Hound of the Baskervilles and then to definitively resurrect the character in "The Empty House" for another 20 years of adventures. However, most of the iconic cases were written in the early era, and later stories often suffer from a lack of continuity.
  • The Lost World (1995), the sequel to Jurassic Park, came as a result of Steven Spielberg pressuring author Michael Crichton to write a sequel with his favorite secondary character, Ian Malcolm, as the main character. Malcolm had died in the first novel. Nevertheless, Crichton complied, and included a scene early in the second book where Malcolm's death was retconned by the man himself saying "The Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated". The film adaptation disregarded most of the book anyway.
  • Anthony Horowitz intended to end the Alex Rider series with Scorpia Rising, a Grand Finale which ties up loose ends from earlier books, kills off a major character and ends with the Nebulous Evil Organisation which serves as the series' Big Bad being defeated once and for all. However, the series continued to grow in popularity for several years after the final book was released, and in order to be able to bring out some new material, the publishers decided to collect together several short stories set in the series' universe which had previously been published in newspapers, magazines and other sources in a new anthology. Horowitz decided to perform rewrites on a couple of the sketchier ones, and then to write a few new stories as well. Eventually he realised he missed writing the series so much, and that he still had lots of new ideas for it (one of the main reasons he'd decided to end the series when he did), that he decided to revive it completely and wrote a new book, Never Say Die, which goes to great lengths to reassert the status quo, most notably retconning in the survival of the character he'd killed off. There will be at least two more entries in the series now (in addition to the short story collection).

    Live-Action TV 
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. creators expected to get cancelled at the end of Season Five, so they let the main character die in peace, send a team on an And the Adventure Continues mission and even named the final episode "The End". They were then unexpectedly picked up for a Sixth and Seventh seasons and had to find a way to bring Clark Gregg back as another character, as he was the face of the entire show.
  • All in the Family wrapped up its eighth season with Mike, Gloria, and Joey moving to California. Actors Rob Reiner and Sally Struthers had announced they were leaving the show, and producer Norman Lear couldn't imagine continuing it without them, so having the Stivics say goodbye to Archie and Edith was conceived as a perfect Tear Jerker ending to the show... until CBS executives offered Carroll O'Connor $100,000 an episode to come back as Archie, and he agreed. Not only did the show continue for a ninth season (without Reiner, Struthers, or Lear), it got an After Show in Archie Bunker's Place.
  • Andromeda's final season feels very much like this. The Abyss is confronted and the Route of Ages opened in the season 4 finale. Season 5 suddenly and inexplicably leaves the titular ship unpowered and mostly abandoned for the crew (with some new and replacement characters) to hop around on poorly explained backwater desert planets orbiting a weird dying artificial sun. Its only saving grace comes late when it's revealed the system is Tarn Vedra, the long lost home of the System Commonwealth's founders, and the artificial sun is a crazy Batman Gambit designed to once and for all kill The Abyss. And that Trance is the Avatar of Tarn Vedra's real sun who kills The Abyss when she returns to her proper place.
  • The final season of The A-Team, which resolved the main premise of the show — the team is pardoned by the government, and works for them instead of hiding out in the L.A. underground.
  • Babylon 5 was originally plotted to a five-season arc. When the PTEN syndication network crumbled around it and the show was not renewed for a fifth season, the fourth season storyline was reworked to complete the entire arc. The show was subsequently granted a fifth season, but with almost all of its major plot threads resolved. The fifth season that resulted was much weaker, and was composed of a lot of stories that had been cut from earlier seasons for various reasons.
  • The Big Comfy Couch, six years after its initial 65-episode run, was renewed for a sixth season in 2002, with Alyson Court returning as Loonette despite being pregnant, and a seventh in 2006, in which Court was replaced by Ramona Gilmour-Darling, to the chagrin of many fans.
  • Blake's 7 ended its third season with the destruction of the Liberator and the (apparent) death of the Big Bad. When the fourth season opened, they had to take the show in a radically different direction to compensate for the changes.
  • In Boy Meets World, the high-school graduation season finale had changes like Mr. Feeny retiring and moving away, and Shawn deciding to take a job as a photographer instead of going to college. But when the series was renewed, both of these changes were reversed so that Shawn and Mr. Feeny could be part of the college experience along with Cory, Topanga, and the rest.
  • Breaking Bad was unsure about getting renewed for a fifth season, so most of its plotlines were closed in the season 4 finale: Gus's death, Jesse getting back to Walt again, Gus getting exposed as a meth lord as well as Walt earning enough to provide for his family, all of Walt's rivals getting eliminated (Mike's fate was left uncertain till the next season), as well as Walt fully 'breaking bad' in the last shot. Fortunately, executives greenlit a fifth and final season in 2 parts, now widely regarded as one of the greatest final seasons of all time (if not the greatest).
  • The Brittas Empire was originally planned and completed for a five-series run by writers Richard Fegen and Andrew Norriss, a lesser example of British Brevity. The BBC liked it so much however that they recommissioned it for a further two series. Fegen and Norriss declined to return however, and the last two series were written by a team of six.
  • The fifth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer ended with Buffy dying heroically to save Dawn and, by extension, all reality; the episode even ended with a shot of her gravestone ("She saved the world. A lot."). It was picked up for two more seasons on a different channel. Even after the series was cancelled for good, it received a comic book continuation starting with Buffy: Season 8.
  • The third season of Bunk'd was set up to be the Grand Finale of the show, given that the Rosses are leaving to pursue once-in-a-lifetime opportunities and have to sell Camp Kikiwaka given that none of them will be there next summer; in the end, they sell the camp to Lou. But because the show was extremely popular and had an excessive fanbase, Disney decided to continue the series without the Rosses, giving it not one, but three additional seasons, becoming the first show on Disney Channel to surpass the four season limit.
  • Charmed was this due to being on the bubble throughout its seventh season. Brad Kern has said that production was game for an eighth season, but they had no idea whether or not they'd be renewed. (They actually didn't get renewed until a week before the season finale aired—meaning, unlike prior seasons, production completed on an air of uncertainty.) So, the writers tried to provide an episode that would allow for closure (the title mirroring the first episode, references to Prue and other departed characters and concepts, Daryl's conflict of loyalties reaching a head, and the destruction of the Nexus), but also leave the door open for continuing (the Charmed Ones being thought dead by everyone and changing their faces). Of course, the eventual eighth season was heavily panned for recycled ideas, a hated new character, budget cuts (which led to Leo having a minimized role and Daryl being outright dropped), and a lack of direction, but its last episode ended up being widely praised.
  • Since Season 4 of Community was expected to be the last season, the finale wraps up the plot with Jeff finally graduating from Greendale and setting out to resume his career as a lawyer. But since the show was unexpectedly revived (with creator Dan Harmon re-hired by NBC), Season 5 opens with Jeff being forced to get a job as a pre-law professor at Greendale after his law firm goes bankrupt. Season 5 also reveals that many of the characters failed at the various goals that they'd previously accomplished, forcing them to confront the possibility that they'll be stuck at Greendale permanently: Shirley's marriage falls apart again, Britta's career as a psychologist fails to get off the ground, Annie gives up on studying hospital administration, and Abed's mental issues noticeably worsen.
  • The ultimate example is probably Coronation Street, which has essentially been on a series of postscript seasons since 1960. It was originally intended to be 13 episodes long, with Coronation Street bulldozed in a Made-for-TV Movie. However, it proved so popular that a new series was commissioned, and it's been broadcasting more or less continuously to the present day.
  • The seventh season of the Canadian coroner drama Da Vinci's Inquest ended with most of the major plot threads tied up (including the arrest of the series' Big Bad, who was prevalent throughout the last three seasons) and most of the characters getting a decent send-off. Although the series ended with a vague Sequel Hook (in which the main character, Dominic Da Vinci, announces his intent to run for Mayor of Vancouver), it was the end... until the show was retooled a year later as Da Vinci's City Hall, skipping the entire process of the mayoral election and going straight to Da Vinci in office. Although the postscript season still integrated a handful of characters from the previous seasons, the show bled viewers and was subsequently cancelled at the end of its season. A planned Grand Finale telemovie (The Quality of Life) was itself an example of this, as it wrapped up the last few plot threads from City Hall, but was delayed for years due to Executive Meddling.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The series went on hiatus twice: first, an 18-month break between Colin Baker's two seasons, and again after it was canceled in 1989. It's the first hiatus that fits this best — while Colin's second season didn't have any loose ends to tie up, the series was in a precarious situation with the BBC, and had been given a major cut in length, going from 13 45-minute episodes to 14 25-minute episodes. Since the show was effectively on trial, it's unsurprising they decided to incorporate it into the plot, having the framing story for the season be about the Doctor on trial, and giving it the overall name "The Trial of a Time Lord". As it turned out, ratings were lower than before the hiatus, but the BBC decided to renew the series for another year.
    • The next season, Sylvester McCoy's first, also had to deal with this. Producer John Nathan-Turner had been expecting to move onto another series, only to be told by his bosses that he would be staying on Who, and found he basically had to plan the next season from scratch with limited time to prepare, including finding a new Doctor (the BBC refused to let Colin have another season, and Colin was unwilling to do only a regeneration story, as it would make it difficult to find work) and a new script editor after Eric Saward quit due to Creative Differences with Nathan-Turner. On top of that, it was scheduled against popular British soap opera Coronation Street, treated as a sacrificial lamb. The series managed to hang on by the skin of its teeth, and got another two seasons before the next, and much longer, hiatus.
    • For the new series, a variant is the 2009 Specials (also known as "series 4b" by fans). The Tenth Doctor's last season ended with "Journey's End", a massive Crisis Crossover involving all of the Tenth Doctor's companions and with the fate of reality itself at stake, with an ending that resolved most of the Tenth Doctor's major running plot arcs. The following year, rather than a full season, the Tenth Doctor had a miniseries of mostly self-contained specials that dealt with consequences of previous adventures, ending with the Tenth Doctor regenerating into the Eleventh. Though the show wasn't in danger of cancellation, apparently the miniseries was put in place to give the production team room to breathe during major behind-the-scenes shifts, notably Russell T Davies handing over to Steven Moffat as showrunner.
    • A more straightforward example is Series 10 of the revived program — not for the show as a whole, but for Steven Moffat's era as showrunner. Series 9 was intended as his last, tying up loose plots from his era (e.g. what happened to the Zygons and Gallifrey after "The Day of the Doctor") and ending with an epic 3-part Grand Finale (featuring his own most acclaimed script) that removed Clara Oswald from the series and from the Doctor's memories, leaving behind a clean slate. The post-series Christmas Special then gave a happy ending to the Doctor, serving as another perfectly acceptable conclusion to his era. But, with Chris Chibnall having to finish up Broadchurch before taking over, Moffat had to keep going for one more series. With a new companion and a premiere entitled "The Pilot", this was clearly something of a retool.
    • The two-part Finale of Series 10 itself, bringing the Doctor and Missy's character arcs to their climax while writing out Bill, Nardole, and both Masters, and fatally injuring the Twelfth Doctor, was intended as his Finale, but there was need for a Christmas Episode to keep that yearly slot, and incoming showrunner Chris Chibnall was unwilling to start his era with it. Thus, the finale was slightly re-written and "Twice Upon A Time" was created, doing a bit of extra wrapping up, providing some Book Ends to the Capaldi and Moffat eras, and showing the Doctor's regeneration, passing the torch at last over to Chibnall as showrunner and Jodie Whittaker as the Doctor. Ironically, the show would lose its Christmas slot anyway, with Chibnall instead shifting to New Year's Day specials due to him seeing the former as creatively limiting.
  • Earth: Final Conflict neatly resolved its entire premise in the penultimate season, wiping out the entire species responsible for the action of the plot. As a result, an entirely new random alien race had to be introduced to keep the plot afloat.
  • The third season of Eastbound & Down ended with Kenny Powers faking his death in order to spend all his time with his family. When HBO insisted on a fourth season, Kenny ended up resurfacing in public, even having to go to jail for tax fraud.
  • The Season 6 finale for Elementary was specifically written to be the series finale, shaking up the status quo by sending Sherlock and Joan to London. But then the network ordered the true final season, Season 7, rendering the Season 6 finale as a Series Fauxnale.
  • ER's fourteenth season was initially set to be its last due to slumping ratings and some longtime actors wanting to finish their tenure on the series, until the 2007-8 Writer's Strike made a mess of most TV and film productions. As such, the showrunners decided to make one more season, with "The Book of Abby" (the third episode of the fifteenth season) functioning as a Series Fauxnale (it was originally planned to be the series finale until the season was greenlit) that saw Abby Lockhart, the closest thing to a consistent main character for the last half of the show's tenure, depart County General Hospital with fellow doctor Luka. The additional season gave the showrunners a chance to integrate and wrap up the majority of plot threads from across the series, including the return of fan-favorite and former main characters John Carter, Peter Benton, Doug Ross, Carol Hathaway and Elizabeth Cordday, introduce and resolve a new Big Good, Dr. Catherine Banfield (played by Angela Bassett) and bring closure to some of the show's oldest plotlines.
  • The episode order for the fourth and last season of Felicity was increased after production had wrapped. The original finale resolved the existing storylines and gave a brief synopsis of the characters' lives for the next two years. The extra episodes, rather than simply being written to take place and be aired before the finale, instead created a new five-episode arc set after the two year fast-forward, in which Felicity magically travels back in time to the beginning of the season in order to make different choices. The show had never included fantasy elements before, and the whole arc, while interesting, felt undeniably tacked on to an otherwise finished product.
  • Season 2 of Flight of the Conchords. The band hadn't really expected the show to get a second season, and production took much longer than expected since they'd already blown through most of their material during Season 1. This is likely why Season 2 ends with the band being deported back to New Zealand, thus providing a definite conclusion this time.
  • On The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, the third, fourth and fifth season finales were written as respectable farewells in case the show didn't get another season. There's even a joke in the one where Will decides to stay in Philadelphia, when NBC executives literally kidnap him and haul him back to Bel-Air in the back of a van.
  • Every season of Friday Night Lights after the third season, although this is a rare case of a postscript season done right. The main narrative arc concludes with the Panthers losing at State despite a big comeback when everyone expected them to be eliminated early, as well as most of the main characters' arcs being wrapped up... that is, until the fourth and fifth seasons, where Coach Taylor (who was forced out of his job) is hired at a newly-reopened school and teaches a new team with lesser equipment, budget and facilities, training them from scratch. However, the narrative (coupled with cameos and updates on the characters who were previously put on a bus) made it just as well-written as the previous seasons.
  • John Esmonde and Bob Larbey's (now little remembered) National Service sitcom Get Some In! was cancelled after its fourth season in 1977. Esmonde and Larbey decided to end on a high note, with Corporal Marsh demoted to Aircraftman for cheating on a nursing exam and posted to a remote RAF base in Labrador, while "erks" Jakey, Ken, Matthew, and Bruce received a cushy posting to an RAF hospital in Malta. However, the News of the World successfully campaigned ITV to renew the series (citing audience figures of over 14 million), and the fifth season premiere in 1978 saw the plot developments at the end of the fourth season reversed as the "erks" were immediately recalled to Britain and found themselves once again under the heel of Marsh (who had returned a supposed hero and restored to Corporal). The cast and audience alike were unhappy with the result, doubly so because Robert Lindsay, who played Jakey Smith, had accepted the title role in the John Sullivan-penned sitcom Citizen Smith during the hiatus and was replaced by future Brush Strokes star Karl Howman. The fifth season proved to be the last, and ended on a much less final note than the fourth season.
  • Combined with After Show, this happened with The Golden Girls. Bea Arthur decided to leave the show after the seventh season, and the series ends with Dorothy getting married and moving to Atlanta. However, her mother Sophia decides to stay in Miami with the roommates, setting up the premise for said After Show, The Golden Palace, as the girls buy a struggling high-end hotel. It wasn't well received, but has gained something of a cult following in subsequent years.
  • Heroes features a variant of this. The original plan was to make the show an anthology series, with the first season's group of heroes story ending with the battle at Kirby Plaza, and then being replaced with an entirely new cast each season. However, the ratings for S1 were so successful, and the show became such a hot property, that the finale was hastily changed to end with a cliffhanger where Hiro time-travels to feudal Japan. The following season wasn't planned, and began a precipitous slide in both quality and ratings that ended with the show's cancellation at the end of its fourth season.
  • Starting with Kamen Rider Wizard, the Kamen Rider franchise started having Post-Script Episodes that usually serve as a symbolic torch-passing by having the current protagonist and his successor meet and deal with some small crisis.
    • Wizard had a two-parter that served as an anniversary special (since it's the introduction of the 15th Heisei Kamen Rider); this included both an Early-Bird Cameo of Gaim and the return of Kamen Rider Decade star Masahiro Inoue as a plot where Haruto is pulled into a realm where the Riders' defeated enemies reside and plan on returning to Earth. These 2 episodes were also part of Toei's plan to start new series on early October instead of early September (this would end being cancelled as EX-AID shortening).
    • Kamen Rider Gaim's last episode didn't have any crossovers, but gave some closure to several of the show's supporting cast, in particular focusing on the return of a past villain and Micchy's redemption arc.
    • Kamen Rider Drive played it straight, with a plot focusing on Kamen Rider Ghost and an unknown party trying to steal an Eyecon; protagonist Shinnosuke does get some special focus, mostly on returning to mundane police duty without the Drive powers.
    • Kamen Rider Ghost and Kamen Rider Ex-Aid avert this, simply having Early Bird Cameos from a character from the incoming show. Ghost does it a little oddly since rather than Ex-Aid himself, the villainous "Black Ex-Aid" shows up and gives Specter and Necrom a good thrashing.
    • Kamen Rider Saber returned the tradition, with the epilogue's plot involving the Victim of the Week using a Vistamp and both halves of Revice teaming up with the swordsmen. Revice, however, would go back to the Ghost/Ex-Aid style of Early Bird Cameos.
  • La Femme Nikita. Despite being the USA Network's top rated drama during its 4th season (even with no advertisement by the network), the cancellation was announced. After the large fan campaign to bring the series back, in September 2000 a truncated 5th season was announced. It did help out with some of the Cannon Fodder they had left behind, but gave one hell of a Bittersweet Ending.
  • The Last Ship had its story arc plotted across three seasons, but the show got picked up for two additional seasons. This resulted in Season 4 and 5 each getting a mostly self-contained story arc.
  • The fifth season of Lucifer (2016) was written and filmed under the impression that it would be the show's final season. Just as they wrapped the Grand Finale, Netflix decided to renew for one last season. The writers dealt with this by cutting the epilogue from "A Chance At A Happy Ending" and extending the material in it into a sixth season. The additional episodes meant the writers could give proper resolution to Dan's redemption arc and Ella finally learning the truth about Lucifer's true nature.
  • Magnum, P.I. had such a definitive finale at the end of season seven, they aired commercials explaining that despite the main character being killed, tying up loose ends up as a ghost, and then being sent off to the afterlife, things weren't really over. It lasted another season.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000 ended its seventh season by resolving its entire premise, so the eighth season (on a new network) had to begin with a Reset Button, the shifting of the setting five hundred years into the future, and the introduction of a new antagonist. It survived for three more seasons, mostly because the plot of the series was never much more than a Framing Device for the slapstick and snark. The creators had to reset the series again when 11th and 12th seasons were Kickstarted. An update of the premise — descendants of the original Mads are subjecting a new protagonist to the "experiment" — answered some but not all questions. (Most notably, how Tom Servo and Crow were roped in again is never explained.) The Mads themselves noted that it would have been easier to reboot the whole thing instead of sticking to established continuity.
  • Night Court: Season 8 is over. Dan quits his job and loses the Phil Foundation fortune. More importantly, Harry and Christine have professed their love to one another. OK, that's the end. What's that? We've been renewed? Oh, crap! 30 Rock devoted an episode to the idea that several of the characters on that show were unhappy with the Season 9 ending to Night Court, so they staged a "fake" episode, reuniting several of the actual cast members (Harry Anderson, Markie Post, and Charles Robinson), and they had Harry and Christine get married.
  • Once Upon a Time had a wonderful plot conclusion at the end of Season 6, with all the plot threads closed Rumplestitskin/Mr Gold prefering his family over his Dark One powers, Regina finally being recognized and loved as Queen/Mayor, Mary Margaret and David finally living together in a farm, Emma and Hook happily married and raising Henry with Regina, everybody resuming their normal lives and dining at Granny's every night but opening a new story 20 Minutes into the Future with Henry's daughter looking for an adult Henry who doesn't remember anything about Storybrooke. Thus we got Season 7, which turned out to be the show's last season and as a consequence has very little connection to anything that came before it.
  • Only Fools and Horses: The British sitcom about two poor wheeler-dealer street-market trader brothers ended after 15 years (7 seasons and four sets of Christmas specials) with the Trotter brothers finding an antique watch in their garage, and becoming millionaires at last. The three episode finale, where the Trotters are finally shown in luxury penthouses and expensive sports cars, was shown over Christmas 1996 and attracted massive viewing figures for The BBC. A few years later they convinced writer John Sullivan to reprise the ever-popular characters for three more Christmas Episodes. Having the Trotters lose their investment money in a stock market crash (based on one in real life) and return to their original lifestyle only to gain some of their lost fortune back and allow Rodney and Cassandra to finally have a child of their own, the specials were panned by critics and viewers alike, and no more have been produced since 2003. To add salt to the wound, "Time On Your Hands" was featured on Sky1's often repeated Top Fifty TV Endings feature... completely ignoring the three 2001-2003 specials.
  • Parks and Recreation has had shaky ratings from the start. According to co-creator and producer Mike Schur, every season finale after season 2 (with possibly the exception of season 5) has been a potential series finale. As such, every season has been a postscript season. Season 7 might be the most obvious example, since season 6 ends with a Distant Finale taking place 3 years later.
  • Power Rangers has had this happen a handful of times.
    • After years of declining ratings, Fox decided to pull the plug on the show after announcement of the sixth season, Power Rangers in Space. As such, the writers decided to send the show out with a bang and do all the things they had wanted to do in the previous five years, including cameos from previous Rangers, tying up loose ends involving recurring characters, and culminating in a Final Battle with the Rangers and many of their allies going up against every villain from the previous seasons, with the Big Good performing a Heroic Sacrifice to purge the universe of evil. However, ratings for "In Space" picked up significantly mid-way through the season, resulting in Fox renewing it for another season. That next season, Power Rangers Lost Galaxy has a handful of characters returning, but otherwise marks an awkward transition between the continuity heavy first six seasons of "the Zordon Era" and the standalone (but still in continuity) stories that followed in following seasons.
    • Power Rangers Wild Force was the last season of the original Saban Era and aired during Disney's buyout of the franchise. It was also almost the last season of Power Rangers before Disney decided to move production to New Zealand which has served as the filming location ever since. Note the Wild Force finale is called "The End of the Power Rangers".
    • Power Rangers RPM was to be the final season, as Disney had decided to shelf the entire series, partly because they didn't know what to do with it and partly because they were actually kind of embarrassed to have it. However, when Saban bought the series back, they decided to continue with a new Sentai adaptation, forcing a final decision on whether RPM's After the End plot would be canon. (It is, sort of...) The post-script seasons here don't have as much of an effect as other examples, as each season has been a standalone story since Power Rangers Lost Galaxy, although further seasons would begin to connect the show more to it's past again.
  • Murphy Brown was revived for an eleventh season in 2018, seeing the title character coming out of retirement to confront the modern-day media landscape of cable news, social media, presidents with volatile personalities, and her son Avery becoming a host on a Fox News expy. The majority of the original cast returned for the revival (which only lasted a single season), although Avery was recast as an adult, and Phil's bar is now run by his daughter since Pat Corley died.
  • Pretty Little Liars appears to be a subject of this—that is, unless you look at the fact that the season was only half over when the main plot ends. Halfway through season 6, Big A is revealed, and all of the Liars' torture until this point is explained. There are no loose ends left to be tied up. The second half of season 6 starts 5 years later, with a new A, and it goes on for one and a half seasons, making for a plot that was on par with the rest of the series, but nevertheless felt a little bit disconnected to the rest of the show.
  • Primeval, due to its huge budget, by British television standards, has spent most of its runtime on the verge of being cancelled. On top of that the actor playing the lead hero wanted out during season 3. This season, while containing some big fat Sequel Hooks, killed off not only him but also the main villain (his wife). While the gimmick driving the series was still there the writers had to develop a completely new storyline when they were eventually greenlit for a season 4 and 5. (Season 5 ended on a similar note, if the series gets revived again there will be another post script season.)
  • Prison Break was an odd case of unplanned seasons. While the creators mentioned the show was only designed for two seasons, Fox squeezed a third season out of them in 2007-2008. This unfolded the same year when... you guessed it... the writer's strike happened. As a result, the third season was truncated to 13 episodes, and forced the writers to produce a fourth season to wrap up the show. Depending on who you ask, the fourth year was either a creative resurgence from the mediocre third season or a godawful train wreck of epic proportions. The controversial series ending was even more polarizing. And let's not even get into the cash grabbing DVD movie, The Final Break. Despite the series allegedly ending for good, a fifth season was produced and aired in 2017, wrapping up a large number of plot threads.
  • Remington Steele married off Laura and Steele, as the show's cancellation looked certain and Pierce Brosnan had been offered the role of James Bond. However, because Brosnan got the Bond role, NBC decided to renew the show, bringing it back for a very lame half-season which lacked all of the charm of the preceding seasons and effectively scuttling Brosnan's big movie break. Brosnan didn't end up playing Bond for some years.
  • As Roseanne neared the end of its eighth season, which had been expected to be its last, the ratings improved enough for the network to ask for one more season, in which the show completely lost its moorings as the Conners' lottery win allowed the writers to indulge in all the "what-if" plotlines they had never otherwise dared to touch.
  • Sort of happened on Saved by the Bell. The show had finished taping its finale (which centered around the characters' high school graduation) when NBC ordered more episodes. Which shouldn't have been a problem, as the finale hadn't aired yet, and they could simply air the new episodes prior to the finale—except that the actors' contracts had expired, and everyone but Tiffani Thiessen and Elizabeth Berkley decided to sign new ones. As a result, Kelly and Jessie were replaced with a new character named Tori Scott. No explanation was given for Kelly and Jessie's absence in the new episodes, and since the finale was already in the can, no explanation could be given for Tori's absence at graduation.
  • Scrubs had a lot of stays of execution:
    • The sixth season built up to wrapping up the various plot-lines: Elliott was getting married to Keith, who brought out the best in her; Turk and Carla had a lovely family set up with their baby daughter, Izzy, and the same was true of Dr Cox and Jordan with their kids, Jack and Jennifer Dylan; JD was as neurotic as ever, but mostly unchanged and dealing with the alienation that his unlikeable habits led to; Laverne had been Killed Off for Real ... and at the last minute, they got renewed for season seven. Suddenly, JD finds out that Kim lied to him about her miscarriage, Elliott's dysfunctions with Keith got worse, and instead of the (admittedly kind of depressing) ending that things had been shaping up for, we got a cliffhanger season ending and a season premiere that really only served to once again point out that JD and Elliott were the endgame couple.
    • Season 7 would have been the last season if it weren't for the 2007-2008 writers' strike.
    • The show's Grand Finale which wrapped up every main characters' arc occurred at the end of its eighth season. It was then picked up for a ninth where it was retooled to focus on a completely different group of characters in a setting only tangentially related to Sacred Heart.
  • SeaQuest DSV also had this happen twice. It was not known if the show would be renewed, so at the end of the first season, they destroyed the SeaQuest. The show was picked up, so there was a retool and a new SeaQuest was constructed. Then at the end of the second season, facing a similar situation, the SeaQuest was transported to another planet and then destroyed. The show was picked up, so it was renamed SeaQuest 2032 and moved ten years into the future. Partway into season three, it was Cut Short.
  • 7th Heaven had a grand series finale at the end of the 10th season. They got all the original cast back, had a big almost-wedding, and every married Camden child was expecting twins. Then, like the Jesus that the Christian characters never mentioned, the show was revived three days later because the executives mistook the finale's high ratings as a sign that people wanted the show to continue. For the 11th season, the writers were forced to find a way out of the corner they backed themselves into with the twins, as well as deal with a much smaller budget. Their way out of these problems was to make Lucy have a miscarriage over the summer, have the longest-running (and highest paid) actors not appear in every episode, bring in a bevy of cheaper teen actors, and have Reverend Camden homeschool the twins to save money on a classroom set and extras. The results were dismal.
  • Sledge Hammer! nuked its town in the first season finale, not expecting renewal. With the renewal, the second season was set "five years earlier", with all ongoing plotlines continuing uninterrupted. It worked because it was a comedy show.
  • Stargate SG-1 had this happen multiple times, with seasons 6, 7, 8 and 9.
    • The show was expected to be cancelled after five seasons, and so ended on a decent (but not Grand) finale "Revelations". The expectation was that they would then move on to The Movie which would segue into the Spin-Off Stargate Atlantis, which was very different in concept at this stage. Then the show was renewed for a sixth season.
    • Season 6's final episode "Full Circle" acted as a Grand Finale which introduced the planned concept of The Movie. Then the show was renewed for a seventh season.
    • The Movie was cancelled and the concept was rewritten as a season-long arc that would finish with a two-part Grand Finale, "Lost City", which would segue into the Spin-Off instead. Then the series was renewed for an eighth season, so the Grand Finale's ending was changed to more of a cliffhanger to be resolved in the Season 8 premiere, and Stargate Atlantis started running concurrently to Stargate SG-1.
      • It was expected that the eighth season would be the last, however, so the end of the season was once again devised to close the book on the series. Both major galactic threats were taken away in a three-episode arc just before "Moebius", a 2 part Grand Finale involving time-traveling to ancient Egypt.
    • The show was then picked up again for a ninth season, and was given a retool which replaced several cast members and introduced a new Big Bad. Season 9 was made knowing that the show would be renewed for at least another year and then, finally, the show was cancelled after the end of Season 10. The final episode "Unending" was not quite a Grand Finale and the real resolution of the series happened in the DVD movie Stargate: The Ark of Truth. They made one more movie, Stargate: Continuum, which ended the final remaining plotline, which was what had happened to System Lord Baal.
  • After an unprecedented (at the time) letter-writing campaign saved Star Trek: The Original Series from cancellation, fans were "rewarded" with a third season containing many of the show's weakest and/or goofiest episodes (even by the standards of the series), including the infamous Spock's Brain as season premiere. Since the series was always purely episodic, the usual reasons for a lackluster Post Script Season don't apply; what really killed the show was that the network promised a solid Tuesday night slot and then was moved to a Friday... er, Saturday Night Death Slot, violating a verbal contract with creator/producer Gene Roddenberry. He left the show in protest and had little involvement in the third season. That said, some strong episodes did churn out.
  • Season 5 of Supernatural ended with Sam making the ultimate sacrifice to put Lucifer back in his cage and Dean giving up his demon hunting ways and settling down. It was a very touching episode and would have made the perfect series finale... and then they got another season. The show's creator left the showrunner seat, with his co-producer picking up the slack for seasons six and seven (the change of hands was even marked by a Real-World Episode where the show's creator dies). After she left, a new showrunner claimed to have a three-season plan which would end the series at 10 seasons... but it just kept going. Said showrunner stayed on for an additional season, with two new ones coming in to carry the series to its fifteenth and final season.
  • The seventh season finale of That '70s Show was clearly supposed to be the series finale: first, Red FINALLY caught the guys smoking pot in his basement. Then he finally said to his son he loved him without insulting him in the process. And, of course, at the end of this episode, the main character Eric left the series. Aside from an open ending of the Kelso-Jackie-Hyde love triangle storyline, there was nothing more to add to the story. The open ending was clearly tacked on after it was known the series was renewed. Jackie and Hyde's relationship had already had its ups and downs, and they were resolved... only to be thrown more obstacles at the tail end to provide material for new episodes.
  • 24 pulled this twice:
    • The seventh season ended with a large number of plot threads being resolved (including Tony Almeida confronting, and Renee Walker presumably killing, the mastermind behind the Myth Arc of the last four seasons) and bringing things full circle with Kim Bauer returning to save Jack from a weaponized virus via a transplant. There was lots of uncertainty for a time, but the show was unexpectedly renewed and brought back for another year. In response, the producers moved the show all the way to the other side of the country (New York), introduced an entirely new cast of characters, reworked a previously-good supporting character into the season's Big Bad and indicated that the previous mastermind, Alan Wilson, got off scot-free for his crimes.
    • Ratings for season 8 suffered and the show was not renewed as a result. However, the last stretch of episodes were highly praised for shaking up the series' status quo dramatically (and ended with Jack on the run and President Taylor disgraced and forced to resign from office over her role in the Russian treaty). A year-and-a-half later, it was announced that the show would return in a limited series called 24: Live Another Day. Three years later, another limited series called 24: Legacy (which doesn't feature Jack Bauer or any other returning characters, except Tony) began in February.
  • Twin Peaks suffered from this after Laura Palmer's killer was revealed, the main plot being resolved (due to Executive Meddling, no less - the writers had other plans, and did not want to answer the Driving Question less than halfway through the second season). It felt incredibly awkward to have Dale Cooper still hanging around in Twin Peaks, even though he didn't have a reason to stay after the killer had been found, and it resulted in a flimsy "Cooper is investigated for stealing drugs" plotline to keep him from leaving, while the other characters went spiraling off into several Trapped by Mountain Lions plots (most egregiously, James, who gets framed for murder while he's out of town by two new characters completely unconnected to anyone else). Windom Earle at least managed to pull everyone's plotlines back together into something more cohesive, but was no BOB.
  • The X-Files faced retool after retool as they tried to wring a few more seasons out after the first movie. The sixth and seventh seasons are particularly guilty of premature closure. They "explained" the conspiracy arc, killed off nearly all the Syndicate antagonists, and perhaps most significantly, resolved the long-running mystery of Mulder's missing sister.


  • This happened to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1978) in its original radio incarnation, which had to get Arthur and Ford off of prehistoric Earth and rescue Marvin and Zaphod from a carbon copy of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal so they could go on further adventures. (While poor old Trillian got a one-line Put on a Bus). The bus came back later, when they started making radio versions of the book series.
  • The Big Finish Doctor Who box set "Dark Eyes" was originally conceived as a standalone boxset, but the popularity of the set resulted in them making 3 more "Dark Eyes" boxset featuring The Master in the Big Bad role instead of Kotris, with the Daleks relegated to a side-antagonist instead.

  • Henry V - After the roguish Prince Hal won a loyal fanbase in Henry IV parts one and two, the author eventually decided to extend the story, even after bringing Hal's relationship with the Ensemble Dark Horse Falstaff to a satisfactory conclusion in the finale. The reboot ended up being much Darker and Edgier, and contrary to the author's promises didn't include Falstaff at all. Then Falstaff did get his own play, eventually, in the lighthearted comedy The Merry Wives of Windsor, which is way Lighter and Softer than the history plays, and isn't even classified with them.

  • BIONICLE ended mid-2010, and the entire toyline, comics, movies and novels have become discontinued. Just about all of the main story threads got neatly, if abruptly, wrapped up and the final speech delivered, but many side-stories were still unfinished and a lot of mysteries unsolved, thus (and also because the "ending" had set up a ton of new possibilities) LEGO agreed to keep the story going for at least another year and a half, but only the main writer, Greg Farshtey remained as the sole storyteller, as the other members of the former Story Team had moved on to other projects.

    Video Games 
  • Mega Man:
  • Final Fantasy:
    • In a sense, the entire Final Fantasy series could qualify. Creator Hironobu Sakaguchi didn't expect to remain in the game industry for long after a floundering a bit with his earlier works, so he decided that his "final game" would be a "fantasy RPG", hence Final Fantasy. However, the game was so successful that it saved the company and spawned an entire franchise. Sakaguchi would direct all the subsequent mainline installments until V and then act as series' producer until IX (albeit, a very "hands off" producing role according to some interviews, as he was more focused on his movie during and after the production of VII). Interesting, though, in that each installment generally stands alone with its own characters, plot, and setting, due to Sakaguchi's own distaste for sequels (hence why none of the games had direct sequels prior to his departure from Square). note 
    • After years of Final Fantasy games existing as standalone games, the success of Final Fantasy X and the intrigue created by a promotional video expanding on the game's Bittersweet Ending led to production of Final Fantasy X-2 scant months after the game's Japanese release. Since the world had already been saved in the previous game, this sequel had a Lighter and Softer tone, especially compared to the heavy drama of the first. It also added Fanservice by the truck load and starred three women. Finally, it also addressed the Bittersweet Ending, leading to many outcries from people that had assumed Tidus died, despite the ending of X showing him returning to Spira and X-2 using that exact scene to show his return.
    • Final Fantasy XIII ended quite conclusively — the heroes saved Cocoon, their loved ones they were trying to save were restored, the villains were dead, and humanity was facing an uncertain but hopeful future on Pulse. But Word of God is that fan demand for a sequel was high, so they made one. Said sequel follows the main heroine's little sister and a new character with the original party members having gone missing or playing supporting roles, features a new antagonist never even hinted at in the first game, and features a storyline almost entirely detached from the original, focusing on time travel and undoing paradoxes in the timeline. After THAT game came another game, this time focusing entirely on Lightning and wrapping up the series for good.
  • Syphon Filter: Logan's Shadow. The eponymous virus and the Consortium, which were dealt with in the previous installment, are no longer part of the plot, which instead involves a classic Middle Eastern terrorist plotting to blow up a dam with devices invented by Lian's ex-husband.
  • Super Robot Wars does this all the time, often including a series after its plot has been resolved simply to pad out the cast list (or because they want to pair it up with another show).
    • Super Robot Wars Alpha and Super Robot Wars Z in particular have a rather large number of Postscript Series, since they're multi-game epics and just having characters disappear into the ether when there are still enemies to fight wouldn't make sense. Though Alpha does lose a few series along the way, like Gundam 0080 and Brain Powerd, and Z replaces some older series with new incarnations, like Mazinger Z -> Shin Mazinger. Strangely enough, in the first part Super Robot War Z3, GunBuster is first introduced in the Z continuity after the final battle of its home series, specifically after Noriko detonated one of Gunbuster's engines near the end of the series, sending her 12,000 years into the future and unable to find her sister and co-pilot, Kazumi.
    • Shin Super Robot Wars takes place after the events of the Dancougar TV series, as in one scenario, Sara commiserates with Usso Evin about his first love being a traitor as Shin reenacts the moment where Katejina Loos defects to the Zanscare Empire V Gundam, but tells him that better lovers can be quite close at hand (referring to Shinobu in Dancougar).
    • In Super Robot Wars UX:
      • Gundam SEED Destiny characters are integrated into the Fafner cast, with Shinn Asuka and Lunamaria Hawke helping them battle the Festum after their war ended (Cagalli Yula Athla is their sponsor; this implies Shinn has made some peace with ORB).
      • Team D, from Dancougar Nova, has retired, yet received Laser-Guided Amnesia and went back to their ordinary lives, leaving only Eida and the R-Daigun for a good chunk of the game.
      • BB Senshi Sangokuden is another "just there to support the other plots" series, since they had already shown Souken Gundam, Ryuubi Gundam and Sousou Gundam's final battle (or the middle of it) in the UX prologue. Yet Ryofu was conveniently Back from the Dead despite he was killed way before the finale.
      • UX explicitly happens post-Dunbine, to which the original series was an "Everybody Dies" Ending.
    • The prologue of Super Robot Wars BX focuses on the endings of Wings of Goodbye and the Mazinkaiser SKL OVA, meaning they're post-plot after the prologue finishes. Also, Macross 30 takes place half a year after the events of the game.
    • Super Robot Wars V
      • Most Gundam entries have already been finished before the start of the game: Zeta, ZZ, and Char's Counterattack have all occurred in the Universal Century world within the past 2 years, Crossbone's plot has happened in the New Correct Century world to "make way" for Skull Heart, and Gundam Seed Destiny finished up in the Anno Domini world about a year ago, taking place at the same time as Gundam 00's second season (with the original Seed taking place alongside the first season).
      • The "Invicible" duo are also this. Almost all of the Meganoids have been eliminated, and the plot of Zambot 3 is stopped early at the apex of the plot of Gundam 00's second season when Celestial Being is reported to have driven the Gaizok out by themselves. That being said, some members of Kappei's family are still not Spared by the Adaptation.
      • The plots for the Full Metal Panic! anime at the time of V have already been dealt with, so V focuses exclusively on novel-only content. Still doesn't stop Gauron, Gates, Yu Fan and Yu Lan from serving as bosses, though.
    • Daitarn 3, Dunbine, Gundam Wing Endless Waltz, Code Geass R2, and all of the UC Gundam series have finished by the start of Super Robot Wars X's plot.
  • The Another Century's Episode franchise also did this in 3: The Final (with Macross and Metal Armor Dragonar, both of whom had their plots finished in 2) and R (Gundam SEED Destiny, the only series in the ACE franchise to debut with its plot resolved).
  • The original Another World ending was meant to be Left Hanging, but Interplay went ahead and made a sequel without Chahi's involvement, where you play as Buddy, and Lester, the original protagonist, dies near the end.
  • Leisure Suit Larry after Leisure Suit Larry 3: Passionate Patti in Pursuit of the Pulsating Pectorals. Al Lowe had written himself into a corner with 3's ending and couldn't figure out how to logically continue the series, so he skipped Part 4 and made its absence the main plot point of Leisure Suit Larry 5: Passionate Patti Does a Little Undercover Work.
  • Resident Evil 5 rendered series Big Bad Wesker Deader than Dead, yet the series continued with Resident Evil 6. Looks like it may be becoming a Franchise Zombie (how very meta). This led to Resident Evil 7 being more of a Soft Reboot with any past characters only being briefly involved.
    "Yahtzee" Croshaw, Extra Punctuation: So the series became this endless struggle between the unstoppable force of Umbrella versus the immovable object of the Redfields or Leon or whoever was carrying the torch that day, and neither entity changed or moved from that position. Then Umbrella was shut down and the series had nowhere to go, so the role of villain is now being filled by something completely nebulous — the entire concept of heartless business or the entire concept of terrorism, and it's hard to get a grasp on what, exactly, the protagonists need to do to put a stop to it all.
  • Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots wrapped all the main loose threads of the previous games and left little room for further sequels (or at least sequels starring Solid Snake). So when Hideo Kojima continued the series with Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker and Metal Gear Solid V, they ended up being additional prequels filling up the timeline gaps between Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater and the very first Metal Gear, despite the fact that Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops (a prior sequel to MGS3 which Kojima did not write nor direct) already provided enough set-ups and connections to the other games (e.g. the formation of FOXHOUND, Big Boss acquiring the funds for Outer Heaven, the founding of the Patriots) that left little material for further games to explore. PW for the most part ignores MPO and instead introduces a precursor to the Patriots more congruent with the backstory of MGS4 in the form of Zero's secret intelligence agency known as Cipher. MGSV follows up on this and goes even further by introducing a second Big Boss in attempt to explain how he was able to run FOXHOUND and Outer Heaven at the same time, as well as how he survived his first battle with Solid Snake. And then there's Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, which follows Raiden after the events of Guns of the Patriots. Rising was going to receive sequels that would've continued Raiden's story, but the conflicts between Kojima and Konami put any of those plans to bed.
  • Guild Wars:
    • The Myth Arc of the original game covered the first three campaigns and decisively ended in Nightfall with the death of Abaddon. Eye of the North was largely disconnected from the original story and introduced new enemies, races, and massive paradigm shifts for two pre-existing races, serving as an obvious setup for the sequel.
    • Three years after Eye of the North the developers introduced the Beyond patches, releasing new stories for the original game in order to renew interest in the series. The new stories continued existing plots from the original games and were of considerably higher difficulty.
  • Ultimate Doom features a fourth episode, Thy Flesh Consumed, taking place after Doomguy kills the Cyber Mastermind and returns to Earth, but before Doom II takes place. Doom 64 takes place after Doom II, which ended with Doomguy annihilating the forces of Hell, and had to bring in a special demon to resurrect the hellspawn so there'd be something left to fight. The non-canon, but still officially released Final Doom WADs are treated as this as well.
  • Heretic ends with Corvus killing D'Sparil. The extra episodes introduced in the Shadows Of The Serpent Riders expansion has Corvus getting trapped in D'Sparil's domain after the final battle and having to fight his way out.
    • Heretic II is the only full game to take place after the Serpent Rider trilogy, leaving the protagonist of the first game to deal with a literal Hate Plague infecting his homeland.
  • Hexen, similarly, ends with the player killing the second Serpent Rider, Korax, and getting trapped in the Land of the Dead in Deathkings Of The Dark Citadel, having to fight their way out.
    • Hexen II: Portal of Praevius is an expansion pack taking place after the Serpent Rider trilogy, and deals with stopping an evil wizard from resurrecting the deceased Serpent Riders.
  • Quake continues after the death of Shub-Niggurath with Scourge of Armagon and Dissolution of Eternity, with the player having to take out remnants of Shub-Niggurath's forces when they attempt another invasion of Earth.
  • Wolfenstein 3-D avoids this by having the 3 episodes after the death of Hitler and the proper sequel, Spear of Destiny be prequels to the original trilogy.
  • Minecraft: Story Mode has its fifth episode start a whole new plot arc involving alternate worlds and special portals after the death of the Wither Storm and pet Rueben.
  • In the end of Fallout 3, the Enclave is decisively defeated, and depending on player choices, clean, safe drinking water is returned to the Capitol Wasteland (or not) and the player character may even have died. But fan dissatisfaction with certain Plot Holes in the ending and the fact that ending the game meant you couldn't continue exploring the wasteland (plus desire for more of that sweet sweet skrilla) led Bethesda to release the "Broken Steel" DLC as a sort of coda chapter. Turns out that reports of the death of the Enclave and, potentially, the player are highly exaggerated, and they have a Kill Sat that needs taking down before it takes down the protagonists. The missions themselves are fairly middle-of-the-road— not as good as the best of the game's DLC packs, not as bad as the worst— but the ability to continue exploring the wasteland post-ending is a worthwhile addition.
  • Batman: Arkham City ends with the defeat and death of the Joker and a cure for his Titan poisoning found and distributed to his victims, and also with the defeat of Hugo Strange and the strong implication that Arkham City will be shut down, its legitimately criminal prisoners relocated, and its political prisoners freed. But just in case you don't feel quite done, you can download the "Harley's Revenge" DLC and smack around some goons for a few more hours.
  • Batman: Arkham Knight eventually got a series of DLC mini-campaigns dealing with the aftermath of Batman activating the Knightfall protocol and either dying with Alfred in the ensuing explosion of his manor, or the two of them going into hiding and lying low for a while. Among the things that happen are Oracle becoming Tim's Mission Control in lieu of Batman, Jason returning as the Red Hood and killing Black Mask, and Catwoman destroying Riddler's robot factory, draining his bank account and leaving him to rot in prison with all of his resources and connections gone.
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda tried to avoid being this to the franchise when Mass Effect 3 had cleaned up the Reaper story nicely by having it take place in another galaxy. The fact that it takes place 600-some years after the trilogy and the characters don't know the full extent of what happened in the Milky Way or its outcome note  does little to alleviate the feeling that it was an attempt to keep the Cash-Cow Franchise paying out. note 
  • The Doom Game Mod Strange Aeons had concluded its story with The Plateau of Leng, but when the mod's creator, Impie realized that they had accumulated quite a few maps unrelated to the project, Impie decided to repurpose them into one final episode, Out of the Aeons, that was loosely connected to the previous four.
  • The main Gears of War story was wrapped up after the third game with the end of the Locust War and all the loose ends surrounding the characters wrapped up. The following sequel Gears of War 4 took place after a twenty-five year Time Skip and featured the son of the original trilogy's protagonist.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess serves as this for its franchise's "Hero of Time Saga". The saga itself began with Ocarina of Time, the game that directly features the original adventure of the Hero of Time, while its direct sequel Majora's Mask would feature his continuing adventures in a foreign land. The saga was evidently meant to wrap up with The Wind Waker, as said game serves as a Distant Finale to the saga that builds on the consequences of the Hero of Time's fight with Ganon in the Bad Future, then ends on a note of "letting go of the past" with Ganondorf being permanently sealed with the Master Sword underneath the Great Sea. However, then-divided fan support towards Ocarina of Time's two sequels would prompt Twilight Princess to become an alternate Distant Finale to the saga, building on the consequences of the Hero of Time being sent to the timeline of Majora's Mask.

    Visual Novels 
  • The Ace Attorney series creator Shu Takumi intended to end the story with the third game, so he set out to tie all the loose ends and give a proper send off to his characters. The problem? The game became a smash hit in Japan and surprisingly, it got a huge reception overseas as well. This soon prompted Capcom to make a new game for the series but Takumi, whose story with the original characters was closed in the third game, wanted to create a whole new story with brand new characters. Capcom thought the game would become a failure if it didn't have the original protagonist so they forced his inclusion in the game. The result? A game that can stand as its own story, but at the same time, suffers from the lack of connectivity to the older games. Takumi also intended to end the series with that game but, once again, Capcom pushed for a new game. This time though, Takumi stepped out and left the series' future to another team, although he would continue to work on more AA games such as Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney and The Great Ace Attorney.
  • The original Muv-Luv trilogy ended quite definitively with Muv-Luv Alternative, as it resolved every major plot point and effectively concluded the character arcs of the entire main cast. However, it was followed up by numerous follow-up titles as the producers sought to make it their big franchise. These have included spin-offs and sidestories featuring new characters, a new VN series set in an Alternate Continuity, and a straight example in Altered Fable's "The Shimmering Shard of Spacetime", which is an epilogue set entirely in Final Extra, the reality created at the end of Alternative.

    Web Original 
  • The finale of World's Greatest Adventures’s first season sees Rufus quitting adventuring, as he has finally realized that he is only famous and beloved in his own feverish imagination. This didn't stop a Season 2.
  • Season 7 was intended to be the last season of Sonic for Hire, and ended with the eponymous Sonic essentially becoming God and a "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue showing that everyone else are finally living (mostly) successful lives. However, the series got picked up by Rooster Teeth in 2019 following the shutdown of the series' original network Machinima, who went ahead and renewed the show for an eighth season. The season has Sonic giving up his position as God so he could focus on creating the best video game ever, and a lot of the events described in the aforementioned epilogue ended up being retconned.

  • ReBoot: Code of Honor: Despite being promoted as a resolution of ReBoot's cliffhanger ending, the bulk of the plot focuses on a completely new threat from the Code Masters. Megabyte is barely relevant or even present in the comic.

    Western Animation 
  • Discussed in Harley Quinn, by Bane and Lex Luthor.
    Bane: I wish they would make another Up movie.
    Lex Luthor: They can't. The story was over at the end of the first!
  • The upcoming third and final season of Hilda was greenlit during the development of it's animated film, Hilda and the Mountain King that was written in mind as a possible series ending in case no renewals happened after it.
  • Justice League Unlimited finished its plot arc in its second season, ending with an epilogue to the entire DC Animated Universe, set after Batman Beyond. The series went on for one more season, however, with an entirely different storyline involving Luthor and Grodd forming the Legion of Doom; however, unlike many other examples on this list, it managed to maintain its high quality until the end. The series' creators have stated that after Batman Beyond ended without any significant fanfare, they made every season finale a possible Grand Finale, since they never knew whether or not they would get another season.
  • Teen Titans (2003) got renewed for one additional season; the surprise of this development could be seen in that the three-part finale for Season Four was titled simply "The End." As such, the show had to forego the Sorting Algorithm of Evil for the fifth season's villain (because really, there's really no way to go up from the resident God of Evil) and instead bring back nearly every villain the show had ever had (in addition to the new ones) to serve in Brain's Legion of Doom. The season also had a fair amount of Day in the Limelight episodes for more minor characters, and finally delivered a long-awaited Origins Episode explaining how the team got together.
  • Kim Possible was originally set to end with The Movie So the Drama, but was renewed for another season. The following season was well-received and the new finale finished up all the remaining story arcs the original left hanging, such as Ron finally managing to master his Mystical Monkey powers.
  • King of the Hill was supposed to end after Season 11, due to low ratings and network disinterest. The season finale is designed as a series finale; Luanne and Lucky are married, virtually every character from the regulars to one-shot guest stars appear as wedding guests, and the episode even ends with Hank and the gang drinking in the alley. Then Fox decided (largely due to fan outcry) to renew it at the last moment, and King of the Hill lasted two more seasons before its final cancellation. Debatable whether this helped or harmed the show, as many of the later episodes Cotton's death, most notably are divisive.
  • The 20th season of Arthur appears to be this. The nineteenth season ended with Arthur and his classmates being promoted to fourth grade, while D.W. and her class moved up to kindergarten. The beginning of the 20th season found them back where they were before. Also, Mr. Haney had to be written out, because his voice actor had died.
  • Recess was supposed to end with the Continuity Porn episode "Lawson and his Crew", and then wrap everything up with The Movie, Recess: School's Out, where the characters leave fourth grade. Because the movie was such a huge success, Disney renewed the show for another season, putting the main kids back in the fourth grade, getting rid of both Butch and Miss Grotke after the season premiere, adding Anvilicious morals, and the season only lasted 5 episodes before it hit Disney's notorious 65 episode limit. Many fans believe that this was when the show jumped the shark.
  • The Legend of Korra was initially developed as a twelve-episode Mini Series, which resulted in a self-contained story with no obvious sequel hook. Fan excitement for the project led to Nickelodeon ordering an additional season before its premiere, followed by two more. Those three seasons would go on to have a more continuous plot regarding how greatly Korra's actions concerning the Spirit World would change the world.
  • After Season 5's Grand Finale, Totally Spies! returned for a sixth season a few years later. The fact that the fifth season ended with the girls having left the WHOOP organization is never addressed.
  • ReBoot introduced a potential story arc involving a super virus named Daemon mid season three, but was largely ignored in favor of the immediate plot and the third season concludes with a satisfying Grand Finale. After good reruns on Cartoon Network got a new season in development (after about 4 years), the decision was made to structure the fourth season into four part episode arcs that could be strung together as a movie. This left the Daemon arc, hugely hyped by the fanbase, as being resolved in just four episodes and not an entire season. It hurt too that the third set of episodes was never produced, leaving the second set of episodes on a big cliffhanger.
  • Sonic Underground: The show was cancelled abruptly before an ending could be written and the Prophecy could be fulfilled; the final episode doesn't resolve anything. According to Robby London, this was done to avoid season-writing conflicts, should the series have been picked up for another season. The planned comic conclusion was also shelved.
  • The Transformers danced with this for the better part of its run.
    • The Transformers: The Movie was released after season 2 and could have easily been the series finale, as it kills off most of the main cast (including Optimus Prime), introduces then dispatches a new Big Bad, and ends with the Autobots reclaiming Cybertron from Decepticon hold and declaring that a new age of peace has begun. When season 3 came along, it did a fair job of setting up a new status quo: the Decepticons regroup on the planet Char and still pose a threat, but the primary villains were now the Quintessons, a diabolical race of slavers who were introduced as a One-Scene Wonder in The Movie.
    • Season 3 ended with Optimus Prime coming Back from the Dead, saving the galaxy, and finally managing to establish peace between the Autobots and Decepticons. Story over, right? Naturally, there was a very brief (three whole episodes!) season 4, which immediately undid season 3's finale for the sake of having the Autobots and Decepticons fight again.
    • Then there were the anime Transformers series, The Headmasters, Masterforce and Victory, which ignored Season 4, and undid the finale again.
    • Incredibly, there was then a season 5 made up of live-action segments in which a horrifying animatronic Optimus tells a young boy stories about the war, which consist entirely of footage from previous seasons and The Movie. Yes, that's right, an entire season of clip shows.
    • Then the show got rebranded as Transformers: Generation 2 and broadcast for two more seasons...which, much like season 5, were just episodes from the first four seasons edited together with new CGI sequences.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic third season was 13 episodes, which brought it up to the standard 65 episodes for a syndicated cartoon. The season finale was written as the Series Finale, with Twilight ending her stint as Princess Celestia's student to become an alicorn princess herself. Then the show was re-upped for season 4, though the order was done early enough that said episode was able to be rewritten to act as the first part of a three-part story. The show eventually ended in its ninth season, meaning that the majority of its run actually takes place after the Series Fauxnale... not to mention an entire spin-off series, of which the first installment in of itself was originally meant to be an epilogue of the series proper.
  • The fifth season of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012), which even has its own unique title: "Tales of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles". The main arc of the series is the Hamato Clan's war with the Foot Clan, which is resolved in the season four finale when Splinter, Shredder, and apparently most of the Foot Clan all perish in a final battle. The fifth season is an anthology series depicting several one-off or multi-part adventures, most of which just serve to tie up some loose ends unrelated to the main arc. The only arc that has any real relation to the main story arc is the opening arc about Kavaxas. Some of the arcs (particularly the final After the End themed arc) have even been categorized by most of the show's writing staff and the network itself as "non-canon". According to Brandon Auman, "Owari", the final episode of Season 4, is the true Grand Finale, and all of Tales is just side stories.
  • Ben 10:
    • The final season of Ben 10: Alien Force ended up being this. During the first two seasons, they had an epic story about Ben and his team fighting an alien invasion of Earth that was wrapped up rather well in the season 2 finale, even if some plot threads were left dangling. Season 3, meanwhile, mostly consisted of one-shot adventures, with the only thing tying them together being a mutation Kevin undergoes in the premiere. The only other things of note about this season were the return of the first series' Big Bad, the setting up of the next series, and some attempts to pander to the fans of the first series.
    • The fourth season of Ben 10 (2016) concluded in a similar manner to the original series: a Grand Finale movie which introduced Azmuth and had Ben traveling to space to face off against Vilgax one last time. However, the network ordered an additional three hour-long specials constituting a "Season 5" afterward: "Ben 10,010", "Ben Gen 10", and "Alien X-tinction", which are a Time Skip, a crossover with Generator Rex, and an Intra-Franchise Crossover (respectively).
  • Bubble Guppies initially ended after its fourth season, but due to a passionate fanbase and popularity, it was Un-Canceled three years later.
  • Though it was treated as an epilogue Mini Series, Steven Universe: Future was ordered and produced as the original show's sixth and final season, after Sugar had already been forced to quickly wrap up the storyline in season five due to executives claiming that there was no chance of them renewing the show for more episodes. When arguing for a television movie to serve as an epilogue, Cartoon Network ended up not only giving the crew said movie, but a surprise extra season on top of that, which allowed them to touch upon a few of the plot points they didn't have time to address prior.
  • Futurama had tied most of its loose ends by its initial series finale, but its Uncancellation was helped by a Maybe Ever After conclusion to Fry and Leela's romance which allowed for continued Will They or Won't They? over the four TV movies. The two Comedy Central seasons taking place after the movies have few, if any, serialized elements.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil's fourth season could be considered one, as, according to Word of God, the third season was fully written before the fourth was even ordered, the cliffhanger ending being thrown in just in case. (Had the show not been renewed, she would've argued for an extra episode to resolve it) The extra season focuses on the underlying Monster-Mewman racism Myth Arc, and the Unresolved Sexual Tension between Star and Marco, two underlying plot-threads that were left open by the third season finale.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars initially played this straight with Season 6, which was a collection of episodes finished after the series' cancellation in 2013 and released onto Netflix in 2014. Then the series was Un-Canceled in 2018 by Disney, for a twelve-episode seventh season to stream on Disney+ with the aim of concluding the series as it was originally planned to have been concluded - with the Siege of Mandalore set concurrently with the events of Revenge of the Sith.

  • The Little Pony Legend: This series of The Legend of Korra and MLP:FIM loosely retelling the events of both shows, with several installments taking place after the the former's grand finale. In Shadow of Ronin, many of the characters lamenting that their lives are almost boring now that they saved the world.
  • Duel Academy R 2 is now currently one or two years past the end of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX - and Juudai/Jaden's graduation.