10 TV shows which nearly had very different endings

SPOILERS!!!!! Imagine what might have been...

Ross and Rachel realising they were completely in love with each other was the most crucial thing about the ending of Friends, and the only way we could cope with it all being over. But the show’s co-creator David Crane originally planned to have an ambiguous ending for the couple, where there might have been a “vague hope” but not a definite reunion. Thank goodness he changed his mind.

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Anyone who got to the end of True Detective will know that Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson’s characters reunite after successfully solving the case, but creator Nic Pizzolatto says he originally imagined them disappearing in mysterious – or supernatural – circumstances…

“I even had an idea where something more mysterious happened to them, where they vanished into the unknown and Gilbough and Papania had to clean up the mess and nobody knows what happens to them. Or it could have gone full-blown supernatural.”

Most Dawson’s Creek fans believed heroine Joey would end up with childhood friend Dawson. And creator Kevin Williamson originally thought so too, until he changed his mind midway through writing the finale, making Pacey The One instead.

While Carrie and Mr Big’s reunion in the finale was a relief for many SATC fans, there were alternative endings filmed which saw Carrie marry the Russian…or Carrie just forgetting about men and hanging out with her friends. No Russian, no Mr Big.

In an alternative ending shown on the DVD, Tracy didn’t die from a terminal illness and Ted didn’t end up with Robin. The final scene would have been just Ted and Tracy, the train arriving, and the yellow umbrella floating down the road. No Robin at all…

In a very controversial finale, the four characters were found guilty of carjacking and sentenced to a year in prison. Jerry Seinfeld has always defended the ending, but an alternative option was shown on the DVD in which the friends were found innocent.

Creator Ronald D Moore originally planned for a different finale but decided it wasn’t “epic enough,” This would have been the story had it gone ahead:

“There was a different ending that we had, it was all about Ellen aboard the Colony. She was sort of turned by Cavil, because she found out that Tigh had impregnated Caprica Six, and that deeply embittered her. And she sort of became dedicated to the idea of destroying Galactica and the fleet out of revenge. And [she and Cavil] got Hera, and then the final confrontation became very personalized between Tigh versus Ellen, and should they forgive.”

The reality show ended on a strange note as Brody and Kristin waved goodbye to each other, before the camera panned back to reveal the set and Kristin stepping out of her limo. The spell was broken!

But the series could have had a far more satisfying ending, with Kristin’s limo driving away and Brody returning to his flat to find Lauren Conrad. “The tongue-in-cheek thing there is that he comes home and Lauren is the one sitting on the couch,” creator Adam DiVello said. “Lauren is the one who got the guy in the end.” If only!

In the series, Walter White rescues Jesse Pinkman but dies in the process. But in the original, Walt might have survived and turned completely amoral.

Creator Vince Gilligan said: “We had an idea for the longest time that Walt was going to break into the downtown jail in Albuquerque and just shoot the sh*t out of the jail with this M60 machine gun and rescue Jesse. We kept asking ourselves, ‘Well, how bad is Walt going to be at the end here? Is he going to kill a bunch of upstanding, law-abiding jail guards?’”

The drama ended with Dexter faking his death and starting a new life, but Clyde Phillips said he originally planned for Dexter to die for real.

“In the very last scene of the series, Dexter wakes up,” Phillips explained. “And everybody is going to think, ‘Oh, it was a dream’, and then the camera pulls back and back and back and then we realise, ‘No, it’s not a dream’.

“Dexter’s opening his eyes and he’s on the execution table at the Florida Penitentiary. They’re just starting to administer the drugs and he looks out through the window to the observation gallery.

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“And in the gallery are all the people that Dexter killed.”