CliqueClack TV

Poll: TV characters who never should have been killed off

Jenny Calendar. Elizabeth Weir. Mr. Eko. Henry Blake. What do they all have in common? They were all killed off before their time. Which TV character's death pissed you off the most? Vote in the poll, and leave a comment. It's time to vent!

Jenny Calendar (from Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

TV writers are ruthless, ruthless people. They will murder beloved characters for shock value and then pat themselves on the back for being so brave. That’s when the fans start rioting, and the letter-writing campaigns begin. Ignoring behind-the-scene issues, here are a few characters that were stupidly killed off their shows:

Elizabeth Weir – Stargate Atlantis never truly recovered from losing her, not even with sci-fi veterans Amanda Tapping and Robert Picardo attempting to fill her shoes.

George O’Malley – I don’t even watch Grey’s Anatomy anymore. Sure, George was not the greatest character on the show — he all but disappeared in his last season, but that was because they kept introducing stupid new characters just so everyone could shuffle romantic partners again.

Ashley Magnus – Oh, the uproar when Emilie Ullerup’s character was killed off Sanctuary and replaced by a new “tough chick” – just when Ashley was getting interesting (i.e., turning into a supervillain with awesome powers)!

Amber – She was a cutthroat bitch. But she was also the most interesting of House’s new recruits. Thirteen? Lame. Taub? Weak. Kutner? Randomly suicidal. Amber’s death made for an interesting episode of House, but imagine the fireworks if she had remained on the team instead of Thirteen!

I asked the CliqueClack writing team to nominate some other characters who never should have been killed off their shows. Here’s what they had to say:

BOB: Jenny Calendar from Buffy! Such a great character, cut down before her time. I would have loved to have seen a lot more of her and Giles together.

ANNIE: Yes. I agree on Calendar. And for the same reason as Bob’s. Not because she was the hottest or anything.

BOB: Maybe Wild Bill from Deadwood? Stupid historical facts! There’s also a great one in The Wire, but I feel like no one has watched that show, everyone should, and I hate to spoil it…

IVEY: I’d add Leo McGarry (West Wing) if John Spencer’s passing hadn’t necessitated his death. Oh, and Kenny from South Park.  Just sayin’.

MICHAEL: For me, Mr. Eko was one of the most intriguing characters on Lost. I don’t think his full potential on the show was ever realized. There could have been so much more revealed of him and his walking stick of mystery. Curse you, Jeffrey Lieber, J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof … !!!

DEBBIE: I agree on Calendar, but also nominate Doyle from Angel.

IVEY: Of the entire Buffy-verse, my vote would be for Fred.

BRETT: I would argue that the death of Doyle was actually one of the better choices in the Buffy Universe, but that’s just me. As for a character I would have preferred to see not leave/die, I’d go with Henry Blake on MASH.

DEBBIE: OK, then let’s argue (in a friendly, team-like sort of way)! I know what you’re going to say and I see that point, but Doyle and the relationship he had with Angel was awesome, and I could have done with less Cordelia. She didn’t need to have the powers and the whole disaster when they had to write in her maternity leave would have never happened. Doyle brought out the good in Angel and helped him brood less and use his soul for redemption with a purpose.

BRETT: I am curious to hear what it is you knew I was going to say, because I suspect my actual answer isn’t quite as exciting as your imagined one. Looking at Angel as a whole, the Doyle period really is one of the weaker spots in the run. I never felt like he really fit the show, and after he was gone, I liked things a lot more. And unlike you, I could always use more Cordelia. (Of course, this comes with the caveat that far and away the worst thing to ever happen to Angel was teenage Connor. Jesus tits, what a clusterfuck that entire story was.)

DEBBIE: Just what I knew you’d say! I think a lot of people feel that Doyle was weak but I don’t agree. You just like Cordelia because she has big boobs! She was part of the reason the teenage Connor storyline was so horrible. Angel really had its ups and downs through the five seasons. When it was good, it was really good, but the stinkers were nearly unwatchable.

IVEY: I discount Doyle in this case because 9 episodes isn’t enough to get invested in a character the way people have in other characters in this conversation.

All right, people, it’s your turn to be heard! Is there a character whose death really pissed you off? Someone we forgot to nominate? Vote in the poll, and leave a comment. It’s time to vent!

Photo Credit: The WB

31 Responses to “Poll: TV characters who never should have been killed off”

August 11, 2010 at 2:30 PM

Here’s some odd choices for ya.

Pru from Charmed. Sorry, I loved that show when Shannen D. was on it, and Rose McGowen didn’t have the same impact.

Denny on Gray’s Anatomy. They screwed that up royally. And, really, did Dad have to die on Supernatural?

And, while it wasn’t too early, Grace Hanadarko’s death on Saving Grace tore me to pieces.

August 11, 2010 at 3:02 PM

Joyce Summers. I wept like a baby. But I guess that makes it a “good” death.


Kutner on House.

Oh and +1 on what Brett said about Angel (minus the Cordelia part because the whole coma thing made it absolutely ridiculous in the end and I thought five years of CC was enough for my tastes, no matter how big the ti… boobs).

August 11, 2010 at 3:29 PM

Kutner’s death came out of nowhere – but he was just another Chase, and we still have the original Chase, so for me the only real loss was whatever comic relief Kutner provided. It annoyed me that House never discovered the reason behind his suicide (although that was the whole point of the episode). But I agree – ignoring the fact that the actor was leaving, I would have much preferred that they kill off Thirteen (via anorexia – that would be a good “issue” episode).

August 11, 2010 at 3:31 PM

Unless you hate Chase.

August 11, 2010 at 3:55 PM

Of the original three, I found Chase the least annoying and the easiest to relate to. Cameron was so self-righteous, always pulling morals out of her butt when her morality has no basis since she supposedly doesn’t believe in anything but science. And Foreman is an uptight, wooden, boring loser, whose man-card was shredded when he came crawling back to House. Chase, by comparison, looks pretty good to me.

August 11, 2010 at 7:09 PM

I’m sorry but Kal Penn totally rocks and I consider “just another Kutner” an insult towards him ;-)

I know what you mean but that’s the writing team’s fault not Kal Penns and when it comes to diversity I think the show really needed him. Look at what we are back at now. White Guy, White Guy, Black Guy, Female Jew, Male Jew, White Woman (with the Jews of course also being white as such) and oh – a black dude.

Too bad Kal Penn chose to work for Obama – irritating though that he now managed to do another Harold & Kumar movie – as if the world needed another one. *sigh*

August 11, 2010 at 10:42 PM

I think Kal Penn did a good job with the role. And I agree about the diversity thing, specifically in the sense that if they’re trying to be realistic, then there ought to be many more Indians working at the hospital.

August 11, 2010 at 8:50 PM

The Body was the best episode of Buffy in my world. They handled it so well. For a show about death, they took it seriously. That was great television. As for Kutner & Kumar…he needs to eat. He must have been surprised at a “regular” persons salary!

August 11, 2010 at 4:36 PM

After reading the post, I’ve changed my vote to Ashley Magnus, for the simple reason that it is the one death that actually chased me away from a show. All the others, I kept watching even if I was annoyed by them. But I’ve completely given up on Sanctuary.

Weir was also a good choice. I don’t know if they could have been any more ham-handed in the way they handled that entire affair. Although, I do disagree just a little bit with you on Woolsey. I think that by the end, he had replaced Weir and the show was actually working very well again.

August 11, 2010 at 4:52 PM

I haven’t given up on Sanctuary yet – I’m very curious whether they will improve in Season 3. We’ll see.

I liked Woolsey, but I don’t think he ever achieved the chemistry that Weir had with the other characters. She belonged in command; you could feel it. Atlantis was her city. Woolsey always felt like a visitor. And Sam was just too chummy with Sheppard. He was always kicking back in her office, looking way too relaxed. At least Woolsey brought a bit of tension back.

August 11, 2010 at 8:53 PM

I agree Brett. Ashley was why I watched the show. She made it seem less ridiculous and kicked ass in her own right. That was a bad move.

August 15, 2010 at 9:43 PM

Our family stopped watching Sanctuary after Ashley’s death too. The show went down hill fast after her departure. And the cliche “tough chick” replacement cemented our decision to give up on the show.

August 11, 2010 at 5:00 PM

I voted for Mr. Eko and while it pissed me off, knowing he had more potential, I respected Adewale’s decision to want to leave the show in order to live back in his home country (see also Anthony Stewart Head for the final two seasons of Buffy and Hugh Laurie’s consistent comments about wanting to return to London because of family).

Don’t even get me started on Whedon-verse deaths …

August 11, 2010 at 5:59 PM

I believe sometimes shows need to be strong enough to off a beloved character in order to elevate the story to a new level. I believe Debbie (sorry if I’m wrong) appreciates that fact about The Vampire Diaries. Jenny Calendar was fantastic, but her being murdered did so much for the plot. It showed the audience that Giles was more than a stuffy, authority figure for Buffy. He was a human like us all, and when he gets a semblance of happiness it is ripped from beneath his feet. The lead-up to him (and the viewer) walking up the stairs thinking Jenny was going to possibly seduce him into the bedroom, only to find her corpse waiting for him. Dramatic, heart-stopping, brilliant. Sometimes it is necessary to off someone so valuable to go where you otherwise couldn’t.

I do agree about Mr. Eko. He was fantastic and could have brought much more of the spiritual/mythological aspects to the show. His run was far too short.

August 11, 2010 at 6:13 PM

Agree with you totally on Dr. Weir on “Atlantis”. Granted that the producers had Amanda Tapping under contract for another year after “SG-1″ ended, but putting her on “Atlantis”, and giving Tori Higginson the boot, was just the wrong move. Weir was the heart, moral center and backbone of “Atlantis” and it was never the same after her departure. Can’t say I blame her for not wanting to come back for the repli-Weir storyline.

Also agree with you on Ashley Magnus on “Sanctuary”. After one or two episodes with the new “tough chick”, I pretty much quit watching it.

August 12, 2010 at 2:02 AM

Surprising that nobody has acknowledged that the reason that Doyle was written off on Angel was because of Glenn Quinn’s suicide. My vote was for Fred. Seeing Wes and Gunn so torn up by her turn into Illyria was a highlight of the last season.

August 12, 2010 at 8:06 AM

Glenn Quinn died over 2 years after the first season of Angel. The two events were unrelated.

August 12, 2010 at 9:12 AM

Ok, it technically wasn’t in a TV show, but when they killed off Wash from Firefly in the movie Serenity I almost walked out of the theater. I will never forgive them for doing that. A very bad move by Josh!

August 12, 2010 at 12:13 PM

I agree completely. Killing Wash was a very bad move.

Of the choices listed I chose killing Ashley. I have stopped watching the show also. I thought the whole thing with Weir was bad and would have chosen her if Ashley was an option.

August 12, 2010 at 1:22 PM

The one death that has actually pissed me off was Ashley Magnus’. Not because of killing off the charachter or Emilie, but the real truth behind it and the aftermath of it. Well it got me so far that I have also completely given up on the show. I understand why people still like it, but people also need to understand why others don’t. Liars don’t get my support even if I once was a big of theirs.

August 15, 2010 at 2:47 AM

Top of my list is Janet Fraiser from Stargate SG-1. Her death totally changed the show. Not only did they get rid of a popular character, but they also lost some of the “family” feel to the show, with Janet’s strong sense of desire to keep everyone on SG-1 healthy, as well as her friendship with Sam and her steely gaze that could get O’Neill to acquiesce without a struggle. It took them a long time to replace her with a new permanent CMO at the base and when they did, they tried too hard with Caroline Lam being Landry’s daughter.

August 15, 2010 at 10:28 PM

Good one. I definitely thought of nominating Dr. Fraiser, but I honestly really liked the 2-parter “Heroes.” I found it deeply moving.

August 15, 2010 at 6:23 PM

Nate from Six Feet Under and Eddie from Desperate Housewives

August 20, 2010 at 6:49 AM

Jenny Shepherd from NCIS.

August 22, 2010 at 8:14 PM

Really surprised Zan from Farscape wasn’t on the list, still one of my all time favorite characters and actresses from genre tv.

August 22, 2010 at 10:36 PM

Her death was certainly upsetting. I do remember thinking of her for this poll – must have slipped my mind in the end.

August 27, 2010 at 3:16 AM

Thomas Magnum, The main Character in Magnum P.I. was shot and killed to end the series, However, there was an outcry from fans, and an eighth final season was produced to bring Magnum “back to life” and to finish the series off

August 29, 2010 at 7:31 PM

Elizabeth Weir, definitely. She truly was the heart & soul of Atlantis. The way tptb ended her character totally sucked beyond belief. It was bad enough that they “killed” her off screen, but then they had her come back as a replicator & betray Atlantis, the city she dearly loved & gave her life to & for, & she ended up sacrificing herself again & floating in space for all eternity. That wasn’t anything even remotely resembling any type of closure. They could at least have ascended her.

August 30, 2010 at 12:42 AM

Elizabeth Weir because it was handed so badly and was completely pointless. It didn’t make the show more interesting, she didn’t want to leave, it was just useless.

And Leo?! Really Ivy?! It’s not like they planned for him to die, they had to kill him off. I think that whole situation was handled beautifully. The death was touching and had meaning.

October 21, 2010 at 4:48 AM

Ashley Magnus of course, that show is terrible without her how do you kill off a main character without totally changing the shows storyline, obviously the writers have not recovered from this debacle you can tell from the archaic story lines that came after no sense of direction, pivotal character that should have been kept, and then they insult the audience intelligence by bringing in the same character type horrible shame on you syfy for not keeping this incredible character and actress on this show, hopefully you’ll save yourselves and bring her back for season 3

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