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January 16 2008

10 Most Moving Deaths. SyFy Portal gives us a list of their 10 most moving deaths. Joss claims half the slots, and rightfully so.

Man Joss really could have had all the places in that list couldnt he?:)

I agree with them all, but wish she had put Shepard Book and Jenny Calender in the main list and not the short list.
And Buffy. And Spike.
Well, Buffy, Spike, and Angel didn't stay dead, and most people knew they'd be back at some point.

I remember trying to calm down my then-girlfriend when Angel died, she screamed and threw my remote against the wall, smashing it into a bazillion pieces. :D

Joss still owes me a remote!!

[ edited by Whistler on 2008-01-16 01:59 ]
Joyce's death tore me up like no other tv or movie death ever has, by a million miles. Fred's death is the very next closest, and was some of the most beautifully acted television I've ever seen.
How is "one-dimensional Moonlight guy made only to stand in the way of Mick/female-lead and then die" on the list when Wesley, the saddest death in the Whedonverse by far, is not?
I'm not easily moved by character deaths... but I think I was shocked, stunned, and slapped up-side the head by every second of The Body. I've never seen anything like it, and haven't since.

[ edited by Dizzy on 2008-01-16 02:20 ]
It demonstrates how rarely most shows would think of killing off a regular character, and how often Joss will. For me Wesley's death was sadder than Fred's (only because I thought Illyria was amazing, and a lot more interesting than Fred). But then I was pretty upset by Jonathan's death too.
Augh, I completely had blocked Wesley's death from my memory! Thanks, patxshand, now I'm going to be fighting back tears from it all evening! I just think "Would you like to lie to you now" and they start to build...

Yes, Wesley should have been on that list.
Joss deserves this, even tho it's ultimately what killed my real itnerest in his work. It still took nerve. Plus talent to do it in a way that didn't fall flat, which character deaths can so easily do.
And even tho as a confirmed egotist I ended up doing personal fixes in my own AU (heck, if Glenn Quinn were still alive I'd probably have brought Doyle back,) I'm still moved just thinking of them.
For me Wesley's death brought the most grief. The character had changed so much through the years, to where he was my undoubted favorite, it was heartbreaking to watch (and to this day I still have to be a little tipsy to make myself watch it). Fred and Angel are my close seconds, and The Body is just a little to real to be included in this list for me, it belongs in its own category.
Joyce in The Body - not the death per se but the reaction to her loss - there is absolutely no contest within or outside Jossverse. Just consider one scene, in Willow and Tara's room - Anya's speech, Willow's frantic search for the right sweater, Zander's punch through the wall. Nothing else comes close.
For me, the death that tore me up the most in the Whedonverse was Anya. Not because she was my favorite character, ok, that is a big reason why, but it was the fact that she didn't get a proper goodbye death. It just happened in a blink of an eye and that's what made it so hard. There were no final words, no sad sad music, it was just death in battle, one fighter down, move on.
How is "one-dimensional Moonlight guy made only to stand in the way of Mick/female-lead and then die" on the list when Wesley, the saddest death in the Whedonverse by far, is not?

That's mainly meant to include shows other than Joss Whedon shows. (Believe it or not, "Moonlight" has a pretty adamant following!) Joss's shows could have taken up the whole list and then some!

Wesley's death, in my mind, was the most tragic in "Angel," but if you read the Season 6 comics, you may have a clue as to why he isn't on the list...

[ edited by Nebula1400 on 2008-01-16 04:00 ]
Buffy's whispering "Mommy" after realizing Joyce is one of the most heartbreaking moments of the show.
I always break out into tears when we see Dawn's reaction to Buffy telling her their mother is dead. No matter how hard I try not to react, the tears just come!
I would have left out Jonathan Kent for Daniel Jackson in "Meridian." It's one of more redeeming Stargate episodes.
Daniel Jackson came back, though. The list is of people who stayed dead.
I know, but for the sake of discussion I'm talking about that one single episode and when you first see it.
Joss' way of killing of beloved characters is nothing short of pure art. "The Body" and "A Hole in the World" make me weep every time.

The reason I feel Wesley was not on the list was because it happened in the last episode, and would not have happened if it was not the series finale. Someone HAS to die in a series finale. It's a tradition. That's why Wesley's death didn't mean as much to me (though Amy Acker's brilliant acting makes me cry).
Wesley.

That is all.

The next day a friend and colleague came to my office...we both cried a few minutes, and then she told me that her 10 year old daughter had to console her that night..."Chris, it was WESLEY....my prince! Wesley!!"

I was choking up with her.

We stayed friends, until, horribly, last year, she died, just a few months ago at 49...at the wake, I talked with all her family, and everybody related how glad she was that I introduced her (and her entire family) to Buffy...and Angel and Firefly.

Okay, I'm crying all over again...

With her on Wesley...what an amazing arc...
In reading these comments, it is interesting to note how some of the deaths are described as having impact because of the loss of the person (e.g., how we saw their potential) and some are described in terms of the impact of the loss on those around them (e.g., reaction of Buffy and/or Wesley). Undoubtedly a good reflection of components of death-related grief in real life.
Doyle, Fred, Wash, Joyce, Tara...I can't argue with any of those, but if they're going to cite that many Whedonverse characters, the list should be considerably longer. It's not as though there's a shortage of permanent deaths in genre TV, and many are quite heart-wrenching. Just off the top of my head, Catherine Black on Millennium, Lal on TNG, artistic integrity on The X-Files...the list goes on. By revealing her biases (which I obviously share; I'm posting on a Joss Whedon blog after all) the author weakens the article considerably.

(I have to agree with her about Trip's death on Enterprise, though. I tuned in to the series finale after having given up on the show almost two years previously and was dumbstruck by how badly they botched the show's ending. Voyager went out on a stronger note fer cripes' sake.)

[ edited by Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner on 2008-01-16 05:25 ]
For me, I cannot choose among characters I grew to love, each and every one of them and those not on the list, whose death is more moving than another's. And I think that's fitting in the Whedonverse and also a tribute to how real they seemed, each of them a perfectly sculpted jewel in their own way, complementing each other's uniqueness. Yes, there are other characters in TV land and movies who died and crushed me for a time, but none like Joss'.
some are described in terms of the impact of the loss on those around them (e.g., reaction of Buffy and/or Wesley).

I think the best example of this is Calendar. I was never crazy about the character--not that I disliked her, I just didn't have any particular love for her--but I still can't watch Passion without at least a few tears. Manly tears. Which is what separates, in my mind, Joss's deaths from the majority of television deaths... it's generally less for the shock/ratings pull of having someone die and more for the effect it has on everyone else.
Good thing I wasn't taking a drink the moment I read your comment, Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner - I think it might have come out my nose - artistic integrity on The X-Files - LOL!

I was a fanatic XF fan, but it lost me in the last few seasons. I was never as obsessed with any other tv show before or after until I became aware of Joss Whedon's works, particularly Firefly.

I think that the reason that deaths in the Whedonverse seem to have such a profound impact on viewers is that the characters are not just secondary or peripheral, but characters that are important to the viewer and to the other characters in the show. When they die, the remaining characters are left to deal with the loss and their grief is portrayed in a very realistic manner. Whedonverse shows are also atypical in that Joss doesn't skip over any of the aftermath of death.

This is probably the primary reason I love Whedonverse shows - important events are dealt with long after they occur. Things are not reset at the beginning of the next episode. In other words, it's like real life in which things are sometimes messy and one's emotional response is not always rational or easily explained. When Wash was killed in the movie I was (of course) upset, but I eagerly anticipated how his death would be dealt with in the next movie (I know it's irrational, but I still cling to my thread of hope, no matter how thin :).

It irritates me to no end when shows seemingly forget or dismiss events from previous episodes. It also effectively removes most of the dramatic tension when the viewer knows that the important characters will somehow always make it through the peril of the week.

[ edited by JossIzBoss on 2008-01-16 06:38 ]
While I can't really argue with Doyle's impact on others, watching AtS and BtVS for the first time on DVDs and after the shows' conclusions, I have a very different perspective:

- Doyle never had time to grow on me. I saw him die, thought "hmm, interesting," looked up on IMDB to see he never showed up again, and moved on.
- From the moment I met Tara, I knew she was dead, thanks to the quite vocal fan base on the topic. Lacking the surprise, I could only imagine what others might have felt.

Frankly, I was shocked to find that Oz and Riley left the show without dying.

Furthermore, I would have put Angel's death, impermanent though it might have been, way higher than most of these, though. In retrospect, sure, we can say we saw he was going to come back, but wow, what an impact--not just that Angel died, but that Buffy had to kill him as she did... Still my favorite season end.
I'm gonna echo the sentiments of patxshand, chance, and Chris inVirginia and agree that Wesley's death was the most tragic, if not the most moving. Joyce's and Tara's death are absolutely heartbreaking, Doyle's death is heroic and inspirational (we have Angel reflecting on it for motivation all the way in Season 5), but to me, no death is as moving and tragic to me as Wesley's.

Arguably, no character in the Whedonverse grew more than Wesley - he started as a whimpering caricature on Buffy, grew into a leader and hero, and had more than one tragic fall (baby Connor & the loss of Fred) before dying in the lap of his dead lover. I'll admit that no death scene had me in tears like his did.

Like Valentyn said, in the finale, someone has to die. Fitting that it was Wesley; after everything he'd been through, and then to lose Fred... it had to be him. Very moving.
One of the things about death on sci-fi - even in the Whedonverse, is that death is rarely ever permanent. There are always ways to bring back the dead - which doesn't happen in real life. (duh!) Nearly every series that kills someone brings them back - through magic, as a clone, through some sort of warping of the space-time continuum - or as an otherworldly entity (i.e. Lilah Morgan and one of the major deaths mentioned in this thread). Hell! We still don't know how Wolfram & Hart made Spike solid again. Very few series make the deaths stick.

In "Heroes," there have been many deaths, but the most gut-wrenching one was reversed - as others have been.

In "X-files," all the major characters who died came back at least once or twice.

In Stargate SG1, Daniel Jackson was resurrected.

In "Lost," it's never sure whether anyone is truly dead - or alive for that matter.

Buffy had a tear-worthy death at the end of Season 5, but was resurrected in Season 6. Angel "died" in Season 2, but it turned out he was just in a hell dimension.

The characters mentioned in the column died and stayed dead, except for flashbacks or as images used by "the First." Others not mentioned who stayed dead were Jenny Calendar, Book, Alex Whitman on "Roswell," Anya, and Cordy (more or less). Of course, we don't know who would have stayed dead if "Angel," "Buffy." or "Firefly" if those series had continued (though the comics are answering some of that). It's a pretty sure thing, though, that most other series won't permanently kill off characters we've become invested in. It's the ultimate finality of death that makes some deaths more moving than others.
Wesley both hurt and pissed me off, possibly the most. (Actually, Fred's dying really pissed me off, not just because I love Fred -- in a non-sexual way -- but for poor Wes, who was FINALLY getting together with her, after loving and losing her all that time.)

Gee, some of you guys cry at only ONE part of The Body?!?!?! You guys have ducts of steel. I'm not usually a cryer, but pretty much spend that ep watching the Blurry TV Network. (And, both in the show, and then when watching the commentary, always back-bip Anya's kick-ass "I don't understand" speech, for a total of 4 viewings each run. Heck, I can lose it just THINKING of that speech. "... or yawn." -- Yep, losing it now.)

I leak. Recover. Then start leaking again, pretty much through the whole thing.

Before getting far enough in Angel to see our old buddy Spike brought back, that one was also saddened me. Here, he was finally doing the right thing for basically the right reasons. And, despite everything, I just can't help it, but I LIKE the guy.

In a way, for me, Book's death had less impact, as it was part of the slaughter of all those people. Not that it had no impact, but I was reeling from the horror of all those folks, and the senselessness of it all.

Wosh. That just HURT.

And, of course, with Knoxie, it was his turning out to be bad guy that was more devastating than his death. By the time he died, I'm like, "GOOD, ya freak!" (That actor's death in Firefly wouldn't count, would it, as he was a one-off. Wasn't the list regulars?)

BTW, I -- who abhor violence, and can't believe I'm confessing this to you all -- actually CHEERED when Walsh got it. Even before knowing the whole story of her, I HATED her. Anyone who could give that speech to Wil is the sort of person who would kick puppies and torment kittens.

Tara, especially considering everything that that Whedon meany put her through, from emotionally abusive childhood ("You're inherently evil, and must wait on the menfolk."), to getting her hand pulverized and sanity sucked out, betrayal (twice!) by the love of her life ("playing with my memory"), and FINALLY, when all is well....

Uh, why DO we love that Whedon guy? He's a right *%$#&^%@#$ when you think about it.

For shock, even before Jenny (which was pretty shocking, though I never felt that someone who would drag Giles to a Monster Truck Show has a right way of thinking), was Principal Flutie (which I just saw yet again a couple of nights ago). I was really stunned that, yes, that character was really dead, in a permanent way. And not a pretty (well, pretty GROSS) way. That amazed me. I've been so used to big events being "fixed" by next week -- I believe Joss calls it "reset TV" -- it blew me away.

Wow! On this show, regular characters really die and are, like, uh, DEAD. (Well, some of them.) No "Better now!" stuff.

I haven't seen mention of Cordy. (Of course, I'll soon be watching her less permanent death in The Wish -- all of those upset me -- but I mean the Angel one.) That was off-screen though, so perhaps doesn't count. Bummed me OUT. Having disliked her so, for such a long time, and watching her grow a heart....

She gets the award for "legitimately feeling bad for someone you don't like" when she's in the hospital after seeing Xander with Wil. But that's a different list, isn't it?

OK, I've gone as far off-topic as I can stretch, which is saying a LOT. Bye, now!
Cordy's dead, but she can be brought back. Thank Gaia. Please give us our sassy, entitled, "prom queen" back. Please?

Wesley's death angered me. It wasn't cool enough, and I'm glad he's back, in a fashion. He needs to still be involved, and honored more.

Tara? She will return. I am so sure of that. And Kennedy will be shunted aside and cast off, perhaps to create her own faction of Slayers. She is a strong character, but I personally vehemently dislike her. I think it would be cool, ONCE Tara returns, that Kennedy branches off and does her own thing, angrily.

Wash. Ugh. That was a shockingly putrid death, and one that I still to this day have no handle on. It wasn't necessary, and it was indulgent. It is the one death in Joss' verse that I still don't understand (even more than Anya's), and really don't get WHY it had to happen. Like the story wasn't enough without it? Uh uh. It would have been just as gripping and great without sacrificing him. I wasn't NECESSARY to forward the tale. It was a useless death.

Anya. I understood. But it needed more acknowledgement, more fanfare. She needed to be honored, and she wasn't. She died underfoot. I need something additional with this one. Always will.

Joyce. Fine. Okay with it, and smeary with tears for two days after I saw it. A good sacrifice to a fine character. Was okay eventually.

Jenny. Nope. Giles needed a cool lady. She was it and she was murdered. Her death was one of the defining moments of Angelus to me. Bastard. Zero redemption, baby. Fuck you for killing her. She was awesome and she could've been a GREAT Scooby. I still want her back but I think it would be an awkward re-introduction. If anyone can do it though, it would be our man Joss.
Interestingly enough, one of the reasons I like Buffy (character deaths being permanent... sometimes) is the complete opposite of one of the reasons I like Farscape.

With Farscape, they are in serious life-or-death peril for nearly every minute of the show, and if I didn't know for sure that SOMEHOW they'd survive, I'd be far too stressed out to actually watch the show. Heck, in one episode, Crichton gets nearly disintegrated, nearly gassed to death, actually chucked into space after his ship explodes, and THEN gets turned into a stone statue, decapitated, and has his head chucked in acid!
There's no way I could watch that if I didn't know he'd get through it...
This list definitely hits the mark. For some reason Doyle's death on Angel hit me particularly hard. I was crying for two days afterwards. Fred's death is another one where I just lose it. Pretty much when anyone dies in the Buffy/Angel verse, there I'll be, sobbing uncontrollably.
Man, Fred's death sure was a gut-wrencher...
While I understand that SyFy portal have a scifi/fantasy focus I'd like at least one dead guy slot for the Wire, where the dead definitely don't return, the question would be which one, Wallace, Sobotka, Stringer or Bodie, one and all memorable gut punches.

Stylewise IMO Joss favours the surprise hit that you don't see coming, whack, and then the aftermath, while the Wire does the slower, this can't be good, this is getting worse, can they really, nooooo, and then nothing except maybe a throwaway line or two.

[ edited by jpr on 2008-01-16 10:02 ]
Regardless of whether they died permanently my top 5 deaths are:

5. Buffy's mum, such a good episode!
4. Fred - really felt for Wesley as his love left him
3. Buffy at the end of series 5, I just love Spike's reaction - touches me everytime I see him collapse to his knees
2. Angel at the end of series 2 - the moment when Buffy realises he has his soul back but kills him anyway, puts a lump in my throat
1. Wesley - was my favourite character from Angel, he had the most interesting journey through the series and would have traded his death for all of the rest of the gang!

[ edited by SmileTime on 2008-01-16 09:55 ]
Charles "Trip" Tucker from "Star Trek: Enterprise


I would have gone with the death of Tucker's baby daughter in the ST: Enterprise episode "Terra Prime" as that had a devastating impact on me. It was on an emotional par with the "best" Joss deaths.
Watching The Body for the first time five months after my Mum died was the one thing which unlocked my grief for her. It is simply the greatest piece of television that I've ever seen.

Wash's death in Serenity had me in floods of tears, and genuinely all I could say (periodically) for about four hours after leaving the cinema was, 'They killed Wash!?!'
Trip was just another kick in the teeth to anyone still a fan of 'Enterprise' by the finale. Badly handled and pointless, a well-liked main character killed as a cheap gimmick basically. Still, as has been mentioned, we don't go to Ravenholm ;).

Wesley was one of the more moving for me as far as the actual death goes and was also IMO, totally appropriate for the character - if anyone shouldn't have had a "cool" death in all the Angelverse it's Wes - and Buffy's in 'The Gift' is just beautiful, SMG's face as she lines up for her last run, sun rising i.e. the literal "Dawn" of a new day just breaks me every time (for the discussion, I realise it doesn't strictly qualify). Fred because it was so horrible, Tara because it was so mundane, Wash because it was so shocking (to me) and because, well, it was Wash, y'know ?

One that I remember from my youth was the death of Zen in "Blake's 7" (and that was a sci-fi show with plenty of permanent deaths, up to and including the entire main cast by the end of the final episode). Zen, for those not familiar with the show, was the AI which ran the heroes' ship, "The Liberator". So yeah, I got really broken up about the death of a computer ;).

Adric's death in 'Doctor Who' was moving just because it was unexpected - The Doctor was the magic-man, literally able to hold back the tide, his friends never died, let alone teenage boys with their whole lives ahead of them. They also rolled the credits silently - without the theme music - which was very effective, I remember just sitting there in a sort of stunned stupor, not really believing what had happened.

Non-genre (or non-SF&F at least), I thought Danny from 'Spooks' had a moving death though it was also cool, sort of along the lines of Spike in 'Chosen'. Ballsy and defiant and calculating all at the same time - worthy of a spy in other words.

(Jonathan Kent though, really ? Could've been worse but I was mainly just relieved it wasn't Chloe, didn't, don't and won't miss him, he was a very one-note character IMO and his death is almost necessary in the Superman mythos, something has to push Clark to wear his pants on the outside ;)
Smallville and Moonlight making this list leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

But as for most shocking, hurtful Whedon death? That would be Wash, my friends. *sigh (in a good way)*
Willowy, Wash's death served a very, very valuable purpose. It meant that the following fight scene was that much more tense. We'd seen one of our Big Damned Heroes die, and every single time we saw another one fall (until all but Inara had been wounded) we wondered if they were going to die, too. Zoe got her back sliced open. Cobb got shot. Simon got shot. Kaylee got poisoned. River raced to certain death. Any one of those -- or all of them -- could have been fatal, and I was sitting on the edge of my seat freaking out as each BDH went down.

Basically, Wash's death rammed my heart into my throat, and the following fight kept it right there until the Alliance guys lowered their guns.

That is one of the biggest reasons I love and hate Joss.

J.
My wife often says, "Joss Whedon is the meanest man in the world." Much of the above affirms her sentiment.

When Wash was killed, I gasped, thinking, Oh...My...God...he's going to kill them all...

Jay Tea, right there with you.
So far no mention of Miss Kitty Fantastico? Poor kitty.

On Angel the death that probably upset me most was Cordy. The final scene with her and Angel sets me off crying every time and I loved her so much. Doyle's death is a strange one, when I watched it the first few times it was incredibly sad (the bit that always got me was them watching the tape back at the end) but after Glenn Quinn's death I find myself watching the episode in denial and I can't really get upset in the same way.

Funnily enough I think I still don't believe Wesley is dead so the one that affects me most when I watch Not Fade Away is Lindsey. Damn I loved that evil guy. When Lilah is killed mid-way through S4 I was surprised but not too upset, but when she comes back in Home and Wesley tries to save her oh man I cried.

In Buffy I'd agree with whoever said The Body needs a different category as that episode affects me more deeply than any of the other deaths (on any tv show ever) - the next episode Forever is more conventional but I still burst into tears when Dawn and Buffy are arguing at the end:
BUFFY: I've been busy because I have to... I have to do these things, 'cause, 'cause when I stop, then she's really gone. And I'm trying, Dawn, I am really trying to take care of things. But I don't even know what I'm doing! Mom always knew.
DAWN: Nobody's asking you to be mom.
BUFFY: Well who's gonna be if I'm not? Huh, Dawn? Have you even thought about that!? Who's gonna make things better? Who's gonna take care of us?

That SMG is pretty good huh?

Working outside the rules Buffy's death in The Gift hurt me the most, followed by Spike's death in Chosen but on rewatching the series the death that always gets me in a soggy mess every time is Angel's in Becoming Pt2, even though I don't really like Angel in Buffy and I know that he's coming back, the circumstances of it, the music, the writing and SMG's acting just get me every time.
That SMG is pretty good huh?


She really is... I'm sad because, apart from Buffy, I feel like she hasn't had a chance to show off her skills. I'm looking forward to The Air I Breathe, critics praised her performance there.
ReddygirlBuffy's whispering "Mommy" after realizing Joyce is one of the most heartbreaking moments of the show.

Agreed. Just the memory of it chokes me up, as does the whole episode.

I also agree with those who were more moved by Wesley's death (and the scene immediately following) than Fred's.

One of the deaths that flat-out dropped my jaw most in all cinematic history was Wash's. It was a total "WHAT?!!" moment.

And finally, I agree that Buffy allowed SMG opportunity to show an amazing array of skills. I'd expect her often to express appreciation for the excellent lines and scenes she was given to work with, and the fans who gave her such a base from which to work.
ChrisWhen Wash was killed, I gasped, thinking, Oh...My...God...he's going to kill them all...

Agreed. Which was the point of it, I think.
Leaf; Well, strictly speaking Dawn just said there was an accident with Miss Kitty, no word on the actual result-results.

Willowy: Glad to know somebody shares my opinion on what really happened to Cordelia.

Saje: A former cyberfriend of mine in Northern Ireland said he actually cried at that "B7" ending. I realize I'm violating "Trust the tale, not the teller" here but the writers for Blake's 7 did say in an interview a few years back that they intended that Avvon had survived and they still had plans for a sequel. (I once visualized a BtVS S-7 ending mimicking it.)
Chris inVirginia said: "When Wash was killed, I gasped, thinking, Oh...My...God...he's going to kill them all..."

Yes, filops, I agree: that was definitely the point of it, after Book's death I felt that all the rest of my BDHs were safe. But then after Wash died all bets were off and I was afraid that Joss was really planning on 'thinning the herd'. Every time anyone was injured I was afraid that they were the next to die. It was shocking and terrifying, worse than all the deaths on Buffy and Angel put together.
Saje: A former cyberfriend of mine in Northern Ireland said he actually cried at that "B7" ending.

It was a great ending DaddyCatALSO. The part that choked me up a bit was Villa, the perennial coward and weakling of the group, picking up a gun and taking his hit after Dayna gets shot. He liked her y'see. Awww ;).

And yep, Kerr Avon lived, I have never doubted that in my heart of hearts ;).

(you don't actually see him get shot, it ends with him surrounded, the last frame being a close up of his face, he smiles his cynical, "fuck the world" smile, we hear a shot and then several shots in response and that's it. The slightly jokey fan-wank has long been that he ducks and the baddies all shoot each other ;-)
If you'll allow me to go against the grain a bit here: Only two deaths in Angel Season 5 had dramatic resonance for me -- Cordelia's and Lindsay's. I didn't see Cordelia's coming, and the surprise felt similar to the big twist at the end of The Sixth Sense (she's been dead all along!). And Lindsay was shocking because of what it represented about Lorne's character -- a descent into utter corruption. Lorne, once so irrepressibly Hollywood and joyous, turning and shooting a human being in cold blood, and really feeling empty and almost amoral about the whole thing -- that's a great dramatic moment.

The deaths of Fred and Wesley were not all that striking to me. I'm not saying they were bad, but they lacked the power of, say, Angel's death in Becoming Part II and the force of surprise of Jenny Calendar's in Passion and Buffy's in The Gift. Wesley's, in particular, moved me only slightly. Illyria's deeply human grief was terrific, of course, but something about the death itself felt too plotted to me, almost as if the writers felt obliged to leave some bodies on the stage because this was the FINAL episode and they wanted a big climax. That same sense of obligation diminished the deaths of Spike and Anya in Chosen, for the same reason (i.e., final episode, big climax, need bodies).
embers, exactly. Without Wash's death, when the gang got pinned down by Reavers, you'd (I'd) be thinking, "Wow, looks grim... but they'll make it."

Coming right after Wash's shocking death, I was thinking, "Oh, crap — he might kill them all."

And River, I knew she was dead when she ran off.
Good Heavens, just reading this thread has me tearing up. (What a wuss I am!) I feel like I've been visiting the family graveyard.
And River, I knew she was dead when she ran off.

For some reason, River and Mal (by the time we get to "My turn" anyway) were the only two I didn't consider at real risk. Before they go through the door though, as one by one they start getting hit, I did wonder if we were looking at 'The Sp-Wild Sp-Bunch' ;).
I'm surprised and glad Ellen Tigh was included in the list.
She was not at all a sympathetic character, but at the end she knew what she was drinking... and drunk it anyway. Revealing depths of character we hardly got a glimpse of before.
Rather than comment on the article, it's time for MY REACTIONS TO THE WHEDONVERSE DEATHS (in order?):

First off, I should note that I've only gotten into the Whedonverse in the past year or so. That means a whole lot of it was spoiled in pop culture references and such before I watched them. Which in turns mean I knew a lot of the deaths were going to happen before they did, and I'll point out when that made things different.

Jenny Calendar: I actually haven't seen the episode where Jenny dies. I had just started getting into Buffy, and had just read most of the first and second season as transcripts online. Now that I have the complete Joss collection on DVDs, I guess I'll finally see it. I doubt it will have much of an impact, since I wasn't really in love with the character, I was sort of indifferent to her.

Angel: I knew there was a series called Angel, so I knew he'd be back.

Joyce: While I think I shed burly man tears during "The Body," I didn't mourn or grieve for Joyce like I did for other characters. I think it's because we see how all the other characters mourn her. The episode did such a good job, I got all the mourning out of the way by episode's end.

Tara: I knew Tara was going to die before it happened, but it was still sad. Again, I think because we got to see the grief of her friends (especially Willow and Dawn), it meant I didn't have to. It was an expected death, so it didn't hold the punch it would normally have.

Anya: This death hit me the hardest in all of the Buffy deaths. Anya was my favourite character for most of the show, and to have her die so suddenly and so unexpectedly was a blow. I was angry for a long time that we didn't get to see much reaction from the other characters concerning her death, and I still hope to see some in the Season Eight comics.

Spike: Knew he was going to be in Angel, no biggie. Though I will admit I was a bit surprised.

Doyle: Again, this one was a real blow, despite pseudo-knowing that it was coming. I knew Joss was going to kill off a main character not too long after the show started, and Doyle was the only one who it made sense to kill at that point. But I really liked the character and I had a bit of a mourning period for him. I actually checked to see if he'd be coming back in desperation, and to find out that Glenn Quinn had died was like a slap to the face.

Cordelia: For some reason the first time I saw "You're Welcome" it didn't really have too big an impact on me. Yes, it was sad, but I don't think and tears squeaked out. But when I rewatched it recently (with commentary, no less), they came out. Odd.

Fred: I knew it was coming, but the performances by Alexis and Amy in the scene just brought it home, plus the desperation of the rest of the group in trying to save her. I knew they wouldn't, but it didn't stop me from pleading with the screen that they would.

Wesley: Again, a death I knew was coming but one that still was like a punch in the gut because of the performances. I even knew about the "lie to me" bit, and it still got me. I think maybe it's because Wesley was such a tragic character, and he met a tragic end. It was like the cherry on top of a sundae of pain and anguish that I felt for the character.

Wash: I sort of knew it was coming. A friend had composed a little song when drunk one night about how sad she was that Wash had been killed, but that was years before I even knew what Firefly was. So I didn't quite remember, but I had an idea. I was still shocked on how quick it happened. I don't think it really sunk in, and I don't know if I've ever let the man-tears come out for it, because every time I see it the shock is still there.

I don't think I missed anyone...
I saw that yesterday and was quite pleased with it.
Doyle's death was really tragic and so was Joyce's.
i hadn't seen moonlight so i kinda got spoiled but i'd seen it coming. still, wasn't so terribly tragic.

Aeryn's 'death' in the s2 finale of farscape was much,much sadder.

and although it isn't exactly death, the s2 finale of Doctor Who, Doomsday never fails to make me cry.

i have not seen angel for a while so to be honest i do not remember wesley's or fred's deaths particularly well. i remember the aftermath of fred's, it was quite heartbreaking.

well, im watching it again now

spike's death was really sad, at least for me. i didn't know he was coming back.

how about buffy's?
I think Joyce's death hit me more strongly in the rerun thatn the first time. I do know none of the pre-Buffy-5 deaths hit me much at the time but when Is aw them on FX they did. I thinkw here I started really losing it was Darla staking herself in "Lullaby" which was my rehearsing for "Seeing Red."

I think the point behind Lorne 's being willing to kill Lindsey w as because he realized as much as Angel did, in his different way, that Lindsey would by nature always be part of t he problem and, if he didn't seize the second chance he got when he'd left town before, he never would.
Joyce did show up again in Season 7 as “The First,” but that doesn’t count as a revived character – as she was evil, out of character, and not a continued presence.

She forgets that, before that, Joyce herself also returns in S6 "Normal Again". But she's not real.

Or is she?
Doyle's death effected alot of tough guys in my house, I thought I wouldn't get effected, but the character made me laugh, and Glenn's real life death added to the hurt in a way when I look back, I really loved the episodes of Doyle, Angel and Cordy, real magic of casting and writing there, they had something special, and it was taken away from us.
I'm at work and have to skip everyone's probably pretty passionate replies for now. (Sorry.) But I found a blog about Joss and the death of Jenny Carpenter. You Monster. Why Joss Whedon Feels the Need to Kill.

BTW, the death that hit me the hardest was Wesley, I think. Mostly because he didn't get a chance to recover from his own grief. And that has always bothered me. And of course Wash, because I did not see that coming!
Good Heavens, just reading this thread has me tearing up. (What a wuss I am!) I feel like I've been visiting the family graveyard.

Yes, that is exactly what this feels like. And I have a hard time picking one painful death over another. Wesley's was horrible but I felt that he would never be happy and maybe this was a better way for him. But Wash, Fred, Tara - the sweet ones being killed - so very hard to take. And I too felt that poor Anya deserved more mourning that she got.
OK, so one thing about An: In the commentaries and such, everyone refers to her death as pointless. I don't get this.

I mean, she was doing what she was asked, what was needed, defending her spot, trying to prevent the uber-vamps from getting out into the world. I didn't see it as pointless (well, yes, death by violence by definition, but the verse(s) deal with most stuff with violence, all metaphory, etc.).

But Anya's death, though sad and all, wasn't pointless. She had decided to stupidly fight with the stupid humans who are stupid for fighting, but somehow, that seemed the thing to do (for all the right reasons). And she did. In that skirmishy part of the whole battle, she was killed by the sort of monster she was fighting.

On the other hand, most people doing the commentaries seemed to think that the show was for teens ONLY, Giles wasn't hot, and all sorts of silly things. (Not only is this middle-aged broad hooked that "teen" show, but, frankly, the 16-yr-old me would have had as much a crush on Giles as on Xander, maybe more, as he's all booky and smart and all, not to mention one of the all-time great stutterers, which is almost unbearably cute.)

As for the whole Not Mourning Anya point several have made, well, yes, but there really wasn't the time or narrative space. It wasn't until standing outside the bus that the Scoobs knew. Xander, no doubt, mourned off-screen, after the series had ended.

(Speaking of deaths, there were several potentials lost, but I guess they weren't majory enough for any lists. I'm bad with names, but the one from SD, who saw Counselor Buffy, hurt, too, even though we don't really know anything about her. Amanda?)

Re: Doyle. I was devestated, and, not being long in the fanVerse, more so about the actor (didn't know that little irony).

I LOVED Doyle, and grieved his sacrifice (which, strictly speaking, he did to save Angel, who was going to sacrifice himself for the group of demons they were helping flee -- I mean, yes, he did it to help those demons, but the proximate cause of his sacrifice was preventing Angel from going bye-bye).

"And our rats are low...."

Well, yes, they would be, wouldn't they?

So, am I as sick as Joss for finding this thread fun, in its way?
Joss deaths are almost always well-executed and heart-wrenching (heck, Ford from "Lie to Me" even, wringing genuine tragedy from that one-off...Warren's ex, Katrina...etc).

Anyone who lives for tragedy in their drama (and comedy, and awesome acting and writing) needs to watch Six Feet Under. All five seasons of the HBO series are out on DVD. That series handles death, loss, and life-in-the-face-of-death better than most shows.

And yeah, I said "lives for tragedy in their drama". I go after shows that I think will have that emotional pull and, probably, eventually, some earned tragedy (key word being earned). I dare TV and film to try and make me cry. The material that does gets huge props (even if I have to individualize parts of them--like a movie could kinda suck, but maybe part of it is seriously moving...or Enterprise was mediocre to poor overall, but Trip's clone's death was difficult and self-reflective-inducing, along with he and T'Pol's grief over their daughter's death).

[ edited by Kris on 2008-01-17 05:49 ]
Did anyone else notice how little was said about Tara in relation to the rest of Joss' characters? Everyone else got two or three paragraphs but she got just a single sentence. Which is sad because I always felt she was one of the best things to come out of s4.

Well, besides Spike, but that's another story. :D
To touch upon the Anya mourning...everyone always says that the Scoobies were totally cavalier about it, and that Xander didn't care.

Uh, did anyone miss this? "That's my girl. Always doing the stupid." I thought that was extremely heartfelt and moving, but apparently I'm on my own.
It was heartfelt and moving (and well delivered to boot) but I have some sympathy for the idea that a wee bit more would be cool too UpC. Anya wasn't just some disposable Potential that's had about 3 lines, she was firmly in the second tier of the main cast and was, AFAIK, the longest serving non-core character and yet she just fell in battle, a lot like e.g. Amanda.

(she fell even quicker on the pre-watershed BBC version of 'Chosen' because her death was cut to just a brief flash. Still, she fared better than Amanda who, Schrodinger's Cat style, was, as far as I knew, still alive until I watched the later uncut showing. That came as a bit of a shock I can tell you ;)
Put me in the "cavalier and offhand" column. Didn't strike me well at all.

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