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February 18 2013

TV's Most Heartbreaking Deaths. TV Guide posts a photo gallery of 23 especially heartbreaking character deaths. Not only does it include one from BTVS, at least five of the deaths happened in shows starring or featuring Whedon alums. SPOILERS for Downton Abbey, The Walking Dead; do not view if you haven't watched the complete 3rd season of these shows!

I suppose I will have to wait six more weeks for The Walking Dead's third season to end and then come back to this ;)
I dunno, I don't see Joyce's death as heartbreaking since it was natural. Heartbreaking to me is either Tara or Fred. Whichis not to say it was not moving, of course.

No Downton Abbey here either...
I think natural death can be as heartbreaking. I would guess that for Buffy herself, Joyce's death is the most heartbreaking one she's experienced because it was her mother. Sure she cared for Tara, but her death or even Giles death probably is not as heartbreaking as her own mother's passing.
Welll, yes, I understand this. But I think the article is about heartbreaking to the viewer, not the character. Was Joyce's death more heatbreaking to the viewer than either Fred or Tara? I am sure, to some. But not to others.
Lets be honest here, with few exceptions all of the death's at the hand of Joss have been heartbreaking. Its what he does. It sucks but we love it.
Pretty much any death of any character people love is tragic.
I haven't seen Downtown Abbey at all, so could someone please just tell me which deaths made it from Joss' shows and The Walking Dead? And were there deaths from other shows on the list?
Tara's death was the most heartbreaking Buffy death for me, because I really loved Willow and Tara as a couple (and still do). After that I would say Joyce would be the next greatest heartbreaker.
@TimeTravellingBunny But but but help, I haven't watched The Walking Dead at all yet! Don't make people spoil that here! I think the only safe deaths to talk about are the Whedon deaths, as we can assume everyone on the board has already watched all of his shows. (Or if not, what the HELL are they waiting for?!)
Tabula Rasa: Well, you and others do, not all of us anymore.

darling: Well, as for Avengers and Cabin, waiting for a cheap enough copy. Same reason I stayed away from "Sernifly" until 2011.
TabulaRasa, I don't love it. I've actually gone off at length about why I don't love it. :-)
I asked my nonWhedony husband what were his most profound character deaths. He said "Kenny."
Or alternatively, just tell me which pages are safe to read. :)
Ok, I've been thinking and I think they chose Joyce over Tara and the others because Joyce had had the tumor earlier that season but she had beaten it, she was safe then suddenly at the end of an episode that's plot was already done and everyone was safe, Buffy comes home and there was Joyce dead. Like Tara was shocking but you didn't expect it, like with Joyce there was that whole she's got a Brain Tumor build-up but then she was ok and totally going to live, people started unbraceing because the danger to her was over.

It's sort of like when you hear people talk about when they first see Serenity, like after Book dies they're like yeah there's the death it'll be ok now then they get hit with Wash. I think the point it happens in the episode is also an important distinction, like Joyce that happens at the very end of the episode, the whole plot of that episode feels like it's over, the battle was done, the plot resolved and even the extra Spike and Glory scenes had happened but then out of nowhere Joyce. Compare that to Tara like yeah it also happens at the end of the episode but in Seeing Red that happens at the end of the end of episode Buffy and Xander heart to heart compared to I Was Made To Love You where the Buffy and Xander heart to heart is done, there was exposition with both Glory and Spike, the episode is over and then Joyce happens.
Oops, Matt7325, I don't watch The Walking Dead; I did not realize the season wasn't over... sorry!

For those worried about spoilers . . .
Slide 1 -- Downton Abbey
2 -- BTVS
3 -- The West Wing
4 -- The Walking Dead
5 -- ER
6 -- Dexter
7 -- Grey's Anatomy
8 -- Game of Thrones
9 -- How I Met Your Mother
10 -- thirtysomething
11 -- M*A*S*H*
12 -- The Sopranos
13 -- Lost
14 -- Dawson's Creek
15 -- Desperate Housewives
16 -- Supernatural
17 -- Law and Order
18 -- 24
19 -- The Wire
20 -- Bones
21 -- Six Feet Under
22 -- House
I don't know about most heartbreaking but most shocking had to be Jenny Calender, because that was a gamechanger. That's when you knew this wasn't an ordinary television series, that serious bad could happen to characters. And Giles was so happy going into his house and reading the note. Pretty damn heartbreaking to me.
Do we see a tactic here?
(1) Jenny dies just after setting up a private date with Giles, who loves her.
(2) Joyce dies just after it seems she has recovered from her brain tumor.
(3) Tara dies just after she reconciles with Willow after their separation.
(4) Fred dies just after she and Wesley declare their love.
(5) Wash dies just after you think everyone survives. (And c'mon, you knew Book was going to die).
(6) Penny..
(7) Anya...
(8) Add your own

It's a trope now. To be expected.
It's always been a trope (and check out that illustration...) Granted, one that is especially effective when dealing with genre savvy audiences (since, even though it's just as easy as many other tropes to forecast that it will happen, it's virtually impossible to predict when.)
I am not sure when matters. I knew that Book would die in Serenity, and given that it became clear someone else would as well since we all knew Book was going to die.
In the game of messing with audience expectations, when is better than nothing.
I definitely agree with the picks from The Sopranos, Lost and The Wire (note: the death comes from season 1 of The Wire). But I don't agree with their pick(s) for Six Feet Under; it was moving, for sure, but not "heartbreaking", with maybe one exception. If anything, most of those were the least tragic deaths ever seen on TV or in movies.

[ edited by TimeTravellingBunny on 2013-02-21 16:05 ]

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