We were accustomed to shocking TV deaths on cable (mainly HBO), but lately even broadcast shows are offing their main characters like nothing. This year TV characters were literally dropping like flies and I found myself on the verge of tears more than once.

Here are the 5 fictional deaths that depressed me just a little too much:

SPOILER ALERT: The following contains spoilers for the latest seasons of Downton Abbey, Boardwalk Empire, Fringe, Beauty and the Beast and Game of Thrones, Sons of Anarchy

The Chauffeur couldn’t save them: Sybil and Matthew – Downton Abbey

This year was ridiculously sad for Downton Abbey fans. Fellowes was no stranger to killing off characters, but never before a member of the Crawley family. This past season we said goodbye to not one but two Crawleys! Granted, it was a matter of the actors leaving, but still it was devastating. Matthew was probably the biggest loss [story wise] and we finally understood why these rich people need chauffeurs to drive them around. After his first kid [and heir] is born, Matthew decides to go for a joy ride. Things would have gone better if he had taken Branson along… but he didn’t and he had a car accident, which is pretty remarkable for a time when five cars were considered “heavy traffic”. Nevertheless, Matthew’s death didn’t affect me as much as Sybil’s for some reason. Perhaps Matthew’s death was less shocking and more sudden while Sybil’s death after childbirth was dragged along for an episode. Plus, after Sybil dies we got to see the family’s reactions; particularly devastating Cora’s and Branson’s. Nothing will ever be the same at the Abbey, no matter how many awesome one-liners Maggie Smith delivers next season.

It’s my thug in a box: Owen – Boardwalk Empire

Remember earlier this year, around the time The Following came out, there was a lot of talk about banning violence on TV? Well… instead of focusing on that, I personally think they should pass a law forbidding show runners from killing HOT IRISH characters! If that were the case, Owen would still be alive and so would the Sheriff on Once Upon a Time. I never saw Owen’s death coming and when it did I think I yelled more than Margaret. I loved Owen since the moment he knocked on Nucky’s door and introduced himself to Margaret with that amazingly cute accent. He was a great complex character with a lot going on and I thought he was there to stay. Imagine my surprise when the Italians [with the worst Italian accents] whack him and ship him back to his boss in a box! It was tragic, shocking and devastating [all the ingredients for a memorable TV death]. R.I.P. Owen, may you have tons of non-prohibition whiskey bottles in the afterlife.

“On another world by another star/ at another place and time” she didn’t die: Etta Bishop - Fringe

I guess in the end Etta’s death isn’t as heartbreaking as the rest because she comes back to life [or rather never dies] once her parents, grandfather and child observer successfully reset the timeline. Nevertheless, for a couple of episodes we had to suffer through the consequences of her death on the remaining characters. Peter and Olivia had the worst combined family history you could think of. Finally they started a family of their own only to witness their daughter’s abduction and never see her again for over 20 years. After an intergalactic war and some amber freezing they are finally reunited with their daughter Etta, only to see her die shortly after! In addition Etta dies a martyr, exploding herself in order to stop the observers. Her death was heartbreaking, but even more the episodes that follow where her parents are almost destroyed by grief and try to honor her memory while they hang on to their humanity as they discover their flawed nature is what will make them stronger than the enemy.

From zero to hero in one episode or less: Evan – Beauty and the Beast

This death was different from some of the others because it wasn’t precisely “shocking”. I was aware of the possibility for quite some time; however that does not mean it wasn’t majorly SAD. I was never a huge Evan fan [I didn’t dislike him either], I love Max Brown and his sexy character, but I never liked Evan with Cat and his character was reaching the end of his arc. I have compared Evan before to Will on Alias: In love with the leading lady, working to ‘protect’ her unaware of the fact that she is actually in deeper than he knows. Incidentally Will (played by Bradley Cooper) exited the show shortly after learning about Sydney’s secret life. So I was expecting Evan to leave, I was hoping he didn’t die… but I thought it was a strong possibility. After much thought I came to the conclusion that I am OK with Evan’s death (from the story point of view) however I have major issues on HOW it happened. Evan finds out Cat is involved with Vincent, has a jealousy attack, turns Vincent in, realizes Vincent wasn’t built in a lab, regrets his actions, confesses his love for Cat and then sacrifices himself to give Cat and Vincent a chance to escape. All of which is great except it all happens in ONE episode! And it felt rushed… There was still so much I wanted to see Evan do: talk to J.T. after discovering his involvement, talk to Tess about keeping this secret, cope with the fact that Cat is in love with someone else, etc. but now he is gone [or gone until Muirfield resurrects him, who knows?]. In any case Evan died out of selflessness and painfully regretting his mistakes and I was not prepared to mourn his death so much!

Anarchists can be martyrs too: Opie – Sons of Anarchy

This death is on my list of “Most shocking deaths in TV history” because it was completely unexpected! I wouldn’t put past Kurt Sutter to kill ANY character including Jax (the leading man) or even Gemma (played by his wife). Many characters have shockingly died before: Donna, Piney, the priest, etc. Last season I was surprised Juice DIDN’T die and I was living in fear of Tig getting the axe. While I was focusing on Tig’s survival chances sneaky Kurt Sutter killed Opie! Up until the very scene in prison it didn’t hit me that it was about to happen. We had to painfully watch Opie march towards his sure death and then we ACTUALLY SEE IT happen! And I am not talking about a quick fight scene with a deadly outcome, no… I mean a slo-mo brutal deadly beating. And that was the sudden yet graphic end for one of our favorite characters and he sacrificed himself out of love for his club and his best friend… Who said outlaws had no honor!

And that’s it, those were the TV deaths that devastated me the most this year. I still have a couple of shows to finish watching and I really hope I don’t have to come back and update this list. My poor TV loving heart can’t take much more.

Update: June 3rd, 2013
As I feared I am back here updating this list because more beloved characters died.

How many people/animals can die in 5 min or less: Robb Stark, Catelyn Stark, Talisa and Greywind – Game of Thrones

Oh. My. God. I still haven’t recovered from last Sunday’s massacre on Game of Thrones. My GoT method is to watch the show before reading the books and I try to remain spoiler free. So seeing not one but two Starks get butchered was a complete and utter shocker of the worst kind! By now we should know better and expect anyone to die at any time on Game of Thrones, but nothing could have prepared me for this. I kept hoping at least one character would survive, first I had hope for Robb, then Catelyn but no…. they were all slain in the most shocking way. And to make it even worse they killed Grey wind! It was an intense scene with an AMAZING, heartbreaking performance by Michelle Fairley. I yelled at the screen so much, I think my neighbors thought I was getting slaughtered myself. It is hard to say which death hurt the most… I think I am going with Grey wind. And there is still one episode left… Oh boy…
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The TV Empress is a Media Management graduate, screenwriter in the making (and financial engineer in the meantime). She has serious plans to take over global television. You can follow the TVEmpress on twitter @TVRepublik

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  1. Thank you for the article1 I completely agree with you abt Evan Marks's death...It Was A Rush! I realised it too! I just wonder what was the real reason behind it.... And yes, I was crushed by his death too...Still can't believe we lost him...

    1. Yeah... I would like to hear the writer's reason behind killing him...

  2. I am still in shock after the red wedding! What a scene! It was all well played and the music the intensity. EPIC! Not only they killed 3 starks (the unborn baby - also future king), but tre generations of stark! A very daring message and move from the Freys and he only dared it because Lannisters got his back- this episode will definitely chance the war dynamic - like Tyrion said - Northerners will never forget! And I think that the Lannisters just lost the war with this move!

    1. I am still in shock too! And I am in awe of how ballsy George RR Martin is, I couldn't kill my characters like that haha, but as sad as it was it is part of what makes Game of Thrones so great

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