2 November, 2016
No TV Character is Safe!
The days are gone when an actor can land a regular role in a popular television series and expect to have a long-running successful career. Today television shows kill characters off like flies. I still haven’t recovered from the latest season opener of “The Walking Dead” Season 7, so long Glen and Abraham, I’m gonna miss you guys… sniff.
I can recall (age spoiler alert here) when McLean Stevenson’s character was killed off on MASH, one of the most popular sitcoms in television history. It was unprecedented at the time and so shocking that it turned into a legend that the rest of the cast was kept in the dark about the death until the actual scene was filmed. No character had even been killed off of a half hour show prior to that one. Oddly, the death doesn’t even take place on screen; the audience is informed by another character that Stevenson’s character was killed in a helicopter crash, ironically on his way home after being discharged from the Army. For some strange reason, it left us all with an empty feeling.
The death of Patrick Duffy’s character from “Dallas” another hugely popular show also caused a huge stir and entered into the annals of pop culture even though it occurred in the pre-internet days.
No TV Character is Safe
The rules and the landscape have changed in recent years; competition from the multitude of cable shows, Netflix, and online streaming entities have forced writers and producers to allow characters to grow, arc, change and yes, sometimes die to keep your attention. Granted, The Walking Dead has “dead” in the title, so I guess we shouldn’t be too surprised by the demise of main characters.
I would imagine this trend might make it more difficult for an actor in a series to make demands unless that actor is already a bankable star. After all, if you ask for more money, they may just kill you off at the end of the season if not sooner.
Click the link below to see more television characters that have been killed off, thus killing off a tiny, tiny portion of us with them.