Stop Killing Off Important Characters On Season Finales!!!

I thought it was perfectly ironic to start my TV blog with an entry about this years season finales. Traditionally, this is my least favorite time of the television season, being that all my favorite shows come to end, and sometimes unexpectedly do not return. The month of May becomes a nightly tear fest as some characters leave, some reunite, and some die. But this 2010 finale season has been particularly sad, as it has apparently become required to kill off at least one important character.

Though I am fully aware that these are fictional character, after months, and sometimes years of watching these people, I become somewhat emotionally attached. I know, kind of sad, but if you were honest with yourself, you’d admit it too. So when creators kill off beloved characters, it really puts a damper on the show’s future.

Killing characters off at season finales is nothing new. I remember all too well when Marissa died on The O.C. I wondered how the show would go on when Buffy died. And I stopped watching 24 when Jack Bauer’s wife died at the end of the first season. But some shows offered some emotional relief with promises of a baby, lingering proposals, and unexpected returns. What has happened to all these cheerful endings that left me excited for the next season rather than sad?

As the end of May approaches, the majority of the season finales have aired, and I find myself in a television depression. The last scene of Gossip Girl showed a dying Chuck, laying on the streets of Europe, after being shot and mugged. Private Practice forced us to watch poor little Betsey get the bad news that she is now an orphan as her adorable father Dell took an unexpected turn for the worse and died on the operating table. Brothers and Sisters, in their uber dramatic form, got all of us excited at the discovery of water on the hidden property, and therefore, saving all their financial futures, and crushed that hope with a 30 person pile up, including almost every single family member and the alleged deaths of Robert, and maybe Holly. Oh and Uncle Saul has aids…can’t forget that one. On 90210 Liam beats Casper to death…thank God, that kid was a horrible plot choice…but what will that mean for him? But in all the dramatics, I have to give one show props on the death choices: Gray’s Anatomy.

Although last season they killed off George (though not unexpected as the plan had been leaked all season), and this season Katherine Heigl ditches out for her movie career (which I don’t think anyone cared about after all the press of her being a snotty bitch), this season they created what I believe the perfect way to kill off characters and provide a dramatic ending, without leaving viewers depressed and not excited for the next season. At the start of the season (or end of the last…not totally sure), creators introduced the “merger” story line in which another hospital merged with Seattle Grace. As a result, all these new residents joined the staff, but were not welcomed…by the characters, or the viewers. These new characters were sooo annoying. I’m not sure if they did this on purpose or what, but none of the new characters were able to blend (wait, I stand corrected. The hot black guy with the blue eyes seems to be working out OK) with the others. So as the season came to end, creators simply killed them off. I was thrilled to see that annoying Reed shot at the start of the episode, and a little disappointed that the other annoying girl lived, but either way, 2 deaths, no main characters! McDreamy and Karev were shot, but they pull through at the end.

All and all, Grey’s season finale provided a suspenseful 2 hour episode, packed with twists and turns, and satisfying deaths. I recommend other creators taking this approach; creating annoying characters and killing them off at the season’s end that is. I figured out something was wrong when I started looking for satisfying episodes in Reality TV, instead of prime time. The ironic thing is, I’m always hoping someone dies on reality shows, but they never do.


Originally posted May 22, 2010

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