Famous characters in popular TV shows can wreck our emotions. We get to know them. We start to love them. And then the writers and showrunners of said popular TV shows kill them off in brutal, sadistic fashion before our very eyes.
If you’re a fan of Joss Whedon or Steven Moffat, you know what we mean. On good shows, TV characters live and grow, and on plenty of popular TV shows, some of them die. It can be a traumatic experience for the unsuspecting viewer, and the only things that can ease the pain are time and ice cream … or an unexpected resurrection next season.
The past couple of seasons have been no exception, with plenty of popular TV shows killing off plenty of famous characters. Let’s take a look at four popular TV shows that have killed off famous characters.
(Note: The rest of this article contains spoilers for Family Guy, Sons of Anarchy, The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones. If you’re catching up on any of these shows, turn back now!)
Popular TV Shows – Family Guy
Animated comedy Family Guy is the outlier on this list. Most of these popular TV shows are dark and violent, and look into the worst moments of human existence. Family Guy, on the other hand, is about an amazingly stupid man getting into shenanigans with his family.
Famous Killed-Off Family Guy Characters – Brian
Up until very recently, that family included Brian the talking dog. But just recently, Brian — one of the most famous Family Guy characters — was killed off.
It was a shocking turn of events for the popular TV show, which has had plenty of dark humor but little in the way of meaningful death. The show replaced one of the most beloved Family Guy characters with Vinny, the Griffin family’s new dog, who has been decidedly less popular with fans.
Fans can’t even comfort themselves with the thought that Brian is wagging his tail up in doggy heaven — the beloved Family Guy character was famously atheist.
Popular TV Shows – Sons of Anarchy
Sons of Anarchy, which follows the lives of various biker gang members, is no stranger to killing off famous characters. At this point, many fans are wondering which Sons of Anarchy characters will be left for the show’s next (and final) season.
Famous Killed-Off Sons of Anarchy Characters – Opie, Clay
The popular TV show made headlines last season by killing off Opie Winston. Opie was the longtime friend of the series’ protagonist, Jax, and one of the fan-favorite Sons of Anarchy characters. Fans were outraged by the character’s death, although the series’ creator, Kurt Sutter, stood by his decision.
Sutter recently added to the tally of Sons of Anarchy characters he’s killed off, with Clay — Jax’s father figure. Clay has been a central and famous character in the popular TV show’s inner plots, and his death makes everyone else a potential victim.
With only one season left, fans should start making final preparations for any favorite Sons of Anarchy characters who are still alive.
Popular TV Shows – Game of Thrones
“When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die.”
Those words were spoken by Cersei Lannister in the first season of the popular TV show Game of Thrones. And after three seasons, one thing is clear: a lot of people die.
Famous Killed-Off Game of Thrones Characters – Ned Stark (most of the Starks, really), Khal Drogo, Viserys Targaryan
Yes, Game of Thrones is one of the most popular TV shows out there, and it has a reputation for killing off major, fan-favorite characters. When you end the first season by beheading your protagonist, you send a very clear message that none of the Game of Thrones characters are safe.
The show nearly crashed the internet, last season, with its “Red Wedding” episode that killed off Robb Stark (son of the aforementioned, deceased protagonist), along with Robb’s wife, his mother and his pet direwolf — all central famous Game of Thrones characters.
It was one of the most talked about TV episodes of 2013, and the popular TV show is certain to kill off plenty more Game of Thrones characters in season 4.
Popular TV Shows – The Walking Dead
If you make a show about zombies, you have to be willing to kill off characters. It’s the only way to maintain a sense of constant suspense — the feeling that, at any moment, anyone could die. And The Walking Dead doesn’t disappoint.
Famous Killed-Off Walking Dead Characters – Shane, Lori, Merle, Sophia, Andrea … and a whole lot more
The Walking Dead characters have a rough life. Everywhere they go, they find hordes of shambling, undead corpses looking for a nice limb to snack on. Worse, every new person they encounter is a possible enemy, in a “guilty until proven innocent” world where trust is superseded by survival instincts.
The Walking Dead is one of the most popular TV shows on the air right now, and the show has killed off The Walking Dead characters in just about every season. In fact, the most recent episode gives Game of Thrones’ “Red Wedding” a run for its money for most talked about TV episodes of 2013.
In the zombie apocalypse, no one is safe — not even famous characters that fans love.