The idea of death on some of our favorite television shows brings a small sense of panic and anxiety to our emotionally warped brains. Some of the most classic characters in history have gone on to meet their ultimate fate right before our eyes, but who would think that a television character’s death would take such an emotional toll on its loyal viewers. The idea of characters coming back from the dead has always been a popular scheme; creators and writers put their viewers through an emotional meltdown, only to slap us with a big “just kidding”, as we see our favorite characters come back to life. As TV evolves, it provides a better, more advanced story line that allows the viewers to have hope that they will see some of their favorite characters again, either through alternate time lines, resurrections, dream sequences or something as simple as snapping back to reality. A character’s fate is no longer sealed when they die in a car accident, jump to their death, drown, get murdered or even get sucked into hell doomed to burn alive for the rest of their existence. They are now equipped with potions, brews, magical powers or self healing properties, that allow them to pick up where they have left off, start anew or come back as someone else, but still playing themselves, like Ruby in Supernatural (we know it’s confusing). Now do not be fooled, no TV show is above the resurrection story line; some shows as great and entertaining on its own, such as LOST, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, X-Files and even Game of Thrones, have dabbled in a plot line driven by death and resurrection. Read on below to see a list of 20 television characters that just won’t die.
20. Elena Gilbert – Vampire Diaries
Death seems to follow Elena Gilbert and her band of doomed friends on Vampire Diaries; since season one, Elena has battled with the death including her parents and eventually her aunt Jenna Sommers. When it was Elena’s turn to meet her maker, it was no surprise to the viewers that she would not stay dead for long. However, what was even more surprising was when Damon revealed that he was there at the death of Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert and he was the one who pulled Elena from the car and brought her back to life, proving that this is not her fist run-in with death and certainly not her last; I cannot count how many times Elena’s neck has been snapped, only for her to come back with a dramatic inhale a couple hours later.
19. Brian Griffin – Family Guy
Seth MacFarlane ticked off a lot of loyal fans of his hit show Family Guy, when he made the ill advised decision to kill off fan favorite and Stewie’s best friend, Brian. Brian’s death came as a surprise and an interesting dramatic twist for a light-hearted cartoon comedy. However, never one to leave things to chance, and always one to push the envelope, McFarlane and his team of writers was one step ahead of the game with a plan already put in place to bring Brian back, a mere short two episodes later. An episode such as this one shows that your TV show does not have to be in live action in order to deal with real situations.
18. Lydia Davis – Revenge
Poor Poor Lydia, can she stop fake dying in horrible scenarios already? In season one of Revenge, Lydia was Conrad’s mistress and Victoria’s best friend, however when life started to get to real for the Hamptonites, Lydia retreated to the big city (New York) to clear her head and apparently jump off of the balcony of her apartment (she was actually thrown off of it by a fellow named Frank). That’s not it for Lydia though; when it is revealed that she is actually alive and just in a coma, she eventually finds her way back to the Hamptons to exact revenge on Emily and Victoria. Her plan is cut short when she “dies” in a plane crash that was meant for Victoria; oh wait, that didn’t kill her either!? Okay, we’re over it.
17. Sara Tancredi– Prison Break
Dismemberment, box, death; these three items are never a good combination, especially for Sara Tancredi who was associated with all three. In season three of Prison Break, Sara was kidnapped, murdered and had her head mailed to her loved ones, in a ruthless attempt to get even. This character’s death had a bigger impact on the audience than the writers initially thought so, SURPRISE!!! She’s back! Sara returned in season four, much to the surprise (obviously) of her friends, family and love interest Michael. Although several more attempts were made on her life, they just couldn’t quite get to her (thank god for that).
16. The Doctor – Doctor Who
One of the more popular characters on our list, the doctor’s life is based on regeneration. So, not only does he keep dying, but he comes back in a new body, as a new man and with new knowledge. One of the longest running series, the creators were clearly ahead of the game when they thought of a character that could regenerate and self heal. The doctor has died in many ways including, radiation poisoning, falling from great lengths, absorbing too much time (literally) and here’s the kicker, simply growing too “old”. However, he always seems to come back better then the last and with more knowledge about who the doctor is and why he can do what he does.
15. Captain Jack Harkness – Torchwood
A time traveler from the 51st century and an associate of Doctor Who, Captain Jack Harkness was a petty thief and a con artist before he met the doctor. Unfortunately, Jack is not so lucky in the life and death department; his first experience with death came when he went to battle with an army of Dalek’s (google it). He was resurrected by one of the doctor’s companions and made immortal; he has gone on to “die” a couple more times but always ends up coming back, at the most convenient of times and usually in the best ways possible. Not much is known about Jack’s immortality and it will probably remain this way.
14. Darla – Buffy the Vampire Slayer
As Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s main antagonist in season one, Darla was for the most part a mystery. She is presented to the viewers as a vampire however, as time went on, her back story is somewhat revealed; common sense tells you that after her first death she was brought back as a vampire. She later dies again and is resurrected, gets pregnant (not typical for a vampire), only to die again while giving birth; she sacrifices herself to save her unborn child (how motherly). Darla’s deaths were almost always associated with a gruesome scenario and with her sire Angel.
13. Bonnie Bennett – The Vampire Diaries
Teen witches never seem to have the best luck, and it looks like Vampire Diaries regular Bonnie Bennett is no different. Dying three times and currently eternally stuck in some kind of purgatory yet, technically dead again (I guess that makes four times), Bonnie is no stranger to random death. She died twice from over use of magic and once from attempting a spell that was too powerful and too consuming. However, Bonnie has always found some way to come back, either by resurrection of stealing someone’s magic to crossover. It looks like this time around though, she might actually be stuck in purgatory.
12. Nathan Young – Misfits
Always the comedic relief, Nathan has died over and over again, usually in a hilarious way. Since finding out that he has gained the power of immortality after a meteor falls to earth and interrupts his court mandated community service, Nathan has died many times in various ways, including being shot, stabbed and beaten to death. Although Nathan does not find out about his powers until way after his misfit friends, the way he finds out is what makes it entertaining. Officially his first death, Nathan falls from a rooftop and is impaled, quite a way to go when you think that this is your first and only death.
11. Buffy Summers – Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Resident vampire hunter, Buffy has battled demons, vampires and angels, all without immortality. Buffy has died a total of four times, if you’re a big Buffy fan, you may say only two times (that is a debate for another time). Our protagonist has been drowned and revived, then she sacrifices her life for her sister by falling 300 feet to her death, however she is brought back by Willow the witch, she dies again during an operation and she dies in an alternate universe (which we guess technically did not REALLY happen, but it happened). Luckily for Buffy, she has a solid group of friends who always manage to find a way to bring her back.
10. Fox Mulder – The X Files
Beloved alien loving Fox Mulder, saddened everyone’s hearts by dying on the hit show X-Files, fortunately for us, he and his team of writer’s duped us royally. Mulder was savagely stabbed by some crazed assailant/alien, falling to his knees in the most dramatic, slow motion scene ever. Scully crouched over him, sobbing and looking on in heartbreak, can it get any worse for these two? The scene ticked off a lot of the show’s followers and left them wondering what would Scully do without Mulder. Well, that didn’t last long because a mere two episodes later, he is back (well his body is back and being controlled by an alien being).
9. Beric Dondarrion – Game of Thrones
Beric Dondarrion or Lightning Lord for all you Game of Thrones fans, is a professional when it comes to death and resurrection. He has died and has been resurrected a total of six times, until his last and final seventh death. He has been impaled, smashed, hanged, stabbed, murdered in combat, bow and arrowed to death and willfully traded his life for another. How does he keep coming back you ask? That’s the mystery held within the Game of Throne books. Beric, being a strong, powerful and fearless character, has experienced several ways that one can lose their life but you can’t get rid of those red-golden locks that easily.
8. John Locke – Lost
What is there to say about John Locke? Always the mysterious, he was never one to mince words and always one to hold onto even the smallest of secrets (when they benefit him of course). Dying under a strange set of circumstances, initially trying to hang himself, but being talked out of it by Ben, only to have Ben turn around and strangle Locke to death. Locke’s body ends up back on the island and he is given a beautiful, solemn funeral with the other survivors in attendance, however, Locke is resurrected by god knows who (this show is so confusing sometimes) and he becomes the black smoke that haunts the island. Weird. Yes, but if you watch from the beginning, it makes more sense.
7. Agent Phil Coulson – Agents of Shield
He dies in the movie, he always almost dies in the television series, so where else will beloved agent Coulson die? Beginning with The Avengers, the summer blockbuster broke everyone’s heart when they decided to sever ties with agent Coulson. Although, murdering Coulson by having Loki stab him in the back, was not a fit for someone as smart and cunning as everybody’s favorite agent. It turns out that in addition to creating mind blowing weapons and assembling a team of the best superheroes, S.H.E.I.L.D. can also bring people back from the dead! How convenient, especially for the viewers who just couldn’t get over his untimely death.
6. Sherlock Holmes – Sherlock
One of television’s most fearless characters, the always exciting Sherlock seems to beat the odds at all costs and come out on top, and that’s why it was so surprising when he chose to fall to his death by jumping off of an extremely tall building. Loyal fans were confused as to why Sherlock wouldn’t just solve his current case as he normally does, but instead, he ran away from it and jumped to his death. Oh no wait, that was all a cleverly annoying trick to deter a group of assassins working with his nemesis. But come on Sherlock, at least let your bestie Watson in on the rouse, as opposed to popping up months later at a restaurant pretending to be his waiter.
5. Rory Williams (The Boy Who Waited) – Doctor Who
One of Doctor Who’s oldest companions and a frequent flyer on death airlines, Rory has been through obstacles with the doctor, including traveling through portals, space and time continuums. For as much traveling as Rory has done, he has probably died just as many times; his instances of death include, being murdered, committing suicide, being erased from history (is that technically death?), he also drowned and threw himself off a roof. Ultimately, Rory led a full life; he got married to another one of the doctor’s companions, had kids and eventually died from old age. Ironic enough, yet satisfying for the fans.
4. Bobby Ewing – Dallas (the old one)
He was America’s sweetheart and everyone’s good Ol’ boy. So, when Bobby Ewing turned up dead, it was a bit confusing since the creators tried to apply his death to two television shows with two separate time frames. In Dallas, Bobby was hit by a car and in severe condition, he later died and left a void in the viewers’ hearts (so sad). However, when Dallas returned the following season, it turns out that it was all a dream by Pamela as she walks in on Bobby taking a steamy shower. This is where it gets weird. In the spin-off Knotts Landing, those characters also dealt with Bobby deaths but unlike Dallas, he never came back. So is he dead, or isn’t he?
3. Dean Winchester – Supernatural
Sweet, sweet overprotective big brother Dean, always saving emotional Sam, even if it means killing himself. Can anyone count the amount of times Dean Winchester has almost died to make sure that Sam was okay? Apparently Dean has died a staggering 111 times, granted some of those times were dreams (Sam’s dreams to be more specific). As for the real ones, well let’s see; Dean has been mauled to death by hell hounds, injected with some sort of poison, fallen to his death, he’s been shot by hunters, had his neck snapped, hit by a truck… shall we go on? The point is, in 10 Seasons, Dean had met an untimely death again and again.
2. Sam Winchester – Supernatural
Like his big brother, Sam Winchester has had his fair share of run-ins with the grim reaper (literally). One time, the grim reaper came for Sam personally. Can you imagine having that much clout that the reaper personally comes for you? Sam has also been shot by hunters, stabbed, struck by lightning and literally burned alive in hell. These two must be running some kind of competition, really; we know death comes for everyone eventually, but he has got to be sick of seeing these two faces over and over and over again. If you’re a fan of the show, it is really interesting to see all the ways the creators can end a life.
1. The Entire Cast of Heroes
Everyone in this show dies one way or another, it’s just a matter of timing and whose number is up. Heroes is a show based on saving lives, so it’s only natural that a few lives get taken away, but not for too long. The Cheerleader, Clair Bennett, keeps killing herself just to see the limits of her power (which we find out there is basically no limit, she cut her own pinkie toe off and it grew back). Hiro dies in different eras and comes back without a scratch, and let’s not even get started on Peter and Sylar. This show is one big mind flub, and clearly death never really means death.