Use spoiler boxes for this thread but at least give the name of the TV series you are talking about outside the spoiler.
Movie characters are fair game too, but their deaths are less poignant because we don’t know them as well.
I’ll start with my favorite.
Wesley’s death. I didn’t like how they killed Fred because some old demon needed a vessel (she never had a chance to fight it), but it did set up a hell of a death scene for Wes. Poor Wes goes through some dark times fighting evil and at least gets to see his girl before he dies. Even if it is a lie.
Pretty much the entire final montage of Six Feet Under, but especially…
David. When he turns around at the picnic and sees a young Keith catching a football and running up to him to welcome him, and he keels over and dies of a heart attack immediately. I can’t get through that one without crying.
Christophuh died in The Sopranos? Aw cripes. (I haven’t caught up yet.)
I’ll nominate** Gary’s death on “thirtysomething**.” It was so sudden that I just sat there stunned. I couldn’t believe that they killed off one of the main characters, with no notice. But since “thirtysomething” was supposed to be a realistic slice of life, it made perfect sense.
[spoiler]Cordelia. After her long coma, coming back in spirit form to help Angel see what is right one last time. “You’re Welcome” made me realize how much Cordy brought to the Fang Gang.
*Angel: I need you here. Cordelia: Don’t make it hard, Angel. I’m just on a different road - and this is my off-ramp. The Powers That Be owed me one, and I didn’t waste it. I got my guy back on track. Angel: Cordy, there’s just– Cordelia: We take what we can get, champ, and we do our best with it. *
From the cynical point of view, you can’t beat The War of the Roses
Oliver and Barbara and felled by a falling chandelier. They know they are dying and Oliver puts his hand on Barbara. Barbara shoves it away. Pefectly in character to the bitter end.
There’s Doctor Who
Most notably Adric, who is trying desperately to keep the Cyberman ship from crashing into Earth, but has his work undone when a Cyberman rises and blasts the control panel. His last words, “Now I’ll never know if it worked” are a great moment.
And, of course in the West Wing:
Mrs. Langanhan. The fact that it comes out of nowhere and occurs off stage somehow makes it more poignant.
Seems like comic books should qualify for this thread. From Starman:
Ted Knight. A 50+ year old character gets one of the most awesome deaths in comic history. He settles things with his son, avoids a slow death, saves the city he loves, and eliminates his greatest enemy. Good stuff. The series should have ended then instead of meandering on for another 6-9 months.
Fred’s death. You’re right, she never had a chance to fight it - but that’s what made it powerful, I think. She was dying, knew she was dying, and there was nothing she or anyone she loved could do about it. This was heart-wrenching stuff, and utterly realistic - the sort of thing Whedonverse shows do when they really, really want to sock you in the gut. It works. Plus, Illyria’s hot
For that matter, the whole last episode was brilliant.
Lindsey’s death was pitch-perfect. Here’s the guy who seems to be highly ambitious moral tofu - he’ll fight with the good guys when he’s with them, and do shockingly horrible things when he’s working with the bad guys. What do you do with a guy like that? And Lorne was exactly the right guy to kill him - he doesn’t take pride in it, doesn’t view it as a triumph, but it’s something that has to be done. It closes out Lindsey’s and Lorne’s arcs very well.