2007 is officially over. Kaput. Done. Smell ya later.
You know what is also dead? All sorts of folks on TV. Thusly, we’ve made a provocative, scintillating top five and bottom five list of dead folks from this calendar year. Among the year’s deaths, we have a drowning, two gunshot victims, massive head trauma and even an explosion or two.
Point of information: the “top five” and “bottom five” are determined by a number of factors — the satisfying nature of the demise, how well it worked to advance the plot/character arc or, quite simply, whether we liked it or not.
For the record, proceed with caution if you are sensitive on getting spoiled by any shows. These shows include Weeds, Dexter and Battlestar Galactica.
5. U-Turn – Weeds
The thing I really liked about U-Turn’s demise on the third season of Weeds wasn’t the satisfaction in having a repulsive character get axed. It was the perverse injustice of it all. U-Turn was such an intimidating character, breathing through a clenched jaw and flared nostrils in every scene and using terror to get his way. And then he gets killed by the fat, simple, ne’er-do-well Marvin — whose biggest accomplishment of the season was getting shot in the ass by the Mexicans. It was an understandable, but out-of-nowhere act and I love the idea of such a ridiculous, incompetent figure taking out a prime villain by surprise.
4. Symbolic spot reserved for Pushing Daisies
It seems like it wouldn’t be fair for such a death-centric show to get left out on this list. Perish the thought that any of the lead characters actually die (even Emerson — the show’s dynamics would be ruined without him). But in honor of the exploding secretaries, trampled jockeys and torn-in-half wish-givers, we raise a glass of bubbly to the supporting cast of corpses on Pushing Daisies.
3. Sgt. Doakes – Dexter
Toward the end of season two, it really looked like the creators had written themselves in a corner. There were so many complications that it didn’t seem like the season could end cleanly. I feel like it was pretty obvious that Doakes was going to get blamed for the Bay Harbor Butcher’s crimes, but after Doakes caught him in the act, I didn’t see how Dexter could pin the blame on him without killing him — a violation of the Code of Harry. Enter crazy-pants Lila. Lila’s craziness was what saved Dexter in the end. Furthermore, it was pretty satisfying to see Doakes — crazy and unhinged himself — finally out of the picture.
2. Starbuck – Battlestar Galactica
Maggie writes: Starbuck is (was?), arguably, the best character in a sea of wonderful characters from Battlestar Galactica — the frakked up risk-taking pilot with Mommy issues who makes bad decisions in the sack. Not only is (was?) she a fan favorite, she keeps the rest of the characters on their toes — sleeping with them, hurting them, telling them the ugly truth that she can’t face herself. So when her Viper blew up, it seemed impossible that they, the geniuses at the helm of BSG, would actually kill her. But they seemed very serious about it, making us suffer through four Kara-Thrace-less episodes before the last ten seconds of the last episode of this season. Not that those seconds resolved anything, of course. What does it all mean???
1. Charlie – Lost/Phil Leotardo – The Sopranos
This is cheating, but that’s okay because it’s a blog and not real life. I have two number one deaths and they’re both for different reasons. Charlie’s death earned its spot just because it was shocking (in a way), emotionally charged and completed his character’s redemption arc. Plus, the Lost folks redeemed themselves a little bit for killing a real character, not just introducing a bunch of tailies to just pick off one by one.
Phil Leotardo’s death was awesome for sheer bloodlust purposes. Such an awful man, responsible for so much death. To finally see him get whacked was really rewarding for long-time viewers. Furthermore, he didn’t just get whacked. An SUV ran over his head! I mean, what more could you ask for? It was like murder Christmas.
Honorable mention: To Nikki and Paolo from Lost. For real. In the big picture, they were totally useless, but that episode was awesome.
5. Sheriff Lamb – Veronica Mars
I realize we might get some flack for putting Veronica Mars on the bottom of any list, but I have to admit that Sheriff Lamb’s untimely demise was a bit anticlimactic. No one really cared for him, so on face value this would have been a no-brainer for the top five. But the way it all went down was really unsatisfying. If I’m like most VM fans, I would’ve wanted Lamb to go out in a redeeming blaze of glory — so we can look at his tombstone and reflect that he wasn’t such a bad guy after all. However, that didn’t happen. He got bonked on the head by Richard Greico. Richard Greico, guys. I mean, come on.
4. Bradford Meade – Ugly Betty
Maggie writes: Recipe for instant melodrama: Pick the most boring character on your show. Kill him. Presto! No one liked Bradford, and none of his story lines were particularly convincing. Did anyone really believe he was in to Wilhelmina? Did anyone actually buy him as an evil genius? Then he up and dies, just in time to ruin Wili’s wedding and teach the Meade kids a little something about life. On the other hand, Santos — that one was at least a little teary.
3. President Palmer II – 24
Maggie writes: The sixth season of 24 seems awfully long ago, especially if you’re like me and you didn’t bother watching the last four episodes. But back in the beginning of the season, there was another President Palmer, the brother of the first (who was the victim of a great TV death — shot in the neck!). Prez Palmer II got himself blown up, and then he pumped himself up on uppers to lead the country, and then I think he died. He did die, didn’t he? He isn’t like Ex-Prez Logan in the ambulance, never to be heard from again? It’s a mark of the show’s decline that I can’t even remember.
2. D.L. – Heroes
He got shot by some random dude in a bar? Booooooooooooooooooo!
1. Tony Soprano – The Sopranos
My disdain for the way things went down on the series finale of The Sopranos is no secret. But, even though David Chase thinks I should just worry my pretty little head in an adorably quaint liberal arts classroom, I’m going to operate under the assumption that Tony Soprano got it in the end. All signs point to yes, as many people seem to think (including Jeopardy champ Bob Harris, who seems to have come up with the most comprehensive analysis. Although, now he seems to be wanting to distance himself from it as much as possible. Sigh. Whatever.). But I’m putting Tony’s death at the bottom of the heap — not because it didn’t make sense that it would happen, not because it wouldn’t have been just, but because of that damned fade to black and the “I’m smarter than you” ambiguity.
Honorable mention: For the dream of Studio 60. Emmy-award winning writer, cast of luminaries, the best set money can buy — what could go wrong? Everything, of course.