10 Devastating TV Show Moments That Came Out Of Nowhere

9. Tara Dies - Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Breaking Bad Jane Dies
Mutant Enemy Productions

Buffy The Vampire Slayer’s success was equal parts down to its excellent casting and masterfully crafted tone by Joss Whedon. It found a balance between humour, heart, and horror that captured the teen world of the late 90s and has remained a treasured, nostalgia-fuelled favourite ever since. This tonal balance not only allowed for great action and comedy, but also occasion moments of tragedy. Joyce’s death in Season 5 is one such occasion, but even more devastating was Tara’s death the following season.

Tara was a fan favourite and one half of the first recurring depiction of a lesbian couple on a primetime network in the United States alongside Alyson Hannigan’s Willow. Evolving from a shy and reserved young woman to the moral centre of the Scooby Gang, Tara met her end at the hands of Warren Mears, who shot her through the heart while trying to assassinate Buffy.

Not only was the death sudden and unexpected, but it was directly responsible for another devastating turn, as the grief unleashed Willow’s dark alter ego, and she went on to be the ‘big bad’ of Season 6.

The fan response was unlike anything Whedon could have expected however, with the production team being inundated with letters, some of which were so distressing writer and producer Marti Nixon was unable to read them. The fan response is a testament to how affecting television characters can grow to be, and the real world power their deaths hold over viewers.


Writer, editor and presenter for WhatCulture, also a resident musician at NU. I know I'm not as funny as I think I am, please stop pointing it out...