10 Totally Unnecessary Deaths In Horror TV Shows

It's a horror story - so somebody has to die. But why them?

The Walking Dead Carl

No medium presents death the way that television does. TV tends to be a long-form narrative: actors play the same characters over a multitude of different stories, often over years, with a shifting team of writers piling big events up to satisfy the demand for engaging drama - and there's no bigger event than death.

Done well, a death on a TV show will be a standout moment in a season, and a defining moment for the show as a whole.

Meanwhile, horror and death go together like hotdogs and mustard. If horror is a way of confronting that weird gestalt of fear and desire that drives us all, then there's nothing that repels and attracts us more than death. It's the undiscovered country, and no one crossing that border has returned to tell the tale.

All of which is to say: when it comes to death, horror-centred television shows are in a class of their own. People don't just die - they are killed, often violently, on camera and as part of a culmination of a storyline. The portrayal of the act is as important as the ramifications of the loss.

It's a shame that not every show connects those dots. Sometimes it's simply due to poor overarching storytelling. Sometimes (especially with horror shows) a death can be purely for some fleeting shock value, wasting an opportunity to provide some emotional resonance.

Let's look at some of the most unnecessary deaths in horror shows on TV - but remember, spoilers follow...

10. Anya - Buffy The Vampire Slayer

The Walking Dead Carl
Mutant Enemy

Beginning life on Buffy The Vampire Slayer as one of the monsters of the week, Anya grew to become one of the most beloved members of the cast... which is why her death was so insulting to the fans, not to mention to actor Emma Caulfield Ford.

Vengeance demon Anyanka had taken the form of a Sunnydale High student, Anya Jenkins, in order to enact her particular brand of 'woman scorned' hoodoo upon Xander Harris after he'd cheated on Cordelia Chase. Her plans thwarted, Anyanka found herself trapped in 'Anya''s body, doomed to live out the rest of her life as a mortal woman.

Eventually falling in love with Xander, Anya became a valued member of Buffy's gang. Part of the charm of the character was her barely controllable accessing of human emotions after centuries as an immortal and her hilarious bluntness.

Although Anya and Xander's relationship would go south in the end, she was with them all in the series finale, fighting the First Evil's forces under Sunnydale. That is, until she was unceremoniously sliced in the back by a sword in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it death scene that (in the days before pausable streaming television) a whole lot of people actually did miss, being confronted with her staring corpse in the final minutes of the episode.

To add insult to injury, when Xander finally found out that the woman he loved had died saving some schmuck's life, his only response was "that's my girl. Always doing the stupid thing." Wow.


Professional writer, punk werewolf and nesting place for starfish. Obsessed with squid, spirals and story. I publish short weird fiction online at desincarne.com, and tweet nonsense under the name Jack The Bodiless. You can follow me all you like, just don't touch my stuff.