9. Tara Maclay - Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Tara Maclay (Amber Benson) is an undeniable fan favourite Buffy character - the conscience of the Scooby Gang whose relationship with Willow (Alyson Hannigan) was majorly groundbreaking for prime time TV of its era.
And after three seasons on the show, fans were thrilled to see Tara finally included in the opening titles sequence in the late season six episode "Seeing Red." If nothing else, this indicated she was a safe character moving forward, right?
But Joss Whedon sure loves to traumatise his fans by suddenly offing beloved characters, and so in this very episode, Tara is killed by a stray bullet fired by Warren Mears (Adam Busch).
As it turns out, Whedon only added Amber Benson to the episode's opening titles to throw fans off, because who would expect her to die in the very episode where she finally got added to the credits roll?
Unsurprisingly Tara's death infuriated a good portion of the fanbase, with some even characterising it as an example of the tired "Bury Your Gays" trope, while others defended it as necessary in furthering Willow's character development. Either way, it remains undeniably shocking.