Character death is one of the most dramatic and shocking events that can happen in a television show, but it's not the most horrifying. If you want to really disturb and unsettle your audience, killing a character off entirely might not be the best way to do it. Instead, why not try subjecting the character to a fate worse than death? It's the best way to give your viewers an existential crisis and fuel their nightmares for weeks on end.
Not only that, but fates worse than death are fantastic catalysts for drama. Once a character is dead they don't really have anywhere left to go, but a fate worse than death can open up new possibilities within the plot, and suffering through living hell can reveal surprising things about a character's inner psyche.
These are the fates suffered by TV characters that would make you beg for the sweet release of death if they ever happened to you. As terrifying as they are, as much as you might want to close your eyes, there's an inherent morbid fascination to them that makes it impossible to look away.
10. Stranger Things - Being Flayed
In the comfortably spooky nostalgia-tinged world of Stranger Things, there's one horror greater than all others: the Mind Flayer. This terrifying cosmic abomination is the malevolent mastermind behind the show's supernatural events, but it's not until Season 2 that it makes its presence known. When it does finally appear, it makes sure to put on a show.
The Mind Flayer reveals itself initially as wisps of smoke and shadow, stalking young Will Byers through his empty school at night, then expands into a vast, dark entity that channels its life-force into the petrified Will and possesses him. Noah Schnapp's acting is superb here, completely selling the incomprehensible terror of having your body and mind taken over by an unimaginable creature, and this is amplified later in the series when Will fights back against his friends as they try to free him from possession.
However, an even more chilling fate awaits those possessed by the Mind Flayer in Season 3. These "flayed" victims, once possessed, are made to march unwillingly to the local steelworks where they are melted into gooey piles of flesh and used to construct a pants-wettingly scary physical form for the Mind Flayer himself. It's not clear whether the globs of amorphous viscera that used to be people are still conscious or not, but either way, this is a fate much worse than a simple death.