Why We Should Reserve Judgment Before Complaining That The Dead Won’t Stay Dead On TV

Entertainment Features
11.19.15 4 Comments

Obligatory spoiler warnings for Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead and, more vaguely, The Leftovers.

I have read no less than three posts in the last two weeks complaining about a “new” trend in television, where dead characters no longer stay dead. Has this complaint been triggered by every Ryan Murphy show ever? No. Has this complaint been triggered by Arrow? No. Or Fringe, where a guy was written completely out of existence, and yet managed to come back? Has it been triggered by dozens of dramas over the course of the last several decades where characters have been left for dead — or presumed dead — only to end up surviving?

No.

These complaints have been triggered by three specific possible deaths on three different and very good dramas: The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones and The Leftovers.

Here’s the rub, however: We haven’t seen the outcome in any of those three episodes. We’re not even 100 percent sure that these characters aren’t dead. (Okay, we’re 99 percent sure). We are preemptively complaining before seeing how these potential deaths play out. Maybe the resurrections are not cheap or manipulative. Maybe they make total sense. Maybe we’ll find them satisfying. Maybe we will find them infuriating. The point is: We don’t know yet, because we haven’t seen how these story arcs resolve.

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