12 TV Shows That Couldn’t Recover After A Popular Character’s Death

The loss of a beloved character in television can be so shocking that sometimes it turns viewers off from watching the show.

Sometimes the death of a character is due to the actor passing in real life. It can also be a plot device that propels the series forward. Sometimes, that writing choice pays off.

These television shows, however, didn’t see that pan out.

1. Dexter

Rita Morgan
Image Credit: Showtime Networks.

The shocking death of Dexter’s wife, Rita, in the Season 4 finale blew us away. Unfortunately, the show could never recover from her loss. She was a perfect balance against Dexter’s Dark Passenger. With her gone, the show never fully recovered and had an uneven ending to the series in subsequent seasons.

2. Grey’s Anatomy

Patrick Dempsey
Image Credit: American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.

Patrick Dempsey’s Derek Shepard was a mainstay for eleven seasons. After his death, however, many fans of the show feel that the show’s tone changed without him. That hasn’t stopped Grey’s Anatomy from still airing today.

3. Bones

Image Credit: 20th Century Fox Television.

Major deaths are typically saved for a mid-season or season finale. When it comes to Lance Sweets, however, his death felt random as it happened in the middle of a season. Many fans saw this as the right time to start tuning out.

4. Orange Is The New Black

Orange Is The New Black
Image Credit: Netflix.

The Netflix original series helped put the streaming service on the map regarding original programming. However, several viewers note that the loss of Poussey was the beginning of the end. Many point out that this is where the show began to run out of steam.

5. Dallas

Image Credit: Lorimar Productions.

One of the most memorable moments in Dallas history is trying to figure out who shot J.R. However, here we’re talking about another member of the Ewing family: Bobby. However, he returned during the famous “shower scene” a year later.

6. The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead
Image Credit: AMC Film Holdings LLC.

The grim reality of the zombie apocalypse is that nobody is safe, something both the comic book and television adaptations of The Walking Dead make clear. Still, the loss of Glenn was too much for fans. Others argue that the death of Carl was their breaking point.

7. Two And A Half Men

Two And A Half Men
Image Credit: Chuck Lorre Productions.

Having to replace Charlie Sheen during his “Tiger Blood” era was inevitable. Still, the show tried to move on without him, only to flounder before the series eventually ended.

8. Sons Of Anarchy

Sons Of Anarchy
Image Credit: FX Productions.

There are a couple of examples we can choose here: Tara, Clay, and Opie. Opie’s death, in particular, is a telltale sign that the show was starting to overstay its welcome.

9. Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones
Image Credit: HBO Entertainment.

Spoiler alert: a lot of characters die here, and most of them are for the betterment of the series! When it comes to Barristan Selmy, however, some of the cracks in the show’s armor begin to show. For a character built up in Wesetos, his random death seemed out of place.

Don’t get us started on Stannis Baratheon.

10. Vikings

Image Credit: MGM Television.

Ragnar’s death left such a hole in the series that characters constantly mention him. It’s as if the writers realized they made a terrible mistake and tried everything they could to salvage it.

11. 8 Simple Rules

8 Simple Rules
Image Credit: Touchstone Television.

This one is tricky: John Ritter’s death left a massive hole in the ABC comedy that couldn’t be replaced. The show never achieved the same success as it did with him.

12. NewsRadio

Image Credit: Columbia Pictures Television.

Another heartbreaking death, this time it’s Phil Hartman. While Jon Lovitz is up to the task of trying to replace the legendary comic, there is only one Phil Hartman.

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Image Credit: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.


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Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

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