Man, between The Walking Dead, sBoardwalk Empire, Homeland and Sons Of Anarchy, the last few weeks of television have been a blood bath. No need to go into specifics, but everyone’s been fair game. Between characters we expected to die, characters we thought were guaranteed survival and characters we loved too much, it’s been quite the emotional roller coaster. Yes, of course I’m talking about Brian the dog. Who did you think? But the willingness (almost eagerness) of shows to kill off main characters has made for some great storytelling. Once upon a time, if your name was high enough on the cast list, you were considered safe. But mainstream television has shown an increasing comfort with higher-stakes storytelling, perhaps ushered in by the success of trigger-happy shows like Lost, Game Of Thrones and Downton Abbey. There are a few shows, however, that could do with a little more killin’.
Scandal — Quinn: Once a guilty pleasure, Scandal has gone completely off the rails in a few short weeks. I don’t think one death is enough to bring it back, but we would all certainly breathe a lot easier if we didn’t have to deal with Quinn and her little Dexer “dark passenger” plot. Kill off Quinn and give all her airtime to Josh Malina.
The Walking Dead — Caaaaaarrrl: Not that the AMC show has shied away from killing off major characters, but they’ve been slow on the trigger with this one. I know the show is based on a comic series and, hey, maybe Carl gets really interesting later on, but for now I’m done. In fact, I’ve been done for awhile. This kid is my Lori. He’s my Andrea. I cannot stand him. Anyone who says he’s getting better with age is lying to themselves. His reaction when Judith went missing was somewhere between an eye roll and full meltdown. My only thought when I saw that bloody car seat? They took the wrong Grimes kid.
Downton Abbey — Lady Mary: Really, what’s left for Lady Mary to do now that her husband is out of the picture? Downton Abbey could choose to tell an interesting story of a woman (with bags of money) making her way alone in the world (with positively bags of money) at a time when that was hard for a single mother (with steamer trunks and hat boxes full of money). However, Michelle Dockery (whose resting bitch face and eye rolls are stuff of legends) has said that in the next season, Lady Mary is back on the dating scene. Oh good, here we go again. I’d much rather spend time with Lady Edith or, better yet, the reanimated corpse of Lady Sybil.
The Mindy Project — The Inexplicably “Fat” British Doctor: What is going on with this plot? Can someone explain it to me? It’s as if the writers determined poor Ed Weeks (who was originally cast as a cad) had all the sexual fizz of old shoe leather. Thus they shoved a small throw pillow up Dr. Jeremy Reed’s shirt for the first half of the season and tried to make him … “complicated”? “Funny”? WHAT WERE THEY GOING FOR? The plot was sort of addressed in the mid-season finale. Sort of. But I still have no idea where they are going with it. So if they could kindly bump him off and if 3/4 of the staff could quit out of despair, then we could solve this show’s overcrowding problem and get back to shipping Mindy and Danny.
Girls — Marnie: I know many of you would rather see Hannah gone. Well laugh it up, fuzzballs, it’s never going to happen. Not until the final season, anyway, and that’s still highly improbable. I’d much rather see the awful, grating Marnie go. Maybe the shock of her death will ground Hannah and smooth out some of her rougher edges. It could happen! Replace Marnie with Elijah. Problem solved.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine — Gina: Still the very worst character on that wonderful show.
Parenthood — Max Braverman: This once beloved show has lost an unbelievable amount of momentum this season. Between character assassinations and recycled plots, everyone seems to be either spinning their wheels or making me throw my hands up in disgust. While I understand that Max is meant to be a difficult kid because of his difficulties with social interaction, I simply cannot tolerate him anymore. The show’s better parts used to be able to sustain Max and his annoying plots, but we’re past that now. The kid has got to go.
Mad Men — Don Draper: As we enter the final season of Mad Men, I think the arc must finish with “the death of Don Draper.” Unless they pull off “the rebirth of Don Draper.” I’m worried that’s what last season’s finale was pointing toward, but who in their right mind wants to see Don Draper in the ’70s? Don Draper in bell bottoms and sideburns? Dear lord, it would be a Mr. Brady nightmare. Kill Draper, save the (already wonderful) show.
Sons Of Anarchy — Everyone. Every. Single. One. But mostly Juice.: The show has already done an impressive job of bumping off main characters. I think about half of the series originals are gone. But if the next season (the final season) doesn’t end with a Shakespearean blood bath, then I’ll be deeply displeased. Everyone’s gotta go. Especially you, Juicy.
Justified — Nobody. Ever.: Though my feeling in general is that shows are made better by major character deaths, I feel irrationally protective of the Justified cast. I want Boyd and Ava to have a nice wedding; I want Art to retire in peace; I want Tim to find a nice young man and Rachel to get some lines or screen time or whatever else she desires. I’d even settle for Raylan and Winona riding off into the sunset together if it meant a happy ending. But, well, this is Harlan. We all know how that song goes.
Joanna Robinson doesn’t dare bring ‘Game Of Thrones’ into the discussion for fear of inadvertent spoilers.