The "So Good" TV Finale: When Death Equals Praise

What would be interesting to analyze is how the growing trend of killing off major characters in TV seemingly out of nowhere in TV season finales makes a TV show "amazing" and "unexpected". What also might be intriguing is the buzz that comes about when a TV finale is about to air and, more specifically, the fans’ speculation on "who’s going to die" instead of "what’s going to happen". Game of Thrones depicts this perfectly; the countless deaths of its beloved characters has made the show extremely popular, where the high death rate in its season finales brings in many viewers and, subsequently, many dazzling reviews.

  • (Spoiler alert for Riverdale, Avengers Infinity War, the Divergent series, and the 5th Wave series) While I'm not too familiar with GoT, Riverdale just recently left their viewers on a cliff with the possibility of Jughead being dead. And, of course, if you've seen A:IW, you know that half of the main characters are "dead" at the end of the movie. I've always been a person to respect this choice--like, a lot! In the concluding book to the Divergent trilogy, the main character dies, and the same happens in the last installment of the 5th Wave series. As long as the deaths are dealt with in a realistic way for those universes, I always thought it was great. This would be a really fun analysis to read. Like, why do I like it so much? I don't even really know. – mkkeane97 4 years ago
  • I think the expectation of who is going to die might and its popularity might leave any other events as less impactful as they become overshadowed by the deaths. Something to consider. – ZanderTJ 4 years ago
  • This is a very interesting topic. I think with finales of any kind, we're primed to expect a culmination of a character's arc, one whose significance is ultimately encapsulated in how they die, why they die, etc. Death has a finality to it. I think, in expecting death, we become more inclined to appreciate whatever happens in the moments prior to it. Also, I think fan speculation on 'who's going to die' is a preemptive coping mechanism. Again, speculation might prompt extra awareness on how characters act in the finale, thus greater appreciation for their martyr's death, tragic death, etc. I'd argue that the 'who's going to die' and 'what's going to happen' are mutually linked—what really gets lost in the death-hype is how the finale's events will affect future seasons (if any). We'd become so focused on the 'dying' that the 'mourning' aspect of the story, the 'what'll happen after', doesn't immediately come to mind. Especially when there's a break between the finale and the next season. (I think The Walking Dead's S6 finale and S7EP1 is worth examining. Spoilers tho) – Starfire 4 years ago

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