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When Characters Die #sadface

image of tombstone

©Yael Weiss/Dollar Photo Club All rights reserved. Used with permission.

So last week, I experienced the loss of yet another favorite character. There was no warning. Just happy ending of season 2 and bam, dead character in the first episode of season 3. Yes, I whined a bit about it on Facebook. With some encouragement from a friend, I pressed forward in season 3, but now that I know the writers can’t be trusted not to break my heart, I’m holding back from bonding with the new guy.

This got me thinking about my favorite shows and why I like them, as opposed to the piles of shows I either never start watching, or watch once (maybe all the way through) and move on. I usually start watching because the premise intrigues me. Or, honestly? The show gets shoved in my face so much, or it’s the only thing on, I’m like, fine, I’ll watch it.

The other thing that can sometimes get me watching a show. I’m not sure what to call this particular phenomenon, but here is how it manifests. I tune in past the hour or half hour, so I only see part of a show. Maybe I’m waiting for what comes on next, so I watch it. Then—if I ever happen onto that show again—I see almost the same part of the show. Always. The only way to break the curse, or whatever it is, is to track down that episode and watch it from the beginning.

But I digress. Sorry about that. Where was I? Oh right.

So here I am, now watching a show. At this point, a show needs more than an intriguing premise. I like good writing, great dialogue and—here’s the key part—characters I like spending time with.

In the end, it is ALWAYS about the characters, the people, in my TV shows, movies and yes, books. So when I lose them…

This isn’t the first character loss, I’ve experienced. I’m not a rookie who doesn’t realize that character loss happens. I do realize there are real actors behind the characters, real people with lives, careers, ambitions beyond a single part. But I sometimes forget that while watching. And I’m not someone who tracks entertainment news. I have a friend who warns me about shows we both like and sometimes I look things up to see if there will be more seasons coming if I’m really loving a show.

I was sad when Foyle’s War ended before the war and glad they came back and kind of finished it, though I was not thrilled his son was gone. Yeah, I’m still about the romance…

So sometimes I get surprised. I was a latecomer to NCIS and got whopped upside the head when Kate died. I had a really hard time bonding with Ziva and then finally I did and yeah. Gone, too, though we think she’s still alive out there somewhere. There’s hope. But don’t get me started on that version of Robin Hood where they killed off Maid Marion (who DOES that?)…

Maybe its a function of glomming (the act of consuming a whole season of a show over a weekend), that ups the emotional stakes?

What do you think? What gets you started on a television show? What keeps you watching? What are your favorites and where do you watch them? You know I love comments so much that I pick a favorite to receive my monthly AnaBanana gift basket ($25 value).  Recipient is announced the first blog post of the new month.

Perilously yours,

Pauline

P.S. I have killed off a few characters and made some readers sad doing it, in The KeyYou can buy the book, or read the first part for free.

cover for The Key