Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Death Is the Grand Opener

Did you watch ''Traveler'' last Thursday? Do you really think Will is dead?

I don't. I reckon we'll learn that the dead body just happens to be somebody else who wore a similar blue track jacket.

But the fact the Will could have died reminded me how series premieres use death as a hook or plot device. Think about. How many shows can you name where somebody died in the first ep and:
  • returned as a ghost or in visions
  • caused a crisis amongst family, friends or co-workers
  • was the subject of a multi-episode mystery
  • pushed a character to avenge the death
Well, how many shows?

After a bit of research, here's a list of characters who died or were found dead in the first episode:
  • Berta Gonzalez on ''American Family'' (PBS, 1/23/2002)
  • Peggy on ''The Avengers (BBC, 1/7/1961)
  • Sharon Fowler on ''Baretta'' (ABC, 1/17/1975)
  • William Walker on ''Brothers and Sisters'' (ABC, 9/24/2006)
  • Damon South on ''City Life'' (TVNZ, 7/15/1996)
  • Georgia 'George' Lass on ''Dead Like Me'' (Showtime, 6/27/2003)
  • Mary Alice Young on ''Desperate Housewives'' (ABC, 10/3/2004)
  • Kate Boone on ''Earth: Final Conflict'' (Syn, 10/11/1997)
  • Reg Cox on ''EastEnders'' (BBC1, 2/19/1985)
  • Julia Brown on ''Everwood'' (WB, 9/16/2002)
  • Jason Gioberti on ''Falcon Crest'' (CBS, 12/4/1981)
  • Thelma on ''Hex'' (Sky One, 10/17/2004)
  • Eddie Rivera on ''Miami Vice'' (NBC, 9/16/1984)
  • Tommy Ferguson on ''Miracles'' (ABC, 1/27/2003)
  • Silvio Perez on ''Nip/Tuck'' (FX, 7/22/2003)
  • Michael Wiseman on ''Now and Again'' (CBS, 9/24/1999)
  • Sonia Kingsley on ''Pacific Drive'' (Nine, 1/29/1996)
  • Marie Cartwright on ''Ponderosa'' (Pax, 9/9/2001)
  • Lynda Hansen on ''Providence'' (NBC, 1/8/1999)
  • Gabe Capshaw on ''Saints & Sinners'' (MyNetworkTV, 3/14/2007)
  • Det. Terry Crowley on ''The Shield'' (FX, 3/12/2002)
  • Nathaniel Fisher Sr. on ''Six Feet Under'' (HBO, 6/3/2001)
  • Karen & Bob Westerly on ''Summerland'' (WB, 6/1/2004)
  • Bastian's Mother on ''Tales from the Neverending Story'' (10/14/2001)
  • Mary Frost on ''A Touch of Frost'' (ITV, 12/6/1992)
  • Laura Palmer on ''Twin Peaks'' (ABC, 4/8/1990)
  • Beck McKaye on ''Whistler'' (The N, 6/30/2006)
If you know of others, please leave a comment. I know the list isn't complete, but it's a reasonable start. I'll continue to update the list.

Which death was most shocking to you? I'd have to say I was shocked when Jimmy Smits' character, Eddie Rivera, was killed.

I was also surprised when Brenda Strong was cast as Mary Alice Young. Talk about being type-cast. In a two-year period she portrayed characters who died in the first episode on two different series — ''Everwood'' and ''Desperate Housewives.''

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