Everyone knows that Death Is Dramatic
, but even in a series where Anyone Can Die
, writers can't just go around killing all their characters. There needs to be characters to continue the story. If the series is Alice and Bob
, and you kill off Alice, the title sort of stops making any sense. Sometimes actors have contracts
or producers have demands
or other outside circumstances force the writers' hands. Therefore, anytime writers for a series with any sense of continuity start working on something that's outside of that canon -- an Elseworld
, A What If?
scenario, an alternate timeline, or any random instance where there's an in-universe Reset Button
to be pressed -- those writers tend to unleash their more violent tendencies.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: In the Episode "The Wish," in the alternate reality Cordelia wished up, Xander and Willow are vampires, and they both, plus Angel, Buffy, and even Cordelia (who you'd imagine would be immune, being the one who made the wish) are all dead. Fortunately, Giles hits the Reset Button and everything goes back to what counts for normal in the Buffyverse.
- In the fifth season of Angel, Illyria kills most of the cast, but as she's Unstuck in Time at the time, it's reversible.
- The Simpsons Holloween specials, called Treehouse of Horror, originally were told through Show Within a Show-esque FramingDevices, but these days just appear as a series of shorts. Either way, the body counts are often high for these specials.
- Futurama has the What If? Machine, which predicts what would happen in a given imaginary scenario (e.g., what if Fry never came to the future, what if Leela were slightly more impulsive, what if Bender were 500 feet tall). These predictions nearly always end with at least one cast member dying, often horribly. There's also the sixth season's Winter Holiday Special, which also took the form of three out-of-canon shorts, and each of the shorts end with virtually the entire cast dead.