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Family Unfriendly Death: Live-Action TV


  • The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode "The Girl in the Flower Dress" features Debbie, a scientist for the mysterious Centipede project, getting roasting alive onscreen, screaming before she turns into a blackened, decaying skeleton. It was slightly toned down for Channel Four pre-watershed airings in the UK, but was still pretty horrific.
  • SuperMagic PowerMan and Lanolin Lady in The Aquabats! Super Show! episode "Showtime!" are vaporized using SuperMagic PowerMan's magic headband worn by the young girl they just saved, who turns into Space Monster M.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Caleb's death - bisected from the groin up. Being a psychotic, misogynistic serial killer seems to make this acceptable viewing, however.
    • Spike's Dying Moment of Awesome - being burned alive from the inside out. It's awesome by virtue that he took an entire army with him, but watching his skin shrivel and burn is pretty horrifying.
    • Let's not forget Warren, when he gets flayed alive onscreen which is the second most gruesome moment in the show (first being when Gnarl eats Willow's skin). And like Caleb, he was a psychotic misogynist who deserved it. At least Caleb being chopped in half was somewhat offscreen. Even worse with Warren is when he returns in the Season 8 comics as a body with no skin.
  • CBS Schoolbreak Special: The 1984 episode "Dead Wrong: The John Evans Story," the true story of a death row inmate who went on a crime spree that ended with the murder of a pawn shop owner, shows at the end a very chilling electric chair execution (a re-enactment) of Evans for his crimes.
    • The shooting of the pawn shop owner watch for a young Nicole Eggert here during a robbery is also chilling, and the reaction of his two daughters is truly scary and heartbreaking to watch.
    • The real-life execution of Evans is even more family-unfriendly than depicted on TV, however. The real-life execution reportedly required multiple shocks, and there were written accounts claiming that he was still alive after the first two shocks. There were also claims of flames and smoke coming from the leg electrode and from beneath the hood concealing his face. On the TV version, the final scene simply shows the unconscious Evans sitting in the chair, with no references to the imprecisions that occurred.
  • Doctor Who is well known for having ostensibly started off as a somewhat educational sci-fi series that would be fun for the whole family... but quickly led to the tradition of kiddies hiding behind the couch. From Dalek Death Rays, to being eaten alive by a giant spider-thing, to having your blood sucked out of your neck through a straw, almost every other adventure brought a new and painful way to die.
    • Two fairly notorious examples from the classic episodes would be a guard falling into a pool of acid in "Vengeance on Varos" (mostly notable because the Doctor seems to make a mean-spirited quip about it afterward) and Kane, the low-temperature-lifeform villain in "Dragonfire", exposing himself to direct sunlight, resulting in his face melting off, Raiders of the Lost Ark-style (one of the few occasions on which the series' special effects managed to be memorably gruesome).
    • "The Daleks's Master Plan" has an unusually graphic ending for Who — the Daleks activate a time-altering superweapon which almost kills the Doctor, and ages the Doctor's companion Sara from a beautiful young woman into an old woman, then into a mummified corpse, a skeleton, and then to dust. Steven then puts the weapon into reverse, which causes the Daleks to de-age into foetuses, which eject from their cases, flop about and die. The Doctor even picks up one of these foetuses and laughs about how great it is that he's wiped out every Dalek on the planet, leading to a What the Hell, Hero? moment from Steven.
  • Gimme a Break!: One of the earliest episodes of this 1980s series, "Your Prisoner is Dead," depicts Carl shooting a robber in self-defense; the suspect dies at the hospital, and Carl — explaining to his daughters and Nell that he had been placed on administrative leave while the investigation ensues — tells Samantha that the robber did not die a bloodless death, and likely felt pain in his final moments, a stark contrast to what they had seen on television.
  • The Great Space Coaster: An early episode showed a live-action clip of a man pulling a drain plug, and the suction pulled everything in sight, including people, into the drain, until all existence is wiped out! Played for laughs, of course.
  • While most Kamen Rider series simply have kaijin blow up when killed, Kamen Rider Amazon shows the titular hero decapitating and removing limbs, with copious amounts of blood; this actually caused the series to be canceled when Moral Guardians complained. When the World of Amazon is revisited in Kamen Rider Decade, Amazon's attacks simply cause a brief fountain of blood, followed by an explosion.
  • Kamen Rider Double: Isaka basically dies from a G-Rated Drug overdose that causes his entire body to blacken and crumble into dust.
  • Kamen Rider Ryuki introduces Kamen Rider Scissors/Masashi Sudou who gets a particularly memorable send-off when he is eaten alive by his own Mirror Monster.
    • The titular rider gets himself stabbed in the back in the penultimate episode, complete with Blood from the Mouth
    • Not to mention Kamen Rider Ohja getting gunned down by dozen of police.
  • While their deaths aren't actually seen, Kenan and Kel, in "Two Heads Are Better Than None", find three severed heads on a table. Of innocent victims. Who had been previously introduced.
  • Monk is generally a PG-rated, family-friendly show, but the pre-credits sequences often feature gruesome and disturbing death scenes. Usually, ones that involve blood.
  • The Muppet Show. A large monster eats a smaller, cuter monster while singing a very eerie version of "I've Got You Under My Skin" to his victim. Did the person who came up with that gem have a vore fetish or something?
    • Even worse is the glowworm sketch, which involves a lizard-esque creature sits on a wall while humming a tune ("Glow Little Glowworm") and eating worms that poke at him until it bites a worm that's actually the nose of a bigger monster that proceeds to eat the lizard. If only Jim knew that people would take that sketch in a different way decades later.
    • The Swedish Chef was strangled by his own spaghetti bolognese.
      • And beaten by a sentient pile of dough, shot by a turtle, hit in the head with his own cleaver...yikes.
  • Power Rangers had its share of gruesome deaths, even if it's not fond of the word "death."
    • Frax's death in Time Force was a Dies Wide Open involving a scream and parts of his robotic face falling apart. This after his having been reprogrammed into a mindless automaton by the Big Bad. (And this after having been human once.)
    • Believe it or not, Wild Force was the first Power Rangers season to show blood. (As a plot point, nonetheless. The blood dripping from Zen-Aku's hand indicates he isn't a normal Org, as Orgs don't have hearts and therefore can't bleed.) In another episode where Alyssa is attacked and Zen-Aku tends to her wounds she has a bloody scrape on her leg.
    • Flashbacks showed vines assault and grow through the bodies of two terrified humans. Apparently, a bloodless death can't possibly disturb anyone.
      • They actually only got away with this one due to a Channel Hop. They told the first network (Fox) that the characters would later turn out to have survived, which makes it okay somehow. They then "neglected" to tell the second network (Disney) that the death had ever happened, so they didn't have to keep the promise, and they stayed dead.
      • Also, one Monster of the Week, while the Orgs were trying to convince Animus that humans weren't worth protecting because they ruin the Earth, attacks a construction site. "Humans destroy the Earth! I DESTROY HUMANS!" he declares, firing a blast of fire. We zoom in on some terrified workers, and... boom! Mind you, the final 'boom' is shown through the not-terribly-clear pool on the Animarium that serves as this year's 'viewing globe.' But still. Incidental civilians that the plot didn't need to actually die... actually die. By a blast of flame.
    • Ninja Storm had a cyborg villain suffer melting at the hands of another, treacherous villain. His half-slagged body is seen in a rare exception to PR's Everything Fades tendency. His executioner quips that he was "having a little meltdown".
      • Ninja Storm has one that wasn't the death itself, but... the monster of the week was a pig. The Rangers beat him, he goes giant, they beat him again, he explodes... and then we see Lothor eating his barbecued remains; the other villains were as disgusted as should be expected.
    • The Master's hatching from Matoombo's body near the end of Mystic Force was almost Alien-level bad. The exact same thing happens to Titan of Mahou Sentai Magiranger.
    • A rather nasty, Mecha-Mooks loophole exploiting death in Zeo where two groups of enemy mooks have a battle royale. The mooks are Tengas (bird men) and Cogs (spandex robots) You see Tengas and Cogs sluggin it out for a few shots, then it cuts to one Tenga holding down a struggling Cog while another Tenga tore open its stomach and ripped out its electronic guts. This wasn't Chouriki Sentai Ohranger footage that slipped past the censors, either - Tengas were Power Rangers-exclusive mooks, so it was all original footage. (Also, Tengas are hatched from eggs and explicitly alive. This makes the ones who were on the ground and not moving at all explicitly dead.)
      • Oh my goodness, Zeo. Louie Kaboom, the temporary leader of the Machine Empire. Under a love spell cast by the new villains he takes on the Rangers in combat, and is eventually defeated. However, unlike most of the mindless minions that fell to the Rangers, he remained alive for a few moments, stumbling around in pain while on fire and professing his love for the villain that brainwashed him.
    • Many Grinders in Power Rangers RPM are also destroyed in very gruesome ways.
    • Super Sentai was far worse when it came to this. Especially in the early 80s. In the first episode of Denshi Sentai Denziman, for example, construction workers are skeletonized into piles of sludge and bones.
    • We also get to see some of the grunts in Flashman gooify some victims. This happens much less often in the newer series; though Super Sentai doesn't suffer from America's Never Say "Die" problem, if grunts assault random civilians, the random civilians usually aren't explicitly subjected to melting, etc. onscreen. Not so the earlier series.
  • Sesame Street: Narrowly averted in an early episode, where — after he devour everything in sight — Cookie Monster attempts to eat Kermit The Frog. Cookie shows some mercy, however.
  • Through the Dragon's Eye, a 1990s kids' educational series for schools, featured an anthropomorphized quagmire which would merrily drag cast members down to their doom. And this was used in a cliffhanger.
    • The Big Bad, who happens to take the form of a sort of skeletal bird with an exposed ribcage, wrapped in a black cloak and with Freddy Krueger-style scissor fingers, actually melted several of the secondary characters. Seriously. Into pools of liquid...
      • They got better. But not until right at the end, weeks later. And kids were actually required to watch this in classes.
  • Zoom. Jittery, terrified talking paper collage vegetables in a garbage disposal, waiting and waiting for the horrific moment when the memorably nasty-looking blades would start spinning and puree them all.

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