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Death Is Cheap / Live-Action TV

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Death being cheap in live-action TV.

  • In Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Phil Coulson simply will not stay dead. The series even kicks off by revealing S.H.I.E.L.D. found a way to bring him back after the events if The Avengers, and while at first it's played with grave seriousness as they brought him back using a Dangerous Forbidden Technique that had lasting negative consequences, it becomes easier and easier for him to come back with each death as the series goes on, be it as a sort-of-but-not-really alternate universe clone or as an advanced cyborg. He outright taunts a villain at one point, claiming that "dying is his superpower" before blowing himself and their ship up with a bomb (and yes, he comes back), and in the Series Finale he brags about how many times he cheated death:
    Coulson: Look, if this is a contest, I died like seven times.
  • Due to Misty Day's "power of resurgence" in American Horror Story: Coven, she can revive any character who has died (including herself) if the body is still there, even if the body is in bad condition. The characters lampshade this at the wake of Queenie's disappearance and assumed death: if she's alive, they bring her back. If not, Misty could revive her.
  • The Arrowverse, as you might expect from an American superhero franchise, is chockablock with resurrections. They come in many varieties:
    • Faking the Dead: Several characters have apparently died, only for later episodes to reveal they survived and have been in hiding. Most notably happened with Malcolm Merlyn and Sara Lance on Arrow and Kate's sister Beth on Batwoman.
    • Applied Phlebotinum: There are also methods in the Arrowverse for reviving a person who has legit died. The Lazarus Pit can heal injuries and bring corpses back to life (most notably used on Sara Lance), there are techniques and technologies that work like super-effective CPR (Supergirl was brought back by charging her with sunlight, and Sara Lance recovered from a broken neck in the Waverider's medical bay), as well as a variety of magic spells for raising the dead (these have brought back Kuasa, Nate, Chaz (multiple times), Lala, Behrad, Damien Darhk, and, yes, Sara Lance).
    • Time Travel: Perhaps the most common method for bringing the dead back to life is changing the past so they never died in the first place. On The Flash (2014), Barry twice rewound time to undo the deaths of everyone in Central City. Supergirl did the same to resurrect several major characters (and to homage the ending of Superman: The Movie). And Legends of Tomorrow, being a show all about time travelers screwing with history, abuses the heck out of this. On more than one occasion, the Legends have gone into battle knowing it doesn't matter if they get killed, since they're already changing the past so that the battle will have never happened.
    • Cosmic Retcon: During Crisis on Infinite Earths (2019), everyone in the multiverse was killed except for the seven Paragons (and Ezra Miller's Flash, for some reason). When the Paragons restart the Big Bang, creating a new universe in the image of the ones they lost, it contains everyone who died during Crisis now alive and well ... except for Oliver. The series finale of Arrow reveals that Oliver also influenced the development of this universe to bring back nearly all of his loved ones who died over the course of the series (and that is a lot of dead loved ones).
    • Better than a Bare Bulb: And on occasion, the only explanation needed for a resurrection is the character's acknowledging that death is cheap in their world. At the end of Legends of Tomorrow Season 5, Charlie's old band, The Smell, who were murdered earlier in the season, are suddenly alive again for the Dance Party Ending. The only comment on this is:
      Behrad: Weren't they dead?
      Nate: I mean, who hasn't died?
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003):
    • This trope is why Cylon prisoners are uncooperative under threats: killing them will result in their consciousness being downloaded into the nearest Resurrection Ship, where they immediately tell the others where their killers are. In the third season, one of the Threes does it for kicks; Baltar even lampshades it.
      D'Anna: Do you have any idea what you're accusing me of?
      Baltar: Yes...intentionally killing yourself over and over so you can download over and over. Death is just a revolving door, isn't it?
      [cue a smug smile from D'Anna]
    • This makes Cylon Raiders exceptionally dangerous, as over time a Raider will be killed in multiple engagements—and it not only learns from every death, but every time it gets killed it comes back angrier.
    • Later however the Resurrection Hub is destroyed, making Death very real for everyone. Except Starbuck. But not really.
  • Being Human uses this trope with Herrick, who dies in the series one finale and returns for series three, only to keep the mysterious method of his revival a secret.
  • This happens a lot in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the Buffyverse in general: it has been established that people who died by magical means can potentially be resurrected, and otherwise there are other methods of bringing people back.
    • Buffy has died twice, though the first time she was only technically dead and was brought back by good old-fashioned CPR. Additionally, in season 6's "Villains", she briefly flatlined from a gunshot, though Willow quickly brought her back
    • Spike is burnt up in the Grand Finale of Buffy, comes back as a ghost in Angel, and then comes back to life. It gets a mild Deconstruction, though: he pulled a Heroic Sacrifice to save the world, and he admits that he's kind of embarrassed to see Buffy and reveal that his great, momentous act only wound up putting him out of commission for a few months.
    • Darla dies a total of four times: as a human turned into a vampire, staked in the first season of Buffy, resurrected as a human in Angel, made a vampire again by Drusilla and then died as a vampire again.
    • Staking Dracula will result in him simply reforming again.
    • In the comics, it turns out Warren didn't stay dead when he had the skin ripped off his body.
    • Giles was killed when he had his neck snapped by Angel but was brought back even though the world was mostly drained of magic.
    • Kennedy died for a month before being brought back by Willow, pre-season 8.
  • Charmed (1998), where the core cast and quite a few villains have died numerous times. In total, Piper, Paige, and Phoebe died nine times, and Prue died thrice; only Prue's last death was actually permanent until the comics, where she returns in a new body. And Cole "Belthazor" Turner managed to give Kenny McCormick a run for his money in the dying department.
    • In an unusual variant: the show begins with the girls reuniting after their grandmother's death, and several episodes deal with the fact that their mom died young in a fight against evil. Attempts to explore their grief kind of get undercut when we learn that they can summon Penny and Patty's spirits on a whim, and after season five they can also just rematerialize whenever they want, too, despite technically still being "dead" somehow.
  • In the parodic series Le cœur a ses raisons, Britany Jenkins dies twice, only to return later on. While the first time, highly convoluted justifications were given to the other unfazed characters (and not to the audience mind you), the second time is left to anyone's guess.
    Ridge: Britany? I thought you were dead!
    Britany: Me too, but I prefer ice-skating.
  • Parodied in Season 2 of Danger 5. Every main character (and Adolf Hitler of course) keeps getting killed and brought back to life (especially the extremely annoying Holly) except Tucker's Love Interest Claire, the one person he wants to come back to life.
  • Day Break (2006): Thoroughly averted despite the presence of a "Groundhog Day" Loop. Wounds that the main character suffers carry over into the next day, so Hopper can't afford to be reckless and get into gunfights where he might die because he can always try over. If he dies, that's it. He also can't just dismiss other people dying even though they do generally come back, as he has no control over the loop. When someone asks him why he doesn't just "try again the next day" when Hopper isn't certain about someone's safety, he admits that his worst fear is that someone he loves will be killed for good because the loop has stopped.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Master has died or otherwise been left in deadly, inescapable situations so many times that no one, not the Doctor, not the audience, not even the Master himself, will ever believe it's going to stick. Including No One Could Survive That! and Disney Deaths, the running count as of 2017 is ten timesnote . Most of the time no explanation is given for his return, and even if there is it's flimsy at best. At one point he even states matter-of-factly, "The whole universe knows I'm indestructible." It's to the point that after the onscreen vaporization, showrunner Steven Moffat isn't even pretending there's a chance that it might stick. "Supervillains don't die, do they? So I wouldn't trust anything about that character's ability to lie down and stop breathing." Said "disintegration" is later explained with the Doctor doing the same trick. Keen-eyed viewers will also note that the visual effect isn't the same as the other disintegrations — it uses the same blue flash that Missy used every other time she teleported.
    • Davros, in terms of death-to-appearance ratio, is even more prone to death than the Master. After "Journey's End", even the writer of the episode isn't sure whether or not he's actually dead. Turns out he wasn't, returning in "The Magician's Apprentice".
    • The Doctor himself has died several times, even with his handy ability to change bodies when mortally wounded:
      • In "Smith and Jones", he is drained of all the blood in his body — and somehow revived by CPR.
      • In "The Big Bang", he sacrifices himself to save the universe and is wiped from history. Luckily, his companion Amy manages to remember him (with help from River Song) and bring him back.
      • The Doctor fakes his death in "The Impossible Astronaut" (revealed in "The Wedding of River Song") by hiding inside the Teselecta, a shape-shifting robot.
      • He actually dies in "Let's Kill Hitler" after being poisoned by River Song/Melody Pond, but is brought back when River uses up all of her remaining regenerative energy.
      • In "Heaven Sent", the Doctor, or different versions of him, dies almost daily over and over again for about 4.5 billion years, to the point where the castle's moat is filled with his skulls. Needless to say, he is alive and mentally unstable in the episode after.
    • In "The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances", Jamie, after being struck by a bomb in the Blitz, was resurrected by Chula nanogenes, though it took until the end of the story to be properly fixed. The Doctor even lampshades the trope:
      "What's life, but nature's way of keeping meat fresh?"
    • At the end of "The Parting of the Ways", Rose brings Jack back to life after he is shot by the Daleks; as a result, he can't die of natural causes, but a fatal wound will kill him... for a few seconds. Unfortunately, it came with a side of Good Thing You Can Heal.
    • At the end of "The Doctor's Daughter", Jenny is shot in the chest and appears to die without regenerating. At the end of the episode, after the Doctor's left, she does regenerate, but her appearance doesn't change. As of the end of the Twelfth Doctor's run, she had been indirectly mentioned in "Death in Heaven", but has only reappeared in Expanded Universe material.
    • In "Forest of the Dead", the people inside the Library who were killed by the Vashta Nerada had their neural relay uploaded to a computer.
    • Amy and Rory have been given so many on-screen "deaths" and (actual) deaths that it became a Running Gag for them (quoth Rory in "Night Terrors": "We're dead! Again!"). Poor Rory is even called "the man who dies and dies again" by the Silence; it's his Running Gag at this point. Really, though, everyone gets in on the action.
    • Clara Oswald joined these ranks very quickly by dying in her first two appearances, and technically dying in her third.
      • In "The Bells of Saint John", Clara technically died twice, although one was incomplete, and they're both fairly debatable as "deaths". But if you count them both, that leaves her with four "deaths" in three episodes. And now a fifth — a future version of her died in "Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS", just 4 episodes later, though there's a Reset Button. Not even Rory can match that. Plus, with Rory there was always a Reset Button or some other explanation; Clara really died, permanently, twice in two different time periods, and even the Doctor was at a loss to explain it.
      • It's eventually explained that Clara entered the Doctor's timestream to prevent a malevolent entity from destroying everything he ever did, having to fix every moment of his life. As it turns out, this means that Clara's lived her life repeatedly in different places and time periods, helping him throughout his life. Considering he's an alien with a lifespan covering several centuries, she's probably died quite a few times as a result. The Doctor's earlier encounters with Clara (Victorian England and the Daleks' asylum) that led to him seeing her die twice was simply the first time he noticed.
      • In "The Magician's Apprentice", Clara and Missy are apparently exterminated by Daleks. Turns out it was just teleportation.
      • Clara dies for real in "Face the Raven", the third to last episode of Series 9. However, in the final episode, "Hell Bent", the Doctor convinces the Time Lords she has knowledge about the legendary Hybrid who will stand on Gallifrey's ruins and she is taken out of time at the moment of her death. It's a trick to save her life. It ultimately doesn't work since her death is a fixed point. However, since she ends up with her own TARDIS and is essentially immortal, she decides to take the long way around to her death.
    • In "The Name of the Doctor", Jenny Flint is killed by the Whisper Men during the conference call. Minutes later, she is revived by Strax via an electro-cardio restart. Later, she vanishes from time due to the Great Intelligence rewriting the Doctor's timeline: the Doctor never saved Jenny during an incident years ago. Strax is killed by Vastra out of self-defense, because now Strax never served a penance to the Doctor and as such never became friends with the Paternoster gang. Moments later, they are both restored by Clara entering the Doctor's timestream.
    • Fans started to complain that killing people and immediately undoing it was Moffat's shtick.
  • Pretty much everyone died on Farscape at least once, mostly reversed due to time travel, alternate universes, duplicates, and in one case a Heroic Sacrifice which lead to another character actually being Killed Off for Real. In fact, it would probably be easier to count the characters killed on the show who actually stayed dead. However, the undisputed master of this trope is Scorpius, who always manages to survive situations which should without question have been fatal with nothing more than "foresight and planning".
    Crichton: Kryptonite, silver bullet, Buffy. What's it gonna take to keep you in the grave?
    D'Argo: Perhaps we should just take your head off. Worked for Durka.
  • In Fringe, thanks to Massive Dynamic technology, any corpse is Only Mostly Dead for a certain number of hours after death.
    • People sealed in amber were originally thought to be dead, but it was eventually discovered that they could be freed from the amber and brought back to life.
  • Game of Thrones: Subverted. Magical necromancy is possible, but has so far resulted in Damaged Soul at best and Soulless Shell at worst.
  • Good Omens (2019): Played with. While destruction of a physical body is mostly an annoyance for angels and demons, before you get a new body you have to explain to the bureaucracy what happened to the old one (the book described it as a manager obsessed with tracking every lost pencil). Therefore, several times in the series when Aziraphale is about to be discorporated by humans, they are very confused when he starts complaining about the paperwork this is going to cause. When Aziraphale does get discorporated, it's in the middle of Armageddon, and he doesn't have time to wait for a new body. So he jumps back to Earth without one, and ends up possessing Madame Tracy. When they meet Adam, Adam says they "shouldn't be two people" and casually gives Aziraphale his body back.
  • Gotham has a nasty tendency to not leave villains dead, for various reasons. Season 2's "Indian Hill" plotline involved experiments explicitly involved with reviving the dead, and it more or less works on Theodore Galavan, as well as being implied to be the case for Victor Fries, Brigit Pike, and Fish Mooney (although the first two seemed to be Not Quite Dead at the end of their respective episodes and Fish suffered a Disney Villain Death. Season 3 then seemingly sees the Riddler kill the Penguin, only for the Penguin to survive somehow; the details aren't exactly clear. That same season, the cult that formed around the late Jerome Valeska manages to bring him back from the dead. Finally, season 3 ends with the deaths of Edward Nygma, Barbara Kean, and Butch Gilzean; by the second episode of Season 4, Butch is the only one not back despite the end of the Season 3 finale revealing him to actually be Cyrus Gold, aka Solomon Grundy.
  • Heroes. Started off as Anyone Can Die, then reverted to this. Characters who can heal get routinely mangled, then it's revealed that their blood can resurrect anyone. This is later completely forgotten about. Still later, characters come back without even a handwave—Sylar in particular gets full-blown Joker Immunity.
  • Highlander, due to immortals’ Resurrective Immortality. If a main character who’s immortal isn’t beheaded, you know they’ll revive in a few minutes’ time. And even mortals occasionally. James Horton was shot and seemed gone, only to come back because Joe wasn’t willing to let family die so easily.
  • Kamen Rider:
    • Kamen Rider 555 uses this constantly, and yet averts it a lot. Basically, there are two tiers of dead: if you appear to die all normal-like, there's a good chance you can be saved via the evil organization's super-science (with a price). That, or you're about to stand up as an Orphenoch. Nearly everyone "dies" at least once, some more than once. Don't count anyone out until you actually see them crumble into dust with your own eyes. (And even then, there's one guy who can regenerate.) However... a lot of people indeed get dusted, no matter how immune to death they'd be in any other show.
    • Kamen Rider Decade: During the Finale Movie, Decade kills every other Rider, kills himself, and all of them get better by the end of the movie.
    • Kamen Rider Fourze: Both the title character and his best friend die at various points and come back to life.
    • Kamen Rider Ghost: Takeru dies three times during the show, and a fourth time in one of the movies. The end of the show establishes that at some point he evolved from a ghost into a deity, and thus is completely immortal.
    • Kamen Rider Ex-Aid: The central plot of the show is about a virus that a mad scientist is using to try and create the cure for death, so it shouldn't be surprising that a number of different characters make use of it. Three of the Riders die at least once, most of the villains die at least three times, and the scientist himself dies dozens of times just on camera: counting off-camera deaths, he dies nearly 200 times.
  • Invoked, subverted, and lampshaded to hell and back in Lexx; many of the characters who die in the second season return with seemingly no explanation in the third season, but it becomes increasingly apparent as time goes on that the planets the Lexx is orbiting at the time are, in fact, the afterlife. When the Lexx blows up the afterlife, they all move to Earth. When the Lexx blows up the Earth, too, it seems as though everyone is finally Killed Off for Real, simply because there is no more afterlife to be resurrected from. Subverted again by Kai, who dies in the first scene and stays dead, but animate, through the whole series. In the finale, when a Deal with the Devil backfires, he's brought back to life for real...just in time for an event he can't possibly survive.
    • This means that there are in fact three versions of most characters: the original versions, the Fire and Water versions, and the Earth versions.
  • Over the course of the radio show, the tv show and the live shows, virtually all significant characters of The Mighty Boosh have died and come back, occasionally without even any kind of explanation. In one episode of the TV show it's shown you can travel easily to and from the afterlife using mirrors, and the Shamen are shown to have the power to reverse death in the live shows, so at this point the only way a character is going to stay dead is if the writers cant think of any more jokes for them.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: TV's Frank, to the point where Dr. Forrester's torch song for Frank is "Who Will I Kill?".
    I've crushed his head a few times,
    Memories like nursery rhymes.
    No one dies like my TV's Frank.
    No sweet blood to distill, no cute tummy to drill,
    Who, who will I kill?
  • Passions, due to its status as a Supernatural Soap Opera, abused the hell out of this one. Who knows how many times Sheridan's been involved in situations that would have been fatal to anyone else... in fact, she died at least once, only to have a storyline in Fluffy Cloud Heaven.
  • Rimmer from Red Dwarf has been brought back to life multiple times. He first dies in the accident he causes (maybe) that wipes out the crew which is the set-up for the whole premise. Then he comes back as a hologram. In series 3 after messing with the timeline, he actually gets a body in one episode, but ends up blowing himself up shortly afterwards. So he's back to being a hologram. Then after hologram Rimmer goes off to be Ace Rimmer in series 7, the original Rimmer from 3 million years ago is resurrected by the nanobots who rebuild Red Dwarf with the original crew. It looks like he's about to die in that season's finale, but manages to escape death (literally, he knees Death in the privates). And in the 2009 special "Back to Earth", set nine years later, he appears to be a hologram again; whether by nanobot Rimmer dying or series 1-7 Rimmer coming back from his Ace adventure is not made explicit.
    • Has happened to most of the crew at some point. Rimmer, Kryten and the Cat all die in "The Inquisitor", but a clever Batman Gambit by Lister erases the titular Inquisitor and all resets all the work he's done, bringing them back. "Out Of Time" sees the crew attacked by their future selves, killing Lister, Kryten and The Cat and only stopped when Rimmer destroys the Time Drive.
  • In Smallville, characters who die tend to stay that way, but not very important ones. Characters important to his future as Superman wind up dying and we find out that they weren’t that Jimmy, Kara or Dr. Hamilton. However, Brainiac is insanely unkillable, thought dead multiple times, each more final-seeming than the last, and yet, he has an Unexplained Recovery again. (Mind you, this happens to him in the comics, too... but then, it happens to everyone in the comics.)
    • Slightly justified with Brainiac, since he's a super-advanced robot built by a super-advanced civilization and destroyed said super-advanced civilization. If he couldn't bounce back from death, he never would have survived to the main series.
    • Clarknote , Chloenote , Lananote , Lexnote , and Loisnote  had a death certificate, coffin buried, or a lifeless body at least once. Although it might not be real.
    • Tess "died" twice (excluding the Bad Future) before her (obviously more permanent) death in the series finale... though even THAT wasn't permanent: in the season eleven comics, she's taken up residence in Lex's body as a secondary consciousness.
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • The number of times Daniel has died has become an in-joke for the series. Depending on how one classifies "dead", it ranges from a minimum of 4 explicitly stated times up to possibly 22. Lampshaded by O'Neill, of course, who, by season 8, refuses to acknowledge Daniel's death or grieve over him, because each time he did, Daniel came back. Indeed, even despite this time Daniel being stabbed in the chest on a spaceship that then exploded in the middle of space, Daniel comes back by the end of that very episode.
      O'Neill: All we know for sure is that he's missing.
      Carter: Sooner or later—
      O'Neill: Forget it! I'm not fallin' for it this time.
      Carter: "Falling for it"?
      O'Neill: Yeah! How many times have you thought he was gone, and then he shows up, in one form or another? I'm sorry, but we're not having a memorial service for someone who is not dead. [to the room] You hear that? I'm not buyin' it!
      O'Neill: What? He's just waitin' for us to say a bunch of nice things about him. Next thing you know, he'll come waltzin' through that door, [gestures at the closed door] like, right now. [O'Neill and Carter both look at the door, O'Neill hopefully and Carter skeptically]
      [Nothing happens]
    • Even supporting characters get in on the act, and joke.
      Cameron Balinsky: [SG-13 discovers Ancient-built ruins] Oh, Dr. Jackson is gonna die when he sees this.
      Colonel Dave Dixon: What, again?
      Cameron Balinsky: Funny.
    • The presence of time travel, alternate realities, virtual realities, Nox healing technology and the resurrection sarcophagi means that nearly every main cast member has died at some time.
    • The original Big Bad Apophis managed to come back several time before the show decided to upgrade the villains. Apophis' situation was lampshaded in the fifth season premiere when, after finally being Killed Off for Real (stuck in a spaceship that crashed into a planet then exploded like a nuke), O'Neill assured General Hammond he was 100%...99% sure Apophis was actually dead.
    • After Ba'al cloned himself, it became something of a running gag to have him killed repeatedly (sometimes several times in a row within the same episode) only to have him be back for more a few episodes later.
    • Deconstructed and played for horror in the episode "Abyss". After Ba'al captures O'Neill, Ba'al tortures him for information by killing him over and over using various methods and then resurrecting him using the sarcophagus. It gets to the point that Jack would prefer to stay dead rather than be revived.
  • And Stargate Atlantis proudly continues this tradition with Elizabeth Weir:
    • First she was badly injured in an explosion, and 'repaired' using replicator technology that had been engineered to be safe. Then, she was left behind on a replicator planet, and presumed to be killed by the replicators.
    • Then, she was cloned by the replicators, along with other characters from the show. Even the clone then gets killed.
    • However in a later episode, a version of her consciousness, having first become a replicator, and then having 'digitally ascended', ends up in a computer on the Atlantis base. She and some other replicators convince the Atlantis team to build them new bodies using the Ancients' original replicator creation technology; bodies which were promptly jettisoned out into space by the end of the episode. This ending strongly implied that her character had the potential to return, and probably die again.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: It was getting hard keeping track of which Weyoun numbered clone was which. Subverted in the finale, when the Female Founder confirmed that Kira and Garak killed the last clone...only for the Expanded Universe to bring in another one anyway from a back up sample in the Gamma Quadrant.
  • Star Trek: Voyager: It appears the Borg Queen can die and generate another body in a new location. After dying in Star Trek: First Contact at the Battle of Wolf 359, and again from the Enterprise-E warp core, the Borg Queen reappears in "Dark Frontier".
  • Supernatural plays it straight, averts it, and lampshades it at different times of the series:
    • Played straight with the two leads, who have died so many times that their dead friends in Heaven are sick and tired of seeing them. Even Death himself has become annoyed as of late because the Winchesters keep coming Back from the Dead, which makes extra work for him. He shows up personally (maybe) to collect Sam's soul in the season 9 premiere and it still doesn't stick.
    • Averted in the case of any main character that the fan base hates enough (Bela, Ruby...). The writers are very, very sensitive to pressure, apparently.
    • Lampshaded as early as the middle of Season 2 (remarkably, before either Sam or Dean had died all the way for real) as part of a round of demonic taunting:
      Meg: Dean, back from the dead. Getting to be a regular thing for you, isn't it? Like a cockroach.
    • Castiel has a get-out-of-death-free card personally guaranteed by God. He's died four times so far and only one has kept him out of action for longer than until the end of the episode or the beginning of the next, because that one came with a case of amnesia. Even after Lucifer kills him (again...), he gets another resurrection freebie courtesy of Lucifer's son.
    • Death has become cheaper as the series has gone on (in the beginning it was pretty damn expensive). Sanity is now actually far more expensive than death. Once Heaven and Hell started taking an active (as in "interactive") interest in the Winchesters, the worry became not what happens if you die but what happens after you're dead. The next time either one of them dies, Heaven or Hell—wherever they end up—is gonna rip them to pieces for the rest of eternity or until the living one brings them back. Best shown in Dean's reaction in "Dark Side of the Moon" (S05, E16) when about to be shot and killed:
      Dean: Do it. But I warn you, when I come back, I'm going to be pissed.
    • Due to Heaven's interest in them, during season 5 they quite literally could not stay dead. They had to be alive to host Michael and Lucifer and have the Apocalypse prize fight go down as planned, so every time they died, they got kicked out of Heaven. They literally spend an entire episode running around Heaven trying to stay dead long enough to talk to Joshua, the only angel who still talks to God.
    • From the middle of season 6, the official (heavily lampshaded) line is that, while death is cheap, by coming back, you'll cause suffering and death to the people around you. Death himself has told them so on repeated occasions and, when it refused to sink in, gave Dean a drawn-out object lesson about it in "Appointment in Samarra" (S06, E11) involving an adorable little girl with cancer. Sam and Dean brought about the Apocalypse as a fairly direct result of Dean bringing Sam back through a deal and Castiel accidentally unleashed the Leviathans onto the planet (although this had less to do with him dying and more to do with the literal meltdown that accompanied said death; it can be assumed that since God is the one who keeps bringing Cas back to life, his resurrections don't throw the universe out of whack). But you should know that none of this is going to stop Sam from bringing Dean (and possibly Cas) back from Purgatory...which may or may not actually count as being "dead". In a surprising twist for this show, Sam does not save them; he doesn't even try. Dean is just a little pissed off about this when he gets himself out. Cas didn't want to get out in the first place.
    • An interesting feature of this show is that even dead characters aren't necessarily gone. Many characters that were Killed Off for Real, including Mary and John Winchester, Jessica, Ash, Pamela, Uriel, Ellen, Jo, Rufus, Bobby, Kevin, and Azazel, have had brief reappearances thanks to Time Travel, flashbacks, Alternate Universes, communication with spirits, travel to the afterlife, journeys into memories/mind battles while in a coma, hallucinations, etc.
      • Lampshaded beautifully in this exchange between Sam and Claire Novak in "Angel Heart" (S10, E20).
        Claire: You always get along with your mom?
        Sam: Never get the chance to find out. My mom died when I was a baby.
        Claire: I'm-I'm sorry, I didn't-
        Sam: Oh no, it's okay, I got to know her later in life. And yeah, I suppose we got along okay.
        Claire: ...what?
        Sam: In this line of work, death isn't always goodbye.
    • A Reaper mentions the existence of the Empty, the featureless void outside the universe that God and The Anti-God sprung from and where all deceased Angels go, and threatens the Winchesters with sending their souls there instead of Heaven to ensure they'll be Deader than Dead. The dead angels simply sleep for the rest of eternity, along with the Anthropomorphic Personification of the Empty itself. However, even this is not a guaranteed demise, as both Castiel and Lucifer have either returned from it or attempted to.
    • For context, every single major character has died at least once and several have died more than that.
  • In The Vampire Diaries, most of the main characters have died at least once over the show's course (or were dead to begin with, as it's, you know, a show about vampires). At the end of season 5, the list of resurrections got so big, it would probably need its own page.
    • Jeremy and Bonnie are apparently competing to see who dies and comes back to life the most.
  • In Xena: Warrior Princess, Xena and Gabrielle died and came back so many times that Hades probably had a revolving door installed. Which didn't stop Xena from being Killed Off for Real in the finale.
    • And the thing about Xena and Gabrielle dying is that over the course of the show, every time either Xena or Gabrielle visited a new culture or place, that particular afterlife was incorporated into the show's mythology. We saw the Greek Elysian fields and Tartarus, the Amazon land of the dead (which is apparently some place different from the traditional Greek afterlives), Judeo-Christian Heaven and Hell, Xena and Gabrielle were introduced to the idea of reincarnation after visiting India, and of course the finale.
    • Xena's parent series, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, was just as bad. Iolaus died (for the third or fourth time...), came back as a parallel universe character, got his happy ending, then the original one was resurrected.
    • Lampshaded in the episode where the cast portrays actors playing the characters in the show, and they wonder how Iolaus will die next (eaten by dinosaur, spontaneous combustion...)
  • This is the beauty of The X-Files: nobody important ever truly dies. Mulder himself died a few times, Skinner has died at least once, Agent Spender was thought to be dead by a gunshot to the face but comes back deformed in season nine, and even CSM died more than once.
    • Mentioned in jest by Dean Haglund (Langly) in DVD commentary: "Nobody ever really dies on The X-Files."