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    Doctor Who 
  • Doctor Who:
    • This applies to the Doctor, the main character, a couple of times:
      • The Sixth Doctor, who was supposed to start out as an abrasive, egotistical blowhard before softening considerably as his tenure went on. Executive Meddling cut his time short, so he never really got past being an abrasive, egotistical blowhard. Like the above example, there is Expanded Universe material that helps rectify this.
      • The Seventh Doctor's arc, as well as his transition from the Lighter and Softer Fun Personified figure the execs wanted into a intelligently-characterised Machiavellian Knight Templar, was just really beginning to kick off when the show got cancelled. Like with the above examples, the Expanded Universe finished off his intended arc and did a lot more with him besides, while providing the low-censorship environment which allowed him to be one of the Darkest and Edgiest Doctors of them all.
      • For all the mixed feelings that fans have about the TV movie, most agree that the Eighth Doctor was a fine character, and we should have gotten more of him. He's a classic case of We Hardly Knew Ye (though there are novels, comics, and radio plays he features in, and he finally got a send-off scene in "The Night of the Doctor" mini-episode).
    • Susan Foreman, the Doctor's granddaughter. According to her actor Carol Ann Ford, she was promised when she accepted the role that Susan would be a weird, inhuman, telepathic Action Girl. The first episode is named "An Unearthly Child", and it turns out Susan is who it's talking about. Instead, we ended up with the original Screaming Woman Load, who remains one of the worst examples of the stereotype in the show's history.
    • The Meddling Monk from "The Time Meddler". He was a rogue Time Lord, the first other than the Doctor and Susan to appear in the series (long before the names "Time Lord" or "Gallifrey" even became canon), who wasn't evil per se. The Monk just wanted to use time travel for his own personal profit, with the occasional reckless but benevolent scheme to try to change history for the better, like trying to cause the Industrial Revolution to happen early by preventing William the Conqueror from invading England. He would have been a great recurring adversary, and was used quite a bit in the spin-off media, but in the TV show he only appeared again once in what amounted to little more than a cameo.
    • Sara Kingdom in "The Daleks' Master Plan", a badass space mercenary who killed her own brother in pursuit of her goals, then began questioning everything she'd ever learned when the Doctor's philosophy began to get to her. She even travels with the Doctor in the TARDIS for several months in a Time Skip between episodes. She gets killed off in a slightly Stupid Sacrifice at the end of the story.
    • Liz Shaw, a gorgeous, brilliant scientist the Doctor respects as an equal and who had a sort of 'buddy cop' relationship with him, as well as a participant in the first explicit Doctor/companion flirting on the show (rare in the Classic series). She got Put on a Bus to Hell after four stories because she was so cool she overshadowed the Doctor, the production team feeling he needed a sexy, screamy Damsel in Distress instead.
    • Harry Sullivan - very funny, very well-acted, very handsome and played by an actor with tons of chemistry with both Elisabeth Sladen's Sarah Jane and Tom Baker's Doctor; the first time the Doctor was travelling in space with a male/female companion pair since Zoe and Jamie in the 1960s. Unfortunately the character was added to be an Action Hero in case the Fourth Doctor ended up being played by an old man, meaning that when he ended up being played by a relatively young actor who was also large and athletic, no-one knew what Harry was supposed to be for. He gets excellent scenes in "The Ark in Space" and some good action in "Genesis of the Daleks", but ended up mostly being incompetent or pushing the more popular Sarah Jane out of the limelight in order to get material. Despite what Robert Holmes saw as his potential and his costars' affection for him, he was quietly dropped after "Terror of the Zygons" and made his final appearance in "The Android Invasion", an appearance even his actor thought was superfluous.
    • Leela started out a badass companion the likes of which had never been seen before - undereducated, but a genius and a natural skeptic resisting her culture's tyrannical Cargo Cult, who gets caught up in a Pygmalion Plot by a guilt-heavy, slightly traumatised Love Hungry Doctor on whom her culture's Satanic Archetype is based. On top of that, she's also a really funny character with Hot-Blooded Literal-Minded Fish out of Water views, and she and the Doctor have loads of onscreen chemistry and Commonality Connection due to both being outsiders who can never return home. She manages three stories of this before a combination of Troubled Production, Cast Speciation issues caused by the addition of K-9, Executive Meddling pushing a Lighter and Softer tone on the show, and her costar Tom Baker's bullying Attention Whore behaviour meant she was constantly being upstaged, underused and mischaracterised until she got written out in a hugely out-of-character Last Minute Hookup. Ironically she was originally going to be a straight example, lasting for three stories only and leaving, although a regime change meant she ended up sticking around.
    • Kamelion, the shapeshifting robot. Besides his inhuman nature, he was supposed to be unpredictable due to his weak will and prone to getting subverted by villains (particularly his former owner, the Master). Unfortunately they had the bright idea to build an actual robot (instead of just using an actor in silver makeup) and the only guy who knew how to to operate it had a sudden case of the death, so Kameleon ended up mothballed in a room in the TARDIS. Eventually they employed an actor in silver makeup just so they could kill off Kamelion and tie up that plot thread. What's most annoying about this is that he's a SHAPESHIFTER; he didn't even need to be stuck in the form of a robot.
    • Mel. At a time when Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy had taken over and the Doctor was acting like a Jerkass, here comes a Camp computer programmer who loves time travel and genuinely appreciates the Doctor's company, intended as being a 'retro' homage to the companions of the 60s and 70s. Unfortunately, the idea of the companions of the 60s and 70s being Damsel Scrappy Screaming Woman characters is a Dead Unicorn Trope and the script editor refused to give her good material due to hating the idea of having a comic actress in a serious sci-fi show. A regime change early in her tenure caused her to be dropped and replaced with Ace, who is generally regarded as much more successfully used.
    • The Rani. Smart, capable, obsessed with dinosaurs, and acquainted with both the Doctor and the Master. A villainous female Timelord with elaborate plans, a functional TARDIS and a planet under her rule. She was a completely different type of villain from the Master; a villain who didn't care about power, just scientific knowledge, but was willing to go to sociopathic lengths to gain it. Used a total of two times (three if you count "Dimensions in Time" as canon).
    • The ever-so adorable Amelia Pond, whom the audience is introduced to for about the first 15 minutes of "The Eleventh Hour", praying to Santa to send someone to fix the scary crack in her wall. She is smart, brave, witty, so incredibly likeable and huggable... then the Doctor gets in the TARDIS for a short hop of five minutes, and when he re-appears, Amelia is now 19 years old and has become a lot more jaded at the failed re-appearance of her Raggedy Doctor for all these years. Sure, Little!Amelia is shown a few times, but it's only ever briefly, and usually in flashback or the sort. A lot of fans believe she would've made an excellent companion, but for the fact that the BBC could never have allowed a 7 year old girl to run off with a madman in a box across the universe.
    • Canton Everett Delaware III: a Badass Normal maverick FBI agent who answers directly to the President of the United States, proves instrumental to dismantling an alien conspiracy to control the United States government, and is engaged in an interracial same-sex relationship—in the 1960's, no less—that he defiantly refuses to keep secret. The Doctor apparently respected Delaware enough that he was one of only five people that he told about his impending "death"—the other four being Amy, Rory, River, and himself. Despite all that, Delaware gets no appearances beyond his introductory two-part episode, and the vast majority of his three-month battle with the Silence happens offscreen.
    • Ada Gillyflower. A blind (and rather badly scarred) young Victorian-era woman who's initially totally subservient to her Big Bad mother. Nonetheless, she's kindhearted enough to save a near-death Doctor and nurse him back to health (identifying with him as a fellow "monster"). She proves quite capable in spite of her blindness, and has a rather tender and personal relationship with the Doctor (moreso than some actual companions at first), but she has only made one appearance to date.
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    Once Upon a Time 
Once Upon a Time naturally features this, particularly from season 2 onwards - where the show's ever increasing Loads and Loads of Characters caused more than a few to slip into the background:
  • Ruby/Red gets promoted to the main cast at the start of the season. Towards the end she is Demoted to Extra in favour of characters like Neal, Greg and Tamara (who unsurprisingly aren't liked too well by the fans). Writers said there was more planned for her, but they had no way to feature her at all. Actress Meghan Ory was released from her contract so she would be able to find work elsewhere - and the character did pop up a few times in Season 3.
  • August was an Ensemble Dark Horse for season 1 - especially when his rich backstory was revealed. In season 2 he has only one focus episode, which uses a Reset Button to return him to child age.
    • He comes back in the second part of season 4, but he's not treated much better.
  • Midway through season 2 Belle loses her memories and is eventually given a cursed persona by Regina in the form of Lacey. While Belle helped inspire the good in Mr Gold, Lacey served as an Evil Counterpart - being attracted to his evil side. After she's introduced, Lacey only appears in a couple of minor scenes before Belle is restored for good. The ever-increasing character load left no way for the writers to effectively use her until the finale.
  • Given the success of Tangled, Rapunzel could have made a great addition to the cast. Instead her character arc is solved within one episode (and she's not even the main focus) - and her role could really have been filled by a generic princess.
  • Neal Cassidy aka Baelfire, an Ensemble Dark Horse-bar-Base-Breaking Character in season 2, he was made into a regular for season 3. The problem is, the writers apparently REALLY didn't know what to do with him, and the character, who had a smaller arc in season 3A than he did in 2, disappeared as season 3B went underway, only to return for episode 15, 'Quiet Minds', in which he's killed off.
  • Other characters such as Tinkerbell, Mulan, Ariel and Cinderella are well-received but their arcs get resolved rather quickly - resulting in fans wanting more.
  • Ironically, the series regular characters of Hook and Robin Hood have also found themselves in this position, as most of their plots either revolve around their girlfriends, or they're incredibly stupid. Things seem to have started to look up for Hook in season 5, but given the writers... time will tell.
  • Both the characters of Merlin and Nimue. Merlin was introduced a season ahead of time and constantly talked up as being this ultimate magical being of ancient age and power. Nimue was the first dark one. Both could have played gigantic roles in the story, but both were done away with by season's end (though with Merlin, this could have had to do with his immense magical abilities that might have made it difficult to create realistic threats.
  • The spin-off Once Upon a Time in Wonderland has this as well. The Cheshire Cat, a popular character among Alice fans, only appears in one scene in the pilot. Other characters such as the March Hare, the Doormouse, the Duchess and the King of Hearts don't appear at all.
    • Elizabeth aka Lizard, a tomboyish Action Girl who works for the Caterpillar, introduced as a close friend to the knave of Heart. She dies stupidly in her second appearance and is immediately forgotten afterward.
    • Cyrus's brothers. Their story is clearly a reference to The Tale of The Three Princes from One Thousand and One Nights - but they get barely any lines or development. Their sole function is to fulfill the Rule of Three so that Jafar can have three genies.
    • The Jabberwocky is introduced as The Dreaded - but her backstory is never revealed and she is Demoted to Extra in the finale.
    • Alice's younger sister Millie was rather interesting too - especially as the only person in England that believes Alice about Wonderland. She's only featured in one episode, besides a non-speaking scene in the finale.

    Twenty Four 
24 did this often, due to the real-time format and constant cycling of plots.
  • Mandy, the killer assassin, who was present for a pair of key events in the show's timeline (namely, the destruction of the passenger plane in the pilot episode and the attempted assassination against David Palmer at the end of the second season) ... but did nothing else otherwise. She's last seen being pardoned for her crimes after taking Tony hostage at the end of Season 4. In total, she appeared in only seven episodes throughout the show's run, but became one of the few antagonists to survive the series and be at large. It doesn't help that she was originally intended to be in Season 7 as Tony Almeida's accomplice, but was replaced by a new character named Cara Bowden instead.
  • The second season introduces Kate Warner, who aids Jack and CTU as they work to stop her sister's plans to aid Ali in detonating a nuclear device on U.S. soil. She is present at the end of the second season and appears to be set up as Jack's love interest... only to become a Shipping Bed Death as of the third season, where she appears in the premiere just to explain that she was in a relationship with Jack and it didn't work out, before disappearing for good. Even worse, her appearance is edited out of some versions of the episode. While the tie-in game did more with her (she is kidnapped by Max and used as a pawn so Jack can confront him), there are some fans who resent how little the character was used, especially when the fourth season introduces Audrey (in a DVD extra, no less) as Jack's new lover.
  • Curtis Manning is introduced in the fourth season as a CTU agent and counterpart of Jack's, who narrowly survives being captured by terrorists and helps Jack stop Marwan's initial plan to shut down the nuclear reactors across the U.S. For the rest of the season (and most of the next as well), his main role is to drive to and from places and deliver Expospeak. Even his heroic moment in Season 5 (carrying an active bomb out of a hospital) is tempered by the fact that he gets choked out by Jack soon after, and is absent for a large part of the episodes that follow. Come Season 6, he shows up again, only to get a few minutes of screentime arguing with Jack before he's unceremoniously shot in order to protect a key witness. After this, everyone forgets about him.
  • Tony by the end of the series. Season five killed his wife off at the very beginning, which had a potentially intriguing storyline that could have major ramifications — namely, after the man behind her death (Christopher Henderson) was exposed, just how far would he go for revenge? Instead, he spent most of the season offscreen in a coma. When he finally awoke, he was then immediately killed off. And amazingly enough, it actually got worse when they retconned him back to life two seasons later. For his return we were given a massively convoluted revenge plot that mostly relies entirely on coincidence that concluded with one of the biggest AssPulls in the series. He then disappears again, only to be revealed in a DVD extra (released to coincide with the ending of Live Another Day) to be still in prison, but with a secret group working to fast-track his release). He finally shows up midway through the first season of Legacy as an Advertised Extra... only to torture a villain and get into a shootout and brief fistfight with Carter before disappearing again.
  • In Season 7, widely enjoyed villain Jonas Hodges was almost completely disposed of only a few episodes after his introduction and replaced as the Big Bad with the far lesser received Alan Wilson. It's very rare to find a fan who was happy about that move.

    The Walking Dead 
  • Despite being a founding member of the group, T-Dog is the Ur-Example of this within the series. He gets no backstory outside Word of God, no Character Focus, and no attempt to build on his character, instead relegating him as a mute participant in many scenes. He's just kinda there until his Heroic Sacrifice early in the third season, then replaced by Oscar, another black guy, and quickly forgotten. This is highlighted when Glenn must resort to Offscreen Moment of Awesome to praise him after his death.
  • Merle Dixon. While he never reached the Breakout Character levels of his brother Daryl, he was still a popular character in his own right and had lots of potential for interesting stories, particularly after he's forced into a reluctant Enemy Mine with the heroes after the Governor brands him a traitor, either by keeping him on as a Token Evil Teammate who slowly redeems himself like Daryl did, or as a recurring antagonist the heroes (and Daryl in particular) would eventually have to confront. Instead, he's killed off only a few episodes later, which seemed to be done mostly to get rid of any obligation Daryl felt toward him and to save Rick the trouble of deciding whether to trust him or not.
  • The prisoners the heroes find at the beginning of the third season ultimately become this. Two of the five (including a sympathetic man and the leader, who runs into conflict with Rick) die one episode after being introduced. The third (Andrew) is written off as dead and comes back two episodes later in one of the biggest surprise episodes of the series... in which he appears on-screen for a couple of minutes, has a brief fight with Rick and is unceremoniously shot in the head by fellow prisoner Oscar. Six episodes later, Oscar himself (after barely being on-screen) volunteers to help take part in the Woodbury raid and is gunned down while giving the group time to escape, and two episodes later, Axel dies just after revealing his backstory to Carol.
  • A major plot arc of the fifth season involves Beth Greene (who is trapped in Grady Memorial Hospital in downtown Atlanta) doing everything in her power to rescue Noah, one of the residents who longs to leave. At the conclusion of that arc, Noah joins the survivors and travels with them to the Shirewilt Estates to find his family and gather supplies. While there was plenty of potential character development for Noah (he confronts the nature of his family's death, his new "family as part of the survivors and his interest helping to reinforce Alexandria's walls after the group gets to the town), he dies only ten episodes after his first appearance, being dragged out of a revolving door and torn apart while Glenn helplessly watches.
  • Midway through the sixth season, Carol and Maggie are captured by Savior members Paula and Chelle, who are revealed to be Not So Different and played up as an Evil Counterpart to the heroes who also had to do terrible things to survive. Yet, despite the former Savior being played by a name actress (Alicia Witt) and plenty of material for future conflict, the two villains are steamrolled by Carol and Maggie in the final minutes.
  • Morales is introduced along with his family in the first season as a relatively-normal group, with the former wielding a baseball bat to protect them when a group of walkers invade the camp in "Vatos". He decides that he's had enough and leaves Rick's group to travel with his family to Birmingham... and that's the last we see of him for seven seasons. To the shock of fans who wrote him off as never coming back or dead, he reappears in Season 8 as one of Negan's henchman, explaining to Rick that his family died on their journey and he allied with the Saviors. As one of the original Atlanta survivors, there was plenty of story still to be mined for a long-running character who was revealed in a shock Cliffhanger to be still alive and Not So Different to the heroes... except at the beginning of the next episode, after a couple minutes talking with Rick, Morales is unceremoniously shot in the head by Daryl, who writes him off and says he didn't matter.

  • A lot of early boots on Reality TV shows, game shows or otherwise come off as this way. See also Shocking Elimination; some people who seem genuinely good at the game or are actually good in talent shows wind up eliminated early, sometimes for the wrong reasons, sometimes for being the low-man on the totem pole.
    • Brian and Annie in the American version of Big Brother. Season 12 (where Annie was from) is probably one of the smartest players in a season full of already-educated and genre savvy players. (Even if some players were Genre Blind; they were pretty booksmart.) Brian meanwhile was actually considered a legit threat; there's a reason Julie Chen spoke to him more than she did the other early boots. Alex and Parker from season 9, too, were booted mostly for the wrong reasons.
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    • From Survivor, we had Dolly from Vanuatu and Marisa and Betsy from Samoa, among others.
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
    • Trip joined the team in the latter half of Season 1, and got a decent amount of focus. He also had an interesting backstory about being the descendant of one of the Howling Commandos, which seemed ripe for exploration. Unfortunately, he got far less screen time in Season 2, and ended up being Killed Off for Real in the mid-season finale. Even his actor, B.J. Britt, says he feels Tripp got "cut short" as a character.
    • Donnie Gill, AKA Blizzard. He has a sympathetic backstory, pretty cool powers, and was one of the few villains in Season 1 that wasn't a Canon Foreigner. So of course he only appears in one more episode after that, and is presumed dead at the end of it (though they Never Found the Body).
    • Franklin Hall. In the comics, he's a pretty prominent Avengers villain, Graviton, and while they seemed to be setting up a similar turn in the show, he was missing in action for a good four seasons afterwards and his transformation into a supervillain seems to have become an Aborted Arc. The writers finally got around to addressing this in Season 5, but Franklin Hall himself still does not become Graviton, instead, he becomes a Greater-Scope Villain partially responsible for a different person entirely becoming Graviton by becoming a voice inside his head after he absorbs the Gravitonium into himself - Glenn Talbot.
  • Angel:
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    • The fifth season Big Bads, The Circle of Black Thorn, are introduced and killed off in just two episodes.
    • Doyle. Arguably he needed to die in order to give Cordelia her powers as a seeress, but watching the dynamic between Angel, Doyle and Cordelia in those first few episodes... damn it makes you wish that they'd kept him around. (Unfortunately a case of Real Life Writes the Plot, the producers getting increasingly worried about his drug problems). He was originally conceived to return later in the series as the Big Bad - but actor Glenn Quinn passed away beforehand.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Whistler, the mysterious agent of the Powers That Be. Like the Doyle example above, the writers did have further plans for the character (in fact, Doyle was originally supposed to be Whistler), but the drug problems of the actor made this impossible.
    • Back in season 1, an episode was about a student Marcie Ross who can turn invisible and by the end of this episode was taken by FBI agents to be trained in assassination and espionage. She never appeared again. Then again, she's invisible...
  • Burn Notice:
    • Victor started out as a cool recurring villain. He was an excellent Shadow Archetype to Michael, he and Michael shared loads of Ho Yay, he was an awesome Deadpan Snarker, and he was played by Michael Shanks. Naturally, when Victor and Michael teamed up, he died.
    • Tricia Helfer's fantastic villain Carla - another one who is offed way too soon.
  • The second season of Charmed has Jenny Gordon - a Tag Along Kid who moves in next door to the sisters. She's even put in the opening credits. She appears in four episodes and is then Put on a Bus forever. She was apparently written out because producers realised she served no purpose.
  • Criminal Minds gives us Ashley Seaver, intended to fill the roles J.J. and Prentiss were leaving. She was brought in as a rookie agent with no profiling skills because of her particular backstory: her father was a serial killer, which gave her insight on how they project themselves to the rest of the world. This is mentioned only in her introductory episode, which is also the only time she shows any sort of personality. She wanders off from the team and disobeys direct orders because she wants to apologize to the families of the victims. After a promising debut, she just sort of fills the background and tosses around dialogue like anyone at all could have done. In one episode, she even states that she can understand a suspect because she's "dated a few" narcissists, with no mention of her father whatsoever. The Season 6 finale ends with the team given promising offers to split up, and the Season 7 premier shows that they did, but they're now all coming back together... except for Seaver. She gets one line mentioning that she's joined some other team, and then ceases to exist.
  • Damages:
    • Daniel Purcell is built up at the beginning as a central figure that the season's story revolves around but ends up succumbing to a whirlwind case of Face–Heel Revolving Door and gets shoved to the background of the central story before finally having his arc petering out in the end.
    • Claire Maddox is presented as a foil for Patty Hewes but there ends up not being that much interaction between the two and she ultimately only appears in half the season.
    • Wes Kulick undergoes a pretty strong character arc and we're offered a lot of tantalizing hints about his past and the finale seems to set up some sort of storyline between him and Patty. Sadly, Olyphan took a lead role in Justified and sat out season 3 save for a small appearance in the finale.
  • Daredevil (2015):
    • Ben Urich's death, given the character's historical connections to upcoming franchises Spider-Man and Jessica Jones. According to Word of God it was a sad case of the deal with Sony for the rights to Spider-Man not quite being worked out in time, as they made the first season under the impression that this was the only time they could have used him. As a result, Karen's season 2 storyline is used to further develop her investigative side and even ends with her getting hired by Ellison, setting her up in Ben's role for season 3.
    • Karen killing James Wesley. His actions seem unusual for him in abducting her, and his death is still left dangling. And it leaves the show without its truly cunning henchman. Though this is mitigated a bit when we meet his equally capable replacement Donovan in Season 2.
    • Many viewers were disappointed that although Claire was marketed as one of the show's leads, she was essentially a glorified guest star who was Put on a Bus. Given that she was associated with Luke Cage in the comics rather than Daredevil, however, it's also possible this was an extended Early-Bird Cameo for his series. The producers seem to also think so, as she was confirmed to return for season 2, and then got a bigger role in Luke Cage (2016).
    • Nobu, despite coming Back from the Dead and being the de facto Big Bad of the second season as the leader of the Hand's New York operations (or Murakami's Finger, as Iron Fist (2017) reveals), barely gets any more screen time or characterization than he did in the first season. The reveal of his return happens very late in the season and his rare appearances without the protagonists around are never used to explore his thoughts, his past or the beliefs and workings of the organization he serves as the face of. Downplayed after seeing Iron Fist, as he was likely already little more than an empty shell devoted to the Hand after numerous resurrections destroyed his humanity.
    • After the highly intriguing introduction of Stone, he's never seen again even when the Chaste reenters the picture in Season 2, and The Defenders (2017) strongly implies he was Killed Offscreen.
  • Desperate Housewives: Lynette's horrible mother marries a wealthy but bad tempered, elderly racist. Normally the viewers would be eager to see the back of him except for two things: he was hinted to have Hidden Depths during the lead up to the wedding and he was played by Larry Hagman. He dies less than halfway through his second episode without the writers doing anything with him - the writers simply wanted an excuse to make Lynette's mother rich, ignoring the potential the character had in his own right.
  • Dexter introduces a teenage serial killer who seemed completely evil. It turned out he was just misguided & he was eager to learn from Dexter who was eager to teach him. After about 3 episodes of character development, Dexter finds him dead in a chair with his brain removed before he can do anything. Especially weird because it was about 2 episodes away from the end.
  • Due South: Ray Vecchio, in the series finale. Many viewers wanted him to be with Fraser in Part 2, not in Chicago and flirting with Stella.
  • EastEnders: Becca Swanson. An incredibly hot, manipulative Psycho Lesbian with an obsessive crush on Stacey Slater. Largely manipulated things from the sidelines and played a key role in the death of Stacey's husband, Bradley. Set herself up as Stacey's best friend, comforting her and driving a wedge between Stacey and her manic depressive mother, Jean with plenty of Les Yay between her and Stacey thrown into the mix. Then just as it looks as though Becca's plans are coming to fruition, Jean suddenly plucks up the courage to tell Stacey that Becca caused Bradley's death. Stacey slaps Becca who smashes Bradley's urn then just leaves without a fuss. She was a lot more interesting than a lot of antagonists on the show and was part of just about the only interesting plot they had at the time but both it and her just stayed in the background. It's like the writers deliberately thwart their own opportunities. They could have saved her for a fiery Christmas Day denouement.
  • ER had a tendency to introduce numerous new characters each season and maybe—maybe—keep them around for a while to see how they fit in with the rest of the cast. Two characters who stayed around the longest and were popular with viewers were Dr. Donald Anspaugh (John Aylward) and Dr. Lucien Dubenko (Leland Orser), neither of whom were even offered a spot in the main cast.
  • Farscape:
    • Gillina, a fan favorite who appeared in four episodes then fell victim to Death of the Hypotenuse.
    • Also Jenavian Chato, badass Peacekeeper special agent and assassin introduced in the Look at the Princess Trilogy, one of the few PKs we meet prior to the third season who shows they do have a noble side, and an Ensemble Dark Horse whose actress, Bianca Chiminello, is one of the favorites at conventions. She gets her three episodes, sleeps with and is ultimately turned down for more by Crichton, and is never mentioned again.
  • Fear the Walking Dead:
    • Moyers is set up to be the main antagonist of the first season, but ends up dying offscreen in his second appearance.
    • In Season 2, the characters meeting with the Flight 462 characters doesn't happen until about 45 minutes into the episode, and just when it seems like they're about to join the cast, Strand cuts the line at the very last minute of the episode and strands them (no pun intended) in the middle of the ocean to die. It's later revealed that Jake died offscreen, and Alex performed a Face–Heel Turn.
    • Thomas Abigail is killed off after only appearing in two episodes. Considering that he was Crazy-Prepared and somehow managed to make a hardened man like Victor Strand fall in love with him, a lot of viewers felt that his death was premature and more could have been done with him as a character and his relationship with Strand.
  • Glee:
    • Dave Karofsky was put on a bus in season 3 after he got a good chuck of character development that raised him to Ensemble Dark Horse status among fans.
    • Ryder was introduced in season 4 as one of the newcomers to the glee club; however, unlike the others, he wasn't a bland expy of previous members, and had a very interesting character arc that the audience felt identified with, particularly being sexually assaulted by his babysitter at an early age (on the grounds that male statutory rape isn't represented as much as female on television), and a storyline that seemed headed towards being paired with Unique. However, season 5 decides to shove him and his character development to the background and never speak of it again, instead choosing to put him in a Love Triangle with Marley and Jake for no adequately explained reason.
  • Grey's Anatomy: Season 9 has Cristina befriend the attending Dr. Thomas (played by William Daniels), who is her new teacher. They don't get along at first, but she learns that she can learn a lot from him and she starts defrosting again. They engage in Snark-to-Snark Combat. Because of his age, his job is in jeopardy, so she tries to help him out only for him to die during a surgery. A devastated Cristina goes back to Seattle Grace.
  • Heroes:
    • Elle. The 7th episode of Season 3 set her up for a Heel–Face Turn, only to abort it at the last minute. Then she starts a relationship with Sylar which seemed to be going well until he suddenly kills her.
    • Scott the super soldier from Season 3. He's given significant screen time in Our Father, up to and including an explanation of his motives for participating in the Super Empowering program, which is a novelty in a show where characters do things for unexplained and inexplicable reasons. He is the first recipient of the perfected formula, neatly subverts With Great Power Comes Great Insanity, and is all set up to be a big player in the finale. Then the finale comes and minor villain Knox unceremoniously snaps his neck.
    • Ironically given that Season 3 was given the subtitle of "Villains", many of the newly-introduced villains fall under this. The German in particular was set up as a kind of street level Magneto, only to be killed off after barely doing anything at all (he opened a car door and cracked a safe. One wonders why they even bothered). Knox's partner in crime Jesse was set up in the graphic novels as having a much more significant presence than he actually had. And even Knox himself was originally meant for bigger things, as he was supposed to have a past with Matt Parkman with Parkman trying to keep him on the straight and narrow (a later webisode depicted this, but it was left out of the actual series entirely). These characters were all tossed to the side to facilitate the rise of eventual Season 3 Big Bad Arthur Petrelli (along with the unceremonious killing off of Season 2 Big Bad and Breakout Villain Adam Monroe), a move that in retrospect was probably not for the best.
  • House of Anubis: Has many of these characters, many who are brought onto the show for one season then vanish into non-existence in the next. Jason Winkler, who people are still waiting desperately to return, was brought on as a sympathetic and likable character who was never mentioned again after the first season. Minor character Benji probably got this the worst, though, because he was on for a grand total of two episodes, and in that time got to flirt with Patricia, stir up an old rivalry with Eddie, and become a liked character- all to just disappear right after and was never mentioned again.
  • Justified: In Season 5 Jean-Baptiste is introduced as a Haitian alligator poacher, and right-hand man of prospective Big Bad Daryl Crowe. He's the Only Sane Man in Daryl's crew, has calm, but still menacing demeanour, and manages to make Danny back down from harassing Kendall. And then what happens? Danny grabs a shotgun and performs a bridge dropping. One could make a good case that the season does the same thing to Sammy and Theo Tonin, longtime villains who exit the show with very little ceremony.
  • Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger: Burai. Super-cool Sixth Ranger, the first real Sixth Ranger in Super Sentai in fact. Fan-loved and wildly popular, but after his initial arc he gets no development and very little interaction with his team-mates due to Living on Borrowed Time and having to spend most of the series offscreen in a Place Beyond Time. He was eventually killed after it looked like they'd be able to restore his lifespan, in order to generate cheap pathos and to give Geki, the red ranger, his Bling of War.
  • M*A*S*H: Colonel Flagg. Appered in seven episodes over the show's eleven season (eight if you count Edward Winter's earlier role of Captain Holloran), and in his two or three appearances, he was something of a badass, and Hawkeye seemed genuinely scared of him. By his finale appearance in "Rally 'Round the Flagg, Boys", he was a bumbling fool tricked into trying to arrest the mayor and chief of police of Uijeongbu as communists after Hawkeye operates on a North Korean. Ironically, writer Ken Levine mentions they tried to avoid using him too often and turning him into The Scrappy.
  • Merlin:
    • The sorceress Nimeuh: an interesting villain with plenty of justification for her crimes against Camelot, an intriguing backstory with Uther and Gaius, and plenty of mileage left in her as a character before she is killed off at the end of the first season.
    • Aglain, a wise Druid who rescues Morgana and helps her come to terms with her magical powers, only to be unceremoniously killed off by Arthur's men when they mistakenly think he's kidnapped her. This was entirely intentional — the character was designed in order to show Morgana that her magic was not to be feared and that (at the same time) men like Uther are to be pitied for their stance on magic. Given how Morgana eventually turns out, one can only mourn What Might Have Been had Aglain lived to be her mentor.
    • Julius Borden, a One-Shot Villain and amoral treasure hunter. He has a Dark and Troubled Past, was once a protegee of Gaius, has inside knowledge on dragons, is resourceful enough to collect the three pieces of a triskelion strewn across the country, manages to outwit Merlin and the knights, and to top it all off, is played by James Callis. The writers give us just enough on his background to get us interested, then simply use him as a device to get Merlin to a hidden tomb before killing him off.
    • Alvarr, who features in a season 2 episode — and it's he who starts Morgana on her slow turn to the dark side. Despite having such a big impact on her - she even busts him out of prison - he never appears or is referenced on the series again.
    • There's a case to be made for Morgana herself. She starts out as a moral and sometimes heroic character. There are a couple of hints of her future villainy in seasons 1 and 2. Then at the end of season 2, she's abruptly whisked away for a year. By the time she returns in the third season premiere she's already a pantomime villain - with no explanation for it. There's literally not a single flashback detailing her Face–Heel Turn - and not a chance at redemption either.
  • NCIS:
    • "Identity Crisis" gave us FBI Special Agent Courtney Krieger, a rookie member of Fornell's team, who is tracking an arms deal. She proves to be quite resourceful in the investigation and trades phone numbers with Ziva, but she's never seen outside of this one episode.
    • The season seven premiere gave us a One-Scene Wonder named Heather Kincaid, a Seattle police officer who was applying for Ziva's old job with Team Gibbs. The character had a snarky personality and would have meshed with Team Gibbs better than any of the other applicants in the episode (it helped that her actress had good onscreen chemistry with Michael Weatherly). However, DiNozzo intentionally sabotaged her job interview at the last minute because he was still wangsting over Ziva's resignation, and we never saw Heather again.
  • Oz: Quite a few because Anyone Can Die, especially at the beginning and end of the series. Season 1 was probably the biggest offender, killing off Dino Ortolani, Jefferson Keane, Donald Groves, Eugene Dobbins, and Scott Ross. Several characters introduced in the final season, such as Torquemada and, Jafree Neema, seemed to be placed for a prominent place in the storyline if the series continued.
  • Power Rangers:
    • The Phantom Ranger was introduced in Power Rangers Turbo when that season was Growing the Beard. He was mysterious, had a romantic interest in Cassie, supplied the rangers with new zords and promised to return. His identity and origins were to be revealed in Power Rangers in Space, but due to budget it never happened.
    • Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue: While she is The Scrappy of the season, that's partially because Vypra was never used to any great extent. Her role as a surrogate sister/mother to Impus disappears after he becomes Olympius. As the most human-looking villain of the season, this would have potential to make her either reform or be a more complex character. Neither happens.
    • Power Rangers Dino Thunder: The White Ranger clone was nothing more than a henchman until his final appearance. Only in that episode do they question if he qualifies as a living being and establish a rivalry with Trent.
    • Power Rangers S.P.D.: Both the Omega Ranger and Morgana suffer. Omega Ranger, aka Sam, did not have actor due to budget and as a result never got any character development as he would only be featured mostly in sentai footage. Morgana's potential fell apart due to her mysterious past being sidetracked in favor of the show's ongoing plot with Emperor Grumm's plans for Earth.
    • Power Rangers Mystic Force all of the rangers sans Nick, who is a Base-Breaking Character, receive little to no development during the season. Each one has at least one episode compared to Nick's story playing a part of the main plot of the show, depriving them of having any actual importance outside of being his team.
    • Power Rangers Samurai: Lauren, Jayden's older sister , actual inheritor of the sealing technique and other Red Ranger. She's introduced late into the series and, while one would expect her to be made much of due to her role, she is repeatedly pushed aside or ignored in favor of the party focusing on Jayden, since he had to keep Lauren's existence a secret to them. Lauren does show moments of having character depth and does talk to Jayden about their deceased father (she even uses his former morpher), but barely much comes of it. Even when she performs the sealing technique, something she has been working on perfecting for years, but fails, it's again barely brought up with her.
    • Super Megaforce:
      • Orion is introduced in Silver Lining Part 1 and given a very compelling and dark backstory in Part 2 but as the season progresses nothing much is done with him and his revenge sub-plot is dropped and not brought up again til the last episode.
      • Gosei had been less a character and more a plot device, only speaking up every few episodes to tell the Rangers of some new powerup they've acquired. The fact that he apparently has history with Zordon was never expanded on.
      • From his Nickelodeon character bio, it's mentioned that Troy had a tough upbringing, we never hear of this or any of the other character's home life what so ever. For that matter, we barely hear much about the rest of the Rangers' lives outside of their heroics, which has been listed as one of the major downfalls of this season. The fact that the season began with him and his dreams about the future are never brought up either.
  • Quantico has Elias Harper, an FBI analyst hopeful who reveals himself to be gay in his first line and is very quick to understand that Simon's whole persona is actually a lie (including his sexuality) and is shown to be a dedicated investigator and a man with little patience for fools. The character is then frustratingly changed with episode 7, when he ends up panicking and running away from a bomb which was actually fake, failing the analysts' final test, the lone major character to do so, but eventually ending up having a friendly moment with Simon. The character then shows up in the post-terrorist attack timeline as Alex's lawyer, showing great promise as a character... and then come episode 10, in which he only appears at the very end, and episode 11, 'Inside', where his character is revealed to actually having been involved in the attack through blackmail, with the character's behavior making no sense with what previously established and his motives making no sense period. To add insult to injury, Elias throws himself out of a window to avoid jail time, and dies.
  • Revolution:
    • Maggie, in "The Plague Dogs". The sad thing is that had she lived long enough, she could have gotten home to Britain via boat in the Georgia Federation ("The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia").
    • In "Kashmir" they introduce a new minor character called Ashley, a girl fighting on the side of the rebels. Her very first scene depicts her sniping two militia soldiers in quick succession using a longbow, and later on we even learn a bit about her background. Sounds like she could even shape up to be a better version of Charlie. Unfortunately, she gets unceremoniously killed off toward the end of the very same episode.
    • Danny Matheson. See Rescued from the Scrappy Heap. He had been treated as a mere plot device up until his death. Still, if he had to go, at least he went out with a bang in "The Stand".
    • Nora Clayton, in "The Dark Tower". She had been one of the main characters who contributed something to the team, and she even rekindled her relationship with Miles Matheson in "The Love Boat". At least she killed off a lot of bad guys before she died in the first season finale.
  • Robin Hood: Djaq was a Sweet Polly Oliver who played the Gender Flipped role of the Saracen, brought from Jerusalem to England as a slave. She disguises herself as a boy, takes her twin brother's persona, and decides to join Robin and his outlaws as The Medic. The potential here was breathtaking - not only could it been a great Fish out of Water story, but Djaq effortlessly took the place as The Heart of the group, had an intriguing dynamic with all her fellow outlaws (including a Love Triangle that was vastly more interesting than Robin, Marian and Guy forever whinging at each other) and an endearing superiority complex that was completely at odds with the actress's tiny stature. She almost instantly become the show's Ensemble Dark Horse, only for the writers to completely ignore her, throw her into an abrupt relationship with Will Scarlett, write her out of the show, and replace her with a Jerkass Sue who was hated by all and sundry, but who got twice as much screentime in one season than Djaq did in two.
  • Sherlock: Kitty Reilly, Mycroft's mysterious and snarky assistant "Anthea", John's Action Girl girlfriend Sarah Sawyer, and DS Sally Donovan. The first two are nowhere to be found in season 2, the latter seems to only be there to criticize Sherlock and be yelled at by Lestrade.
  • Smallville:
    • If ever there was an underused character, it was Season 4's Alicia Baker. Sarah Carter owns every scene as a adorkable, yet mentally unstable love interest for the hero, and manages to have more chemistry with him than any of his other love interests up to that point. The writers actually seem to try to keep her from becoming a Breakout Character by dashing her character halfway through the episode. However, she was so popular that the writers brought her back for two episodes, only to horrifically kill her off. Tellingly, Clark's reaction to her death is some of Tom Welliing's best work on the show. One gets the feeling that, despite her popularity, the writers killed her off because was so awesome that she would have irrevocably upset their beloved Status Quo Is God. She still remained the defining Ensemble Dark Horse of the series, even after it ended 6 years after her character was killed.
    • Season 8's finale is infamous for its treatment of Davis Bloome, the Tragic Villain of the season who, after spending the past 20 episodes struggling with his alter ego of Doomsday, appeared to finally be freed from his murderous alter ego. Cue to out-of-nowhere murder of Jimmy Olsen (a character who can also be argued to be this, though he was more slowly wasted) who managed to take Davis out with him before expiring. This rather conveniently ushered out two characters the writing team clearly had no idea what to do with and even more conveniently, gave them a reason to write Clark Kent as swearing off his human side and becoming "The Blur" 24/7 (a move which was also lambasted as making no sense given that Clark cited humanity's failings and Davis wasn't human). There was so much more that could have been done with Davis, particularly since Season 9's Big Bad ended up being his Archnemesis Dad Zod, but for whatever reasons the writers opted to not just close that door but slam it and weld it shut for good measure.
  • Stargate Atlantis: Elizabeth Weir. Despite being a lead for three seasons, having a bucketful of UST with the other lead John Sheppard, universally beloved by fans, and being a strong female character who depended on her brains instead of fighting abilities, she was given barely any character-centred episodes, minimal backstory and was Put on a Bus at the beginning of Season 4note . Cue outrage.
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • Linea, the genocidal maniac who could hack computers, cure the blind, and create diseases that wiped out whole planets, who had a complete understanding of how the Stargate worked, and was an old lady, was such a cool villain for SG-1 to face. It was their fault she escaped from her prison, and she was obviously smarter than them. After her debut episode she came back a year later; younger, mindwiped, and redeemed so Daniel could have a rebound girl, and then was completely forgotten about.
    • Aside from Ba'al, Yu was by far the most interesting of the System Lords. He was the only one that was openly against Anubis from the beginning, was nice enough that his worshipers seemed to genuinely respect him instead of following out of fear, like Ba'al he recognised the value of not obliterating Earth, and was so old even by Goa'uld standards he was actually going senile. And yet with the exception of during a brief Enemy Mine situation none of this was really explored, and he went the way of all the other System Lords after the Replicators arrived.
    • Sokar. He was considered to be so evil and sadistic, even for a Goa'uld, that the System Lords actually banished him from their ranks. The fact that he assumed the role of the Devil himself and transformed an entire moon into a Fire and Brimstone Hell says a lot. But we hardly get to see him as the galactic threat that he was made out to be, since he appears in a grand total of three episodes before being killed off. The show only used him as a temporary Big Bad to fill in until Apophis returned.
    • Replicarter. She was effectively a robotic copy of Samantha Carter, but in control of the entire Replicator army. Think about it, all of the creativity and brilliance Carter uses to help the good guys, now applied to expanding an ultra-advanced machine race working to conquer the universe. Not to mention Replicarter's claims that she and the original are Not So Different, implying Carter possesses megalomaniacal inclinations. However, nothing ever comes of it. She appears in one cameo, then one episode to explain her origins and how she's evil. Then, she launches a massive invasion and annihilates the Goa'uld and is killed off without any additional development.
  • Star Trek: Enterprise:
    • The tragically underutilised ship pilot Ensign Mayweather. Born and raised on a space freighter, he had the most practical space experience of the entire crew, despite his relative youth and low rank in Starfleet. The writers never seemed to grasp the inherent hooks of this however, and the poor ensign had more or less nothing significant to do during the show's entire run.
    • Malcolm Reed, who served in freaking Section 31 before joining the Enterprise crew. For the unaware, this is the branch of Starfleet that is roughly on par with MI6 in terms of undercover operations. In other words, James Bond was the weapons officer of this ship, and he wasn't even a part of the Power Trio.
    • Hoshi Sato, highly skilled linguist and inventor of the universal translator... who quickly got sidelined into pretty much the ship's errand girl for stuff Archer couldn't bother assigning to anyone else. Compare this to her Mirror Universe counterpart who in addition to being the Femme Fatale Spy, ends up becoming the Empress of the Terran Empire.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
    • Tasha Yar, whose actress Denise Crosby complained about the lack of anything for her character to do on the show, and is the reason why she decided to leave the show and kill off her character. Having grown up on a dystopian failed colony she had the most unique backstory, very much antithesis to the Federation's utopian image. She was originally conceived by writers as Star Trek's answer to the very butch Vasquez from the very un-Treklike Aliens, but apparently writers just didn't know where to go from there since Trek at the time intentionally stayed away from war and confilct as plot elements. She came back temporarily in a very unusual plot twist and was eventually semi-brought back in the form of Sela, a Romulan Half-Human Hybrid. After lurking mysteriously for a few episodes, she comes out of the shadows, and eventually meets Picard and tells the story of how she came to be. Picard is adamant about not believing a word of it; we don't hear why... or any more of her story. We see her once more ever, in a role that any nameless Romulan commander could have filled. In the end, there was no point to setting her up like she was going to actually matter. It makes you wonder What Could Have Been if Denise Crosby had been cast as Counselor Troi and Marina Sirtis as Tasha, as originally envisioned, meaning that Troi would have been killed off and Tasha would have lived...
      • Another case of What Could Have Been: Crosby has said that she feels that what is possibly Tasha's best scene comes in her final episode, when she's chatting with Worf about the upcoming martial arts tournament. Given that as well as the general trend of the writing in the series (several characters, including Tasha's replacement Worf, got significant Character Development in Season 2), it's quite possible that Tasha would have gotten away from this trope and begun to live up to her potential if Crosby had held out a little longer.
    • Then there's Tasha Yar's sister, who had a very memorable episode, with dimensions Denise Crosby probably wished Tasha had during Season 1 - doubles as a What Could Have Been had the writers later in the series been penning Season 1 tales.
    • Data's artificial daughter, Lal. A naive android girl who has emotions and contractions but isn't "fully human", and she would give Data some good moments with being a father. They could even have made full episodes with her, but unfortunately, she "died" on her first episode.
    • Ensign Sito, the Bajoran redshirt. There was actually going to be an episode where she comes back and it turns out that she didn't die, but one writer thought that it would make the episode she initially appeared in less emotional or whatever, so we never see her again.
  • Star Trek: Voyager:
    • Kes. A likeable alien regular with an interesting back story and an intriguing (if often nonsensical) biology that could have done with a lot more exploration, and strong friendships and chemistry with pretty much all the popular characters. Then someone decided a character had to be axed to make room for Seven of Nine. Kim was severely injured during the cliffhanger at the end of season 3 and was supposed to die in the opener - but over the break between seasons Kim's actor Garrett Wang was included on People's list of sexiest people alive. So they rewrote the latter half of the two-parter at the last minute to instead keep him alive and set up the removal of Kes one episode later. To add insult to injury, the show would bring her back for one episode, where, for no apparent reason, she has gone mad and wants to kill everyone, after which she flies off and is never mentioned again. (It's telling that the Voyager Relaunch novels decided that that wasn't the real Kes and featured a version more in line with her original portrayal.)
    • The Doctor's holographic family. They could have had a plot where they started to become sentient and wanted to take his mobile emitter, or there was a question of ethics, or the Doctor wants to rewrite them but someone thinks it's not right, or an arc dealing with the Doctor's grief over Belle's death, or whatever, but instead they're never even mentioned after that one episode.
  • Star Trek also had a couple multi-show example:
    • The Romulans debuted in the original series as an ancient enemy of the Federation, one that scared Kirk, and proceed to demonstrate just why, also being potentially set up as an Evil Counterpart for the Federation (or at least parts of it). They were then mostly forgotten in the series, only showing up twice more and the second turning them into just allies of the Klingon. They quickly devolved into little-shown and explored Realpolitik-practicing villains, with their exclusive gimmick being shared with the Klingon, the long-awaited Earth-Romulan War arc in Enterprise not being made due the series being Cut Short, and their novel depiction where they were finally explored being liquidated by Roddenbury as "they were never Romulans".
    • The Maquis guerrillas were first set up in The Next Generation, there were several episodes in Deep Space Nine exploring their sympathetic motives and less-sympathetic methods, all to set up their inclusion as one part of the divided crew on Voyager. The Voyager writers then utterly abandoned the idea almost immediately and the two crews were completely integrated by the middle of the first season, while back on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine the entire organization was unceremoniously annihilated off-screen.
  • Supernatural:
    • At least one of these pops up per season: there's Meg's brother Tom in Season 1, most of the psychic kids in Season 2, Bela Talbot from Season 3, and so on.
    • Season 8 has Samandiriel, AKA Alfie, the angel who bargains for Kevin on behalf of Heaven in "What's Up, Tiger Mommy?" and one of the few non-Castiel angels to not be a huge douchebag. He's somehow captured by Crowley offscreen even though he's probably more powerful than him. After two episodes of being tortured for information, he's rescued by Castiel... Who is then mind-controlled by Naomi into killing him.
    • Way back from Season 1 there are two examples: Missouri Mosely from "Home" and Cassie Robinson from "Route 666", who never appeared again after their episodes. Missouri's role as psychic was taken over by Pamela, even though she was an interesting character with some history with the Winchesters, and despite Cassie being possibly the only woman Dean was shown to ever love and the fact that he told her he would come back for her, when it came time for Dean to return to a former love interest Lisa was used instead. This is not helped by the fact that they were both black and their replacements were white, given Supernatural's general issues with race and representation.
    • Sarah Blake, one of the very few well-liked Girls Of The Week and a potential love interest for Sam. Comes back in season 8 to be killed by Crowley.
    • Eve from Season 6 had a good deal of promise as an antagonist, but her arc wound up being rather short and unimpressive due to an overabundance of enemies and the unclear direction in that season.
    • Linda Tran was a fan favorite character, but she disappeared and was supposedly killed off screen after only four appearances.
    • Benny. Badass Friendly Neighborhood Vampire, Purgatory veteran, and ally to Dean at a time when he didn't have many. But he was the center of a Sam/Dean conflict, so he had to go.
    • Abbadon in season 9, who despite initially being set up as one of the biggest threats of the season, ended up doing very little other than engaging in some Offscreen Villainy before being killed by Dean as little more than a stepping stone for the Mark of Cain plot. Despite this, many fans found her to be more interesting, more threatening, and better acted than primary villain Metatron, and felt she should have been the season's Big Bad instead.
    • Deliberately defied, however, with Castiel - originally, the writers planned for him to only hang around for six episodes and then be killed off. Then they realised that having an honest angel character who genuinely believes in God's plan who was caught between his angelic duties and his moral instinct, who was just beginning to get to know humans and feel emotions as he came to befriend Dean, was far too good a character idea to just throw away. And for good reason: Castiel has been a main character, and possibly the most popular character in the entire series, ever since.
  • Taboo: Michael Kelly's Dr. Edgar Dumbarton, an American physician and spy in London as The War of 1812 is winding down is an a magnetic and (creepy) cool ensemble character in a cast filled with them. He has some of the most memorable and stylish lines in the show, goes toe-to-toe with protagonist James Delaney several times, and is even able to coerce him into helping with his own agenda. His entire appearance in the show just breathes morally ambiguous Hero of Another Story. He's revealed in the final episode of the first season to be a Smug Snake traitor who's sold out to The East India Company, and James abruptly dispatches him with greater ease than some of the Mooks he's faced by that point after Dumbarton picks up the Idiot Ball and tries to intimidate the borderline unstable James alone with tenuous leverage at best.
  • Teen Wolf:
    • Vernon Milton Boyd IV, the calmest of Derek's betas. Finally got a bit of backstory, is killed off in the next episode.
    • Alpha Kali, the Alpha Pack's Number Two. Has a promising backstory and connections to a lot of characters, but nothing is made of it.
    • Rebecca 'Harley' Harlowe. She appears in the pilot, being set-up as Scott & Stiles's Black Best Friend. However, she is never seen again save for a couple cameos. What.
  • True Blood:
    • Franklin Mott, the psychotic vampire detective! May he rest in peace.
    • Sophie-Anne Leclerq. Bisexual, petulant, hammy vampire queen with an incredible sense of fashion, played by Evan Rachel Wood of all people. Ends up getting unceremoniously splattered all over the floor at the hands of Bill Compton when he takes over as King, instead of escaping and plotting a coup to take her throne back which would have been an interesting storyline.
    • Salome and Dieter Braun. Both are over two thousand years old and therefore on par with Eric. Both are branded to be political geniuses. Both of their actors put out disturbingly good performances. Bridges are sadly dropped on both of them.
    • To say nothing of Roman. Just imagine Det. Stabler, but as a vampire.
    • Warlow. A vampire/fairy hybrid that's twice the age of multi-season baddie Russell Edgington and can walk in daylight... Who spends most of his time tied up in a graveyard and is easily staked halfway through the episode in his final appearance.
    • Also Billith... prophesied as some great "vampire savior," he loses his extra powers after giving a couple of random vampires the power to walk in daylight for a short period, without ever really living up to any of his potential.
  • War of the Worlds: The eponymous "Angel of Death" from the episode of the same name in this 80's series. The Blackwood Project (a group of researchers and a military colonel who are fighting extraterrestrial invaders looking to conquer Earth) find out that there's a rogue assassin running around the city, interrogating and killing scores of aliens. The Blackwood team learn that this assassin (an android from another world) wants to help them save Earth, and eventually leads the team in a battle royale with a horde of invaders (during which she demonstrates that she has the ability to bring people back from death). Then, she just up and decides to go back to her homeworld for reinforcements, and is never seen again for the rest of the series.
  • Najara from Xena: Warrior Princess. In a show renowned for complex female villains, Najara was second only to Callisto. Played by pre-Cold Case Kathryn Morris, Najara was a beautiful and charismatic Joan of Arc-type figure who was guided by voices in her head that initially seemed benign, but which led her to kill anyone who did not join her followers. And yet the writers kept her a complicated and enigmatic character who truly believed in what she was doing, served as a fascinating foil for Xena, and had an interesting rapport with Gabrielle. Unfortunately, halfway through what was only her second appearance, she went bonkers and ended up in a coma from which she never awoke.

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