10 Episodes That Every Sci-Fi Show* Must Have

3 The “Somebody Dies” Episode

We think Adric’s death was supposed to be a sad moment for Doctor Who

Because drama doesn’t get more dramatic than when a character carks it, does it?

Good example: Buffy The Vampire Slayer “The Body”

Buffy loses her mum – not to a vampire or a demon, but to an ordinary medical condition that strikes without warning. It’s the shock of the mundane; a death that hits out of the blue, as death so often does in real life. Written and directed by Joss Whedon, “The Body” is a masterclass in acting, pacing and even sound design, which is given extra poignancy by the now-famous speech Anya gives in which she just can’t understand why Joyce was there one minute and now she isn’t.

Extraordinary television.

Honourable mention: Blake’s 7‘s final episode, which made death the biggest deal of all.


Bad example: Star Trek: The Next Generation “Skin Of Evil”

It’s always awkward when an actor decides to leave a TV show early, particularly when it hasn’t been around for long. Do you write their character out without a word and hope nobody notices, or do you give a cast member a big send-off that might seem a little out of proportion to how well we know them?

Tasha Yar’s death in season one of TNG was a good example of this: after 23 episodes all we really knew about the Enterprise’s security officer was that she liked to shout a lot and point her gun (oh, and she once bonked Data). Her death at the hands of an oil-monster was deliberately chosen to be senseless – good for drama – but her holographic goodbye at the end of the episode was over-wrought and, frankly, a little unbelievable (did she record it that morning, before she went on the mission? Be prepared and all that…).

Worst of all, poor Denise Crosby had to suffer the indignity of having to lie on a bed, supposedly dead, with a huge splodge of makeup on the side of her face that undermined every ounce of tension or drama from the action. Audiences spent most of her death scene wanting to lick a tissue and wipe the splodge off her cheek.