‘Family Guy’ shocked and saddened its fans on Sunday by killing off beloved family dog, Brian. Sweet Brian had been a fixture on the popular television series since its pilot in 1999. Last evening saw his demise, as was struck and killed by a car. Members of the Griffin family gathered around their battered and bruised friend as he breathed his last. Stunned viewers were immediately outraged. However, writers and producers of ‘Family Guy’ felt that it would be easier to handle the loss of the family pet than suffer the loss of a member of the Griffin family.
As upsetting as it was, having the producers of ‘Family Guy’ kill Brian doesn’t even come close to some of the more disturbing TV deaths we have witnessed over the years. Here are the top 5 most shocking television deaths:
5. Matthew Crawley, ‘Downton Abbey’ – The most recent shocking television death. At the end of ‘Downton’s’ third season it seemed as though Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) and Matthew (Dan Stevens) were finally going to have their happy ending. She had just given birth to their son and heir. The final moments of the episode saw Matthew happily driving along a winding road, blissfully unaware that a truck was heading straight for him. We were left with the image of a dead Matthew, eyes open, blood pouring down his face. Should make for an interesting Season 4 premiere. Runner up: Lady Sybil’s sudden death following the birth of her daughter just 3 episodes prior.
4. Gary Shepherd, ‘Thirtysomething’ – Fans of the popular 80’s television series had been preparing themselves for the death of Nancy (Patricia Wettig), as she had been battling ovarian cancer for an entire season. They were totally unprepared for the death of Gary (Peter Horton), who died when his bicycle was struck by a car on the way to the hospital to celebrate the news that Nancy’s cancer was in remission.
3. Dan Conner, ‘Roseanne’ – The final season of ‘Roseanne’ had the Conner family finally finding some happiness. Dan (John Goodman) recovered from his season 8 ending heart attack, Darlene (Sara Gilbert) gave birth to a baby girl, and the family won over $100 million in the lottery. Not so fast. In the final moments of the series finale we find out the entire 9th and final season was a figment of Roseanne’s (Roseanne Barr) imagination and that Dan died following his heart attack the previous year.
2. Roz Shays, ‘ L.A. Law’ – Shays (Diana Muldar) was the lawyer everyone loved to hate. But that’s not entirely shocking. In an almost comical ending, Shays is finally booted from the law firm and, in her final moments, steps into an abandoned elevator shaft and plunges to her death.
1. Henry Blake, ‘M*A*S*H’ – The most shocking, saddest television death of all time. Lt. Colonel Henry Blake (McLean Stevenson) finally receives his discharge from the Army and says a fond farewell to his friends of the 4077th. In the final moments of ‘Abyssinia, Henry’ Radar comes into the operating room to inform the doctors that Blake’s plane was shot down over the Sea of Japan and that there were no survivors. 30 years later and it stays with you.
‘Family Guy’ made the right decision to kill Brian instead of one of the human family members. It still doesn’t make it an easier or less shocking.
By Mary Kay Love