Here’s the thing: We understand that TV characters aren’t real people, but it still hurts when our favorites suddenly die on us, making the past calendar year especially rough for Team TVLine.
Sure, there were a few deaths we saw coming — like Riverdale‘s Fred Andrews, who received an emotional sendoff several months after his portrayer, Luke Perry, died in real life — but some of this year’s losses were so unexpected, we’re still struggling to accept that the characters are really gone.
Our list begins with a bittersweet Grey’s Anatomy goodbye from way back in January, and it concludes with a tragic All American loss from just last week. The in-between includes a Stranger Things favorite, an animated queen and a multi-spiked massacre on The Walking Dead.
A few quick notes: The deaths in this gallery are presented in chronological order, as we couldn’t have possibly ranked them from least to most heartbreaking. We’re not monsters. As further proof of our good nature, we should also remind you that this list is loaded with spoilers. If you aren’t caught up on all your favorite shows, you might want to consider circling back later.
Most importantly, we limited our selection to one death per show, so if you’re wondering why one of your personal TV tragedies didn’t make the cut, that’s probably why.
Browse our gallery of the year’s 25 most tragic TV deaths — you can click here for direct access — then drop a comment with your own picks below. Which small-screen losses hit you the hardest in 2019?