Question: Don't you find the new trend to announce the character's death (à la Las Vegas and Smallville) a cheap ploy? To me, it screams ratings rather than plot development. I still remember how my jaw dropped when Doyle (Angel), Fred (Angel), Tara (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and, hell, even Buffy herself died. Part of the emotional impact of such events is having no idea that they're coming. Not only does it seem like the pimping of a death for ratings, it also cheapens all other suspenseful moments of the show. Part of the thrill in watching a Joss Whedon show is that you are not sure that everyone will always make it out. If you know Smallville's going to make a big announcement months in advance, then you never have to worry when you're watching the show. I think that really takes away from the death of a beloved character. What are your thoughts?
Answer: First off, thanks to Michael Ausiello for this question referral. (A little-known secret among us columnists is how well we play together, sharing questions more appropriate to one's POV than another; for instance, many historical trivia and music questions go to our trusty Televisionary.) But I digress. Yes, Katelyn, I agree that the hype surrounding these pivotal fatalities can be annoying, but in the case of Smallville, this was also an acknowledgment of the landmark 100th episode (typically an occasion for a major twist), and it allowed the producers to play with fans' expectations on who would die, when and how. If the episode had disappointed, which it didn't, that would be another matter. Always best to separate the hype from the actual episode. (Case in point: Las Vegas blowing Lara Flynn Boyle off the rooftop, one of the stupidest things I've seen all season.) Also, if you're going to try to hold the rest of TV up to the level of Joss Whedon's creative integrity, you're setting yourself up for nonstop disappointment.