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Top 10 TV Characters Who Have Come Back From The Dead

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Craig Butler Nothing is certain but death and taxes – and on TV, even death isn’t always a certainty. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the top 10 TV characters who’ve come back from the dead. For this list, we’re focusing on characters that’ve returned after either dying or being presumed dead. We are excluding characters from anime and from daytime soap operas, cause they deserve their own lists. And obviously, SPOILER ALERT. Special thanks to our users mariebrie2000, Fro2789, thenewjord50, James Kerslake, Andrew A. Dennison, PatrickCervantez, Christopher Querry, Meghan Kilroy and mariebrie2000 for submitting the idea through our Suggest Tool at WatchMojo.comSuggest
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Script written by Craig Butler

Top 10 TV Characters Who Have Come Back From The Dead


Nothing is certain but death and taxes – and on TV, even death isn’t always a certainty. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 TV characters who’ve come back from the dead.

For this list, we’re focusing on characters that’ve returned after either dying or being presumed dead. We are excluding characters from anime and from daytime soap operas, cause they deserve their own lists. And obviously, SPOILER ALERT.

#10: Fox Mulder
“The X-Files” (1993-2002)

“The X-Files” told viewers to trust no one – so it’s not surprising that Agent Mulder’s death wasn’t exactly permanent. Mulder went through an alien abduction, after which his dead body was recovered – and buried. End of story? No, because three months later, the body is dug up – and even though it’s decomposing, it still has vital signs, including a double heartbeat. It all involved an alien virus that was transforming Mulder into a new being – but fortunately Sully found a way to restore him.

#9: Sara Tancredi
“Prison Break” (2005-09)

The doctor at Fox River State Penitentiary, Sara Tancredi became increasingly involved with the prisoners under her care – and that created some problems. Like, when she helped inmates escape and later killed a man. So, Sara ended up dead, with her head sent to her friends in a box. The real cause of death, though, wasn’t beheading: it was a contract dispute between the actress and the producers. Once that was cleared up, it turned out Sara’s death was faked; hey, one severed head looks a lot like another.

#8: John Locke
“Lost” (2004-10)

The world of “Lost” was so complex that even explaining life and death gets a little involved. The character of John Locke eventually left the strange Island around which the series centered. He tried to convince others who had left the Island that they needed to go back. Locke was then killed by Benjamin Linus, who made the death look like a suicide. When focus returned to the Island, Locke was there, quote-unquote alive again – in some form or another, at least.

#7: Nathan Young
“Misfits” (2009-13)

It can be dangerous to be outside in a storm, but not for Nathan Young. In “Misfits,” he and a bunch of other kids performing outdoor community service came away from a particularly nasty one with superpowers. Nathan didn’t know he had changed right away, however; it wasn’t until he fell off a roof to his death and then woke up in a coffin that he realized he had become immortal. Didn’t last, though; he eventually traded his immortality for a reality warping power so he could be a magician.

#6: Brian Griffin
“Family Guy” (1999-2003; 2005-)

Dedicated followers of “Family Guy” were caught dead in their tracks when Brian, the talking canine, was hit by a car during season 12 and actually died. A furious outcry greeted Brian’s death, with many fans threatening to stop watching the show if something wasn’t done about this. Fortunately, “Family Guy’s” creators had things well in hand; two episodes later, Stewie was able to get his hands on a time machine to prevent the doggie death from ever occurring.

#5: Rory Williams
“Dr. Who” (1963-89; 2005-)

“The boy who waited” was a companion of the 11th Doctor whose multiple deaths were so well known that even the Silence, one of the Doctor’s enemies, joked about it. Some of Rory’s deaths were imaginary, happened in alternate timelines or were faked - but some of them were real. Most memorably, Rory was erased from the timeline and never existed – yet somehow came back as a Roman centurion auton that helped save the universe. Now that’s a neat trick.

#4: Sherlock Holmes
“Sherlock” (2010-)

Series 2 of the BBC’s phenomenal updating of Sherlock Holmes ended with the titular detective jumping off a roof to his death - the only way to foil a Moriarty plot to kill his best friends. Naturally, Holmes survived, but exactly how is open to debate. Sherlock’s professed version of events – which involved colleagues secretly moving in an inflatable cushion and keeping Dr. Watson occupied while his live body was replaced with that of a dead lookalike – may have been the truth. Or not.

#3: Buffy Summers
“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (1997-2003)

Dealing with death and the undead were par for the course for Buffy and her Scooby gang, so it’s probably not surprising that Buffy herself cashed in her chips – and not once, but twice. In season one, Buffy is killed by the Master, but some handy CPR brought her back around in no time. In season five, she sacrifices herself to close a portal into another dimension; fortunately, Willow finds a spell to resurrect her – though it’s five months later and after she’s been buried.

#2: Kenny McCormick
“South Park” (1997-)

Kenny McCormick, the orange parka-wearing member of the “South Park” gang, is famous for dying with alarming frequency. It started with the very first episode, where after being blasted by aliens and trampled by cattle, a police car finishes him off. Kenny has died repeatedly, and in some imaginative ways: Michael Jackson, as Martin Jefferson, mistaking him for Blanket, Ozzy Osbourne biting his head off, inappropriate use of a tampon, overdose of antacids. Kenny always returns, usually with little or no explanation – and honestly, who needs one?

Before we reveal our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

Murdoc
“MacGyver” (1985-92)

Beric Dondarrion
“Game of Thrones” (2011-)

Jeremy Gilbert
“The Vampire Diaries” (2009-)

Daniel Jackson
“Stargate SG-1” (1997-2007)

Jaime Sommers
“The Six Million Dollar Man” (1973-78) / “The Bionic Woman” (1976-78)

Gabriel Gray / Sylar
“Heroes” (2006-10)

Sam & Dean Winchester
“Supernatural” (2005-)

#1: Bobby Ewing
“Dallas” (1978-91)

The prize for coming back from the dead goes to a character whose return outraged many fans. Not that they didn’t love Bobby Ewing; he was one of the most popular characters on the hit prime time drama “Dallas” and his death in season 8 devastated many viewers. But season 9 ended with his ex-wife waking to find him in the shower – revealing that everything that happened since his death had been nothing but a dream. Many felt cheated; others felt elated. But no one ever forgot Bobby’s return.

Agree with our choices? What other TV characters that returned from the dead deserve to be on this list? For more enthralling top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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