It's easy to take for granted in this post-Buffy, post-24 TV era of Game of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire and the like (hell, the new Fox show The Following was damn near marketed with the premise "Expect shocking deaths!" to victorious ratings), but this was a big, big innovation that really gave serialized drama the freedom to be bold and surprising and have real stakes in a way they just plain weren't allowed to for the first, oh, four decades of the medium's lifespan. Today a character death is simply one of the thousand tricks in the dramatic TV toolbox, not only accepted but a popular enough trope that fans can get restless and complain if a life-or-death-stakes serialized drama goes too long without one.
Thus my latest monthly feature, TV Obituaries. It's exactly what it sounds like: At the end of each month, I'll highlight prominent TV characters to kick the bucket since the last column. Obviously, even a TV nerd as pathetic as me doesn't watch everything, so I'm sure to miss major deaths here and there, but I'll aim for completion at least within the realm of shows I watch (and if people wish to let me know in comments who I've missed, I'll strongly consider adding them). Now let's get started with January 2013.
Spoilers follow for Fringe, Justified and Last Resort.