With Russian Doll set to return to Netflix on April 20, fans are eager to see if Nadia Vulvokov and Alan Zaveri are doomed to repeat their cycles of death and rebirth now that they have escaped their time loops. While the series is one of the more recent, it is far from the only one that has utilized the trope of bringing back dead characters.
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On many shows, a majority of the cast refused to stay buried. Sometimes this worked to establish the lore and themes of the series. Other times, the frequent resurrections lowered the stakes and lessened investment.
10 Teen Wolf
The werewolves of Teen Wolf have been resurrected by the full moon many times. The Dread Doctors of season five also practiced reanimation in their quest to bring back The Beast of Gevaudan. Additionally, the show has used ritual magic to kill and restore human characters like Stiles Stilinski and Allison Argent.
Naturally, fans were confused when Allison remained dead after season three. Had the series wanted to, it could have found a way to bring her back. There were solid behind-the-scenes reasons for her demise, but they failed to make sense in the show. Thankfully, the series creators have confirmed that Allison will return in the Teen Wolf movie set to premiere on Paramount+ later this year.
9 Red Dwarf
Whenever fans fear that the boys from the Dwarf are gone for good, the series brings the crew back for another run. Dave Lister, Cat, Arnold Rimmer, and Kryten have been resurrected by a time paradox and nanobots. Inexplicably they also returned after a ten-year hiatus in the mini-series ‘Back to Earth.’
The series has continually jumped the shark to resurrect the crew, but fans of the show have stuck with it. Sure, some of the explanations are ridiculous, but they fit the campy tone of the series. The crew has since continued their space hijinks. Their most recent revival was ‘The Promised Land’ in 2020.
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8 The Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina didn’t wait long to establish that the dead could return. In episode three, Zelda Spellman resurrected Hilda in the Cain Pit. Additionally, Sabrina Spellman has magically revived herself and others many times. In one of the most bizarre twists of the series, she even went back in time to reverse numerous deaths.
The witch crossed over for the last time in the series finale. In the controversial episode, Sabrina’s boyfriend Nicholas Scratch took his own life to be with her. Sabrina addressed this constant resurrection in a subtle way when she reappeared on the sister series Riverdale explaining, “There is no death for witches. Only transformation.”
7 Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Death has never stopped Buffy Summers. She’s died twice, and that’s not counting when she came back as a vampire in ‘Nightmares’ or when the Master killed her in ‘The Wish.’ Additionally, Angel has gone to Hell and back, others have returned as supernatural beings, and Spike and Darla were reborn on the spin-off series Angel.
Though the most tragic death was that of Buffy’s mother Joyce, who died of a brain aneurysm. Buffy’s sister Dawn attempted a resurrection spell only to destroy it. She realized that it was selfish to reverse the natural order and that those that return, rarely come back as they were. This lesson was solidified when Willow resurrected Buffy, believing that she was in Hell only to find out that she had pulled her out of Heaven.
No one on Charmed is ever really gone. The Halliwell sisters have used magic to revive themselves and others countless times. It also helped that they had Whitelighter Leo on hand. After dying and coming back twice, the only sister that remained dead was Prue after actress Shannon Doherty left the show at the end of season three.
The core of the show was family. Each resurrection proved that nothing could break their familial bonds. Those that passed on sometimes returned as ghosts. Their mother Patty and grandmother Penny were a constant presence. They returned for important events like the introduction of Paige, the wiccaning of Piper’s sons, and Piper and Leo’s wedding.
5 The Flash
Barry Allen has repeatedly used time travel to save his friends and the world. Arrow and the Paragons have also resurrected Team Flash by creating a new universe. There were also individual resurrections like Caitlin Frost becoming Killer Frost and Iris West-Allen reviving Barry with a kiss like something out of a fairy tale.
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Arguably there are few stakes on this show. While time travel is an integral part of The Flash, the creators have struggled to find inventive ways to incorporate it. However, the strength of the series is its charismatic characters. So long as they keep coming back, fans will tune in to see their adventures in the ever-expanding Arrowverse.
4 The Vampire Diaries
On The Vampire Diaries, death is a temporary inconvenience. Immortal characters shake off fatalities as though they were minor flesh wounds. Stefan Salvatore recovered from drowning over a thousand times. Numerous characters have also returned as vampires, ghosts, and in the case of Tyler Lockwood, a werewolf-vampire hybrid.
The show went off the rails with convenient plot devices. The Gilbert ring resurrected countless humans, and there was even a cure for vampirism. Magic has also been used to bring back characters to excess. This magic was not without consequence. It killed Bonnie Bennet, who existed as a ghost until the realm crumbled, allowing her and Damon Salvatore to escape and live another day.
If Supernatural represented any of the five stages of grief, it would be bargaining. Nearly every member of the Winchester family has made a deal to reverse or prevent death. The Winchesters have gone to Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven. They’ve even been to Oz, where their friend Charlie Bradbury was killed and resurrected.
The show amassed a cult fan base that stuck with it through some of its more ridiculous storylines. No one expected the brothers to remain dead, but it was devastating to witness the demise of others like Charlie and Bobby Singer. Fans always welcomed back beloved characters whether they returned as alternate versions from other dimensions, ghosts, or restored through divine intervention.
2 Doctor Who
Doctor Who is one of the longest-running TV shows thanks to The Doctor’s ability to regenerate. Each time The Doctor dies, the Time Lord is reborn with a new face. The Master, another time lord, has also come back countless times. Of course, there is also a bunch of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff that has resurrected The Doctor’s friends.
Related: Every Doctor On Doctor Who, Ranked By Likability
Time and space travel is an essential part of the show’s lore. It’s worked on the show because the creators have continually found ways to use it creatively. The series rarely pulls the same stunts twice. Whether by using resurrection to introduce a mystery like the Impossible Girl, Clara Oswin Oswald, or creating an iconic immortal character like Jack Harkness.
Nearly the entire crew of the Planet Express died between seasons five and six. Professor Farnsworth brought them back using the birthing machine. In another memorable episode, “Meanwhile,” Fry plummeted to his death repeatedly in a time loop. The show also delved into the supernatural when Bender died and returned as a ghost.
To say the show jumped the shark is too dismissive. Unlike many animated shows, Futurama was very character-driven. The writers used death and rebirth to delve deep into the characters through a combination of comedy and authentic scientific theories. The show itself has also regenerated. It came back after cancellations in the form of movies and a new series. Futurama is due to be revived again on Hulu in 2023.
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About The Author
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Hayley is an obsessive horror movie fan. She’s better known on YouTube as Gory B Movie and hosts a horror review show by the same name. You can also find her with her husband and son on Horror Addicts.
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