7 thoughts on “What Was the Most Heroic TV Sacrifice?

  1. The two that immediately come to mind are Marcus Cole from Babylon 5 and the Tenth Doctor, but in both cases, their sacrifice was just for one person.

    Marcus gave up his life so Ivanova could live. In true hero fashion, he did so quietly (well, after barricading himself inside MedLab). It was definitely an intimate sacrifice, no heroic speeches, or any of that, just simply giving up his life so Ivanova could live.

    The Doctor was similar with his sacrifice to save Wilf.

    Of course, those two bring to mind Spock in Wrath of Khan. Like Marcus and the Tenth Doctor he sealed himself up to sacrifice himself for others. He truly defined “The Needs of the Many Outweigh the Needs of the Few or the One.” Were it not for his sacrifice, the crew of the Enterprise would not have survived.

  2. Ironhorse in first ep of the second season of War of The Worlds always stuck with me…but think it’s just that I had come to love that character so much (after not liking him when the show started). Then again…that episode is a notorious “series finale/reboot” so….

  3. If season finales are okay – how about Buffy the Vampire Slayer sacrificing her life at the end of season 5 saving the world from Glory’s spells.

    For an alternative, Spooks would regularly kill off major cast and one of the lees, Adam Carter, died in the first episode of season 7 after driving a car with a bomb in it to an unpopulated area so he was the only person killed when it exploded

  4. I usually post TV animation examples to these things so for this I’ll go with Hanuman the Monkey King from “The Magnificent Seven,” the first season finale to MIGHTY MAX. Yes, it was based on a toyline as many cartoons in the 1980s-1990s were. It ran 40 episodes across two seasons in broadcast syndication from 1993-1994, and some local and cable stations were still running it until the end of the 90s. It was also much, much better than you’d think the boy version of POLLY POCKET should be. The tone of the show was mostly serious, especially when episodes furthered the long term subplot of the main villain, Skullmaster (voiced by Tim Curry).

    In this season finale, Max and his mentor Virgil and bodyguard Norman have to go into Skull Mountain underground to destroy a gem which Skullmaster will use to unleash an unstoppable zombie army on the world. Virgil insists they recruit four other elder heroes to aid them, with the caveat being all of them are destined to die in the effort because Max is the current “mighty one.” Hanuman the Monkey King (a Hindu god) is the most unwilling to go, since he’s a pacifist who would rather goof around and enjoy life. After Max (a normal kid with a portal generating cap with zero combat skills) tricks Skullmaster into destroying the gem, Hanuman is the first to die while grappling the villain to buy Max time to escape. Believing in reincarnation, Hanuman hopes he’ll return as a butterfly. His death happens off panel, but Skullmaster later tosses Max his mangled helmet, which (beyond some usually chilling dialogue) implies it was pretty violent. The rest of the elder heroes sacrifice themselves to buy Max and his friends time to escape, and Max rests Hanuman’s helmet atop a grave when they get home. Afterward, a butterfly passes. I was about 11 when I saw that episode, and it stuck.

    For an unlikely example, how about the first episode of 1989’s BABAR, “Babar’s First Step”? You think you’re getting a quaint children’s cartoon show with a playful flashback scene of baby elephants frolicking in the water, and then a hunter shows up. Not only that, Babar’s mother sacrifices herself to buy the rest of the herd time to escape, taking a rifle blast to the head ON SCREEN. If kids thought Bambi’s mother’s off screen death was traumatizing, they didn’t see anything yet. The first 5 episodes deal with the aftermath of that in flashbacks, until the hunter’s finally defeated (by his own forest fire) in “Babar’s Triumph.”

    And for a bronze, “Growing Pains,” a 1998 episode of BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES (then on Kid’s WB and retitled, “The New Gotham Adventures”). Robin encounters a amnesiac girl his age named Annie who is in trouble, and they befriend each other. She seems to be on the run from her abusive “father,” who turns out to be Clayface. They learn Annie was a piece of Clayface that he made as a scout, which became independent and forgot her original purpose. Considering her a different person, Robin tries to defend her, but Annie sacrifices herself by remerging with Clayface to save Robin from being overpowered. Even some of my tough guy pals in high school noticed that one.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *