10 TV Characters Who Were Cut from Their Show Too Soon

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We’ll try not to be too spoiler-y about this, but if you don’t want to hear anything about the most recent episode of True Blood, you’ll want to skip the next paragraph.

Now that we have that out of the way — Sunday’s True Blood sure ended on a cliffhanger, didn’t it? We’ll have to wait until next week to learn whether one of favorite characters really does bite the dust. But in the mean time, all that fretting made us think about characters we loved who were cut from their show too soon. Our top ten are after the jump; add yours in the comments.

Queen Sophie-Anne Leclerq, True Blood

From Christian fundamentalists to werepanthers, Sookie and co. have faced more than their share of villains. But our favorite was always Queen Sophie-Anne, the gorgeous, 500-year-old vampire who ruled Louisiana. Played to bitchy perfection by Evan Rachel Wood, we learned in the first episode of Season 5 that her fight with Bill — which looked like it wasn’t going to go well for him — ended in the queen’s death at the hands of American Vampire League operatives. We already miss the dose of dark glamour she brought to the show.

Charlie Pace, Lost

Yes, sure, we guess the new, barely comprehensible morality of the show’s final season explained why Charlie left us so soon, his nihilistic, addict lifestyle redeemed by true love. But he was always our favorite character on Lost; as music fans, we enjoyed his one-hit-wonder story line (both as comedy and tragedy), and we missed his intrinsic sweetness after he was killed off at the end of Season 3. One of the only things we liked about Season 6’s “flash-sideways” gimmick was that it allowed for Dominic Monaghan’s return to the show.

Paul Kinsey, Mad Men

If Pete Campbell is Mad Men‘s resident preppy, then Michael Gladis’s Paul Kinsey balanced him out as Sterling Cooper’s resident fauxhemian. Partial to jazz, drink, and marijuana, he’s the first character to embrace civil rights and interracial dating, drawing whispers among his colleagues. Sadly, when the time comes for the Sterling Cooper execs to found a new start-up, Paul doesn’t make the cut. We understand why Don picked Peggy instead, but the bearded copywriter will always have a place in our heart.

Brenda Walsh, Beverly Hills, 90210

Oh, sure, they tried to replace her with new brunette bad girls, but we never liked one-dimensional Valerie and Gina as much as artsy, brooding Brenda. As far as we’re concerned, the show was never the same after she went away to study drama in London. Although the character was only supposed to be abroad for a year, the friction between Shannen Doherty and her cast mates ensured that Brenda never returned.

Daniel “Oz” Osbourne, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

What can we say? We’ve definitely got a soft spot for the rocker. Seth Green’s Oz was Willow’s super-smart, adoring musician boyfriend throughout much of high school. But their romance flames out soon after they go off to college at UC Sunnydale, when he realizes that he needs to get his werewolf nature under control. (You know, normal teenage problems!) By the time Oz returns from Tibet, where he’s learned to control his transformations, Willow isn’t even interested in men anymore. It’s too bad, because we were always big fans of his band, Dingoes Ate My Baby.

Constance Carmell, Party Down

First of all, let’s just acknowledge that Party Down itself was canceled far too early. Now we can move on to talking about the brilliant Jane Lynch’s Constance Carmell. An aging D-list actress and party girl known for telling eye-popping stories of ’70s debauchery, she was easily the show’s funniest character. Unfortunately, Lynch’s role on Glee (which we love — but not as much as we loved Constance) forced her to leave Party Down after only eight episodes. Her Season 2 replacement, Megan Mullally, did her best to pick up the slack but just didn’t compare. One good thing did come out of the series’s premature demise, though: we got to see Constance one more time, and at the altar, no less.

Celia Hodes, Weeds

Let’s not kid ourselves: Elizabeth Perkins was the best thing about Weeds. As Nancy Botwin’s type-A frenemy, Celia Hodes, she antagonized her daughter, cheated on her husband, and tried to sabotage Nancy’s weed business at every opportunity. She also undergoes cancer treatment, spends time in jail, and (we would argue) eventually becomes a more sympathetic character than the increasingly tiresome Nancy. Now, Weeds — which, for some reason, we are still watching — should have ended when its setting, suburban Agrestic, California, burned down after Season 3. But, if it had to keep going, the writers never should have gotten rid of Celia.

Mark Brendanawicz, Parks and Recreation

In the beginning, Parks and Rec stuck close to The Office‘s successful formula; if Leslie Knope was the show’s Michael Scott, then Mark Brendanawicz was its wise-cracking normal dude, Jim Halpert. We’ll admit Paul Schneider’s character wasn’t terribly distinctive, and his story line pretty much ran its course after he and Ann broke up. We won’t argue that trading him for Adam Scott and Rob Lowe wasn’t a good deal. Even so, we always found Mark endearing, and we can’t help but miss him.

Tyra Collette, Friday Night Lights

When half the FNL cast graduated and the Taylor family moved their coaching dynasty across town at the end of Season 3, we tried to be mature about it. This show was about realism, and keeping the original high schoolers around into college would have been a weak move. So we had no trouble saying good-bye to Lyla Garrity, and we even got over Matt Saracen’s relocation to Chicago. But we never stopped missing strong, smart, determined Tyra or wondering about her life at college. On the bright side, at least we got to keep Tim Riggins.

Eric van der Woodsen, Gossip Girl

Yes, it’s true. We learned yesterday that Gossip Girl — which has already announced that Taylor Momsen and Jessica Szohr are off the show — has dropped Connor Paolo, who will be moving to ABC’s Revenge. What’s frustrating about this move, which coincides with Eric starting college at Sarah Lawrence in the fall, is that we always felt like the show under-utilized the character. Too often, he was relegated to gay-best-friend or sympathetic-brother status, when we’re sure that he could have supported his own primary story lines. Oh, Eric. We hardly knew ye!