4. Winifred "Fred" Burkle (Angel)
Fred was perhaps one of the most beloved characters on Angel until, of course, a demon god invaded her body and hollowed out Fred's soul, which tends to put a damper on likability. Making matters worse is it's a very slow, painful death, and the god continues walking around in her body. It's like the old saying, "If you got it, flaunt it, but if you got it by sucking the life out of a character we loved, maybe also check your hubris." Also, why did the demon magically change the hair to blue but didn't change the rest of the body? If she had the power to change hair color, couldn't she just have grown a big ugly nose so she didn't look so much like our buddy, Fred? Her last words were, "Why can't I stay?" Because, Fred...because Joss Whedon was bored that day.
3. Topher Brink (Dollhouse)
Dollhouse was a secretly great show - after growing out of it's awkward first season puberty, it emerged as a smart, interesting show filled with equally smart, interesting characters...all ripe for Josswhedonicide. Topher became the mouthpiece for Whedon's quips - essentially a genius with spazzy, neurotic Woody Allen tendencies. It was clear Whedon had a great deal of affection for the character. In other words, he had to suffer. In the very end, he sacrificed himself to save everyone in the world from an apocalyptic dystopia. Why does such a cute funny guy have to die for the greater good? Wasn't there anyone ugly and boring to kill? Who says the greater good is that good anyway that it deserves a sacrifice? I think if it were me I'd just send the greater good a card with five dollars in it.
2. Buffy's Mom (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
Most deaths on Buffy were big, momentous, sacrificial, emotional ones: Buffy leaping to her death to save her sister, Spike burning up to help close the Hellmouth, Tara being shot right after reuniting with Willow (also, most of those didn't actually stick). Buffy's Mom was different - after a season of her being in continuous danger and dealing with medical issues, she's up and dies without any warning. There's no villain killing her or a greater cause she's giving her life for - she dies of a brain aneurysm, off-screen, while sitting at home alone. What follows is one of the most brutal episodes in television history, with Buffy and her friends dealing with the death and their collective grief. In a world where everything is supernatural and bizarre, it's something simple and realistic that no one is able to understand. But if anyone understands death, it's Joss Whedon.
1. Hoban "Wash" Washburne (Firefly/Serenity)
Of all the horrible deaths Joss Whedon has subjected us to, Wash's death seems the most unfair and unnecessary. First of all, Whedon already killed off Shepard Book, whose death served as a Coulson-esque motivation for the heroes (also a solid death scene). Secondly, the death is pure shock value. Wash navigates the Serenity to a graceful crash landing during a battle, saving everyone's life. Then - BAM! A spike through Wash's chest. Wash died instantly, just as the audience exhales in relief for his safety. There was no further motivation needed for our heroes, there was no great sacrifice - it was simply the most unexpected, sudden, and final of these deaths, as the characters don't even have a chance to grieve for their fallen friend.
Joss Whedon is still at large, whereabouts unknown, but is preparing The Avengers 2. Pray for the lives of those involved - when you're in a Joss Whedon story, every breath could be your last.