As everyone is fully aware, 2017 was an endlessly devastating year for pop culture, as fans mourned the loss of entertainers like David Cassidy, Jerry Lewis, Tom Petty, Harry Dean Stanton and more. It's not like watching TV for escapism helped very much, since major TV deaths were seemingly at an all-time high all across the the board. From parents to spouses to leaders to warriors and everyone in between, all manner of TV characters left the small screen in 2017, and in an abundance of different, and sometimes horrifying, ways.

Grab a pack of tissues, or perhaps a bag of party favors, as we go through all the biggest and most impactful TV deaths of 2017. Given the nature of this feature, let it be known that SPOILERS ARE EVERYWHERE, so if you haven't been faithfully watching everything on television lately, you might get a few surprises. Be warned.

rayna nashville

Rayna James - Nashville

Though Nashville found new life at CMT after its broadcast cancellation, not all of its main characters survived the show's first season at its new home. In the middle of Season 5, Connie Britton's golden-voiced Rayna James found herself the victim of a stalker and then the victim of a car accident. She did not survive the latter, though, and Nashville was forever altered. Perhaps she'll be remembered fondly in the show's final season?

stick the defenders

Stick - The Defenders

One of many small screen MCU characters to show up in Netflix's mash-up adventure The Defenders, Scott Glenn's gruff mentor Stick attempted to ensure Matt & Co.'s safety, but eventually found himself at the receiving end of Elektra's deadly swordplay. It was one of the season's biggest shocks, but perhaps it's not a worst-case scenario, since Elektra herself proves the MCU is no stranger to resurrecting characters.

donna kevin can wait

Donna Gable - Kevin Can Wait

Donna Gable's passing was one of the most talked-about deaths on network TV in 2017, and it didn't even happen on screen. In fact, it barely happened on Kevin Can Wait itself, with actress Erinn Hayes' absence initially explained away with a lame and viewer-enraging gag. Donna's death was essentially a way to get Leah Remini back on screen with her former TV co-star Kevin James, and while the show's ratings have dipped some, it's unclear if Donna's death is the main cause.

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