The writers on ER, Lost, and Doctor Who all saved characters from imminent death—for a variety of reasons.
Killing off a popular TV character is a surefire way to get your show noticed. Of course, there are characters who are killed temporarily, with every intention of returning (Buffy in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, for example); characters who return later, with some crazy explanation, to improve the ratings (Bobby Ewing in Dallas); and others who return to life to provide exciting dramatic twists (Tony Almeida in 24).
Then there are characters who are supposed to die, but are saved, for any number of reasons.
A version of this post originally appeared on Mental Floss, an Atlantic partner site.