TV's biggest mistakes, as regretted by their makers

Ian Sandwell
Photo credit: UPN

From Digital Spy

Even the best shows of all time don't manage to avoid making a mistake here and there across their runs.

Sometimes, the mistake is so bad that showrunners have had to publicly apologise to fans. Those ones generally involve a controversial death, but we're interested in the decisions that, years later, the people who made them still regret.

Here are seven of the most notable.

1. Fringe – Peter's disappearance

Photo credit: Fox

Peter was erased from existence for parts of Fringe season four, a plot twist that fits right into the weird world of the cult sci-fi show, but one that showrunner Joel Wyman has admitted "didn't work".

"I look back at it and consider it one of our missteps," he reflected. "It didn't work as well as we all thought it would. We liked it and thought it was cool. But no matter how many times we told people, 'No, Peter is still part of the show...' everybody was saying, 'Peter is not on the show so I'm not watching anymore!'. They didn't get it."

2. Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Killing Tara

Photo credit: 20th Century Fox

Season six of Buffy the Vampire Slayer divides fans like no other and part of that is because of the decision to kill off Tara towards the end of the season, setting up the Dark Willow storyline and robbing the show of its groundbreaking relationship.

The showrunner for that season, Marti Noxon, has recently explained that she regrets that death, as well as the other darker elements of season six that "went too far". "We pushed into some categories that almost felt sadistic and that Buffy was volunteering for things that were beyond just 'bad choices' and were almost irresponsible for the character," she noted. "And I think that killing Tara was – in retrospect, of all the people, did she have to die?"

3. New Girl – Schmidt's politics

An episode of New Girl season six sees Jess and Cece campaigning for Hillary Clinton, leading to Schmidt revealing his support for Paul Ryan, the then-Speaker of the House, for the US presidency in 2020, avoiding mentioning Donald Trump who would go on to win the election.

Following the time jump in the final season, Schmidt's Republican support was never mentioned again. "It may be an episode that I regret," Max Greenfield outlined. "I just imagine [Paul Ryan] running at some point and them playing that clip and me being like, 'Oh f**k'."

4. Little Britain – Transphobic jokes

Photo credit: BBC

Looking back on the hit BBC comedy Little Britain, co-creator Matt Lucas revealed that there is a lot he could change about it. "I wouldn't make those jokes about transvestites. I wouldn't play black characters. Basically, I wouldn't make that show now. It would upset people," he said.

"We made a more cruel kind of comedy than I'd do now. Society has moved on a lot since then, and my own views have evolved. There was no bad intent there – the only thing you could accuse us of was greed. We just wanted to show off about what a diverse bunch of people we could play."

5. This Is Us – Jack's death fake out

Photo credit: NBC Universal

We knew that Jack had died fairly early on in This Is Us, but the mystery was always how he died. Towards the end of the first season, it looked like Jack's death was a result of him driving drunk to his wife's gig in an attempt to rescue his marriage – a journey that he ended up surviving, leading to fan frustration.

"That was a head fake on our part," confessed creator Dan Fogelman. "While I thought it was like, 'Oh, that's cool, interesting timing', and people might think that's coming, I didn't realise the narrative around that moment would get so strong. If I could take back a moment, that's the moment I'd take back, just to have slowed the spread of our story."

6. The Walking Dead – That bloody dumpster

Photo credit: Gene Page - AMC

Before Glenn was brutally dispatched by Negan in The Walking Dead, we were all 'treated' to one of the most obvious twists of all time when he somehow survived being under a dumpster, surrounded by walkers and with no weapons to fight back with.

Steven Yeun has since explained how he believed the whole moment wasn't meant "to deceive" and serves as a good "case study" of how not to deal with such a situation, but admits that it will follow him around forever. "I will probably forever get dumpster jokes for the rest of my life. My kid will ask me, 'Why?' and I will say, 'I have no idea'," he accepted.

7. Breaking Bad – Jesse's teeth

Photo credit: AMC

You'd think Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan might regret some of the darker moments like killing poor Jane or brutally dispatching Hank, but no, it's the "little details" that keep him awake at night like Jesse's teeth. "If I stopped to think about it, I would change them," he explained.

"I'm really sorry Jesse's teeth were so perfect. Aaron Paul's teeth are so perfect, rather – Jesse Pinkman, the character, would get the living hell beaten out of him every week. And then he smoked a lot of meth, which is rough on your teeth!"

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