Gone, but not forgotten

In response to a comment left by Richard in my post about Heroes, I thought I would explain the N.E.R.D. concept.

No-one Ever Really Dies.

That’s pretty much it. It’s the idea that in any story, no matter how dead someone seems to be, there is always the possibility that they could come back in one form or another.

I think it was originally said in relation to comic books, but it can happen in any story.  It tends to be in sci-fi more than any other genre because, let’s face it, if you’re dealing with time-travel, magic, or ridiculous technology you can pretty much do what you want. I was about to start listing some of my favourite examples but it’s a bit tricky - I don’t want to spoil the party for anyone else by revealing something I shouldn’t. But here are some examples you all probably know about:


Superman - He was actually killed off around the mid-90s, probably in an attempt to get some new readers. They bought him back within a year…

Pretty much any/every Doctor Who baddie - Davros and The Master are good examples. They always seem to be left in a burning spaceship, or trapped in time or somesuch. Although when John Sim’s Master got shot it seemed sort of permanent. But it wasn’t, let’s be honest. (I always thought that in the recent series instead of saying “Activate Temporal Shift”, the Daleks should have just said “Activate plot device”).

Buffy - she died at the end of series 5, (”Devoted Sister, Beloved Friend. She saved the world. A lot.”) only to be resurrected at the beginning of the next series. Wasn’t the shark-jumping moment it could have been… Just remembered that Buffy actually died at the end of series 1 as well, but came back to life in the same episode.

Gandalf - I don’t need to explain this one. If you haven’t read Lord of the Rings or seen the films then get the hell off my blog and don’t come back until you’ve at least watched the films.

The soaps do it all the time as well.

Harold Bishop - about five years after being swept into the sea (”Haaaaarooold!”), he came back as Ted, the Salvation Army shop assistant.

Dirty Den - ‘Ello Princess. Don’t know or care much about this one…

Bobby Ewing - a whole series of Dallas turned out to be a dream just so they could bring back a popular character. Awesome.


Jesus of Nazareth - allegedly. I should probably leave that one there for now.

And from the same book - Lazarus. I wonder if his wife was still able to claim on his life insurance?

Gary Barlow - I won’t say that he’s back for good, but I’ll think it…

Wispas - they went, then came back, supposedly for a limited time only. Are they still about?

There are also those characters that do actually die but still remain integral to the plot either in as ghosts or visions, or through vision, time-travel, or whatever other excuse the writer can come up with. Obi-Wan, various Harry Potter characters (I ain’t spoiling nothing…), Darnell in Heroes.Kosh in Babylon 5 (oh dear, I’ve hit an all-time geeky low…)

I’m sure there are thousands more. So hey! Why not tell me your favourite one - click on the comment tab below. Maybe you’ll spoil some really good book, film, or TV programme for someone…


One Response to “Gone, but not forgotten”

  1. Rich Says:

    Thanks for explaining it. I think you’ve covered ‘am all, apart from maybe flares and quiffs.

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