Which characters have the saddest backstories?

15 Sad Series: The Most Emotional Series of All Time

Since streaming services like Amazon Prime and Netflix entered series production, we have been almost overwhelmed with excellent series. Many of these series are extremely emotional, and the long running time of a series allows us to get used to characters longer and learn to hate or love them. It is also quite possible that the death of a character affects us more emotionally if we have accompanied a character over many seasons. Some series, on the other hand, touch us with the topics they address.

1. The Handmaid’s Tale


In a world where pollution and nuclear disasters have gradually made many people sterile, order is being turned upside down. The world is being reorganized. Women lose all rights over their bank accounts, over their careers, over their bodies. In municipalities, so-called maids - women of childbearing potential - have to bear children for their commander. In The Handmaid’s Tale, viewer follows June Osborne, who has lost both her husband and little daughter after the new measures were introduced. June doesn't know if her family is still alive or has been murdered.

In Handmaid’s Tale, people have to make tremendous decisions to save their own lives, or perhaps even to sacrifice them. Few series in recent years are as dark and painful to watch as The Handmaid’s Tale - by far one of the most emotional series. The series is based on a novel by Margaret Atwood.

2. Rectify


The series Rectify ("correct" / "reparation") has 4 seasons and ran from 2013 to 2016. It is about Daniel Holden, who is accused of rape and murder and ends up in prison. The death penalty awaits him. The reason for his imprisonment were testimony that he allegedly raped and strangled his 16-year-old girlfriend Hanna. After 19 years in prison, however, DNA analysis reveals that the DNA on the girl's body did not come from Daniel Holden. As a result, Daniel is released from prison and has to build a new life in his hometown, where much has changed. However, one of Daniel's accusers is still convinced of his guilt and because of his high standing in society, Daniel faces a strong opponent.

Rectify offers viewers a gripping and emotional character study in the depths of the American South.

3. A Million Little Things


The series A Million Little Things is about a group of friends trying to deal with the suicide of a mutual friend. The extremely successful businessman Jon unexpectedly takes his own life after a negotiation. His immediate environment is shocked by his sudden death, his life as a family man and businessman seemed almost perfect. With the news of his suicide, he triggers a rethink among his friends. The friends wonder whether they are living their lives completely to their satisfaction and whether perhaps they could have prevented their friend's death. Over time, cracks appear in Jon's seemingly perfect life and his friends also notice that their lives are far from perfect.

4. Six Feet Under


In five seasons, the series Six Feet Under tells the story of the Fisher family, whose lives changed when father and husband Nathaniel Fisher died in a car accident. The undertaker bequeaths his business to his sons Nate and David.

In the course of the series, topics such as self-discovery, the dissolution of patriarchal structures, mental illness, racial conflicts, homosexuality and drug addiction are addressed. Each episode begins with a death and burial by the Fisher family. The reasons for the death range from funny to deeply sad. However, not only are the deaths very emotional, but also developments within the Fisher family.

5. 13 Reasons Why


The US series 13 Reasons Why (Dead Girls Don't Lie) is about the suicide of a schoolgirl. The 2013 series is based on Jay Asher's novel of the same name. Before her death, the student Hannah Baker prepared a package for her classmate Clay Jensen, in which there are seven audio cassettes. Each of these tapes features a story that led to Hannah's decision to take her own life. While Clay is listening to the tapes, different abysses gradually open up. Many of Hannah's classmates were partly to blame for her death, and some of them even broke the law.

13 Reasons Why is a harsh look at everyday life at American high schools. Hannah's story becomes more depressing from one episode to the next and a sad fate develops. In subsequent seasons, the sad story of Hannah's mother and the effects of Hannah's death at Liberty High School will be told.

6. The Leftovers


It all starts with the disappearance of two percent of the world's population. Including mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, children and friends. Without any explanation whatsoever, a large part of the population loses a loved one, which leaves a sad and desperate world. The 2014 series Leftovers takes place 3 years after the disappearance of the people and stars Police Chief Kevin Garvey, his wife Laurie, son Tommy and daughter Jill. The tragedy caused cults to develop in the city. One of these associations are the “Guilty Bereaved” who try to win over more and more people for their movement.

The Leftovers convinces with a dark mood and an excellent soundtrack by Max Richter. The always oppressive atmosphere creates a sad mood in which everyone tries to deal with the loss somehow.

7. Broadchurch


The British series Broadchurch deals with the subject of the death of a child and the impact this has on the population of a small British town. Eleven-year-old Danny is murdered and the series sheds light on how the small town is changing as a result of this incident. Unlike in many other series, the focus is not on solving the murder, but on the reaction of the city dwellers to the incident. Everyone knows everyone in the small town. And so, after the initial sympathy, the first suspicions quickly arise among the residents of Broadchurch. Responsible for the resolution of the case are the displaced policeman Alec Hardy and the policewoman Ellie Miller, who knows both the victim and his mother very well.

The series shows in an emotional way how the murder of a child can change an entire city.

8. This Is Us


The US series This Is Us is about the Pearson family. The parents Jack and Rebecca Pearson lost one of their children in an actual triplet birth in 1980. They then decide to adopt another child who was born on the same day. Randall was dumped outside the fire station by his father and ended up in the same hospital as the Pearsons. The series tells the story of parents Jack and Rebecca and the later development of their three children Randall, Kate and Kevin. All three children develop differently and each search for the meaning of life in their own way. Kevin tries to assert himself in the world of acting, Randall lives a successful business man, and Kate pursues a career as a musician.

The series is very emotional due to many strokes of fate and only the very strong can shed their tears on this series.

9. Call the Midwife


2012 Call the Midwife is a historical drama set in the late 1950s and 1960s. The series is based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth, who worked as a midwife in London in the 1950s. Call the Midwife is about a whole group of midwives - the focus is on the newly qualified Jenny Lee - who had to struggle with numerous problems in the extremely impoverished Poplar district in east London in the 1950s. Medical care is poor and society is shaped by the post-war era.

The series addresses highly emotional topics such as violence in families, alcohol addiction, war trauma or even abortions.

10. Parenthood


In the US series Parenthood, the focus is on the four siblings Adam, Crosby, Julia and Sarah together with their children. Parenthood sheds light on the various aspects of being a parent and shows how each of the four deals with his or her role as a parent. Adam's son is suspected of having Asperger's Syndrome. Sarah is a single mother and has to take care of her two teenage daughters with the help of temporary jobs. Crosby, whose girlfriend wants children, learns at a meeting with an ex-girlfriend that he is already a father. Julia, the youngest of the siblings, works hard for her career while her husband takes care of the children at home.

The series focuses on how the four siblings deal with their role as parents and the emotional decisions they have to make.

11. The Sinner


The US series The Sinner is based on the novel The Sinner by Petra Hammesfahr. The main role of the first season is Jessica Biel, who plays Cora Tannetto, a woman who stabs a man on the beach who is apparently completely unknown to her. The case is initially clear to the police. The woman is guilty. The detective Christopher Abbott, played by Bill Pullman, doubts the woman's guilt and makes it his mission to bring the truth to light. Gradually Abbott uncovered new sad facts about Cora's life and learned that there is more to the crime than an accidental murder. The many twists and turns and the desperation of Cora make for an emotional roller coaster ride.

12. The Affair


The 2014 series The Affair is all about an affair between writer Noah Solloway and waitress Alison Lockhart. Your story is told from different perspectives and thus causes a lot of confusion for the viewer. An unambiguous truth is not presented to the viewer. Little by little, the stories of the two protagonists seem to diverge more and more from each other. Alison Lockhardt tries to come to terms with the death of her son, while Noah Solloway struggles with his self-doubt as a writer.

Due to its structure, the series often creates an oppressive atmosphere and illustrates the effects of an extramarital relationship on the protagonists and their families.

13. Grey's Anatomy


Since 2005, viewers have been able to follow the doctors at Seattle Grace Hospital and experience their emotional stories. At the beginning of the first season, the lives of some of the interns in the hospital are highlighted. In the lead role we find Meredith Gray, who moves to Seattle after completing her studies. There she meets her colleagues, Cristina Yang, Izzie Stevens, George O‘Malley and Alex Karev. While many of the episodes of the series tell emotional and sad stories of patients, the lives of interns are not always easy either.

Death, abortion, breakups, and family issues are just a few of the issues the series addresses. A very sad event ultimately led to the hospital being renamed Gray Sloan Memorial Hospital. Several characters have left the series over the course of the seasons. The talented doctor Meredith Gray in particular seems to be hit particularly hard in the course of the series when it comes to strokes of fate.

14. The Walking Dead


What is more emotional and sadder than a world where life has been so changed by a constant threat that trust, love and security are an exception. The mood in the US series The Walking Dead is always hopeless. A small group of survivors of a zombie apocalypse fight together for their survival. But the wildly thrown together group not only has to fight against the zombies, but also build trust among each other and build a safe place for their future. The constantly changing group has to cope with numerous strokes of fate and in the ten seasons of the series, there is probably not a single character who has not already lost a loved one.

If one thing is true, it is the fact that no one is safe in The Walking Dead. Viewers should prepare for an emotional experience.

15. The Wire


The Wire explored the city of Baltimore's drug scene from 2002 to 2008. From the point of view of drug dealers and law enforcement officers, the rough reality of hard crime is portrayed. The large number of characters not only occasionally causes confusion, but also offers the opportunity to tell a variety of stories. The stories of the individual characters provide numerous emotional moments, because behind each character there is a human story. Where crime dictates the daily routine, death is often not far away either. The Wire becomes especially sad when characters try to free themselves from a life full of crime, but cannot find a way out.

What makes a series emotional and sad is different for everyone. A character doesn't always have to die in order to evoke emotional reactions. Sometimes it is enough if we can (or have to) experience the emotional chaos of the main characters.