This year’s upcoming show, Netflix’s 3 Body Problem, has a lot of expectations riding on it. The sprawling and highly ambitious sci-fi series covers centuries and is based on a popular book series, so it has a dedicated fan base to satisfy. It also marks the return of David Benioff and Dan Weiss since their controversial finale for Game of Thrones, meaning they have to win over even more fans who were disappointed by their previous work. Additionally, being a major and costly production for Netflix adds pressure as the platform is known for abruptly cancelling shows.
The situation also involves the deceased CEO. In a recent profile by the Hollywood Reporter, Benioff and Weiss revealed that progress on 3 Body Problem was almost disrupted due to the death of Lin Qi in 2020. Lin was a billionaire and the owner of Yoozoo, the company that holds the rights to 3 Body Problem. To add to the complexity, the suspect accused of Lin’s murder was the executive in charge of Yoozoo’s film division. Interestingly, Lin’s death was caused by poisoning, possibly inspired by his favorite TV show, Breaking Bad. Adding to the confusion, the Hollywood Reporter speculates that Lin’s behavior during a meeting about 3 Body Problem may have played a role in his murder, which occurred while Amazon was working on a project with Rian Johnson.
This has the potential to be the most bizarre obstacle for a television production. However, in the world of television, it is not even close to being the strangest. Throughout the history of television, there have been numerous odd injuries and deaths. For instance, actor Jon-Erik Hexum tragically passed away on the set of Cover Up in the 1980s after a dangerous game of Russian roulette. There was almost a major issue during the series finale of Lost when Terry O’Quinn accidentally stabbed Matthew Fox with a real knife instead of a prop knife during a fight scene. Fortunately, Fox’s kevlar vest prevented any tragedy from occurring.
Stunt performer deaths are a frequent occurrence. In 2017, John Bernecker passed away while working on The Walking Dead after a fall from a balcony. In 1985, Reid Rondell was killed in a helicopter crash while filming Airwolf. Following the tragic accident on the set of Alec Baldwin’s Rust, the Associated Press reported that there had been a total of 43 deaths on film and television sets from 1990 to 2014.
However, when it comes to injuries, Top Gear has its own noteworthy incidents. In 2006, Richard Hammond suffered severe injuries in a crash while drag racing in a turbojet car. He also injured his neck in a Suzuki Super Carry van rollover and had to be hospitalized after falling from a horse in 2014. Similarly, in 2004, Jeremy Clarkson broke his thumb while driving a Volvo and slipped two discs in 2005. He also hurt his neck while taking a sharp turn in a car in 2008 and injured his ankle while driving a lorry through a wall in the same year. The previous version of Top Gear came to an end due to injury after Clarkson got into a physical altercation with a producer over dinner. The most recent iteration also concluded for the same reason, following a serious crash involving Freddie Flintoff.
Special mention should also be given to Luck, HBO’s horse racing series that aired in 2011. The series looked unstoppable from the get-go. It was written by David Milch, the closest thing television has to a literal genius. It was directed by Michael Mann. Dustin Hoffman was the star. Nothing could go wrong, until of course everything went wrong. A show about horse racing was obviously going to require a lot of horses. Sadly, two of them died during production; one in the pilot and one in episode seven. Peta caught wind of the deaths, and publicly criticised the show. When a third horse died the following year, HBO pulled the plug.
In 2021, NBC announced that it would produce a show called Ultimate Slip N’ Slide, which was based on a popular summer game involving a wet tarpaulin. However, the show was cancelled before it could air due to a giardia outbreak among 40 crew members. Giardia is a disease caused by ingesting water contaminated with fecal matter. This incident has been deemed one of the most unpleasant catastrophes in television history.