Any Firefly fan can tell you there's no more cruel death in all of pop culture than of Wash, the incredibly affable, goofy pilot played by Alan Tudyk. There he is, near the end of the Firefly movie Serenity, having successfully crash-landed his ship, saving everyone life, including his own... until he gets shot with a harpoon from out of nowhere. This scene pretty much devastates every fan who watches it, including a gent by the name of Kyle Hill. But unlike most people, Hill was so upset at Wash's on-screen death that he tried to use all the science, physics and astrophysics he knew to see if Wash could have possibly lived through his rather vicious impalement.
This is an unbelievably awesome act of nerdery by itself, but it gets more awesome, because Scientific American just published his "findings" online. I won't spoil it for you, but you can read Hill's whole wonderful article here.