Why is season 1 of a TV show always so drastically different from season 2 and beyond?

For example, sets and character personalities are way different. Sometimes, a character is played by a different actor in season 1. Shouldn’t these types of changes be finalized after the test pilot episode?

2 Answers

  • 2 months ago

    Generalizing about this is always dangerous because each series will have it's own particulars, but a lot of times a show idea is pitched around one tight story arc that covers the first season and no more.  Then, the show is a hit, and the writers have to come up with more when the concept really was best suited to just that first story arc.

    For example, The Good Place.  If you've seen that show, you know the first season was awesome...and since then, it's been kind of meandering.  Homeland, I think, had a really tight plot for the first season and devolved into a hot mess the rest of the time.

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  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    It's pretty rare for an actor to be swapped out after a show begins.  The exception is on soap operas where the long running nature of the programs will often necessitate that actors be swapped out after several year. 

    The reason that things change is because the show evolves.  Sometimes it's a matter of the original premise sometimes petering out.  The show Blindspot, for example, was originally about them solving the mystery of this amnesiac woman who showed up, but that kind of ended in the second season.  Other times it involves them becoming more refined in how they approach the show.  TV shows will often figure out what the show is about as time goes on.  There's also a tendency, as time goes on, for defining traits of characters to become more pronounced.  For example, Joey starts off on Friends as basically this likable guy who's a little dumb.  But by the end of the show he's so dumb he shouldn't be able to function.  Sometimes shows change because a character was a surprise breakout.  This was the case with Big Bang Theory, where the focus was originally supposed to be much more on Penny and Leonard and their relationship.  But Sheldon became such a huge breakout character that he got more attention, and even a spin off.  Perhaps an even better example is Family Matters, which started off as a spinoff of Perfect Strangers.  They brought in a guest character named Steve Urkel as a sort of romantic foil for the daughter and he became such a hit that he arguably became the star of the show. 

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