Has no qualms about having characters cease to exist once their purpose has been served, even though its high body count means you'd think someone could spare a bullet for any of them. Worse, many of them were last seen in situations where death is likely but not a given. In some circles, this is called "Behroozing," after Behrooz Araz, a character who vanished in such a manner. Most notably:
The unnamed Eastern European assassin from the first half of season 1, who pretends to be an American photographer named Martin Belkin. The assassin plays a major role in the first half of the season, as he gets a face transplant and attempts to kill Palmer at a rally in downtown Los Angeles. After he is foiled by Jack Bauer, he flees and is never seen again (even though the other assassin hired to off Palmer, Mandy, is seen in several more episodes in different seasons afterwards).
Lynne Kresge (an assistant to President Palmer) is pushed down a flight of stairs late in the second season. Even though she's badly injured, she doesn't seem to be in danger of dying (and she's loaded into an ambulance, knowing damaging information about Mike Novick). Strangely, she's never referenced again, even when Palmer returns to the White House and talks at length with Novick.
John Keeler and Wayne Palmer both exited the show this way. While a reference to Wayne dying is made in a prop newspaper from Redemption (albeit, never shown on-screen), Keeler is never mentioned again after being listed in critical condition after Air Force One crashes. This actually has a justification—the writers were explicitly told that they weren't allowed to kill off a sitting president on-screen. Presumably since Daniels had already taken over and served out the rest of Wayne's term, it was okay for them to let it be known that Wayne was dead, and David Palmer's death happened long after he left office. This may not have been restricted to United States presidents, either. In Season 8, Omar Hassan, the president of a fictional Middle Eastern nation, is killed, but his death is not actually shown on screen; while CTU is trying to rescue him, the internet video feed that the terrorists have set up is shown, and then when Jack gets there and finds Hassan's dead body and realizes that the video was pre-taped, we aren't shown the conclusion.
Karen Hayes, the wife of long running character Bill Buchanan, who is sort of put on a bus with her husband at the end of Season 6 as they are both forced to resign. However, Bill is a main character for most of Season 7 and his wife is never mentioned not even after his death. Her not being mentioned is partly justified in that Bill spent most of his time in the field where there was less time for chit-chat than when he co-ordinated from CTU.
Daniel Dae Kim played a field agent in the first few seasons that was one of Jack's earliest field partners over the course of the show. In the second half of season 3 he worked with Jack and Chase in their attempt to capture that season's Big Bad Stephen Saunders, but after a botched attempt he completely disappeared and was never seen or heard from again, thanks in part to Kim moving over to LOST right around the time those episodes aired.
Dennis Ryland was a prominent character for the first three seasons of the show (though he did experience a brief absence), first as the head of NTAC, then as a notably more antagonistic character in a higher level of government. However, he disappeared entirely, and without explanation, for the show's fourth and final season, with only a single, fleeting reference being made to him as one of the people who exploited Isabelle Tyler. This despite the fact that the project he was working on (the development of promicin-enhanced soldiers) was at its height at the end of the third season.
Similarly, Nina Jarvis, the head of NTAC for the second and third seasons, disappeared with no further mention in the fourth season, her role being filled by new character Meghan Doyle. It can be presumed she quit, though no explanation is given.
Then there's Diana's boyfriend, Ben, introduced near the end of the third season and disappearing mid-way through the fourth with no further mention. The implication is that they broke up, though this is quite surprising considering how well they'd been doing as a couple... and the fact that this contradicts one of Maia's infallible prophecies.
All My Children: In a 1970 episode of this soap, a teen named Bobby Martin went up to his family's attic to wax his skis. The actor was then abruptly fired and so Bobby was never seen again. Decades later, the show lampshaded this by having a character go into the same attic and find a skeleton with a pair of skis, wearing a ski hat with "Bobby" on it - a comedic example of a Bus Crash.
The Andy Griffith Show: Jack Burns' character of Warren Ferguson, who was brought in to replace Barney Fife as Mayberry's overzealous deputy. He lasted one season before being quietly dropped from the show and never mentioned again. (Even the '80s Reunion Movie forgot about him.) Another example would be Ellie Walker, the town pharmacist and Andy's first-season girlfriend.
Angel: Detective Kate Lockley, Angel's Agent Mulder-esque contact with the LAPD in this series, made her last appearance fairly early in the series, when she hit a Despair Event Horizon and was barely saved from a suicide attempt by Angel. She completely vanished from the story after that, partly because the actress moved on to Law & Order and partly because the show had already begun to drop the idea of Angel as an Occult Detective who'd need to work with the police in favor of a broader Urban Fantasy story. She did return, though, in the comic-book series that continued the storyline after the show ended.
Are You Being Served?: Had a few regular characters vanish without mention, with the most memorable being Mr. Grainger and Mr. Lucas (actor left to pursue other interests).
Babylon 5: G'Kar's assistant Na'Toth only appeared twice in the second season (after an unsuccessful recasting and didn't appear at all in that season's second half. A third season episode mentioned that she'd been on Narn when the planet was bombed into submission by the Centauri and was presumed dead. Finally in an season 5 she reappeared for one episode as a P.O.W. on Centauri Prime and was sneaked onto a transport home. Interestingly, G'Kar's first assistant Ko'Dath also disappeared off-screen (though this was explicitly mentioned on screen as death due to an "unfortunate airlock accident"). Is it any wonder why G'Kar becomes something of a loner for most of the series?
Barney Miller: Detectives could be dropped with little or no explanation. One notable example was Eric Dorsey, the abrasive newcomer introduced in the last season. When they knew for certain it was the last season he was dropped in the buildup to the Series Finale.
Battlestar Galactica (Classic): In the original show, Commander Adama's daughter/Apollo's sister Athena vanishes without explanation after the episode "Greetings from Earth: Part I."
Boxey in the reimagined show completely vanished without explanation after a relatively prominent role in the miniseries and a smaller scene in one regular episode. He was meant to be a kid that the pilots had adopted, but the writers couldn't come up with uses for his character. It could be justified as Commander Adama may have decided that a military ship in a time of war was no place for a child and sent him to live with a foster family in The Fleet. It should be noted that he was featured in several episodes in Season One, but all of his scenes were cut out due to timing constraints or pacing.
His photo does appear on the Wall of Remembrance in later seasons, implying his death sometime between Ragnar Anchorage and Earth. It gets expanded upon in one of the tie-in novels, which has him living in fosterage in the fleet, and getting fatally shot helping Helo and Starbuck stop an attack by an apocalyptic religious cult in the fleet (the novel also pins down his death as occurring during Commander Fisk's tenure in command of the Pegasus).
Prominent Quorum members such as Marshall Bagot and Sarah Porter simply disappear after the Second Season. It is possible that they died during the explosion of Cloud Nine or the Cylon Occupation or were simply not voted back into office in the new administration and thus lost their relevance, but it is never addressed.
Another character, Bulldog, was given an entire episode's focus when he was introduced, then was never heard from or mentioned again. The story is that he was intended to be a recurring character afterwards, but the actor playing him couldn't work out his schedule to fit the show. Word of God says in the podcast for Bulldog's lone episode, "Hero", that they decided to wrap up the character's arc within a single episode because Carl Lumbly was an "expensive actor".
Becker: Bob was said to be "on vacation" in the first episode of Season 6, and never returned.
Has new upstairs neighbor Alicia, the driving force behind a season two episode. She's never seen or heard from again, although one assumes she still lives upstairs (unless Sheldon managed to get her evicted for being too noisy). It's noted in-show that Alicia gets a part on a TV show, so it's possible she moved on, as well.
Similarly, Leonard gets a love interest, Dr. Stephanie Barnett (Sara Rue) in Season 2. Fearing they're moving too fast, he tries to break up, but she keeps luring him back with sex. At the end of their third episode, he heads off for another booty call. Presumably he grew a spine between that and the next episode, when she's just gone.
In Season 6, the character Stuart disapears rather abruptly during a party at his comicbook shop, to be replaced by a new love interest for Raj. Stewert is not even mentioned again for the rest of the season, which is especially odd given he was living in Raj's spare bedroom. He reappears a few times after that as of season 7, but no mention is made of his and Raj's living arrangements. A better example is Leslie Winkle, who was more or less written off the show after season 3, when the writers couldn't give her enough to do and Sara Gilbert was committed to her own show.
The Big Valley: In addition to the four siblings who were series regulars (Audra, Heath, Jarrod, and Nick) there was a fifth Barkley sibling in the first season, youngest brother Eugene (played by Charles Briles). Eugene only appeared in a few episodes and then went off to medical school. He returned home one time and then disappeared from the show.
Percy, of Blackadder fame, was completely excised from canon. Tim McInnerny, who played Percy in the first two series, didn't want to be typecast playing a buffoon, so he played different characters (Topper in Series 3 and Darling for all other appearances) afterward, and Percy was subsequently replaced in the show's main Comic Trio by George. His lack of appearances after series two can be justified at least due to the fact that each series takes place in a different time period, and one can assume that the Percy of Series 2 never had any descendents. Not as much for specials that harken back to the timeline pre-Series 3 however, which don't have him get a single mention or appearance even though other returning characters have.
The Bob Newhart Show: The first season had Margaret Hoover, a neighbor in the Hartleys' apartment building and friend of Emily's. She appeared in a handful of episodes before being quietly dropped.
During the first season, Jonathan Adams plays Dr. Goodman, the head of the Jeffersonian Institute, who is Bones's direct superior and takes an active role in many of the cases. In the first episode of season two, Cam is head of forensics, and Goodman is said to be on a "two month sabbatical"; four years later, he's yet to be seen or mentioned again. (Word of God is that he may eventually pop up in guest appearances, however.)
This trope was even applied retroactively, as Dr. Goodman is never even mentioned during a flashback episode set before the pilot.
This also happens with a restaurant owner, including the restaurant. In the first season, the main characters frequent a restaurant where the quirky owner knows better than you want you want/need, so it's better to not order and just let him bring you whatever he feels is best, but in season 2 they suddenly start going to a diner instead and the restaurant is never mentioned again. Of course, they could have just decided they liked the diner better, but the switch is never explained in any way, even though Booth seemed to be on quite friendly terms with the owner of the restaurant.
Early episodes offer a possible explanation: the owner complained about the Squints bringing photos of crime scenes and bodies to the restaurant with the threat of not allowing them back if they kept it up. However, there was nothing confirming this as the reason they stopped going.
In one early episode, we see Topanga's older sister, Nebula. She is never referred to again and indeed Topanga is later stated to be an only child. However, this is back when Topanga was going through her Cloud Cuckoolander phase, and this makes her word a bit unreliable. Nebula could be anything from a "soul sister" in the hippie sense or just a friend she calls a sister.
In earlier seasons, Shawn had at least two siblings before Jack came into the picture. There was an older brother who Cory caught stealing or something on video, and an older sister he called after Cory had him help straighten his hair. However, because these people are rather scummy, it makes sense that they would not appear again. Then comes the matter of Shawn's mother revealing she did not give birth to him and one wonders if they were his brothers in the first place.
Minkus, a recurring character from the first season, also disappears without a trace. Later, when the show became more meta, they had him return for their high school graduation, pointing off-stage and saying that all his classes had been down the other hallway. The kids wave down the hall, shouting hello to their old teacher Mr. Turner, who had also been Chucked. (Ironically, the actor playing Minkus was one of the three Torkelsons to survive the Re Tool into Almost Home).
Cory's sister, Morgan, almost got the Chuck treatment. She disappears entirely at the end of season 2. Her character is brought back in the middle of season 3 (as a different actress), and remarks, on her first appearance, "That was the longest time out I've ever had!"
Tiger, the family dog. Gets a Lampshade Hanging in The Brady Bunch Movie. (A case of Actor Existence Failure according to Barry Williams; the dog was run over by a car early in the first season.)
For that matter, the girls' cat, Fluffy, didn't make it past the pilot episode.
When Breaking In was (briefly) Un-Cancelled, team member Josh vanished without explanation. There was a minor handwave for another major character who was not technically a team member, Dutch, disappearing at the same time.
The first series features pretty secretary Angie as a main character in all episodes. She vanishes without a trace from series 2 onwards, replaced with a brand new secretary, Julie, who is merrily treated as if she's been there since the beginning by all the other staff.
Of course, the whole thing did turn out to be a dream, so...
The First Evil wasn't destroyed or trapped or anything like that, and is presumably still around, doing...whatever it does when it's not tormenting the good guys. Justified as it only had a very small window of becoming corporeal due to Buffy's resurrection and other events. It's alive but not as much of a (direct) threat.
General Voll was dropped and never mentioned or seen. Word of God states that the writers forgot about him when replacing him with the second General.
British ensemble dramas are rather notorious for this, with regular characters vanishing in between seasons. Casualty and Holby City were noted for it in the days before they were on all year round. (Between the eighth and ninth seasons, a massive cull saw Casualty lose seven main characters, one of whom had been on the show four seasons.) But perhaps one of the most prominent cases was in ITV's military drama Soldier Soldier: Dave Tucker, played by Robson Green, was the only remaining original cast member and practically synonymous with the series. The last scene of the fifth season has him and his wife breaking up. He is never seen or mentioned again. (Neither is his wife.)
Holly Ellenbogen was a main character who is last seen in the twelfth episode receiving a threat from Richie's wife Fern, who is also never seen again. There is no explanation given for her disappearance, leading to the unfortunate possibility that she may have been hurt in some way by Fern.
A later episode, made to calm fan worries that Holly was killed offscreen, features her husband Perry working as an interior decorator for some of the other characters, and referring to his wife as very much alive, and even having a phone conversation with her.
Professor Slater. A recurring love interest for Jeff throughout the first season, she was involved in a competition with Britta for Jeff's affections in the season finale and hasn't been sighted since. Lampshaded in the second season episode "Intro to Political Science": one of the news ticker headlines on Troy and Abed's election coverage reads "Professor Slater still missing".
Not to mention Ian Duncan of the same show. You'd think a character taking off to "get something in his car" would have him back by the end of the episode or the beginning of the next, but nope. This was due to John Oliver's commitment to The Daily Show.
This is actually Lampshaded in the fourth season. During the balloon episode, Troy asks if anyone else has noticed that Professor Duncan hasn't been around in a long time.
Duncan returned in Season 5.
The Cosby Show: Theo's best friend Walter "Cockroach" Bradley appeared frequently during the first half of the series, was very close to the family, and even started to get some individual development ("An Early Spring"), then abruptly stopped appearing without explanation. The episode after his final appearance is even focused on Theo and Cockroach's gang of friends' locker room antics, which Cockroach would normally have been present for. Word still has it that his actor, Carl Anthony Payne II, refused to cut his hair as per Bill Cosby's wishes (the kids all changed hairstyles regularly throughout the series) and was eventually fired or left the show as a result. And the haircut in question, that was apparently worth leaving the cast of what was currently the most beloved and popular show on television? Snip.
There also was an inversion of the usual trope. In the pilot episode, it is explicitly mentioned that the Huxtables only have 4 kids, Denise, Theo, Vanessa and Rudy. However, sometime in the first season they add their oldest daughter Sondra.
Crossroads: A weird and infamous example is the handyman Benny in this 1970s ITV soap opera. He climbed up a ladder to fix the lights on a Christmas tree, and was never seen again.
From the first season up to the eighth season, the original show had a ballistics expert named Bobby Dawson. However, he disappeared about halfway through the eighth season with no explanation.
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation has Catherine's sister appearing at the very beginning of the pilot... only to never be mentioned or appear again. Later episodes that concern her family history imply that Catherine is an only child.
Season 8 brought us CSI Veronica "Ronnie" Lake for a few episodes leading up to Sara's departure. After "Goodbye and Good Luck", Ronnie is never seen again, without any explanation or mention of her since.
Former CSI and detective Sofia Curtis stuck with the crew for nearly 3 seasons, even making it into the opening credits briefly. However, after the season 8 premiere, she completely vanishes without a word. She does return briefly late in season 11, however, having been promoted to Deputy Chief of the LVPD.
CSI NY: Had this happen with two characters: Det. Kaile Maka (who appeared in season 1 and 2) and coroner Evan Zao (who appeared in season 2).
Curb Your Enthusiasm: The pilot episode had the main character as a father. The kids were never mentioned again.
Had Miss King, a sexy female clerk at Mainwaring's bank whom the writers admit was introduced solely for the purpose of being Ms. Fanservice. She disappears after series two and is never heard from again, although she did play a very small role in The Movie.
A couple of platoon members also disappeared with no explanation: Private Bracewell, who appears in the first episode only (Word of God states he was cut because the writers felt his character was too much like Godfrey's) and Private Desmond, an Ascended Extra who goes on a mission with the main cast in the episode "Sons of the Sea", then is never heard from again.
Private Cheeseman appeared for one series and then disappeared entirely, with no explanation. Word of God states this was a case of Shoo Out the New Guy since neither the audience nor the rest of the cast liked him. Cheeseman's storyline was that he was a reporter who temporarily joined the platoon in order to write news stories on them, thus, it can be assumed he left at the end of his assignment; but there is no mention of this in the show, he doesn't get a goodbye and is never referenced again.
Bizarrely, recurring character Dusty Farlow suffered this fate by accident: He appeared in a few episodes at the end of the 7th Season, then left town a few episodes into the 8th. Unfortunately the 8th Season was also the infamous Dream Season and the producers apparently forgot about Dusty (despite his father being a main character), so that per canon he simply vanishes without explanation.
If a house counts, Dallas also did this with Southfork itself. In the pilot miniseries, Southfork is a huge mansion with two smaller houses attached by a breezeway. It is discussed in great detail in the first episode that J.R. and Sue Ellen live in their own little house, and the other house was built for Gary and Valene, and that that is where Bobby and Pam will live. After the first season, they switched to a different real life ranch for the exterior sets, and suddenly the Ewings were all living under one roof in a much smaller house.
Days of Our Lives: Don Craig went to the mail to post a letter and hasn't been seen since.
Kendra was a recurring character in many second and third season episodes but vanished without a trace in the fourth season. This was particularly strange because her brother and (ex-)boyfriend were still on the show. One wonders why she wasn't there to react when her brother got expelled and re-admitted, found religion and abandoned it, got married, etc.
Some sources have it that Kendra was planned to have sex with Toby; the actress' parents disapproved and yanked her off the show.
Chris Sharpe, Emma's love interest in season 3; Derek Haig, a notable character until season 9 when he mysteriously disappears; Terri Mcgregor, whose sendoff is only explained in a deleted scene; and Principal Shepherd, former Lakehurst principal becomes acting principal of Degrassi after the merger, is fired due to an outburst at Claire, returns briefly after attending anger management classes, but is suddenly written off and replaced without explanation by old Degrassi principal Ms. Hatzilakos.
Ms. H herself vanishes without a word the following season, with Mr. Simpson, the Media Immersion teacher, being bumped up to the top spot.
Mrs. Kwan, who became one of the most prominent recurring characters, played this trope very well. She was the English teacher and a Recurring Character who appeared in several episodes from Seasons 1 to 9, but hasn't been seen in any of the episodes in Season 10. During that exact same season, Mrs. Dawes, the former art teacher, is now taking her place as the new English teacher with no word of Mrs. Kwan's disappearance. It's unknown whether she's no longer teaching at Degrassi or if she's simply teaching English class periods that the main characters aren't in.
This happens in Season 12 to Wesley. His actor revealed the writers ran out of ideas for the character.
This was also common in the original series too. For instance, a character named Susie Rivera was sexually assaulted before she disappeared. Another character named Scooter Williams did the same thing. Another example is Melanie Brodie. Stephanie Kaye was a major character in the first two seasons; at the beginning of the third, her brother mentions that she is now in private school.
In the original series, and the early seasons of the current series, could be considered Truth in Television. Children and teenagers do move away without notice, and they seldom have any say in the decision.
In Season 3, Martha meets Tom Milligan, and in Season 4 reveals that she's engaged to him. However, by the end of Season 4, it turns out she is married to Mickey instead, and no explaination of what happened to Tom is ever given.
In the classic series, Kameleon boards the TARDIS and promptly vanishes for a long time, because the one crewmember actually capable of operating the robot died, leaving no one any clues how to program it. Kameleon eventually returned (by way of an actor covered in silver paint) and was destroyed, rather than try to mess around with his character anymore.
Drake & Josh: Drake's original band members, Scottie, Rina and Paul are never seen after the 1st season.
The first season had Drew's Wacky Neighbors, who vanished when it became more of a workplace sitcom and focused on Drew's Wacky Friends. Occasionally, Drew got new neighbors—sometimes being written out, sometimes getting Chucked.
Bob the receptionist, to the extent that some people now call this trope "being Bobbed". The thing about "being Bobbed" is the character has to have just become interesting when they vanished. In Bob's case the County staff had recently discovered the "simple" foreign janitor rather patronizingly nicknamed "Bob" because Doug couldn't be bothered to learn to pronounce her real name was actually a vascular surgeon in her native Poland. Also Maggie Doyle, who would disappear for long periods of time before reappearing, to the extent that this trend was called "being Doyled". Ironically, Doyle herself was eventually "Bobbed".
Speaking of Doug, on two separate occasions in Season 1, he mentions having a son. Aside from the fact that the boy is 8 and that he's never met him, the audience is told nothing else. This is never mentioned again, not even during storylines where it would make sense—his abusive Disappeared Dad resurfacing, his and Carol's efforts to have a baby, etc. At one point in a later season, when asked if he has any children, he says "no".
Ellen: Ellen's friend Anita was abruptly dropped after the first seven episodes were produced, while Holly was never seen or mentioned again beginning with season 2. Paige Clark was introduced at the start of season 2 as if she'd always been there, and an establishing shot of her apartment was the same building used for Anita's apartment in season 1!
Whatever happened to Spenser, Henry's assistant? (Possibly he was fired for hijacking an experimental satellite to watch pirated movies.)
Greg Germann's character from the pilot, who suddenly vanishes in the second episode even though his obnoxious assistant, Fargo, remains. Turns out, he was Reassigned to Antarctica - and returns for a single episode - for nearly ending the world, though this is hardly exceptional behavior for characters on this show.
Callie Curie, an apparent love interest for Carter toward the end of Season 2, doesn't come back, is never mentioned and never addressed as to what may have happened to her.
Let's face it, half the scientists of the week. Which is probably for the better, surely at some point someone would have just realized ten minutes into an episode that some guy from two seasons back could probably just save the day.
Family Matters: Judy Winslow, the youngest daughter, simply vanished after the fourth season due to a "budget consideration" for the series. Word of God says she would have returned for the originally planned Grand Finale of the series if it had lasted to show the marriage between Steve Urkel and Laura Winslow. Several minor characters also disappeared with no on-screen explanation: Laura's best friend Penny, Eddie's sleazy best friend Rodney, and Carl's boss Murtaugh.
Fire by Nite: This youth TV series had a serial sitcom embedded, entitled Family First. The family originally had two boys and a girl. When the actor who played the younger son moved, and the parents were replaced by a different couple, the younger son, Robert, disappears. They refer to him as if he's off camera for a couple of episodes, but eventually, through the 3-year run of the show after that, he is never mentioned again.
Frasier: Many characters who were prominent in Seasons 8-10 vanished after the writing staff for those seasons was fired en masse at the end of Season 10. Probably the highest-profile example was Julia Wilcox, who appeared prominently throughout Season 10 and rather improbably got into a relationship with Frasier at the end of the season. The new Season 11 writing staff had Frasier quickly remember just how much of an insufferable bitch she was and break up with her two episodes later, after which she was never seen or mentioned again.
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: Jackie appears at one point as a friend of Will's from back in Philadelphia. Throughout the season, she is built up as a potential love interest for Will, until an episode where Will gets into a drinking game with her date, during which Jackie disgustedly asks Carlton to drive her home. The rest of the episode is about Will's dream, delivering An Aesop about drunk driving and Jackie is never mentioned again in the show's run.
A more egregious example is Will's relationship with Lisa Wilkes, he dated her throughout season five and she was the most important relationship he ever had. They became engaged but on the day of their wedding they decided they weren't ready to get married and called off the wedding. Lisa was never seen or even mentioned in season six.
Friday Night Lights: Santiago just seems to have disappeared from existence between season 2 and 3. Ditto Waverly from season 1.
Friends: Phoebe's biological mother, played by Teri Garr. Discovering and reconciling with her down had been a major point of development in Phoebe's life, but after a few appearances, she never came up again.
The exact same thing happened with her biological father Frank Buffay after his one-shot appearance. Phoebe spent literally years trying to track down over the course of multiple seasons. Whole subplots of certain episodes basically revolved around it. Then they finally meet, and after an emotional(if awkward) reunion, he never appears again.
After Emma was born, Ross seems to forget he has a son and Ben is last seen in Season Eight, and even then with Phoebe rather than Ross. Carol is last seen in Season Seven, and Susan disappears in Season Six. Ben's disappearance was lampshaded in 'The One Where No One Proposes': Ross' father, Jack, is looking at Emma and says "look at her, my first grandchild", when Ross asks about Ben, he says "Well of course Ben, I meant my first granddaughter!" then turn to Monica making a "I totally forgot about him!" face. The fact that they never show or address Ben meeting his new sister is pretty egregious.
Fringe: Agent Amy Jessup appeared in the first two episodes of season two, and hasn’t been seen or mentioned since. This could be attributed to fan anxiety that Jessup would replace Olivia Dunham, who started the season comatose.
Game of Thrones: Despite being one of Robb Stark's key supporters (and the first to declare him King in the North in the season one finale), Greatjon Umber is conspicuously absent from seasons two and three due to the actor portraying him being unable to appear due to scheduling conflicts.
This fate befell many characters including their dog Mr. Needles, Accident Amy, Randy, and George's long lost sister Linda.
Linda most likely stayed away from George due to the revelations of how she was put up for adoption and how her birth family is, mixed with George's father-in-law's failed attempt at romancing her.
Randy, Benny's love interest played by Nick Offerman, first appeared in the first episode of season 3, and continued to appear regularly until he broke off his marriage with Benny. Randy only appears once more after this, in season 4, and is never seen again.
Possibly a Justified Trope with Amy, since she was played by Sandra Bullock, who possibly wouldn't have had time to appear consistently. Amy only appears periodically anyway.
The Golden Girls: If you happened to see the pilot episode, you may recall that the roommates had a live-in cook, a flamboyantly gay man named Coco. The character of Sophia, who was only supposed to have appeared periodically throughout the series, turned out to be so popular with test audiences that she was moved into the house to be a permanent part of the cast, and Coco got puffed.
Good Times: Esther Rolle left (temporarily) the series at the end of the 1976-1977 season, with her final storyline being her character Florida's wedding to Carl Dixon, an avowed atheist, and the new couple moving to Arizona (to allow Carl to tend to his failing health). Rolle — already upset about the perceived over-emphasis on Jimmie Walker's J.J. character, strongly objected to the storyline, contending that Florida was an affirmed Christian was now being expected to live with someone with whom her religious beliefs would conflict. When Rolle agreed to return to the show in 1978, one of her demands was that there would be no mention of Carl or her ever marrying or even meeting him, period. The writers agreed.
Aaron, Serena's boyfriend and Cyrus's son. Aaron and Serena were heading off on holiday to Argentina, but you find out the next episode that they broke up on the flight so that Serena and Dan could get back together.
Pretty glaring, considering that he's Blair's stepbrother and appears to be close with his father, yet he never shows up for family events.
The Greatest American Hero: Ralph's son Kevin disappears after the first season. He is mentioned in the the second season episode "Operation: Spoilsport", but not seen.
Grounded For Life: The dog was tied to a fence in the first episode and then seemed to vanish.
H2O: Just Add Water: A few characters from season 1 disappeared with no explanation in season 2, such as Miriam and Emma's love interest Byron.
Mikayla's (Selena Gomez) last full appearance has her becoming friends with Miley despite her hatred of Miley's alter ego Hannah Montana which she was unaware of. This could have easily been played with after Miley outs herself as Hannah Montana. Mikayla is last referred to on a TV show using (likely) archive footage from her earlier 2 appearances and is never mentioned again. Behind the scenes, Selena Gomez had been cast as Alex in Wizards of Waverly Place.
Also lampshaded in commercials run by Nick at Nite after they started airing Happy Days. The commercials featured the narrator talking about Chuck's disappearance and treating it as a great mystery/conspiracy, showing a clip of Chuck's last appearance followed by a clip from a much later episode of Howard saying, "I have a lovely daughter and a loudmouth son."
There was a commercial bump on the Hub warning viewers and 'forgotten loved ones' of the dangers of coming down with Chuck Cunningham Syndrome, stating the only cure is to find Chuck Cunningham himself.
The Hardy Boys Nancy Drew Mysteries: The Hardy Boys' best friend Chet Morton & their gal friday Callie never appear again after the first season. Nothing's mentioned, nothing's said....
No one's seen, heard of or even mentioned Monica since the season 2 finale. Doesn't look like anyone's missing her either. Although What she did during season 3 is being revealed in some graphic novels following Micah.
Let's not forget Hana Gitelman - though the graphic novels are doing their best to explain what happened to her.
Zach, Claire's friend in Season 1, also caught this syndrome. Admittedly, Claire permanently left his town 4 episodes after his last appearance, and his actor had other commitments, but it's still a little jarring how he's never even mentioned again.
There's also Caitlin, who is never mentioned again past season 2.
Anyone remember Lyle, Claire's brother? Don't worry, neither do her parents. When Claire's in college, her mother, mother's boyfriend, and HRG, and HRG's sort of mistress, all have a Thanksgiving with Claire, but there's no Lyle in sight. Lampshaded later on in this exchange where Sylar remembers the name of Claire's dog over Lyle:
Sylar: "Everybody dies. Well, almost everybody. Papa Petrelli, Mama Bennet, Mr. Muggles. What's your brother's name, Larry?"
Sylar: "Lyle, right. He's gonna die too."
Hey Dad..!: Nudge's disappearance from the series was never explained. So much for being Simon's best friend.
Hogan's Heroes: In the last season, Sgt. Kinchloe abruptly disappears. His role as radio man is taken over by Sgt. Baker (who previously had been one of many prisoners who basically loitered around in the background during scenes to show that there were more than five people in the whole camp) and no one even mentions him again. (Given the context of the series, however, it is very possible that Kinchloe could have escaped, been killed, transferred to another camp, or possibly even released by Klink.)
Home Improvement: During the first two seasons Jill had a friend named Karen, an outspoken feminist who enjoyed antagonizing Tim. She vanished without a trace after her actress, Betsy Randle, landed the role of Cory's mom on Boy Meets World. The role of Jill's best friend was taken over by a new neighbour character named Marie who herself disappeared a few seasons later.
Jason Winkler is the most notorious example, as he was given good development, had some romantic subtext with one of the main characters, and was pretty handsome- but after season 1 he was never mentioned again. The fans haven't forgotten him, however, and constantly wait for his return.
Mick Campbell, too. He was a main character in season 1 then got demoted in season 2, but was still pretty important. Come season 3 he was never mentioned, though his actor DID get a cameo in the finale, delighting fans enormously.
Other characters who have gotten this treatment, but AREN'T as missed by the fans, are Vera Devinish, Amelia Pinches, The character's family members, among others. It is in fact very rare for a character who isn't a secondary character to make a return or get a mention in this show.
How I Met Your Mother: Ted's sister Heather visits because she is interested in moving to NYC. The ending scene of the episode is Ted presenting her with a briefcase and a lease for her new apartment that he co-signed. And, yet, she is never seen again, even at her own mother's wedding! We also see Barney's half-sister Carly once and never hear about her again.
Many minor characters from the first season have never come back again like the mean popular girl from Nevel's intro episode and "Germy" Jeremy. Though since in-show he was sick all the time there might be another reason why.
Not just first season characters either. Wendy, a popular minor Ensemble Dark Horse character simply vanished as well after her last appearance in the final episode of Season 2.
Tasha, Gibby's recurring girlfriend from a handful of episodes in Season 3, appears to have suffered this fate along with a breakup, only in the 8th episode did a reference to her come, and it was that Gibby and her were no longer 'exclusive' in his words.
Brad, who was implied to have transferred to Ridgeway school with Carly, Sam and Freddie wasn't referenced in the first episode of the second half of season 4, despite it taking place in-universe only three days after iOMG which was the last episode of the 1st half. He doesn't show up in the second episode either, despite them doing a webshow in their usual time and place, which he was explicitly recruited to help with. In the third episode, Carly has to cancel a webshow broadcast specifically because Freddie and Sam aren't there. This is the exact thing Brad would be useful for, and specifically what he was hired for. So he's gone.
Basically, if your name is not Carly, Sam, Freddie, Spencer, Mrs. Benson or Gibby, you will not be coming back, especially if you aren't a villain. Only a handful of characters have even made second appearances, and three of them are Nevel, Nora and Chuck, who are all villains. The only other prominent one to come back was Griffin, who showed up in a second episode, Justified because he lives in the same building, and vanished again.
Nina's very boring (but oh so funny and entertaining) uncle Knit Knots: a beloved character who owned a business next door to the Imagination Movers' "Idea Warehouse" that created boring items and services for “boring” people. He appeared in every episode in the first season of the show, but completely disappeared, with no explanation for seasons 2 and 3.
He did make one other appearance in the Imagination Movers' concert special, which aired on Disney during season 3, however, this was a live event, which was not intended to be canon with the series.
The Invisible Man was forced by the network in Season Two to add a new, attractive-to-males character played by Brandy Ledford. The fans didn't like her very much, and there were numerous complaints about how she ruined the Fawkes and Hobbes dynamic. So when the show's cancellation was announced, the writers took advantage of the fact that they had nothing to lose anyway, and just left the character out of the last few episodes with no explanation.
Jesse: In the first season of this NBC sitcom, the title character and her son are seen living with her two brothers, while she works at her father's bar. However, for the second season, the network retooled the series. While Jesse is shown getting a new job, her father and brothers are treated as if they had never been there.
Kickin' It: Eddie, one of the main cast, disappered without a trace in season 3 and hasn't been mentioned since then.
Kids Incorporated: References missing characters from previous seasons through season 5 — Mickey moves away after season 1, Gloria goes to music school after season 3, Renee and The Kid become exchange students after season 4. Even the characters dropped after the original pilot episode are said to have moved away in a scene added at the end of the VHS release. On top of that, each new character is introduced and has to audition for the band. However, when season 6 begins, Ryan and Connie have been replaced by Robin and no one mentions their absence or where Robin came from, then Stacy, Richie, and Devyn are replaced by Eric, Ana, and Haylie for season 7. At this point, more than half the cast is new this season, and only one of them has been on the show for more than a season. And yet we have not a word about this (they do mention, several episodes later, that Ana had only recently moved in with Robin's family after her parents' divorce). As Stacy was the last of the original cast, that her departure doesn't even get a mention is a little grating especially considering who she'dgrow up to become — the departure of Mario Lopez got more notice, and he didn't even have a speaking part. Strangely, Riley, a secondary character, also leaves in season 6, and his departure is a plot point.
Sara Spooner, the younger sister of Carrie, only appeared in about five episodes of season one and disappeared from the show without an explanation. It was later revealed in an interview with show star Kevin James that the writers had no idea how to develop her character so they just decided to write her out.
Doug's sister Stephanie and his friend Richie, both of them vanished without a trace. Doug and Carrie also had two dogs in the first few episodes which disappeared without an explanation.
Doug and Carrie also adopt Stanley, a dog that belonged to one of their neighbors towards the end of season 1. He was shown in the background for the rest of the season, but suddenly disappears for several seasons without any mention, only to suddenly reappear in an episode which featured him prominently in the fourth season, where he was again a background character....only to vanish once again without mention.
Kyle XY: More often than not, this became an Averted Trope in favour of putting people on a bus or killing them off-screen. In the second season, however, there is a glaring example of this trope. After the Madacorp plot is defeated, Julian Ballantine is demoted and replaced by The Dragon, Emily Hollander. The scene in which this happens has suitably ominous overtones, suggesting that the viewer hasn't seen the last of Madacorp. And then Hollander appears in one further episode, attending her company's stand at Kyle's school, and is never seen again.
Eli Duckett, a popular recurring character for 15 years, was never mentioned again after the actor playing him, Danny O'Dea, died.
Ros was never mentioned again after her actress left following the 26th series.
When Tom first arrives in town, he is accompanied by Mrs. Avery, a potential love interest and foil for Nora Batty, and her niece, Babs. Both characters were unpopular, and Babs disappeared after only three episodes, while Mrs. Avery was around for a series. Neither character has been mentioned since their departure despite their former relationship with Tom.
Earlier on, the librarians, Mr. Wainwright and Mrs Partridge, were regulars during the first series but disappeared completely during the second series without mention or explanation. Mr. Wainwright would return for a few episodes during the third season but disappeared completely following the third series and was never mentioned again.
Las Vegas: Sarasvati had been built up in Season 3 as a potential love interest for Mike. The last we see of her is the final episode of the season at Delinda's bachelorette party, where she asks Mike to come to her room. Mike never makes it, and the next we hear Sarasvati had gone home with all of the male strippers. She appears for about five seconds in one episode of Season 4, but other than that is never heard or seen from again.
Laverne and Shirley: Edna De Fazio, the girls' landlady and later Laverne's stepmom vanished sometime after the characters all moved to California.
Paul Robinette. A deleted scene has Stone telling Van Buren that Robinette quit and joined a private firm, but this scene wasn't aired. Robinette resurfaces for a few guest appearances, though.
Nina Cassidy. Considering her performance/Van Buren's reaction to her through the entire season, including her final episode, it's heavily implied she was transferred if not fired. Unlike the others, though, she never shows up again after her disappearance.
Alfred Wentworth, the DA in the pilot, "Everybody's Favorite Bagman," which was the sixth episode aired.
Interim D.A. Nora Lewin after the end of season 12, although this is a slightly complicated one: she left right when there would presumably have been an election for DA, meaning that either she did not run or was defeated by Arthur Branch.
Two of Elliot's daughters haven't been seen since season eight, with a picture reference in season ten. All the more jarring because one of them has a twin brother who had a Day in the Limelight episode.
In the episode 'Totems', Elliot said he has five kids, so they still exist. The other two apparently have normal, uneventful lives.
Lie to Me: Torres' boyfriend served his part in her character development, then faded from the cast's collective memory.
Life With Bonnie: Samantha Molloy, flat-out vanished between Season 1 and Season 2. Especially disconcerting since she was the main character's 12-year-old daughter in a show that had many, many "family at home" scenes.
Life With Derek: Where Noel only had three appearances that were rather influential (i.e. he was partially the reason why Casey broke up with Max in the episode "Allergy Season"). It was even set up in the episode "Just Friends" where Casey and Noel would become a couple... except not, apparently.
Cat Grant disappears without a trace after the first season, ostensibly because the network thought she was too risque. Increasingly important character Jack, who'd been the focus of some serious character development over the course of the season, showing Clark's positive influence on people, disappeared with Cat. Disappointing to say the least.
Lucy Lane felt like this - a regular in the first three episodes, then vanished without a trace. She would make a few more appearances, though, by a different actress and with a very different relationship with Lois, as if they'd forgotten about Lucy's earlier days.
The Loop: This Fox comedy is a particularly bad example of this. Between the first and second season, both female leads simply disappeared without a trace. The reason this is so unnerving is one of the female leads was the main character's love interest, and their relationship was left completely unresolved.
The character Isabel is introduced as "the sheriff" of The Others in a season 3 episode. She investigates Juliet after Danny's death, and seems to be a high-ranking member of The Others' hierarchy. She is never seen or mentioned again, and producer Damon Lindelof said that she was killed offscreen when the Others attacked the beach in the Season 3 finale.
In a bizarrely large-scale example of the trope, the Others themselves disappear completely after the season 6 episode "The Last Recruit" and are never seen or heard from again. They are last seen getting pulverized by mortars, making it unclear if any of them survived. The arguably canon Lost Encyclopedia claims at least three Others—kidnapped flight attendant Cindy and children Zach and Emma—survived the bombing, but the fates of the rest of the Others are never known.
Mad About You had Paul's friend Selby vanish, last seen at the end of season 1 (Lampshade hung in one episode when Paul, complaining about their lack of friends, yelled, "Like Selby, what the hell happened to him?").
Cynthia, a recurring character, originally has a one-sided crush towards Malcolm. She goes to Europe and when she comes back, is all grown up. Malcolm eventually re-considers her as a potential love interest. In her final episode, she loudly proclaims in front of the whole school that they had previously been intimate. And then, without explanation, she never appears again.
Some of the Krelboynes that appear early in series aren't seen again later, though a few of Malcolm's closer circle (Stevie, Dabney, etc.) remain.
Married... with Children: Seven, a Cousin Oliver introduced in Season 7, was written out without explanation when he proved unpopular with the fans. Lampshaded in one episode when his face was seen on a milk carton and no one in the Bundy family noticed or cared. Another episode, "Kelly Knows Something", showed that Kelly could learn things, but for every new fact she learned, another fact would be forgotten. While cramming for a quiz show, a visual gag shows new facts going into her head as old ones exit... including the existence of Seven, apparently.
Rhoda has a sister Debbie who is not seen at all when Rhoda got her own series. Debbie appears on an episode where Rhoda and Mary go to New York for Debbie's wedding. Furthermore, Rhoda's sister Brenda is nowhere to be seen.
Rhoda also mentions once, on The MTM Show, that she has a brother, and therefore does not need to have the purpose of a bar mitzvah explained to her. It's one line, but her brother is never mentioned again. This could be explained as Rhoda lying, just so a person who tends to ramble on, doesn't go on and on explaining bar mitzvahs, but it doesn't sound that way.
Likewise, The MTM Show has possibly TV's first blatant, non-judgmental, declaration of a character as "gay," using that exact word; it's a punch-line that is built through an entire episode, in that Phyllis is horrified that her wonderful brother is spending time with Rhoda, whom she can't stand, and not with Mary, in spite of Phyllis's efforts to set up Mary with her brother. At the the end Rhoda tells Phyllis she isn't interested in her brother because "He's gay," and Phyllis says "Thank God!" When Chloris Leachman gets her spin-off, Phyllis, the brother is never mentioned.
What ever happened to Spearchucker Jones or Ugly John?
The Real Life explanation is that Spearchucker was dropped when the writers were informed that there was no record of any African-American doctors serving in the Korean War. (There is now a Web memoir that mentions an African-American surgeon at a MASH unit.) Ugly John has no explanation, real life or in-universe. (Though curiously enough, the actor who played him later showed up playing a different character in the season 8 episode "Captains Outrageous"
Matlock: Ben has a daughter, Charlene, played by Linda Purl, during the first season, who leaves to marry some prosecutor. He occasionally refers to "my daughter." Later in the series, Brynn Thayer comes on as his daughter, LeAnn, who just divorced a prosecutor she was married to whom Ben didn't approve of.
Merlin: Had Geoffrey of Monmouth, the court geneologist and librarian who was often used for exposition purposes. A Recurring Character throughout the first four seasons, he was completely absent from season five without explanation.
Mission: Impossible: All cast changes on Mission Impossible occurred without explanation, except for the switch from Terry Markwell's Casey Randall to Jane Badler's Shannon Reed in the revival, when poor Casey is caught and killed. (Needless to say, the Secretary disavows all knowledge of her actions.) But only Dan Briggs, the original IMF leader, is a genuine Chuck Cunningham (replaced by Jim Phelps because Steven Hill refused to work on the Jewish sabbath). Other changes are explained by the way the leader chooses the rest of the team after he gets the assignment. The fact that he chooses the same people over and over is actually a kind of reverse Chuck Cunningham. <— Is there a trope name that describes this better than "reverse Chuck Cuningham"? —>
My Family: Alfie disappears after series nine and is never mentioned again.
One of the early television masters of this art. It happened more than once, and in a deliberate fashion. First, William Frawley, veteran comedic actor (I Love Lucy's Fred Mertz) played Fred MacMurray's father-in-law, Bub O'Casey, the boys' grandfather and housekeeper. When Frawley (very begrudgingly) left the show when his poor health meant he could no longer be insured, that was when William Demarest's Uncle Charlie was brought on, with Bub sent home to Ireland. Eventually, any and all references to Bub simply vanished. When the show moved from ABC to CBS and started color episodes, eldest son Mike married his sweetheart and moved away. Orphaned neighbor Ernie was adopted after some wackiness - and again eventually both Mike and the fact of the adoption vanished from mention. Steve's new wife and her daughter joined late in the show's run - but the signs were already there and references to a pre-Douglas life dried up for the two. So: Uncle Charlie was *always* their housemaid/gruff mentor, Ernie was *always* the third of three sons and no more, and the new Mrs. Douglas and child had *always* been there as well. This is the word of Fred MacMurray.
Not quite. Once, post-Ernie, Steve shows someone Mike's diploma, framed on the wall, along with Robbie's. Another time, when Steve is about to remarry, Robbie tells his wife that he doesn't remember his mother very well, and he doesn't think Chip remembers her at all. He doesn't mention Ernie, in a nod to the fact that she isn't Ernie's mother, because Ernie was adopted by Steve after Robbie and Chip's mother had already died.
It was established long before that episode that Chip didn't remember his mother. One episode (from the black and white era when Chip was still quite young) centers on him admiring a photograph of her and asking lots of questions about her.
There was, in fact, a single line, when Steve was adopting his new wife's daughter. Ernie says at the breakfast table, "You know, I was adopted, too," and it drops right there.
Mike's vanishing was slower than all that - on one ep, when it seemed Steve might end up in a circumstance where he couldn't have them around, the younger boys discussed possibly living with Mike. As to Ernie in that later sequence, it could be a nod to his adoption, or it could be a way of saying, 'If the older Chip doesn't recall their mother, then Ernie has no chance at all'. No one ever states that Bub/Mike/the adoption never happened. They just avoid all instances in which it might be brought up, to the point where certain Bub flashbacks now have Uncle Charlie edited in.
Mystery Science Theater 3000: The actor who played Dr. Erhardt left the show after the first broadcast season over creative differences. His disappearance was simply explained with his replacement, TV's Frank, holding up a milk carton and stating "He's missing." His disappearance was the butt of a joke in Earth vs. The Spider, when a policeman who looked similar to the missing Erhardt was eaten by the titular spider. Joel and the Bots joked that this was the true fate of their former captor.
Naturally Sadie: Tad, a friend of Ron Yuma and Rain is a recurring character during season 1; he's never seen or heard from after the Re Tool.
During the first two seasons, this happened several times - starting with the second episode. The original public defender, Sheila, vanished from the show and even failed to make the listing for the show on IMDB!
Also happened to a popular pair of recurring characters, Bob and June Wheeler, a married couple of hard luck hicks. What made their disappearance feel especially abrupt is that in their last episode, it was implied they were about to have a semi-regular presence on the show, since they just bought and began running the Court cafeteria. And to make their departure all the more jarring, their last episode was a Season Finale that ended on a Cliff Hanger. In the next season premiere, the Cliffhanger is resolved, but with no sign or mention of the Wheelers. The Real Life reason for their disappearance is that the actor who played Bob, Brent Spiner, was cast as Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation in between seasons.
NUMB3RS: This happens a lot with pilots that get picked up, like for instance this show. Originally, the Rob Morrow character wasn't Charlie's brother, nor was he Rob Morrow.
NYPD Blue: Det. Lesniak just stopped appearing after season 3. No explanation was ever given. The series lost quite a few leading characters, but usually they were described as moving on to other jobs, or were killed of outright.
A few extras from the pilot of disappeared after the cast began to fill out the workplace....
Erin's foster brother is introduced in one episode, and promptly drops from the face of the Earth afterwards.
Jevon from Only Fools and Horses, who was Mickey Pearce's trading partner in the sixth season, vanished without a trace after "The Jolly Boys' Outing". Unlike most of the other semi-regular characters that left the series, he was never mentioned again after his disappearance.
Once Upon a Time: The first season featured the recurring character of Sydney, who in Storybrooke is the town's newspaper editor and ally of Regina; in the Enchanted Forest, he is the Magic Mirror and Regina's confidante. In Season 2, the character is completely absent, after last being seen incarcerated in the local hospital. Despite there being no reason for him to be imprisoned, he is never seen in the post-curse Storybrooke, nor is the Magic Mirror seen anymore in flashbacks — until Season 3, when the back of the mirror is shown and his voice is heard. In real life this is due to the actor being cast in a major role in another series on another network, Revolution, thus becoming unavailable for even guest appearances. But Sydney's absence - especially during the flashbacks - is noticeable.
Again with Ruby/Red in Season 3, as the actress playing her left for another show as well.
Jimmy Edwards is one of the guys Lucas hangs out with at the River Court, and creates RavenHoops.com with Mouth, but vanishes with no explanation, even being missing Season 2's "Lifetime Piling Up" which retold the events of the pilot with Lucas & Nathan's roles flipped. Deconstructed in Season 3's "With Tired Eyes, Tired Minds, Tired Souls, We Slept" when Jimmy takes a gun to school, utterly devastated by all of his friends abandoning him over the past year.
Tim Smith is Nathan's best friend at the start of the series, and the only named Raven who isn't a major character, growing in prominence after Jake was Put on a Bus & becoming the show's resident Butt Monkey, before vanishing halfway through Season 3. It's later revealed during Season 4 that Tim transferred to a school for slow students. He returned in Season 5, commenting that he misses high school since no-one's kept in touch with him.
The Paper Chase: In the first episode, the study group included a woman (Asheley) who never appeared again - although for some reason Deka Beaudine, who played her, was not only listed in the opening credits of every season one episode but also received an "And" billing. In the second episode, she was replaced without explanation by a different woman, Logan, a major character throughout Season One. When, after cancellation on its original network, the series returned for Season Two on a cable network, Logan had inexplicably vanished, never to be mentioned again.
Desiree (Mari Marrow), Nikki's best friend, simply vanished about halfway through the first season and is never mentioned again. A few episodes later, she is replaced by Andell, a character from parent series Moesha. This is especially jarring considering that Desiree lives next door to the Parkers. Her disappearance from the show can later be justified as Nikki eventually moved into Kim's apartment...but that still didn't happen until a season after she disappeared.
Scorpina double subverts this trope, disappearing the moment Lord Zedd shows up, only to appear in one episode fighting the Rangers, surviving and never being seen or heard from again. Behind the scenes, she had been scripted to return, but Saban could not get the American actress back and the plot line was dropped instead.
Angela, Zack's love interest, disappeared after the first season. Richie, Trini's love interest, and Curtis, Zack's cousin, both disappeared after Trini and Zack were written off the show.
During the transition between Power Rangers Turbo and Power Rangers in Space, Lt. Jerome Stone, as well as the Angel Grove Youth Center and Juice Bar, disappeared and was replaced with Adelle and the Surf Spot.
It was previously averted with the previous Juice Bar owner Ernie whose absence was explained as a trip to the Amazon.
Sometimes, Bulk and Skull would occasionally be seen with various nameless thugs, as part of what we are led to presume is their 'gang'. They only appeared for certain early season 1 episodes, and then seemed to disappear forever.
When Jason returned in Zeo, he met Emily who became his love interest. He departed at the end of Zeo, going off with Emily, and appearing again in the Turbo movie but without her. He then disappears until the tenth anniversary special.
That's not even the true mystery. It's Emily that's the mystery. She has one more on-screen and named appearance in Turbo, which lasts for a few seconds and without Jason, then she's never seen again at all.
Squatt and Baboo, where are they in Zeo? They used to cling onto Rita, and yet when she, Zedd, Finster, Rito and Goldar are forced out of their home, and made to travel around in their caravan, it seems Squatt and Baboo just kinda...vanished. Unless they were destroyed by the Machine Empire off screen.
They went to stay with Master Vile to regroup; maybe they stayed with him when the others went back to the moon.
Reaper: Sam's brother appears in the first two episodes and then is never seen or mentioned again for the rest of the show's two-year run.
The second season introduced a host of new characters, none of whom were ever seen again afterwards, save for the odd reference here and there.
There were also Glen Brachston, the lazy marina owner; Garth Harble, the first animal control officer before Ed Frid; Earl Battersby, the bait shop owner; Dwight Cardiff, the other lazy marina owner; Dougie Franklin's brother, Benjamin; Bob Stuyvesant, golfer/ministry of natural resources worker; Arnie Dogan, accident-prone roofer/aspiring country singer; Young Walter, who substituted for Bill in the later Adventures With Bill segments; Dale, a teenaged boy who worked at a local gas station; Kevin Black, a Yuppie cottager; Brian Jacobs, funeral parlor owner; etc. At least one was justified, as Red mentions in one segment that Garth got bit by a toad and "lost his nerve," and thus was replaced by Ed.
Happened repeatedly over the course with family friends and neighbours. The most egregious example was easily Roseanne and Jackie's best friend Crystal Anderson, whom they'd known since childhood and was an official main character for the first few seasons, appearing in the opening credits and everything (a rank never even granted to the Healy brothers, despite them living with the Conners and appearing prominently in almost every episode in the second half of the series). After she marries Dan's father Ed (a recurring character played by Ned Beatty) and bears two children with him, they all vanish for a season or two before prominently appearing again in a two-episode arc about Dan reconciling with his father. After that, Dan's father did not appear again and Crystal returned for one last appearance at Roseanne's baby shower at the beginning of the 8th season. Neither of them appeared after that, even at extremely notable events such as Darlene's wedding, or in the final season when the Conners won a hundred and eight million dollars in the lottery.
One neighbouring family introduced a few seasons into the series got tons of episodes and development, including one daughter pursuing main character David Healy and her overweight wallflower sister catching Roseanne's attention as somebody who needed support and guidance. The Conners even all traveled to California with them in an RV at one point. Unlike their previous sets of neighbours who'd had proper send-offs, they eventually just stopped appearing.
Jackie's husband/ex-husband Fred stopped appearing altogether a couple episodes after they divorced, although was occasionally referenced as taking care of their infant son in various episodes. Like other characters, his absence in the face of the Conners winning the lottery (including his best friend and boss Dan, his ex-wife Jackie and his infant *son* Andy) is nigh-inexplicable.
There's also the absence of Bonnie, the waitress from Rodbell's with whom Roseanne worked. Somewhast justified in that everyone seemed to have gone their separate ways after the Rodbell's diner closed down - Leon, her boss, vanished for a while before resurfacing after Roseanne and Jackie opened their own diner, and stuck with the show afterward. Bonnie, meanwhile? Just gone.
Anne-Marie and Chuck also vanished. Anne-Marie was a friend of Roseanne's from high school, while Chuck became friends with Dan through their wives and regularly participated in the men's poker games.
Damn near everyone from the plastics factory disappeared after the mass walkout. Vonda stuck around for a little bit into the second season, even having a singing part in the musical episode and setting Roseanne up for a job interview. Then she was replaced by Anne-Marie as the Token Black Friend.
The salon crew got plenty of screentime and development during Roseanne's tenure, and the whole setting felt like a possible test for a spinoff launch. But, after Roseanne getting into an accident with one of the regular customers, she's never shown working at the salon ever again, and no mention is made of why. (Presumably, her job was filled while she recovered.)
Apparently she did keep working that salon job offscreen, because in early Season3 when she got the Rodbell's job, Dan mentions something to the effect of she won't have to sweep hair anymore.
Had two characters at the end of season 1 who disappeared without explanation: Sabrina's supposed "best friend" Jenny (who might have been referred to in passing as "Jennifer" in a later episode) and Mr. Poole, the science teacher.
Mr. Poole may have a bit of an excuse, as he wouldn't be Sabrina's teacher due to her moving up in the grades.
It's also never mentioned what happened to Dreama, the girl Sabrina was supposed to be coaching for her Witches' License.
The character of Miles also vanishes quite suddenly.
It happened in the original Saved by the Bell too, but to a lesser extent. The most egregious example was the replacement of Jessie and Kelly with Tori for the last season. That is, until the graduation finale, where the process was reversed. Neither was given any explanation. What really happened was after the series finished production, the network ordered more episodes. The actresses declined to return for them, thus necessitating Tori. The finale was filmed before this happened.
Saved by the Bell is actually one of very few shows where the MAIN CHARACTER got Chucked. In its first season, the show focused on the kids' teacher, Miss Bliss, and the school faculty in general; the kids were meant to be supporting characters. This setup was quickly abandoned once it became obvious that the students had a lot more potential for comedy and stories than the teachers. Miss Bliss vanished from the show between seasons one and two. Even the SCHOOL ITSELF fell victim to this trope — in season one, it's a junior high school in Indiana. From season two on, the same cast is attending a high school in California. No explanation is ever given.
Saved by the Bell is sort of an re-imagining of a different show, Good Morning, Miss Bliss, which was then shown in later syndication as though it were the first season of Saved, despite the resulting oddities in continuity.
Scrubs: Dr. Grace Miller was introduced with much fanfare in season 3, then promptly vanished off the face of the earth. Series creator Bill Lawrence later explained that this was because Miller had been a failed attempt to create a female Dr. Cox character. This didn't work because A) it was redundant, as Jordan more than adequately fulfils that role, and B) Dr. Miller was an unfunny, unlikeable shrew.
Secret Diary of a Call Girl: In one of the earlier episodes Hannah goes to the hospital to visit her sister Jackie who just had a baby boy. Later she goes to her new nephew's christening. But when Jackie separates from her husband and stays for awhile with Hannah, the baby is not only nowhere to be seen - he isn't even mentioned once.
Oddly enough, given the show's notable sensitivity to such subjects, when Northern Calloway (David, then owner of Hooper's Store) left due to illness and died a few months later, no explanation for the character's absence was ever given on-screen then or since. He seems to simply have been deleted from Street memory.
Word of God has it that it was too soon after the death of Mr. Hooper (in a memorable Tear Jerker, the adults had to tell Big Bird Mr. Hooper had died, some time after his actor Will Lee died) for there to be another death. And apparently they didn't really feel like coming up with some other explanation for David's departure, so his disappearance was never explained and the show just moved on.
Another explanation that has appeared in published accounts was that Calloway had become involved with drugs and was involved in several instances of inappropriate behavior, run-ins with the law, and repeated conflicts with the production staff and cast. These accounts sometime contend that David simply had (off-screen) moved to Florida to care for his grandmother, with no other explanation or reference given; David's grandmother had appeared several times from the late 1970s through mid-1980s.
Additionally, numerous Muppet characters have come and gone for various reasons and are now no longer on the show. One was Don Music, a piano player who bangs his head against the piano in frustration, who was dropped from the show when kids at home started doing the same thing. Another was Harvey Kneeslapper, who was let go because his signature laugh was too much of a strain on Frank Oz's vocal cords. Then there was Roosevelt Franklin, who was arguably one of the first breakthrough Sesame Street Muppets, but who was dropped since he was considered to be a negative cultural stereotype (he was the only African-American Muppet at the time and was seen mostly in detention after school). Finally, Professor Hastings, a teacher whose lectures were so dull that he would put himself to sleep while giving them, was discontinued because he was too dull.
Space: 1999: Had quite a few characters disappear between its first and second season. From the regular cast, Paul Morrow, David Kano and Victor Bergman were suddenly gone without explanation. The Moonbase Alpha Technical Notebook explains that all three died... and apparently lines of dialogue were written to that effect but never used, making their absence all the more glaring as there was nowhere they could have gone (Not quite. Morrow and Kano's absences are never explained, but the Season 2 opener "The Metamorph" confirms in dialogue between Verdeschi and Sandra Benes that Victor Bergman died due to a malfunctioning spacesuit). A recurring character, Tanya Alexander, also went missing. Dr. Robert Mathias, Helena's assistant in the medical center, was briefly used in a much smaller role but then disappeared (again, the tech notebook "explains" that he changed sections). This was compounded when Tony Verdeschi started in like he'd always been there in their place at the beginning of the season.
Spin City: This show was well known for this — of all the characters who left, only Mike (Michael J Fox) actually had an exit storyline. This meant that, over the course of the series, Stacy, James, Nikki, Janelle and Angie all disappeared without trace, often with only the barest of mentions (Catlin: I fired James.).
Dr. Ben Samuels was a major character in the first season who simply stopped appearing. His plot arc was never resolved, and none of the other characters mention him again. This makes sense, considering he only existed in the mind of Tommy Westphall.
Dr. Hugh Beale suffered this fate as well.
Stargate Atlantis: Has Hermiod, a recurring Asgard on the Daedalus introduced in Series 2. He later vanishes without explanation, though Word of God claims that he died in the Asgard mass-suicide in the SG-1 finale.
Re'tu Charlie is never seen after going to live with the Tok'ra in "Show and Tell", despite his closeness to Jack and despite many further Tok'ra episodes.
Nyan is never seen after being becoming Daniel's research assistant in "New Ground".
Teal'c's love interest, Ishta vanishes after season 8 and is never mentioned again.
And of course, Jonas Quinn, a member of SG-1 for a whole season, completely vanishes after season seven's "Fallout". He isn't mentioned when when his homeworld Langara is said to have been conquered by the Ori, nor does he reappear when they actually show Langara in Stargate Universe.
The Tok'ra Anise was introduced to 'sexy up' SG-1 for ratings, but was removed without any fanfare after a few episodes when the show runners decided the ratings were fine as they were.
The Andorians can be seen as an entire Chuck Cunningham species in this universe - Star Trek: The Original Series set them up as an important member of the Federation... by The Next Generation, they're all gone. The Word of God explanation was that they were just too silly-looking (blue skin and antennae...).
In "The Offspring", Data's Truly Single Parent daughter, while choosing an appearance, narrows down the list to a few choices, one of which is an Andorian female. It's mentioned that if that appearance, she would be the only Andorian on the Enterprise. And that was the only Andorian appearance in the 24th century shows... they got a few other off-screen mentions, mostly in Deep Space Nine since some they seem to have done trade there. But off-screen.
The Tellarites were also important in TOS, but don't appear in the 24th century—unless you count background appearances from recycled footage.
The fun thing is, Star Trek: Enterprise (a prequel series) set these two up as the third and fourth most important species in the Federation. On one hand, it compensates for their non-appearances. On the other hand, it makes their apparent disappearance all the more puzzling.
The EU explains that the Andorian's apparent disappearance is because they are having a genetic collapse of the Andorian species and aren't even able to maintaining their current population. This is not helped by the fact they have four genders and require all of them to reproduce. Thus, every able-bodied young Andorian is expected to be on Andor attempting to raise a family, not be running around the galaxy in Starfleet. There's still no explanation for the lack of Tellarites, although it's possible they simply aren't well suited to Starfleet.
Also the Orions, the race the originalGreen-Skinned Space Babe belonged to. ( Well, it was an illusion, but anyway...) Like the Andorians and Tellarites, Deep Space Nine had a lot of fun with keeping them a just-offscreen big deal. In fact, an episode had Ezri's family involved with the Orion Syndicate. All dealings with them are through their non-Orion enforcers. Also like the Andorians and Tellarites, Enterprise brought them back in full.
Both the Andorians and the Orions also play very large roles in the MMO, Star Trek Online.
In the Original Series, Yeoman Rand was set up in the first dozen or so episodes as a regular love interest for Kirk and then disappeared without explanation. No one seems to be quite sure of the reason (several seemingly contradictory explanations have been given by people involved in the show), but it's usually claimed either that the writers decided Kirk shouldn't be held down by a steady girlfriend and should have Girls of The Week instead. She did, however, return in the films, ending up as Sulu's first officer on the Excelsior.
An odd case from Star Trek: Voyager: Samantha Wildman, whose daughter Naomi remained on the show with Seven of Nine basically taking over the mother role for her. Word of God is that the writers somehow got the idea that they'd killed Samantha in an episode where she almost dies but pulls through.
Another similar case on Star Trek: Voyager was Lt. Joe Carey, an assistant engineer who appears in four first season episodes... and then not again till the fifth season, and in a flashback at that! One wonders if here again the writers thought they killed him off at some point, since his presence is used to indicate an earlier time. He then reappears exactly twice in the remainder of the series, and gets killed in the fifth to last episode of the series. A run of bad luck.
When Gates McFadden reprised the role of Dr. Crusher in the third season of The Next Generation, her second-season replacement, Dr. Pulaski, simply vanished with no explanation given.
Deep Space Nine: Remember T'Rul, the Romulan who was part of the command staff of the Defiant as a stipulation of the Romulan Empire's agreement to let Starfleet use one of their cloaking devices? No? No surprise. This was in part due to the actress who played her, Martha Hackett, getting cast in a recurring role on Voyager shortly afterwards, and the Deep Space Nine staff simply not feeling like replacing her (The rules T'Rul was there to enforce also conveniently disappeared without a comment, other than one episode where they simply remembered one of the rules, then broke it.)
Carol's sister and mother likewise disappeared after the first season. Cody also went missing in the sixth season due to real-life issues with the actor's wife, but managed to return for the final season.
The Suite Life of Zack and Cody: The old maid Muriel appeared a lot in season one...and disappeared in the next two seasons. It was revealed in the series finale that she retired two years earlier...and Zack and Cody brought her back due to fact that Mr. Tipton was planning on firing somebody and who better to fire than someone who's already retired?
The writers managed to do this in the span of a single episode in season 5. It introduced Jesse Turner, a young boy explicitly identified as the Anti-Christ. This resulted from a union between a demon and a human, which somehow imbued him with high-level Reality Warper powers, an ability neither species displayed in any way. Possibly realizing how little sense it made that this would result in the most powerful character depicted in the show up to that point (with the possible exception of God) and the Story Breaker Power it entailed, the writers immediately sent the character off to nowhere, and he's never mentioned afterwards. It's technically also Put on a Bus, but it goes straight past even Long Bus Trip because everyone immediately forgets he ever existed at all.
Taxi: In which John Burns disappears after the first season without on-screen explanation (though he may have been fired for crashing the beloved Cab 804 beyond repair; Word of God is that he was just too boring a character.)
In the fifth episode, Donna's sister Tina is introduced... only to never be seen again. Later in the series Donna is referred to as being an only child. Tina's disappearance is lampshaded at the end of a season two episode called "Vanstock." A narrator announces a bunch of character questions in a dramatic fashion, such as "Will Donna and Eric ever consummate their relationship?" The final question is "And whatever happened to Midge's other daughter, Tina? Find out next time on That 70s Show!" However, this is the last time Tina is ever mentioned.
Donna's older sister Valerie was mentioned as being at college, and then was never mentioned again. Considering That '70s Show gave many nods to Happy Days, Tina and Valerie may have been intentionally introduced just to have this happen.
The most prominent semi-example is Laurie, Eric's older sister. She was a recurring character in season one, and then a regular in season two and three. Her actress then left the show, and Laurie wasn't mentioned at all.(At least not by name, though Red mentioned having "kids"). Laurie came back (played by a different actress) for recurring appearances in season five and six before disappearing again, though she was mentioned in passing several times. When Kitty considers Donna part of the family at the end of the series, they lampshade on Laurie's disappearance, wondering where she is.
Jeff and Steph Woodcock (Eddie Kaye Thomas and Kat Thomas) were lead characters, on equal footing with Eddie and Joy Stark (Brad Garrett and Joely Fisher), and the whole basis of the show seemed to be about contrasting a newly-wed couple and a long-time married couple. After the first 2 seasons, however, they vanished without a trace, and Jeff's sidekick role was taken by Kenny, played by J.B. Smoove. This was further confused when unaired episodes from Season 2 aired in the middle of Season 3.
Kenny disappeared himself at the beginning of the fourth and final season. His place was taken by their daughter Ally and her fiancé/husband Doug. Like the season before the episodes were aired out of order and had some leftovers thrown in. Since Ally was recast three times during the show it was especially confusing.
This gets a lampshade when Doug remembers all of the above, plus a random guest arc by Gilbert Gottfried, late in the fourth season, due to him getting Medium Awareness as a form of mental illness. Don't worry, it Makes Just as Much Sense in Context. At any rate, none of the other characters have any idea who he's talking about when he brings them up.
This British sci-fi series had Stephen, one of the original cast members, just disappear from the series without explanation after the fourth season. According to some sources, Executive Meddling was the reason for his departure, and writer Roger Price didn't feel like writing the character out... so Stephen is gone from the series without any sort of explanation or acknowledgement that he ever existed. Very jarring, considering he was one of the first people we were introduced to, and was one of the two longest-serving cast members up to that point.
Tyso disappeared at the same time as Stephen (also with no explanation). However, during the fourth season Tyso had been Demoted to Extra due to confusion over whether he'd be returning to the series.
In the remake, Lisa disappeared after the first season and Kevin vanished after the second, with no mention made of either of them by anyone.
Torchwood: Had Detective Kathy Swanson, whom the team reach out to when locked in their Elaborate Underground Base. She disappears after the first series and is never mentioned again, even in episodes that involve the police or take place in the police station (although she does make it into the Tie In Novels.)
The Torkelsons: This short-lived sitcom was completely retooled as Almost Home for its second season, famously losing two of the family's five children in the process.
Trailer Park Boys: Whatever happened to Trina? She and her mom, Barb, were staying with Lahey over the summer, but then Barb was made a recurring character, and Trina drops of the face of the earth.
The Tudors: This was actually a rampant problem for the show, resulting in an extensive rewriting of history. Among the important characters who disappear without a trace (and often have their historical roles delegated to someone else) are the Duke of Norfolk, Sir Anthony Knivert, Archbishop Cranmer, Pope Paul III, and Sir Francis Bryan.
Harrison's girlfriend appears in the pilot episode, and expresses doubts over why he's bothering to investigate an urban legend (the radiated Martians). After he kisses her and heads out on assignment, she's never seen again, and Harrison never mentions her any time afterwards.
Mrs. Pennyworth, whose estate Harrison, Ironhorse and the others stay at through the first season. Although her partner, Tom Kensington, dies in the episode "Among the Philistines", she is still alive at the end of the episode. She disappears without explanation between the two seasons, and isn't present when the estate is breached and destroyed in the second-season premiere.
Katara, an android from the planet Synth, who helps the Blackwood team repel a large Mortaxian force, heals their critical injuries and tells them she is leaving the planet to get help from her own people. She never appears in the series again.
Welcome Back, Kotter: Gabe's wife was pregnant, but then it was suddenly forgotten; apparently they were trying to write the actress's pregnancy into the script, and it became a running gag for some time — until the actress had a miscarriage. A year later however, they repeated the same gag, and she had twins.
The West Wing: Mandy was a publicity relations manager for the first season, who disappeared after it. According to Rob Lowe, the writers referred to any character who had disappeared and not been used when they seemed they'd be more important as having 'gone to Mandyville.' Not only did she disappear between season one and two (despite the opener of season two following directly on from the end of the first) but she does not appear in any flashbacks to Bartlett's initial campaign, despite having been established as both working on it and being involved with Josh at the time. Even during Leo's funeral, when a number of old characters showed up, she was neither seen nor mentioned.
They did it again with Agent Garrett Fowler. He was a major villain in Season 1 and the first half of Season 2. He and Neal face off in the mid-season finale, he gives them all the information he has, Peter brings him back to the Bureau, and... nothing. Absolutely nothing. We never find out what happened to him. He gets a passing reference at the beginning of Season 3, but it's only a mention of his and Neal's confrontation. Word of God doesn't even seem to know. When asked, Jeff Eastin replied, "Peter killed him and buried him in the backyard." Needless to say, this inspired a lot of fan fiction...
Wings: After Thomas Haden Church left, Brian Haley was brought in to play Budd Bronski, the replacement character for Church's Lowell. However, Budd's personality was neither as memorable nor as well-defined as Lowell's had been, so after a few appearances, he disappeared from the series without explanation, and the writers decided to build up the show's other supporting characters (chiefly Antonio and Casey) instead.
We are given the example of Scully's invisible brother, Charlie. He is seen once in a flashback to when they were children, mentioned perhaps twice, and then never again. And though we see Scully's other siblings: older sister Melissa and older brother Bill who have a moderate impact on the plot, Charlie is never seen as an adult in the show's nine year run. (At least not definitively: He may be one of the silent mourners at their father's funeral.)
There's also Senator Matheson, who's set up in Little Green Men as a replacement for Deep Throat. He appears only twice, and is mentioned a few times, in Seasons 2-3 before disappearing. He reappeared for a single episode in Season Six then vanished completely.
Neds Declassified School Survival Guide: A good few characters fell victim. You can possibly view it as Truth in Television, as in grade school classmates and teachers you see one year you may see less frequently the following year, due to schedule changes and making new friends to replace the old.
Bitsy, Suzy Crabgrass's best friend disappears after season 1, with the introduction of Missy Meany.
All members of the Huge Crew are never mentioned after season 3.
The Scoop after season 1.
Shandra Taylor, Moze's friend after season 1.
This nearly happens to Mr. Monroe. He was in the opening credits in season 1, replaced with Gordy in season 2, and starts appearing less and less until he disappears. However, he finally returns in a late season 3 episode. and was promptly re-added to the opening credits.
The Vampire Diaries has Jamie, who was taken in by Bonnie's mother and started a romantic relationship with her. Last time we saw him, he and Bonnie were asleep together when Esther compels her to complete Alaric's transition into a vampire hunter to destroy her children. He hasn't been seen since.
Before Jamie, there was Lucy, a distant cousin of Bonnie, who was last seen in season two, telling Bonnie she'd see her again, and implying it be soon.