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Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Live-Action TV
  • Stargate SG-1.
    • Jonas Quinn was sort of like Daniel Jackson... but from another planet! However, after Michael Shanks decided to return as a regular, Jonas Quinn was abruptly and permanently written out of the series at the beginning of the seventh season.
    • Despite being the Trope Namer for a while, Jonas Quinn wasn't even the best example of this trope on this show. Cam Mitchell, an Air Force colonel with a snarky sense of humor and a tendency to make pop culture references (like the actor Browder's character in Farscape) replaced Richard Dean Anderson's character, Jack O'Neill, when he started Commuting on a Bus to spend more time with his family. This somewhat falls under the "military role" exception, but is more likely due to a desire to have a new leading man, particularly one with a built-in audience. In addition, the "military role" exception doesn't explain their sufficiently similar personalities; Mitchell hadn't Seen It All like O'Neill, had a lower rank and lacks the Ancient gene, but other than that they could have delivered the same lines.
    • This trope received its Lampshade Hanging (along with about a hundred others) in "200," when an actor backs out from playing the lead in the Show Within a Show based on the SG team's adventures, leading to the page quote above. And at the end, we find out the "Colonel Danning" character from Wormhole X-Treme! was substituted. "Dr. Levant" is not indicated to have had a Suspiciously Similar Substitute when he left the show, but much like the real Stargate SG-1, they may have resolved to never speak of it.
      • Not to mention the humorous scene where other characters suggested that Cam was O'Neill's son from the time travel episode in Season 1.
    • Jewel Staite's Dr. Keller also replaced Dr. Beckett on Stargate Atlantis as the caring and sometimes out of his/her element doctor, despite having appeared on the series previously as a different character.
  • Supernatural has Balthazar, who's very, very similar to the now-dead Gabriel (except taller, blonder, and with a hot British accent).
    • Later in the series, fans commented that the character "Frank" was just an unnecessary replacement for Bobby, who was taken away from the leads to supposedly "strip the show back down to just the brothers."
      • Arguably, this fate has now befallen the character "Kevin" (with a dose of flanderization to boot), who, since the Men of Letters bunker was introduced, is little more than a walking-talking Junior Woodchucks Guidebook.
    • When he was first introduced, many fans feared that Benny would replace Castiel as Dean's gravel-voiced, coat-wearing, non-human BFF.
  • On Cheers, the sweet-natured, dimwitted old bartender Coach was replaced by the sweet-natured, dimwitted young bartender Woody Boyd. Rebecca Howe (a ruthless and hot corporate exec) was more distinct from her predecessor Diane (a bookish and pretty in a girl-next-door-way barmaid), but Rebecca gradually became more and more like Diane.
    • Al, the elderly man who sat at the opposite corner of the bar from Norm and occasionally made sarcastic comments, was replaced by Phil, the elderly man who sat at the opposite corner of the bar from Norm and occasionally made sarcastic comments. In the Reunion Show episode of Frasier, Frasier says how good it is to see Al again, only to be told "I'm Phil, you jackass! Al died!"
  • Speaking of Frasier, this trope was neatly deconstructed/lampshaded with Mel Karnofski, Niles' Romantic False Lead between divorcing Maris and getting together with Daphne. Mel was a blatantly obvious slightly-milder carbon-copy of Maris (or rather, Maris's actions and descriptions given a more subtle form and voice), paralleling her in everything from being a manipulative and domineering Jerk Ass to her hysterical, unstable, mood-swinging, and obsessively fussy and neurotic behavior — and Niles is unable to see it. Frasier outright tells Niles that he's repeating a horrible pattern (Maris was quite emotionally abusive and generally had an adverse effect on Niles' mental state), and speculates that he's just jumping at the chance for someone comfortingly familiar because Daphne is getting engaged and he (apparently) no longer has a chance with her.
  • Phil Capra (for Joel Fleischman) on Northern Exposure.
  • LOST
    • In season 3 'the Others' chief tough guy, Danny Pickett, was replaced by Ryan Pryce a few episodes after the former's death.
    • Bram first appears in the same episode in which Ceaser dies (the actor didn't want to stay in Hawaii) and takes over his role, which was promised to be important at least for the season.
  • The X-Files
    • Agents Doggett and Reyes
    • Also the various informants, starting with Deep Throat, coming into X, and finishing with Marita Covarrubias.
    • One case was forced: "Travelers" and "Agua Mala" featured Arthur Dales, the first FBI agent to deal with X-Files. Dales' actor Darren McGavin suffered a stroke filming "The Unnatural", leading him to be replaced with M. Emmet Walsh playing his brother Arthur Dales, a former police officer (who lampshades his parents didn't have much creativity with names). To make it worse, both Dales were played in flashbacks by the same actor.
  • M*A*S*H replaced half its original cast during its run with new characters slotted into their roles in the ensemble, but partially subverted the trope by giving the new characters key differences. Womanizer Trapper John was replaced by happily married B.J. Hunnicutt, oblivious draftee Col. Blake was replaced by regular-Army taskmaster Col. Potter, incompetent Jerkass Frank Burns was replaced by Jerk with a Heart of Gold surgical diva Charles Winchester. Clerical savant Radar wasn't given a replacement character but instead his duties were handed off to slacker first-class Klinger.
    • This is lampshaded depressingly in the episode "Depressing News", when Hawkeye is lamenting to B.J. how the war rolls on even as the people fighting it are killed or replaced (using the surplus tongue depressors that have been shipped to the 4077th as a visual aid):
      Hawkeye: Tongue depressors, doctors, soldiers, we're all the same...(holds up one tongue depressor) Trapper John goes. No problem, there's plenty more where he came from. (tosses it aside and picks up another) B.J. Hunnicutt. Same size, same shape. (picks up another) Frank Burns out... (picks up another) Winchester in. Just a hair's difference. (picks up another) Henry Blake. (snaps it in two) Rest in peace, Henry. (picks up another) Incoming Sherman Potter. (to B.J.) My God, hasn't this elimination tournament gone on long enough?
    • Sgt. Luther Rizzo is arguably a substitute for Sgt. Zelmo Zale.
  • SeaQuest DSV.
    • Capt. Oliver Hudson
    • Lonnie Henderson is probably a better example, going so far as to step in as Ford's love interest in season 2 to replace Katie Hitchcock.
  • Ida Mae Brindle on Small Wonder.
  • Jeffrey Sinclair and John Sheridan (both J.S.'s, like J. Michael Straczynski), and, later, Susan Ivanova and Elizabeth Lochley, on Babylon 5. The difference between the two changes and their effect on the show is marked, as was general reaction.
    • Ivanova was herself a Suspiciously Similar Substitute for Laurel Takashima from the Pilot Movie Babylon 5: The Gathering.
      • That's how it ended up, but according to JMS that wasn't the original intention. The two characters were originally supposed to coexist until the end of the second season when Laurel would turn out to be The Mole and leave the show (written in because JMS knew Tamlyn Tomita wouldn't want to commit to five years) and Ivanova would become the executive officer... but then Tamlyn Tomita decided not to come back for the series at all.
    • Likewise, Talia Winters replaced Lyta Alexander when the series began; in a recursive twist, though, when Andrea Thompson decided to leave the show, they brought back Lyta in a double-un-Suspiciously Similar Substitute maneuver.
      • Word of God admits this was a blatant Bridge Drop. Talia's actress was clamoring for more screen time and generally being a pain to work with, so JMS unceremoniously fired her. Additionally served as a standing notice to other cast that Anyone Can Die, in addition to the flexibility mentioned below.
    • Stephen Franklin replaced Benjamin Kyle. Noticing a pattern yet? Face it — if this wiki had been around ten years ago, the page you're reading would be called "John Sheridan."
    • Straczynski has stated that every major character on the show had an "escape hatch" for each season, to allow the actor to be replaced if necessary without affecting the overall story arc.
    • Babylon 5 did this with alien species too. After the Shadows left the galaxy, a suspiciously similar race called the Drakh appeared, handwaved as the "dark servants" of the Shadows.
  • Flo replacing the deceased Selma on Night Court. Flo then also died a year later, leading to the younger Roz. (Also on this show, Lana was replaced by Mac, and Liz was replaced by Billie, then Christine).
  • On Three's Company, Dumb Blonde Chrissy being replaced by her cousin, Dumb Blonde Cindy.
  • Oliver (for Jeff) on Coupling.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000 is an interesting case. All characters other than the robots had been replaced by the show's end, yet the writers took care to make the replacement (and their interaction with the rest of the cast) different from the departing character. Consequently, there's no real consensus among the fans whether any given replacement was better or worse than the original. It also helps that each replacement actor was either behind the scenes since the start, or with the team for ages before they got in front of the camera, so none of them were really "new."
    • Joel was sort of a father figure to the 'bots. His replacement, Mike, interacted with the 'bots as their equal (at best) and tended to be more overtly sarcastic. The flame wars over which of the two was better are notorious. While the bots see Joel as a father figure, they see Mike as a brother figure thus are more inclined to mess around with Mike and prank him relentlessly than they would Joel.
    • TV's Frank was Dr. Clayton Forrester's minion and punching-bag; when he departed, he was replaced by Pearl Forrester, Clayton's mom and one of the few people capable of cowing her son into submission. After Clayton departed, Pearl took over as the head Mad, and gained her own minions, Bobo and Observer.
    • TV's Frank himself being a replacement for Dr Erhardt, who "went missing" after the first season. Prompting Joel to remark during "Earth vs. The Spider" when a character who looked alot like Dr Erhardt was eaten "So THATS what happened to him!"
      • The actor playing Dr. Erhardt also provided the voice of Tom Servo during the show's first Comedy Channel season. When he left, and Kevin took over for Tom Servo in season 2, a fan mailed in an 11-page long banner screaming "I HATE SERVO'S NEW VOICE". ("Does he realize," Kevin later commented, "That he just sent hate mail to a puppet?")
  • Farscape mostly averted this. After Zhaan dies, she's replaced by Jool who fills the same role as The Smart Guy but is purely scientific rather than spiritual and is much more abrasive in personality, while Stark tries to take over Zhaan's spiritual role (with mixed results.) When Jool leaves, her direct replacement Sikozu is a bit more similar in personality to her but much more competent and calculating. At the same time, Noranti is introduced as a replacement for Zhann and Stark's mystical/spiritual role, but more morally ambiguous than Zhaan was, sometimes being downright sinister. As well as replacing the missing Stark's allotment of crazy awesome.
    • One episode even featured a group of suspiciously similar substitutes. Escaped prisoners from Peacekeeper custody on a Leviathan transport pod, a Scarran strong guy (reflecting D'Argo's proud warrior race guy), a Nebari androgyn (hermaphrodite, mirroring Chiana's nonconformist), a female Hynerian, and a captured Peacekeeper tech (reflecting Aeryn's initial unwilling accompaniment of Moya's crew, as well as looking similar to Crichton and being in a similarly mistrusted position.)
  • Sergeant Baker replaced Sergeant Kinchloe as 'radio operator who happens to be black' on Hogan's Heroes in the final season. Unfortunately, unlike Kinchloe, Baker didn't have much characterization outside 'radio operator who happens to be black' and wasn't the most satisfying of replacements.
  • An interesting exception can be found on A Different World. Originally it was a star vehicle created for Lisa Bonet by Bill Cosby's production house, but after Bonet's 1988 pregnancy forced her from the program after the first season, no substitute for her was cast. Instead, it became an ensemble show, and eventually two minor characters — Dwayne Wayne and Whitley Gilbert — evolved into its real stars and carried the show for five more years.
  • Step by Step replaced Cody (upon actor Sasha Mitchell's run-in with the law) with Bronson Pinchot's character, who, despite being French, was essentially the wacky roommate Cody was in every way.
    • They also had the character of Flash, nicknamed because he was an adult with the hyperactivity of a 4 year old. Essentially another Cody given a justification.
  • In Heroes, West's relationship with Claire leaves him as little more than a straight version of Zach. The writers tried to cover this up by giving him the power of flight/levitation but his lines and role as a foil character made it obvious.
  • Star Trek eventually fell into this trap — particularly with Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Enterprise — though for different reasons. ENT was intentionally a merging of the holy trinity of Kirk, Spock and Bones with the "new generation" Trek tropes. Conversely, VOY germinated as an unaired eighth season of TNG before being retooled into a spinoff.
  • Actually this trope has been in Star Trek from the start, where Captain Pike is replaced after the Pilot with Captain Kirk. Both are square jawed, two fisted adventurers with a close friendship with the ship's physician and a mild romantic interest in a female yeoman.
    • Pike was not exactly an established character, though, since the pilot was not shown in the series' regular run. Yes, it was chopped up to become the story-within-a-story of "Menagerie" but that was run well after Kirk was established as Captain. The Abrams films later canonized Pike as a vital character in his own right. Unfortunately for Pike, his death has become a series staple, as well!
    • The characters of TOS were based on the characters originally conceived for the rejected pilot, with Pike becoming Kirk, Boyce becoming Bones, Smith becoming Rand, etc.. This practice is extremely commonplace when a Pilot turns into a green-lighted series. Similarly, the characters of TNG were based on the characters of the abandoned "Star Trek: Phase II" series: Will Decker became the similarly-named Will Riker; Decker's old flame, the empathic Deltan Ilia, became Riker's old flame, the empathic Betazed Troi; and Xon, the Vulcan struggling to understand humanity, became Data, the android struggling to understand humanity. A writer's strike proved to be nothing more than a minor inconvenience for TNG: they just dusted off some old "Phase II" scripts and went to work (though only one script ended up being used for the strike-shortened second season; another was pushed back to season four).
      • Xon was created to replace Spock when Leonard Nimoy decided he didn't want to do the "Phase II" series.
  • Following the success of TNG, a pattern began to emerge in the crew's makeup. There will always be an overeager, wet behind the ears kid for the young audience to relate to (see Wesley Crusher, Jake Sisko, Naomi Wildman); an inexperienced recruit (Dr. Bashir, Harry Kim, Travis Mayweather); a comic relief hustler with gross alien habits (see Quark, Neelix, and Dr. Phlox). Sometimes the characters were just obvious stand-ins for a more famous predecessor: Tuvok, the gruff, socially-awkward Vulcan security officer, was substituted for Worf, the gruff, socially awkward Klingon security officer for instance.
    • For one season of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Dr. Kate Pulaski (played by Diana Muldaur, who'd appeared twice as different characters in the Original Series) replaced Dr. Beverly Crusher as ship's doctor. Pulaski was doubly a Suspiciously Similar Substitute, since her abrasive tics were explicitly based on Bones McCoy.
  • In a case falling halfway between Suspiciously Similar Substitute and The Nth Doctor, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine replaced Jadzia Dax with Ezri Dax in the final season: different hosts, same symbiote, and a Trill's personality is a blend of the host and symbiote.
  • The exact same thing happened in the early production of Star Trek: Voyager: B'Elanna Torres was also a replacement character for Ro Laren, because Michelle Forbes again refused to commit to a seven-year show.
    • Tom Paris was a suspiciously similar substitute for a character the same actor played on Next Gen for various legal reasons.
    • Taurik, a Vulcan Ensign who appeared in a single episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, became a recurring crew member in Voyager, where he was called Vorik, for the same reason that Locarno became Paris and T'Pau became T'Pol. Jeri Taylor, a producer on Voyager and the mother of the actor (Alexander Enberg) who played Taurik and Vorik, once quipped that the rhymedly named Vulcan Ensigns were identical twin brothers.
  • To complete a common pattern, T'Pol was originally written to be T'Pau, a Vulcan priestess who appeared in the Original Series. But since it was thought at the time that reusing a character would force them to pay royalties to the writer who created the original T'Pau (see Tom above), the character was changed. T'Pau did appear in the fourth season during a story arc on Vulcan. It was some years later that a judge in California ruled that such a reuse would not force a producer to pay royalties to the original writer. (This, incidentally, is one of the reasons why Nicholas Locarno in TNG became Tom Paris in Voyager).
  • One of the world's few substitute anticipations happened in the kids' series Space Cases. With Jewel Staite having Flash Forward hanging in the balance, her character, Catalina, was given an "imaginary friend" named Suzee, who was really a person living in Another Dimension that Catalina could communicate with. When the other series required Ms. Staite's services, a little Applied Phlebotinum switched Suzee to the real world (as played by Rebecca Herbst) and Catalina to the "imaginary" world.
  • Beakmans World substituted its lovely young female assistant not once, but twice. Both were a result of the show's fate: The first switch happened as the show moved to CBS from syndication (and Alanna Ubach deciding to do movies instead), and the second happened after an Un-cancellation (and Eliza Schneider deciding to do stage shows instead).
  • Many older kids shows, like You Cant Do That On Television and Kids Incorporated, substituted the entire cast, and Kids Incorporated did so repeatedly. Their reasoning is likely similar to why the Vienna Boys' Choir and Menudo boot their kids out at 13.
    • Similarly, the late 80s-early 90s incarnation of The Mickey Mouse Club turned over its cast a few times. Notables in the mix include Keri Russell (as part of the first rotation of new blood) and Britney Spears (as part of one of the last rotations).
    • The UK kids' show Why Dont You... is another example, but is had one notable exception in its later years: Ben, the Welsh Mad Scientist, was evidently considered un-substitutable, so he continued past the typical age, eventually playing a Holly-style computer program based on the original Ben, so that the disparity between his age and the rest of the cast wasn't an issue.
  • Power Rangers
    • Before the series adopted its Japanese counterpart's format of each season essentially being a standalone show, Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers did have some cast changes, always preserving the number of Token Minority characters. The second Pink Ranger, Katherine Hillard, is an especially egregious example, not being much like her predecessor before becoming a Ranger, but then rapidly becoming her clone. (Dark Action Girls take heed: Good Is Dumb).
    • In Power Rangers Zeo they replaced the African-American yellow ranger Aisha with a girl in Africa who she was apparently Switched at Birth with.
    • They did manage a successful change in Power Rangers Lost Galaxy, where actress Valerie Vernon had to leave due to being diagnosed with leukemia. Originally they were going to take the previous pink ranger and bring her in as a replacement, but when that deal fell through, they took the previous season's reformed Big Bad, Karone, and made her the replacement. In this case, the character was vastly different because she had aspects of The Atoner.
    • Another successful change was Adam Park, the second Black Ranger. While Zack was fun-loving and energetic, Adam was fairly quiet and thoughtful. Early on, this was all his character had to him, but an ad-lib in The Movie (his dejected "I'm a frog..." when finding out what his spirit animal is) gave him some Woobie points and being the second-longest serving ranger gave him fairly decent character development. He's one of the most popular characters in the series now and the only pre-Disney buyout ranger to appear in the 15th anniversary Reunion Show.
  • Teen Wolf has become a major offender of this trope in recent seasons, especially with its female characters. The best example is Cora, who seems to be this for Erica, the only female werewolf in Derek's pack. From being the one seen trapped in the vault with Boyd (when many wondered if Gage Golightly may have made a surprise return) to her relationship with Stiles, which is similarly part snarky and part flirtatious, she's just too similar to Erica for viewers to overlook.
    • And now, since Adelaide Kane (Cora) left the show, we have a Suspiciously Similar Substitute for the Suspiciously Similar Substitute with Malia Tate.
  • The original Kamen Rider was forced to do this with Takeshi Hongo/Kamen Rider 1 after Hiroshi Fujioka broke his leg while attempting a stunt. Unlike many examples of this trope, however, the replacement character (Hayato Ichimonji/Kamen Rider 2) is remembered fondly by the fanbase and has become just as much a fixture of the franchise as his predecessor, and when the former returned to the show, the two are often paired under the nickname "Double Riders."
    • Kamen Rider Decade did this to most of the cast of the shows they visited, using the conceit of Alternate Universes. However, while most of the characters got substitutes, several of the original actors gladly returned to reprise their roles (even if they were alternate universe versions). The most stand-out example is Kamen Rider Hibiki, where most of the secondary cast came back, but the actors who played the show's two stars (Hibiki and Asumu) didn't.
    • The old-school Riders had a recurring, cross-seasonal ally named Tobei Tachibana. He started out as Hongo's friend who ran the motorbike racing club, but got more and more involved with things Rider-related just due to being close to the guys trouble followed most, becoming something of a Badass Normal. When Powers That Be decided to bring the character back in Kamen Rider Skyrider but the actor declined, the Tachibana role in that and the following series went to the nigh-identical Genjiro Tani. His personality and role were exactly Tachibana's, and sometimes past Riders talked to Tani as if they knew him much better than they did, as if scripts with Tachibana in mind had already been written. They really shoulda gone the Magic Plastic Surgery route.
  • The Metal Heroes series Space Sheriff Gavan has Gavan's Bridge Bunny Mimi leave to see to her ill mother for the last 3rd or so of the series, and replaced with a character called Marin who was the exact same character minus the Love Interest part (since Mimi was only leaving for a short while so her and Gavan were still technically in a relationship). Unlike most examples, though, Marin was already an established character on the show as a Bridge Bunny to Gavan's Mission Control and was specifically called in to fill in for Mimi.
  • The West Wing
    • Will Bailey seems to have begun as one for Sam Seaborn (right down to several "passing the torch" incidents in which Sam encouraged Toby to accept Will's help with the Inauguration speech, Will was semi-formally inducted into Sam's old position, etc.), but the writing of the show shifted after Aaron Sorkin's departure, and within a year Will's character had shifted jobs into the Vice-President's office and was portrayed more as a cynical political operative than as an idealist. Joshua Malina (Will) has even described himself as a worse-looking, less-expensive Rob Lowe (Sam). Which you have to admit has a grain of truth to it.
    • Joe Quincy (Matthew Perry), who was hired to fill a position opened by Ainsley Hayes (Emily Procter), a "blonde, leggy Republican." Yeah, he was a Republican too. Josh doesn't like that the similarities end there.
      Josh: If you're a Republican, you damn well better look like Ainsley Hayes!
      Donna: He does!
      [Joe and Josh stare]
      Donna: I mean... he will to other people!
    • The show seems to be unable to hang on to the actor playing the White House Counsel, and so the feeling of similarity is probably due to the fact that the dialogue the new guy is sprouting was actually written for the previous guy. The scene that introduces Counsel Oliver Babish (the one with the oversized gavel and dictaphone) was pretty obviously written with Lionel Tribbey (his predecessor) in mind.
  • Maverick introduced a Suspiciously Similar Substitute before the star left, in the form of Bret Maverick's brother, Bart. This was principally done in order to accelerate the show's shooting schedule, since they could shoot a Bret episode and a Bart episode at the same time. Reportedly, the show's writers had no idea whether a given episode would be a Bret episode or a Bart episode when they wrote it. By the show's end there were two other Mavericks in rotation, one of them played by Roger Moore. The most suspiciously similar of them all was Brent Maverick, who was introduced shortly after James Garner (who played Bret Maverick) left the show. Not only was Brent's name just one letter off from Bret's, but he was played by Robert Colbert, who bears a remarkable likeness to Garner. When Colbert discovered the producers' plan for him, he rebelled against them, reportedly begging them to, "Put me in a dress and call me Brenda! ANYTHING but this!"
  • To an extent, Hugh Laurie in the third and fourth series of Blackadder seems to have filled this role (aristocratic fop) in replacement of Tim McInnerny from the first two series, after McInnerny left because he didn't want to be typecast. When McInnerny rejoined the regular cast in the fourth series, his character resembled that played by Stephen Fry (brown-nosing rival) in the second series, with Fry in turn now playing a character more akin to that of BRIAN BLESSED and Miranda Richardson respectively (insane tyrant) in the first two series. This slightly convoluted game of "musical chairs" in regards to actors and characters appears however to have been of little detriment to the series.
  • Nancy Oleson on Little House on the Prairie is a replacement for long-time nemesis, Nellie Oleson. This is lampshaded in the episode where the Olesons adopt her, as Harriet mentions how she looks "just like Nellie" while Nels later ruefully acknowledges that she acts just like Nellie, too.
    • Nancy was Nellie on steroids; actually vicious enough to unthinkingly put people's lives in danger, much like their mother. When Nell returns for a visit, even she is struck by the resemblance—and put off as well, fearing her mother is making the same mistakes—which was an understatement.
  • Robin of Sherwood replaced Michael Praed's Robin of Locksley with Jason Connery's Robert of Huntingdon, tying two contradictory legends together by making Robin Hood a Legacy Character.
    • The BBC version of Robin Hood appeared to be about to do this too. Season 3, episode 10 invented a backstory for Robin Hood and Guy of Gisbourne that created a mutual half-brother for the characters. Both Jonas Armstrong (Robin) and Richard Armitage (Guy) were expected to leave the show at the end of the third season, presumably to be replaced by their brother Archer. Then the show was cancelled.
    • Likewise, on the BBC version, the character of Marian was replaced with Kate...who had the same personality as her predecessor, only blonde and poor (and shrill). The result was cringe-inducing considering that Kate was written as arrogant, impetuous, and initially antagonistic toward Robin, just as Marian was. What the writers failed to realize was that such traits are understandable and endearing in a privileged noblewoman who had been jilted by Robin, but completely nonsensical in a peasant girl who had no reason to be any of these things.
  • Law & Order has always had six main characters: two detectives, their chief, the DA, the executive assistant DA, and a regular assistant DA. Given that the series lasted for 20 seasons, all six roles have been substituted as actors move on, some of them several times over. It also helps that the show is heavily story-based, and not too dependent on characterizations.
    • The earliest example occurred in the first episode of Season 2. No sooner was Season 1's Max Greevey (George Dzundza) gunned down that the credits start and we see Paul Sorvino's name in the credits. Sorvino's character, Phil Cerreta was a similarly overweight, older detective whose sense of values conflicted with Logan's more reckless tendencies, especially in this episode.
    • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit has seen this a few times; while actress Mariska Hargitay was away due to pregnancy, her character Olivia Benson was briefly replaced by arguable Canon Sue Dani Beck, who spoke fluent French, physically assaulted perps without consequence, was famous for her effectiveness in fighting crime, had a cool personal PDA/GPS system that she flashed around a few times, and had the romantic affair with Elliot that fans wanted him to have with Olivia. In general, the fandom doesn't miss her.
      • Similarly, the ADA's in SVU get replaced. Most people didn't mind the Alex Cabot replacement by Casey Novak (they have very different personalities), but the ADA who replaced Novak for Season 10 was a mediocre blend of both of them, with a dash of Informed Ability to boot. "They used to call me the Crusader." Fan backlash led to them bringing back Alex.
  • The Dukes of Hazzard
    • Coy and Vance replaced Bo and Luke Duke. They were such substitutes, they even had the same hair color. The following season Bo and Luke were brought back, and Coy and Vance were never heard of again.
    • Deputy Cletus Hogg, although his initial appearance on the show preceded Enos' departure for his own series, and he was allowed to stay on even after Enos returned.
    • Roscoe was also replaced briefly by two different sheriffs — including The Other Darrin himself.
  • In the Australian teen series Wicked Science, the girl in Toby's group, Dina, was replaced by Toby's cousin Sasha in Season 2.
  • Mr. Harmon, Old Mr. Grace, and Mr. Spooner replacing Mr. Mash, Young Mr. Grace and Mr. Lucas on Are You Being Served?.
    • Also Mr Grainger, the head of menswear, was replaced by Tebbs, Goldberg, Klein, and Grossman before they eliminated role and made Mr Humphries head of the department.
  • Charlie Crawford replaced Mike Flaherty as the Deputy Mayor on Spin City. The key difference was that Charlie was a Handsome Lech and Mike wasn't.
    • Charlie Crawford was played by Charlie Sheen, who also played Charlie Harper in Two and a Half Men. Sheen ended up getting fired from the show due to his drug problems and for making derogatory remarks about the show's creator and executive producer. Harper was killed off and replaced by Walden Schmidt, played by Ashton Kutcher. Both characters are immature womanizers.
  • When Gomer Pyle left The Andy Griffith Show in 1964 for his own spin-off, Gomer Pyle USMC (of "'PYYYYLE!'...'Shazam!'" fame), he was replaced by equally hayseed cousin Goober Pyle.
    • Up to that point, Goober was only referred to by Gomer as a running gag; his materializing as Gomer's replacement would be something like Seinfeld's Kramer being replaced by the infamous "Bob Sacamano." Weird.
      • Well, technically, Goober did appear in one episode ("Fun Girls") prior to Gomer's departure from Mayberry.
    • Warren Ferguson and (arguably) Howard Sprague, for Barney Fife.
    • Andy's steady girlfriend in the first season was pharmacist Ellie Walker; after she was written out of the show (apparently due to lack of chemistry between Andy Griffith and Elinor Donahue), Andy was given a couple more temporary love interests before Helen Crump was finally introduced in season 3.
    • When the show was retooled as Mayberry, R.F.D., Sam Jones and his son Mike essentially became the substitutes for Andy and Opie Taylor.
  • Uncle Albert for Grandad on Only Fools and Horses. More blatant in his first few appearances, in which he was just filling the role that Grandad would have filled if not for Lennard Pearce dying, but he soon started to be portrayed as being more physically capable and less of a Cloud Cuckoolander than Grandad, along with his navy background playing a more important part in episodes.
  • The long-running Australian sitcom Hey Dad..! continued for a 13th and 14th season after the titular character left, with a family friend serving as an unofficial father figure. Over its long lifespan, the show had a nearly complete changeover of cast, with replacements alternating between thinly-disguised substitutes and unexplained Other Darrins.
  • My Three Sons did this a lot. They replaced grandpa Bub with Uncle Charlie. Later the oldest son left so the dad adopted the youngest son's friend.
  • Doctor Who
    • Howard Attfield, who played Donna Noble's father in "The Runaway Bride," died during the filming of Series 4. They filled his role with Wilfred Mott (Bernard Cribbins), who had been created as a one-off guest character in "Voyage of the Damned" and was promptly retconned as Donna's maternal grandfather.
    • This is not the first time Cribbins has been a Doctor Who Suspiciously Similar Substitute; in the second of the 1960s non-canon movies, Daleks' Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D., he plays Special Constable Tom Campbell, who replaces the movieverse version of Ian Chesterton who appeared in the earlier movie Dr. Who And The Daleks. Louise, the Doctor's niece, is introduced as an almost identical replacement for movieverse Barbara.
    • The Doctor's regeneration was designed specifically to avoid this. Originally there was no plans for him to regenerate he wasn't even designated an alien, it only came about when William Hartnell had to leave the show due to health issues. A producer thought it would be a novel idea and thus the Doctor as we know him was born.
    • The real offenders are the early companions. Susan, Vicki and Dodo, while not identical in personality, all fit a "surrogate grand-daughter" model in their youth, innocence, and relationship with the Doctor (with Dodo noticeably similar in appearance to Susan and in fact one of the actresses considered for the role, though the actress was not cast for this reason alone). From the point that Ian and Barbara were both replaced by Steven, the rest of the sixties saw a stable companion model of a young heroic male and attractive young female as counterparts to the older Hartnell, and the slightly old Troughton. In the main exception of the decade, Polly and Ben were a pair, and quickly were supplemented with Jamie, the new version of the young heroic male.
      • This also overlaps with Composite Character - Ian and Barbara (Ian noble and snarky, Barbara clever, worry-prone and occasionally prickly) left and were 'amalgamated' into Steven, an Action Hero like Ian but with a personality similar to Barbara's (in fact, "Galaxy 4" was originally written for Barbara and gives Steven her dialogue with only a few changes). Then Steven and Dodo were replaced with Ben and Polly (a tough young man and surrogate granddaughter pair again), who were both substituted (after some overlap) with Jamie, both a tough young man and a Most Important Person figure for the Doctor.
    • The original plans for Season 7 had Zoe as the Third Doctor's companion; soon the producer decided she should be written out to give the show a Reboot and so they created Liz, a similar Hot Scientist, to replace her.
    • Early plans for Series 4 had a character called Penny Carter stepping in as the new companion, 'as much like Donna Noble as I can get away with' according to writer Russell T. Davies, due to his assumption that the actress who played Donna in a one-off appearance, Catherine Tate, being quite popular and busy, would not agree to return in a regular role. When Tate actually agreed to do the show after all and Donna became the full-time companion, Penny Carter did appear as a minor character, spending almost all of her screen time complaining in Donna-like fashion.
    • Tasha Lem in "The Time of the Doctor" is so similar to River Song that some fans speculate that she's a regeneration of her. However dialogue in the episode - plus the fact that Tasha technically dies in the episode, being replaced by a Dalek duplicate albeit with her memories and feelings for the Doctor retained, a complete contradiction of River's fate - tends to suggest otherwise.
    • Prop example - the Fourth Doctor started using a 'secondary console room' at one point designed to fit the gothic motif he was swiftly developing, which had a chapel-like appearance complete with stained-glass windows and gorgeous real wood panelling on everything. However, the BBC stored the set poorly and the wood warped and cracked, forcing the Doctor to revert to the previous console room set, with a Hand Wave about him redecorating the secondary console room to look like his previous one. (This also serendipitously coincided with the Doctor's characterisation going in a Lighter and Softer direction.)
    • The Toclafane - mutated, insane, Omnicidal Maniac humanoids dependent on heavily-armed miniature tank cases to survive - were created as a substitute for the Daleks if the revival show could not get the rights to use them, as the negotiations with Terry Nation's estate were going badly. "Dalek" (titled "Absence of the Daleks") would have revolved around the audience expecting to find a Dalek, but the creature instead being the last Toclafane, the race that wiped out the Time Lords. "Bad Wolf" and "The Parting of the Ways" would have been the conclusion of their Arc and revealed that they were in fact humans from the future. The final version of Series 1 did use Daleks in this role, but the Daleks encountered in that story were built from mutated humans like the Toclafane.
  • Torchwood did this in Children of Earth with Lois, who fills the role Martha was joining to play had Freema Agyeman been available.
    • Subverted in the same miniseries when a character who seems like he's being built up to be a substitute for Owen suddenly shoots Jack in the back, and then gets shot himself. RTD says this was intentional, because he thinks it's a disservice to characters to outright replace them with a Suspiciously Similar Substitute.
  • The Sarah Jane Adventures, as well as replacing Maria with Rani, plays with this in-universe a few times:
    • Luke has a nightmare about being replaced in "The Nightmare Man". A season later in "Sky", he actually would be replaced by another Artificial Human with No Social Skills - but that one would be a girl.
    • In "Goodbye Sarah Jane Smith", Ruby villainously attempts to become this for Sarah Jane.
  • Due South did this surprisingly well, mixing in a bit of Sister Becky. One character is sent away "under cover" while the main character is out of town. The replacement is introduced as someone pretending to be that character, in order to maintain his cover.
    • For bonus points, the replacement is almost nothing like his predecessor, with almost everybody except Fraser seeming to be unaware of this
  • Channel 4's Mockumentary series This Is David Lander changed its title to This is David Harper when Stephen Fry was replaced by Tony Slattery.
    • A few years earlier, Stephen Fry was supposed to be the second regular on Whose Line Is It Anyway?, but backed out at the last minute (he didn't actually like doing improv that much). He was replaced by...Tony Slattery.
      • Stephen Fry and Tony Slattery were both members of the Cambridge Footlights at the same time, by the way. And Slattery took up the position of Footlights president after Fry's good friend and frequent collaborator Hugh Laurie served in that position for a year.
  • NCIS did this on several occasions.
    • At the end of Season 2, NCIS agent Kate Todd is shot and killed by Ari Haswari, a Hamas terrorist working undercover within Mossad. Then at the beginning of Season 3, Mossad agent Ziva David, Ari's sister, joins the NCIS team as a Liaison Officer. Ziva resembles Kate physically- both are slim, brown eyed brunettes. And Ziva quickly picks up Kate's habit of engaging in rivalry, banter and Unresolved Sexual Tension with NCIS agent Tony DiNozzo. Otherwise, Kate and Ziva are quite different characters, but this is not a case of The Other Darrin.
    • The fifth season ends on a cliffhanger which implies that Tony, Ziva, and McGee will all be substituted, and, indeed, the sixth season premiere shows Gibbs leading a new team, with establishing shots helpfully indicating which of the previous characters' niches the new agents fit into. Interestingly, the new team has most of the worst qualities of the characters they're replacing—Langer is a meaner Tony, Keating is a wimpier McGee, etc. The trope is then fairly quickly subverted and by the end of the second episode of the season, the team is reunited and back in business.
    • Subverted in the 7th season opener when the team interviews replacements for Ziva. Two don't live up to their hype, and one came in at the wrong time. Ziva returns at the end, at least physically.
  • Sliders was rife with substituting toward the end, though most weren't very similar to those they replaced. However, Quinn got substituted when actor Jerry O Connell left, by way of The Nth Doctor by being "fused" with 'Mallory' (his non-identical counterpart from a parallel universe), at the same time Colin was Put on a Bus. But with a different personality and face, Quinn Mallory's substitute isn't the other Quinn Mallory. Hot Scientist Diana Davis takes his role as the scientific brains on the team.
    • A certain segment of the fanbase believes that Arturo was substituted by his own alternate. The episode that this happens in allows for that interpretation as Arturo's villainous duplicate tries to replace him so he can escape his own world and just before they slide they are having a classic "which is the real one?" battle, and after the slide the Arturo who was left behind gives a quiet, "Oh, my God." Worse yet, Series creator Tracy Torme has tormented fans by saying that he knows which Arturo made the jump, but will never reveal it.
  • Done by necessity quite a lot on gentle old dears' British comedy Last of the Summer Wine, as elderly cast members die off with inconvenient regularity. (Currently only one member of the original central trio is still alive).
  • Done on 'Allo 'Allo! when Mimi and Captain Bertorelli appeared as substitutes for Maria and the German Captain Hans respectively — in particular, Mimi was at least as short as Maria and both had fiery tempers. It allowed them to continue the gag of Mimi/Maria having to get a stool to stand on in order to hug RenÚ. Later, Monsieur Leclerc was replaced by his twin brother after the original actor died. Captain Bertorelli and the second Leclerc were then replaced in a The Other Darrin manner.
    • Also parodied in the series, when RenÚ's death was faked and he was forced to pose as his own Suspiciously Similar Substitute twin brother for the rest of the show.
      • RenÚ: "I am also named RenÚ."
  • The German police drama Siska did this when they replaced the eponymous lead character with his never-before-mentioned brother after he was killed off.
  • ER
    • Luka Kovacs for Doug Ross. Dave Malucci also, as he took on the brash, reckless, rebellious character traits of Doug.
    • Similarly, Abby Lockhart for Carol Hathaway. She was introduced as Carol's OB nurse during her labor, but promptly replaced her in the ER after she left. Not only did she immediately start dating Luka, Carol's ex (and aforementioned Doug Ross replacement), but she was even given the aborted nurse-to-doctor storyline (admittedly with some differences; Carol had always been an RN but decided to study for and take her MCA Ts just to see if she could pass them. Although scenes were filmed with Carol starting medical school, actress Julianna Margulies was unhappy with the storyline as Carol had always been passionate about nursing and she felt it was out of character for her to switch careers. By contrast, Abby was introduced as a wannabe doc who took nursing shifts to pay for med school. She dropped out not long after her introduction due to lack of funds, but always intended to go back and finish, which she eventually did, becoming a fully-fledged doctor).
    • Many new characters were like this, being introduced in the plucky Na´ve Newcomer mold of Carter (Lucy, Gallant, Neela, even Dr. Wise in the series finale), or the "tough & abrasive go-getter" type (Kerry, Morretti, Brenner, Banfield)
  • Married... with Children: Straitlaced banker Steve Rhoades (David Garrison) was Marcy's husband for four seasons, and then was replaced by pretty-boy Jefferson D'Arcy (Ted McGinley) when Garrison wanted to leave the show to avoid being typecast. This was rather a subversion because Jefferson was a completely different character than Steve.
  • Everwood, for some extent at least: Linda and Amanda are both facing a tragedy of sorts, both feel uneasy around Nina (foreshadowing, much?) and both have a similar relationship with Andy: the rocky start, people against the affair, having a hard time fitting in Andy's family life, and finally breaking up over something directly related to the aforementioned tragedy. Amy's best friends, Laynie and Hannah (who never appeared simultaneously, although they'd be best friends themselves in Grey's Anatomy, same actresses, different characters), also share some traits: tragedy again (the common denominator for everybody in the show), introverted, both have an older brother (one of them dies and the other has a strong chance of inheriting Huntington's), both are somewhat "dark" and both girls click with Ephram instantly (Laynie actually dates him, Hannah is more a best friend / neighbor / like sibling type). Last but not least, Stephanie is in many ways a short-lived Madison II (college-girl, very different from Ephram, great with Deliah, kind with Amy in spite of her (Amy's) jealousy).
  • Teachers initially both justified and averted it. It justified it because, in a school, teachers genuinely do come and go and get replaced, so it never seemed odd to have cast changes between series. They averted it by not replacing characters with direct clones, particularly after main character Simon left and the show became an ensemble piece. Unfortunately, after the third series, ensemble darkhorses Kurt and Brian left, along with Simon's arbitrary replacement Matt, to be replaced by Damien and Ben, substitutes for Kurt and Brian, and Ewan, a substitute for Simon. Cue Seasonal Rot and no fifth series.
  • Dr. Peele of American Gothic was this, replacing Dr. Crower—only to then be sent veering off in a different direction by being paired up with the Femme Fatale, then relegated to backburner status for the rest of the series.
  • Sandy Duncan's character on The Hogan Family, which was Valerie before Valerie Harper quit.
  • Neil Morrissey as Tony Smart from series 2 of Men Behaving Badly, replacing Harry Enfield as Dermot Povey. Since this happened on ITV, and the show only became popular after the third series was taken up by The BBC, most viewers have only the vaguest idea there ever was a Dermot Povey. (In one Clip Show, a single scene from series 1 is shown, prompting Tony to ask "Who was that?")
  • That '70s Show replaced Eric and Kelso with Randy, who had similar personality traits of both other characters.
  • In Blake's 7, substitutes are always the same gender as the outgoing character, for no particular reason but to make up the numbers. Jenna is replaced by Dayna, Blake is replaced by Tarrant, and Cally is replaced by Soolin. Slightly subverted in the episode 'Rescue', though, where the tough guy and the female pilot are replaced by a male pilot and a tough chick, respectively.
  • In Frontline, each season features a new Executive Producer, all of whom are equally amoral but manipulate people in slightly different ways.
  • In Gilmore Girls, when Chad Michael Murray (Tristan DuGray) left for a slew of other WB projects (including Dawson's Creek, a failed Lone Ranger pilot and then eventually One Tree Hill). This left a void in the Rory/Dean/Other love/hate triangle. The void was soon filled by Jess Mariano (Milo Ventimiglia).
    • Although Jess's character was VASTLY different from Tristan's, and the dynamics of the relationship between him and Rory were much more even.
    • Logan Huntzberger, however, was just Tristan 2.0.
  • Monk did this when Traylor Howard was introduced as Natalie Teeger, replacing Bitty Schram's character Sharona Fleming as Monk's assistant midway through season 3. The next few episodes were very obviously written for Sharona, with the only real difference in the characters being Natalie calls him "Mr. Monk" instead of "Adrian." (Well, almost all of the time) This gets especially weird when she states that she's never seen Monk's feet like that's a big deal, despite having only taken the job in the previous episode. The point at which the writers ran out of their previous scripts and were able to start creating material specifically for Natalie (mostly involving her dead husband at first) is very, very clear, and happens some time around "Mr. Monk and the Election" or "Mr. Monk and the Kid".
    • Due to the death of Stanley Kamel (Dr. Kroger), Hector Elizondo has taken on the role of a new psychiatrist for Adrian Monk.
  • Get Smart (the original show) did this for the episode "Ice Station Siegfried." Don Adams had a root canal and couldn't be there for the shooting of one episode, so the writers created Agent Quigley, who acted exactly like Maxwell Smart and was also attracted to Agent 99, to replace him for one episode. He was never seen nor mentioned again. Incidentally, the script for "Ice Station Siegfried" was so bad that Adams purposely scheduled his dentist appointment so that he would miss the filming of it and not another Season 5 episode.
  • Dad's Army introduced Private Cheeseman as a substitute after the sudden death of James Beck, who played Walker. The character fast became a Scrappy and was written out after only one season.
  • Buffy
    • Although not as obvious as some other examples, the producers wrestled with who they could get to replace Cordelia's snarky truth-telling character (who had left for Angel, where she'd undergo a whack of Character Development and change personalities anyway). At first, when getting wind of the popularity of Spike and deciding to keep him on, they'd thought to have him do it, but they later decided to use Anya, a previously one-episode appearance, to become a regular and take over Cordelia's role in the group.
    • While we're at it, Spike, the Vampire-fighting-for-good, is curiously similar to Angel. Eventually even the slightly-different motivation, the behavior-dampening hardware placed in his brain, is written out and he is given a soul just like his counterpart. And yeah, they both date Buffy. Their personalities are not remotely similar, though.
    • The trope was inverted with Kennedy, who was deliberately made very different from Willow's previous love interest Tara. Perhaps not the best idea, as Kennedy was pushy, arrogant, and abrasive where Tara was shy, gentle and empathetic. She was not received well.
  • Meanwhile, in the spinoff Angel:
    • There's a textbook subversion in season 1, after Angel loses Doyle. He complains that his link to the Powers That Be is gone, only to be told that "whenever a door closes, another opens." Enter a very Doyle-like character...who turns out, after a series of misdirections, to be the Monster of the Week, not the new sidekick. Cordelia gains Doyle's powers and role.
    • Doyle himself was a Suspiciously Similar Substitute for Whistler, a character who appeared briefly in flashbacks in Buffy's second season finale and recruited Angel to the side of good. Both are sarcastic demons (half-demon, in Doyle's case) who work for the Powers That Be. Doyle was originally intended to be Whistler, but the actor was unavailable when the show was greenlit, so they reworked him as newcomer Doyle. In "City of" Doyle even wears a hat similar to Whistler's iconic hat.
    • Joss Whedon admits that after Cordelia went insane, fell into a coma, and was absent in the show's final season, the writers felt that the show had lost an important puzzle piece. Enter Harmony. Dim-witted, blonde, and completely peculiar vampire who seems to carry the personality of Cordelia circa Season 1. They even went as far as adding her as a main character in the opening credits for the final six episodes. Though since Harmony had been there since the very first episode of Buffy (and being one of the Cordettes) her character was already known and accepted. Word of God is that Harmony was supposed to be a recurring character once she arrived on Angel...but they forgot about her until the final season. Then, they ended up having her in every episode, so it was somewhat necessary to make her part of the main cast.
    • For Season Five, Eve served the part of Cordelia that was to play Angel's foil. Spike as in Buffy Season Four came on to give the much-needed sarcastic remarks. Illyria, later, became the one who provided conflict by always saying it like it is.
    • Eve also effectively replaced Lilah Morgan as the untrustworthy senior female at Wolfram & Hart, as she herself commented on in her first scene.
  • In Judging Amy, Dan Futterman played Vincent Gray, Amy's highly intelligent younger brother, in episodes 1 through 51, when he left the show. He was soon substituted by Kevin Rahm in the role of Kyle McCarty, Amy and Vincent's highly intelligent second cousin who had much of the same intelligence and mannerisms as Vincent. With Kyle's introduction, it was explained that Vincent and Kyle had been roommates and spent much of their younger years together. Vincent returned to the show in episode 100, and effectively reverse-substituted for Kyle who left the show in episode 118. Vincent remained for the rest of the show's run.
  • Jeffrey Coho from Boston Legal is an interesting example, in that he was the substitute for a character who was still on the show. Over the first two seasons, the main character Alan Shore transformed from being a rather-slimy-lawyer-with-a-deeply-buried-heart-of-gold type to a civil rights crusader. Jeffrey Coho was brought onto the show at the beginning of Season 3, and was identical in personality to Season 1 Alan, even down to his politics and his feuding with Brad Chase (except, mercifully, for the friendship with Denny Crane, which was only ever Alan's).
  • Benson — Rene Auberjonois' Clayton Endicott III was a clone of his predecessor, Taylor (albeit with a more impressively pretentious name).
  • Hill Street Blues — When Michael Conrad died after Season 3, his Sgt. Esterhaus was replaced with Robert Prosky's Sgt. Jablonski (who was even given a similar catchphrase to close out the briefing at the top of each episode).
  • Alice — Jolene, for Flo.
    • Jolene didn't actually replace Flo per se. When Polly Holiday left to star in the short-lived spinoff Flo, she was replaced by Diane Ladd (who played Flo in the movie), although on the TV show, she played an original character named "Belle Dupree", another sassy, sarcastic middle aged southern gal. Eventually Diane left, and SHE was replaced by Jolene.
  • The Streets of San Francisco — Dan Robbins, for Steve Keller.
  • Inverted, somewhat, on All in the Family: The character of George Jefferson was expressly written for Sherman Helmsley, who was unavailable at the time the show's early seasons were shot due to his appearance in a Broadway musical; the character of George's brother, Henry Jefferson, was devised as a placeholder until Helmsley became available in Season 4 (although George was "on" the show as an offscreen character in the earlier seasons).
  • Phil in Corner Gas replacing Paul as the Cree with long hair and the four letter name that starts with P and ends with L who works as the head bartender. The only difference apart from name is that Phil looks older and has a deeper, less enthusiastic voice.
  • When Mickey left Hustle after season 3, Billy was introduced as a Suspiciously Similar Substitute for Danny, with Danny taking up Mickey's role. In season 5, Mickey's back and the Danny/Billy role is taken by Sean, with his sister Emma as the new Stacie.
  • Utterly averted in Kindred: The Embraced, a show loosely based on White Wolf's old Vampire: The Masquerade setting. The main character's actor died in a motorcycle accident shortly after the first season, but, rather than writing in a new lead, the show was cancelled.
    • This was because Mark Frankel's character Julian Luna had quickly taken over as star of the show after proving far more popular than the original lead — C. Thomas Howell's Frank Kohanek — who was intensely disliked by fans and critics alike. Frank was supposed to be written out in Season 2, and Julian made the lead. Without the fan favorite, the producers believed that the show was too weak to continue.
  • Tiffani Thiessen's Valerie Malone on Beverly Hills 90210. Valerie was introduced after Shannen Doherty was fired from the show and was a brunette of similar temperament to Doherty's Brenda who lived in her room and slept with her ex-boyfriend. Her twist was that she was a pot-smoking 'naughty girl', as the characters in the show would constantly remind us.
  • This happened with Doherty again on Charmed. When Doherty left she was written out of the show and her character, Prue, was killed by a demon which left a rather big hole in the show's premise of having three sister witches prophesied to be the greatest force of good the world has ever had. Word of God says that they decided they needed another young, hot, brunette to fill the role of the third sister, so in steps Rose McGowan as Paige the unknown fourth Halliwell sister given up for adoption and happens to be Half-Whitelighter as a result of the sister's mother having an affair. (Bonus points for averting an Ass Pull in that the mother's affair with her Whitelighter was already established.) In-universe the third sister also had to have telekinesis as Prue had so Paige was given the power to teleport herself and other objects via her Whitelighter powers.
  • After Howard Hesseman left Head of the Class in 1990, Billy Connolly's character substituted him for the show's final season.
  • Diff'rent Strokes: After Edna Garrett's departure for her own spinoff (The Facts of Life), she was replaced as the Drummonds' housekeeper with Adelaide Brubaker...who was substituted, in turn, by Pearl Gallagher.
    • Mrs. Garrett was eventually substituted herself on The Facts of Life by her sister, Beverly Ann Stickle.
  • The Love Boat replaced Julie McCoy with her sister Judy as "Your Cruise Director," following actress Lauren Tewes' departure from the show due to cocaine addiction.
  • Sophie's cousin Barney in the fifth series of Peep Show is a fairly obvious replacement for her brother Jamie from series four; they look similar, are both musicians, both obsessed with Jeremy, and Barney even hangs around with Sophie's father for no explained reason.
  • Season three of MI High replaced Daisy, Blaine, and their boss. A number of minor characters are also gone as well. In fact the only characters who have been carried over from the last season are Rose, The Grand Master and the school headmaster.
    • The third series replaced Lenny Bicknall with Frank London, both retired superspies posing as a high school caretaker.
  • Knight Rider replaced Wrench Wench Bonnie Barstow with April Curtis for the second season, then brought back Bonnie the next year.
  • Happy Days, upon the leaving of Ron Howard, brought in a family friend named Roger who replaced the 'straight-man' tendencies of Richie.
  • There have been seven Iron Chefs: Chen Kenichi (Chinese), Hiroyuki Sakai (French), Masaharu Morimoto (Japanese), and Masahiko Kobe (Italian) are the ones American viewers are most familiar with. The dubbed version tried to push the idea that Morimoto was the direct successor to Rokusaburo Michiba, the original IC Japanese. In truth, Morimoto was a substitute to a substitute: Michiba's replacement was Koumei Nakamura (Who can be spotted behind Chairman Kaga in the opening credits, where Kaga is standing behind the pile of strawberries). There's also the original IC French, Yutaka Ishinabe (whose portrait can be spotted in the opening panorama).
  • 24
    • Season 7 introduces Janis Gold, a frumpy bespectacled computer technician, who is the FBI's version of Chloe. They bring Chloe back for a few episodes, and they don't get along.
    • The character of Mandy is another example. If the producers couldn't get Mia Kirshner the actress who played her they created another sexy terrorist. Season 4's Nicole is a prime example, because she behaves in EXACTLY the same way as Mandy would, she has sex with a character to get him on side, then reveals her true colors. Mandy did more or less the same thing in the first episode. Which is amusing in itself considering Mandy actually did return at the very end of the fourth season.
    • Olivia Taylor's only real existence on the show was to essentially play Sherri Palmer to her mother Allison's David: The former is a corrupt, manipulative bitch family to the latter who is the President and very much a strong moral force for the country.
  • Lucy replaced Kate in Not Going Out.
  • Dr. Jesse Travis replaced Dr. Jack Stewart in season 3 of Diagnosis: Murder although he was a very different character and it's generally regarded as a change for the better.
  • When the actor who played him died, Dennis the Menace replaced George Wilson with a made up "brother" named John; there never was a John Wilson in the original comics.
  • Dexter had James Doakes replaced after his death in Season 2 with another detective named Joseph Quinn in Season 3. Possibly lampshaded if one considers a former Trope Namer...
  • CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
    • The show replaced two characters in the ninth season, with Ray Langston, and Riley Adams, though they seem to be the latter type, each having their own character traits.
    • DB Russell is said to be a straighter version of this, because he has some similarities to Grissom, though not so close that it screams "Grissom Light".
    • By comparison, CSI: NY replaced Aiden Burn with another occasionally-sarcastic female character, who was even suggested to be in a relationship with the same character, at least until she was Killed Off for Real. Her other traits were added to a previously-existing background character, who occasionally takes Don Flack's place. Later, a new recurring female detective was brought into the series, and appears to be a Suspiciously Similar Substitute for the original Suspiciously Similar Substitute. She's even becoming Flack's new love interest.
  • While the original ducklings still appear on House, their roles as, well, ducklings have been replaced. By Taub, Kutner and Thirteen, who are superficially similar to the original three characters. Their exact personalities don't line up but House admitted that he hired them based on the same dynamic he had with the earlier team. Interestingly enough for the trope, the previous actors didn't leave the show, they just added more cast
  • Citizen Khan's first series had a red-headed mosque manager named Dave who converted to Islam later in life. In Series 2, he's replaced by a red-headed mosque manager named Dave who converted to Islam later in life. These are distinct characters, not an example of The Other Darrin. One suspects that the writers had Series 2 almost completed when Kris Marshall decided to leave and and only added a few lines introducing Matthew Cottle's version of Dave into Series 2 first episode to avoid having to go back and make more extensive changes.
  • On Two and a Half Men, Clark Duke looks so much like a younger Angus T. Jones that a casual observer might think they are brothers. In fact, in one episode everyone, even Alan, confuses Walden's new intern Barry for Jake.
  • On The Thin Blue Line Kray was replaced with Boyle for series two. The general opinion is that Boyle was a lot funnier.
  • Series 3 of Being Human ended with Mitchell, a vampire who was trying to leave a violent past behind him by refusing to drink blood and befriending a werewolf and a ghost, being Killed Off for Real. Series 4 then introduced Hal... a vampire who was trying to leave a violent past behind him by refusing to drink blood and befriending a werewolf and a ghost.
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