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    G 
  • Game of Thrones:
    • The pilot includes location captions the first time a new location appears. This was dropped for the rest of the series.
    • Various King's Landing locations, such as the city gate, the Hand's quarters, and Littlefinger's brothel, look very different in season one compared to later seasons, due to set changes, the most prominent being that King's Landing scenes were shot in Malta in the first season, but from season two onwards they were shot in Dubrovnik.
    • The first episode includes scenes from the unbroadcast pilot shot over a year before the main season one production. Several of the younger actors, most notably Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark), aged noticeably during that time. Tyrion's hair is much lighter and straighter, in later episodes his hair is darker and more tousled. Several scenes are rather unnaturally cut together to disguise actor changes, and seemingly pointless scenes, such as Robb, Jon and Theon being shaved, were added to explain continuity problems. Hodor also has a beard which was dropped in later episodes because it made him look like a "Classics professor."
    • In the first two seasons, the Small Council meets in a large, spacious hall known as the Small Council Chambers. From season three onwards, it shifts to the Tower of the Hand. This is acknowledged in-show the first time it happens, and is implied to be Hand of the King Tywin Lannister's personal preference - nevertheless, it remains there after Tywin's death. Given no such move takes place in the books, this appears to be merely the show's justification of a set change.
    • Several minor characters from the books, such as Jeyne Poole, were given minor cameo parts, many of whom the show subsequently dropped, giving their plotlines to other characters.
    • This one was on purpose, but the first season deliberately made itself feel like Sean Bean's show. All the advertising and promotion focused on his character, and he was billed first in the credits. This was a deliberate attempt to shock complacent viewers who assumed he was the story's central protagonist and therefore safe for the series's duration, only for him to die at the end of the first season. Nowadays, with the series having become a cultural touchstone, it's barely remembered that Sean Bean was ever part of it.
    • The "sexposition", a character rambling about backstory or motivation while a scantily or nude clad female (or occasionally male) is seen, usually in a brothel, were much more common in season one than the later seasons. This has two reasons: First, characters seem to have less time to go to brothels (what with many of them being too down on their luck to do so) and second, much of the backstory is already covered and many motivations are either clear or more interesting if left unclear. Also, the writers have taken a hint from some fans complaining that you can't follow the details of the plot with all the Fanservice.
    • The first few episodes have a much different visual look than the rest of the series, the compositions looked staged for multiple cameras, the lighting looked like characters were followed around by spotlights, and the various locations generally had the same look. Alan Taylor, an accomplished film director who helmed the last two episodes of the season, is generally credited with refining the show's visual style. By the second season the shots became more cinematic, the cinematography moved to more natural Rembrandt lighting, and different locations had dramatically different color palettes, e.g. scenes in the North have a strong blue filter.
    • Certain characters have their names pronounced differently in their debut episodes. For example in "Winter Is Coming", Illyrio pronounces Daenerys as 'den-eer-iss' when 'den-air-iss' became the accepted pronunciation. Talisa also pronounces her name 'ta-liss-ah' when she is introduced, but everyone else later says 'ta-lee-sah'.
  • Gilmore Girls
    • It's particularly jarring re-watching the first season after finishing the final season: the dialog in the beginning was a lot slower paced than in later seasons. The DVD even has a special where the actors comment on how the speed of dialog delivery, which is a famous aspect of Gilmore Girls, has evolved to the point where it's faster than the actors themselves can think.
    • In the pilot Sookie is a walking disaster area, knocking down pans and starting fires with almost every move. She gets better.
    • Luke's Diner is in a completely different location in Stars Hollow and looks mostly different inside, as well. Many of the exterior shots in the first season were filmed in Ontario; the rest of the series was filmed in Burbank.
    • Emily's hair, makeup, and wardrobe was noticeably drab in the first few episodes. You can still tell from a scene that remains in the show's opening. In the later seasons, Emily is more of a Hot Grandma.
    • Dean was more of a loner, particularly in the first season, having only recently moved to Stars Hollow with his family. His tastes were also more in line with Jess's. As the show went on, he became more of a jock while those attributes became part of Jess's character.
    • Paris, Madeline, and Louise were a lot more harsh and petty. Paris in particular was only going to be on the show for a few episodes as a way to introduce Rory and the audience to the highly competitive environment at Chilton, but her role was greatly expanded.
    • Lorelai's parents were significantly more antagonistic, or at least harsher. Richard, particularly, is written as somewhat unapproachable and disapproving.
    • It's also odd to see Sean Gunn playing two characters who were, although very similar to Kirk, separate characters. Fanon likes to think they're all Kirk, anyways. In an early episode, it also sounds like Kirk is new to Stars Hollow as he doesn't seem to know Miss Patty. Later episodes would establish that he's lived in Stars Hollow all his life and everyone in town knows him. Kirk even references installing DSL in one episode, the job Sean Gunn was performing as "Mick."
    • Lorelai's grandmother ("Lorelai The First") is dead in the second episode. She gets better.
  • In the pilot episode of Gossip Girl has a few differences:
    • The very first scene has the eponymous blogger make a post about Serena's return to New York by quoting the user who sent her the photo of Serena spotted at the train station and thanking her… later episodes show that Gossip Girl is actually very private about who sends her information and would never quote her sources (otherwise, nobody would send her anything, in fear of being exposed as the ones who sent the blast).
    • Chuck and Nate took the bus to school in the pilot, as did Dan. Later episodes would have Chuck take his limo and Dan walked, the bus rarely being seen again.
    • Blair's mother was played by a different actress, and her house looked much different to how it is in the main series.
    • Chuck refers to his mother in the present tense, implying she's alive. It's later a huge part of his characterization that he has a lot of angst over her death.
  • The Great British Bake Off:
    • The first couple series are much more subdued and conventionally focussed on the competition aspect. In place of the hosts' comedy bits and enthusiastically dubious 'help', we get the judges giving contestants long, earnest lectures on technique. Sue has also claimed in interviews that she and Mel nearly quit early on over demands that they stir up weepy melodrama as per more traditional reality competitions. At any rate, the now-signature lightheartedness erupts in series 3 so fully formed that it's clear a deliberate decision was taken somewhere to loosen things up.
    • Mel and Sue didn't do the voiceovers in the first series; a male narrator, Stephen Noonan, did them instead. The duo also initially shared some of their current hosting chores with Paul, who's seen in several series 1 episodes calling time ("Ten minutes left!") and otherwise encouraging the contestants to get a move on.
    • The first series took the contestants all over the country — to places as far apart as Mousehole in Cornwall and Scone in Perth & Kinross. This aspect was dropped from subsequent series as it was pretty much pointless (not to say expensive).
    • Although the Showstopper has always been the final round, it didn't gain the name until series 2. In the first series it was just called "the final challenge". Likewise the "Star Baker" award didn't get introduced until series 2.
    • Mary Berry wearing spectacles in the first few series.
    • Mary and Paul are far more likely to disagree with each other over a bake in the first few series, though never to the point where it impedes the judging. Mary also more frequently takes light-hearted jabs at Paul's mannerisms and harsh critiquing methods. Later series have them working more in unison, with disagreements being extremely rare.
  • On Grimm, one of the first episodes had a bear-like Wesen turning completely into an actual bear. This was never referenced again, nor have any other Wesen shown that ability. When asked if Monroe would similarly be able to turn into a wolf, the showrunners said, "Yes, if he got angry enough". This is clearly not the case in later canon.
    • It's also stated that Nick is becoming a Grimm because his aunt Marie is dying, but it's later established that it's just something that happens at a certain age (sooner for women than for men).

    H 
  • Happy Days differs substantially in its first two seasons from the show's prime (starting with the third season in 1975 through the end of the run nine years later):
    • The first two seasons used "Rock Around the Clock" by Bill Haley and the Comets as its theme (in lieu of Pratt and McClain's "Happy Days," which incidentally became a hit in its own right).
    • Fonzie appeared far less often and was less essential to the plots. The show was more focused on the Cunninghams, Richie in particular. Fonzie also didn't have his leather jacket, instead wearing a light beige windbreaker, due to Executive Meddling at ABC (they felt that a leather jacket made Fonzie come off as a hoodlum). Early on, Fonzie was also much more of a jerk than most people know him to be, and only became the all around good guy after becoming a major character. Possibly explained/retconned in a later episode detailing how Richie met him.
    • Potsie was the more worldly confidant. By the fall of 1975, Potsie was dumbed down considerably and became Ralph's joking sidekick.
    • Ralph himself wasn't initially a cowardly jokester; in fact, he seemed to be one of the more popular kids at the high school, and occasionally indulged in pranking, without his trademark "I still got it!" line.
    • Howard Cunningham was far more sedate, while Marion was more motherly. Mr. C was hyped up considerably by the fall of 1975, while Mrs. C's motherly-ness was turned Up to Eleven.
    • The layout of the house, to accomodate a three-camera setup that was filmed in a studio, was far different, with the kitchen on the left and the living room at stage right. The reverse was seen in later years.
    • Arnold's was named "Arthur's" in the first episode. Even after the name change, the restaurant had a different look for the first two seasons.
    • The first two seasons used a laugh track. Late in the second season (spring 1975), the episode "Fonzie Gets Married" was taped in front of a studio audience, and the change became permanent starting with season three... and the "big applause" era had started.
    • Chronologically, it was later firmly established that the show took place nineteen years before the year in which it aired (i.e. the 1976-77 season was set in 1957-58), but the first season avoids any indication of exactly what year it is. It can't be 19 years before: that would be 1955, and even the very first episode features songs that were recorded a couple of years later than that.
      • One episode that aired in January 1975 (74-75 season) dealt with the 1956 presidential election and its outcome, so it would have to have been early November 1956.
    • Most telling of all, Richie had an older brother named Chuck who liked to play basketball — who disappeared after the second season.
  • Mohinder's accent is quite different in early Heroes episodes: he sounds specifically Indian rather than just British.
  • The first season of Hoarders featured a man whose house was crammed with stuff to the extent that his stairway was almost unusable, but didn't have problems with the filth usually seen in later seasons. After the hoarder asserted that he didn't need help to get his home in shape, the crew revisited him some weeks later, only to find that he had thoroughly decluttered and that the house was reasonably neat. In subsequent seasons, the people working with the show have been in increasingly dire situations, and a self-help outcome like this would be unthinkable.
  • Horrible Histories didn't introduce the memorable pastiche songs until series two. Furthermore, there's much more toilet humour than in later series (yes, even more people caked in excrements) and the presumably lower budget is also quite visible. A somewhat odd type of sketch featured the imaginations of the Rattus the rat, which was phased out after series two.
  • Try watching the first few episodes of House, particularly the pilot, after having watched more recent episodes. You'll find that the pacing is a bit different, and the CGI "Journeys Into The Patient's Body" bits are far more common.
    • The lighting for the show has also changed drastically, possibly due to the show being filmed in HD. Earlier episodes are tinted towards very warm colors— the pilot is almost orange— but later episodes are very stark and slightly green. The pilot was filmed in black and white.
  • How I Met Your Mother:
    • During early episodes of the first season the main cast regularly rotated to different spots in MacLarens instead of being bound and determined at their favorite booth.
    • Early episodes had Seinfeld-esque musical scene transitions. Although later episodes would sometimes still use these, they tended to be much more understated.
    • Despite the series' love of continuity, some plot points seem weird when they're expanded upon in later seasons. Robin Sparkles went from a flash-in-the-pan pop star who was so unknown Barney had to ring someone in Malaysia just for the music video of "Let's Go to the Mall", to the pop star whose Genre Shift at the 1996 Grey Cup "invented" grunge in the minds of many Canadians.
    • While more likely due to the fact that the child actors were aging too much rather than the choice of the show's creators, the first series would occasionally cut away to Ted's kids making a particular comment about the story. Later series simply used a few short pieces of multi-purpose stock footage.
    • In the pilot, Ted's kids wore different clothes and the sets with the Sofa was also different from later episodes.
    • In the pilot, Ted mentiones that Ghostbusters is his favorite film. In the series proper it is Star Wars: A New Hope.
    • The third episode shows Marshall relieved to avoid a bar fight, stating that he's never been in one. In the fourth season, he claims (and is later revealed) to have repeatedly engaged in brutal fights with his brothers, and is able to knock out an imposing bartender (who single-handedly beat up three guys earlier in the episode).
    • Future Ted's insistence that he and his friends were "eating sandwiches" instead of getting high was introduced early in season 3. Episodes before that directly refer to it as weed, with no attempts at Bowdlerization.
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    I 
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia:
    • In the first season, all four cast members have significantly different personalities. Sweet Dee is the female voice of reason for the gang rather than equally crazy, Charlie is more of a standard loser than the Manchild idiot savant he becomes, Mac is just an immature wanna-be tough guy rather than the Armored Closet Gay he becomes, and Dennis is a rather normal vain preppy rather than the sexual deviant he becomes. Mac is also far less conservative, such as in the episode where he actually admonishes Charlie for not having any black friends, something that would seem quite at odds with his later characterization.
    • Frank is entirely absent from the cast in the first season. Instead, Dennis and Dee's mother has a recurring role, but she dies in season 3.
    • The Episode Title Card appeared after the show's title in the first season, making one of the show's signature kind of gags practically impossible.
    • Dennis and Charlie are a lot closer in early episodes and share quite a few plotlines together. Most notably, “Mac’s banging the Waitress” is about how Dennis is jealous of Mac and Charlie’s friendship and tries to “seduce” Charlie into becoming his best friend. This would be unthinkable in later seasons, where Dennis is constantly shown to be annoyed with Charlie’s stupidity. Reasons for this are probably a combination of changes in the cast dynamic after the introduction of Frank, as well as Charlie’s Flanderization into a Manchild.

    J 
  • Jack Horkheimer: Star Gazer was more serious in its early days. After being told that his show needed to appeal to a wider audience, he took on a wackier, more excitable style.
  • Amazingly, there was a time when Jerry Springer was as tame as shows like Oprah and The View. Before adopting its format of showcasing bizarre people and their torrid antics (often related to sexual matters, like infidelity, unusual fetishes and sleazy sex jobs), and codifying the Point-and-Laugh Show, it tackled political and social issues in a straightfaced manner, generally from a "concerned-liberal" point of view (you may not realize this, but the reason that one of the main reasons Springer got a show in the first place was that he was a Cincinnati City Councilor and later Mayor of Cincinnati and could well have had quite a respectable—if somewhat marred by an early incident where he was caught paying for a prostitute—career in Ohio Democratic politics). He even considered a run for the Senate in Ohio, but by that point it was impossible to talk about him without bringing up his show, so he didn't campaign. Compare this to its later episodes.
  • In the earliest seasons of The Joy of Painting, Bob Ross spoke in a more instructive manner, compared to his very soft dulcet voice, and he wore thick glasses that made him look much older. There were also cuts and background music, as opposed to the episode being done entirely in real-time without music.

    K 
  • Kamen Rider
    • Right off the bat, the name Kamen Rider was originally solely referring to Takeshi Hongo's heroic namesake. Even when Hayato Ichimonji came in to temporarily replace him, he is still labeled as Kamen Rider. It didn't become a "title" for succeeding Kamen Riders until V3's debut where they would affix 1 and 2 at them to distinguish the two.
    • Early episodes are more sci-fi horror (or at least, they were meant to be) than the conventional toku we know today. The famous Rider Kick hadn't even been established yet, and thus Hongo would defeat his enemies with really anything, including a "Rider Throw". (That is, tossing your opponent off of a roof to go 'splat.')
    • We don't even hear "Henshin" or see the kind of elaborate poses the old Riders were known for until the episodes are in the teens and Hayato Ichimonji, Rider 2, comes along. The driver (oh, don't expect to hear changing devices called "drivers" for about 30 more years. The Faiz Driver was the first, and the last 'til the Decadriver.) was powered by wind, so simply exposing the belt while moving at a sufficient speed (if you're on your bike, just lift your shirt and reveal the belt. When on the ground, Hongo revealed the belt and then jumped through the air.) was all it took to initiate the transformation. Nothing was said; no poses done. Then Ichimonji came along. His driver was like Hongo's, but with a cover. The pose and "henshin" command opened the belt, whereupon he'd also flip through the air to change.note  The "Original" Rider Henshin pose, oh-so-often homaged and parodied? It's actually the second. When Hongo returns, he's suddenly posier and Greyskull-ier. Look for it shortly after the episode count tops fifty.
    • Another thing you'll be surprised to not see when you start the original series: the old-school Shocker Soldiers don't get their familiar design for a very long time. We start with guys in funny beret-like hats. Then they get facepaint. Then a Monster of the Week from Mexico comes with his Masked Luchador-based grunts in the same two-parter that introduces Hayato Ichimonji. They look almost like the ones we know, but lack the ribcage-like design on their chests. That design you probably think of as the "original" KR Mooks, a favorite at most every recent teamup? Yup, it's the fourth version.
    • Also the Double Riders. Heterosexual Life-Partners in nigh-identical suits? It's a while before we see the two together, and a longer while before they're a packaged deal. First it was just Hongo. Then it was just Ichimonji. He wasn't the first secondary rider, he was the second primary Rider, brought in when Hongo's actor was injured. When he healed, Hongo came back, and Ichimonji soon left. Ichimonji wouldn't be gone forever, but... they basically took turns being the sole rider, with the other away overseas ("overseas battle/training," often where returning Riders were coming from for and returning to after teamups in the old days, was the excuse for why Superman Stays Out of Gotham from day one.) and their tenures overlapped as an occasional treat. It even took the original Riders' costumes a while to arrive at the designs we know today, with details like the arm/leg stripe and the color of the boots and gloves changing.
    • To expand the concept above - Rider 2 isn't a secondary rider, but a lead rider. Similarly, Riderman isn't seen as a secondary rider of Kamen Rider V3. Instead, he's just considered the fourth Rider. The first true secondary rider came at Kamen Rider Agito via Kamen Rider G3, and even then he didn't transform with a driver unlike the next series' Kamen Rider Knight.
    • Similarly, the original suits for Kamen Rider are different from what they frequently used since then. Originally they had a shade closer to black and a wider chestpiece, and the suit is visibly a two piece clothing. Both later get an upgraded look with darker gloves and red eyes. Finally they would get a more tracksuit-looking outfit with green helmet and silver (red for Ichimonji) gloves and boots which is also used for future appearances.
    • And on that note, said changes are essentially permanent upgrades. Riders back then had permanent upgrades save for a few instances (Kamen Rider Amazon can bring up the other bracelet and Kamen Rider Stronger can go for a Charge Up form, but even that form has its limits). This is usually seen with a changed suit which is usually what future crossovers use.
    • On top of that, the franchise as it is today is quite different from the early decades, even once things like "henshin" were established. If you're used to Kamen Rider as the Darker and Edgier, character-driven, arc-based big brother of the rest of Toku-dom, you'll be surprised to see campy villains sending out the Monster of the Week and the footsoldiers with their little high-pitched "yee!" cries to carry out the plan of the day - which was cartoonish half the time, and "destroy Tokyo for no adequately explored reason" the other half. They did Super Sentai-style poses before and after changing (the changing Stock Footage was less elaborate, possibly due to budget, so the posing was upped to become the "ceremony" behind changing.) and had a "roll call"-like phrase ("Child of the sun, Kamen Rider BLACK RX!!")
    • Also, every pre-hiatus Rider was a Hollywood Cyborg. Either they were kidnapped and altered like Hongo, or upgraded to save them from near-fatal injury and fight the bad guys who did it. The sole exception was Kamen Rider Amazon, magically infused with his powers rather than operated on (though they did make sure to call it a "magical operation" on multiple occasions because a Rider who didn't get his powers via an operation was that unheard of; if you're gonna do the unthinkable and have a Rider whose career didn't begin on the operating table of an organization that's an Expy of Shocker, you gotta Hand Wave like hell.) Even Kuuga and Agito had their powers as part of them somehow; you don't get the traditonal "Transformation Trinket I can stick in my back pocket, or be screwed 'cause it got knocked away or stolen" until Ryuki.
    • For the more recent series, it's common for the new Rider to make a cameo appearance at some point near the end of the previous series — either in a movie, or in the last couple episodes. But since the new show is still being worked on at the time, the cameo will sometimes have the Rider act differently than they do in their show: Wizard has a much less serious personality, and Ghost has an unusual fighting style that involves him moving in a loose, almost inhuman manner with lots of Matrix-style dodging and levitating very loosely and floating (whose effects obviously cost a fair bit of money). The cameo of Kamen Rider Fourze is particularly notable for hinting at a scrapped plot concept for Fourze that would involve various past Riders.
    • Ex-Aid's cameo appearance is a little different from how most of his series would be, particularly in the way battles work - his battle begins with a fighting game-style versus screen, complete with an announcer (i.e. the Gamer Driver) calling "FIGHT!", he has no game items (like the blocks of chocolate that normally appear in a Mighty Action X Game Area), all the Energy Items look the same and don't do anything other than power up his basic attacks and the "HIT" graphic when he attacks enemies is different. He also has a different catchphrase ("I'll clear this in a snap!" emphasised by snapping his fingers, rather than "I'll clear this with no continues!"). And when he does the finisher, the Gamer Driver doesn't say "Gasshuun" when he removes the Gashat and instead of "MIGHTY CRITICAL STRIKE!" appearing on screen when the finisher is called, "MIGHTY STRIKE!" appears when the attack hits the enemy, again in a different style to how the text usually appears in his series. There's also no "PERFECT!" text or announcement when the enemy is defeated.
      • Kamen Rider Build's early cameos are a particularly extreme example. He talks in a far more analytical manner, shows up to take some of Ex-Aid's power for his research, and doesn't take "no" for an answer — which includes beating up Para-DX (while dismissing him as irrelevant) when he tries to intervene. This is of course a far cry from the Bunny-Ears Lawyer Science Hero he is in his home series, but this was wholly intentional: Build eventually reveals that the protagonist was an amoral Mad Scientist who only became a good guy after his memories were erased, and the crossover film Heisei Generations Final confirms that he was still in his original personality when he harassed Ex-Aid; when Para-DX shows up itching for revenge, the now-amnesiac and heroic Build has no idea why he's so pissed off.
    • Gaim and Drive actually somewhat avert this; Gaim's Early-Bird Cameo was actually in the last two episodes of Wizard, when most of the stuff that he displayed became finalizednote , and Drive had no pre-series cameo whatsoever, since the only way a Rider could be more powerful than a Physical God would be if they were a god themselves at the start of their series.
  • Keeping Up Appearances went through some tweaks after the first series. Rose was initially played by Shirley Stelfox, who was replaced with Mary Millar for Series 2. In addition, the earlier episodes had more focus on Onslow and Daisy instead of Hyacinth. In a few episodes of the first series, the show's theme played during driving scenes (which was quickly dropped).
  • Killjoys does a minor deviation from English As She Is Spoken by having its characters pluralize "Hell" and God", i.e. "What the Hells is going on?" The first season was very inconsistent on this for roughly the first six episodes before settling into the pattern. Occasionally actors in later seasons will use the singular although it's unclear whether the script or the actor is in error.

    L 
  • The first season of Danish sitcom Langt fra Las Vegas seemed unsure on whether to focus on the absurdities that Casper Christensen's former series, Mandrilaftalen, was known for, or to be a regular sitcom. As a result, the first season has a rather huge amount of completely outlandish characters, surreal humor and even supernatural phenomena (like the magical football shirt and the "lucky seven star") compared to the last four seasons which were much more realistic (though still exaggerated and over-the-top). A common theory in Fanon about the reason Wulff left the main cast after season 1 is that his quiet Cloud Cuckoo Lander demeanor simply didn't match the hamminess of the other characters. Jump Start was also generally a bigger part of the episode plots in season 1, while in later seasons, most episodes focus on Casper's private life, and Jump Start is often only brought in as comedic relief.
  • Law & Order displays a lot more willingness to play with the "someone discovers a crime -> police investigate it -> district attorney prosecutes it' formula in its first season than it does in subsequent ones, which with rare exceptions play the formula a lot more strictly. There are episodes involving the police having to go back to re-investigate a crime that the prosecutors have already started investigating, an episode which opens on a failed prosecution which in turn leads to a corruption case, a two-part episode involving the police and prosecutors working together to bring down a powerful mobster, and so on. And, of course, Lennie Briscoe — who would become synonymous with the show in the eyes of many viewers — doesn't show up until the third season.
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is almost unrecognizable in the first few seasons compared to what it's like now. The first season was actually heavy on comedy, with little courtroom scenes. If there was a courtroom scene, it was almost always one of the detectives being called in to testify to a completely unrelated to that episode's case. They also didn't have a permanent ADA; Abbie Carmichael was the one who showed up the most with 6 appearances.
    • Olivia and Elliot's respective personalities pretty much switch as the series goes on — Benson starts off as the Hot-Blooded Knight Templar, while Stabler actually lives up to his name in early seasons. While the changes make sense as a product of Character Development, the difference is still very striking if you put them side-by-side.
    • The pilot includes a scene with Olivia and her mother that depicts a largely positive relationship between them despite the fact that Olivia was a child of rape. When Olivia talks about her mother in later seasons, she indicates that her mother was a mean drunk who resented Olivia's existence and was emotionally abusive to her.
    • Munch being partnered first with Cassidy and later with Jefferies in Season 1 can be a little off-putting for those who are used to seeing him partnered with Fin.
  • On Little House on the Prairie, a Harriet Olsen whose husband Niles had left her in an early ep pleaded to Caroline Ingalls for her help in getting him back, admitting openly that she could be very difficult. Flash forward a few seasons, and a Mrs. Olsen who would never ask for help, and certainly not of Caroline Ingalls, never even sees isolating and destroying a girl impregnated by rape as 'difficult'.
  • In the pilot episode of Longstreet, Mike is equipped with a Cane that has a proximity sensor, so he doesn't bump into things or fall off edges by mistake. In the main series however he has no such cane and is using a regular white Blind man's Cane.
  • Lost's first season is a collection of character stories with the supernatural elements hidden in the background, few cliffhangers or continuing arcs. Also, while the first 6-7 episodes still used the signature "Whoosh" sound for flashbacks now and then, it was by no means universal for all transitions.
  • The Love Boat's opening credits for the first season featured the porthole graphic circling around the guest stars' names. From the second season on, the porthole graphic was put in place as photos of the guest stars' faces were shown alongside the credits.

    M 
  • Malcolm in the Middle:
    • The early episodes have Hal and Lois being very comfortable with nudity (with Hal being shaved during breakfast with only a newspaper covering him and Lois answering the front door topless and Lois's nonchalant attitude about her breasts). Later on, however, they forbid nudity the way most parents would. Though Dewey once said that Lois walks around the house naked all the time.
    • Additionally, the premise shifts from Malcolm-centric to the entire family, with later episodes following the Two Lines, No Waiting formula to accommodate. Several episodes don't even have Malcolm as the focal point of either plot. Malcolm was originally the Only Sane Man but became more insufferable thanks to puberty and other changes.
    • The family goes from decidedly middle class to very poor, laughing at the idea of savings and coming close to losing their house more than once. Justified as Lois and Hal have made some bad financial decisions.
  • The 1979-80 spy series A Man Called Sloane saw Thomas Sloane (played by Robert Conrad) share adventures a la I Spy with a fellow agent with a bionic hand called Torque. The pilot episode for the series, which aired as a TV movie a year after the series was cancelled, starred a different actor as Sloane, but it also featured Torque (played by the same actor as in the TV series), but he was a villain in the pilot.
  • The first season of Married... with Children hadn't found its bearings yet. Al spoke in a Chicago accent and often initiated sex with Peggy, whereas he later went to Herculean efforts to avoid it. Peg regularly smoked cigarettes. Kelly was at least of average intelligence. Marcy was a Stepford Smiler yuppie Republican rather than an ultra-liberal man hating Straw Feminist.
  • Martin: Tommy had a job, man.
  • On The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Ted Baxter starts out as being vain mainly because he is aware he is an on-camera newsman and asks Murray for tweaks of his writing for emphasis. He even admits, when his competitive brother shows up, that his parents encouraged their showiness and it's made them a little nuts. Mary also admits to being 'bowled over' by his looks at first. Flash forward, and we see a man who pronounces Arkansas R-Kansas, is regularly an idiot on camera, and who lies to everyone that he is seeing Mary romantically and then some. She forces him to call every last person he has told and retract this.
  • M*A*S*H:
    • The show originally started as a lighthearted "wacky" comedy set in a war hospital, in the vein of the movie it was based on. After a few years, the laughs became balanced with hard-hitting looks at the horrors of war, then thrown off-balance when Alan Alda began directing episodes.
    • One early episode has Hawkeye mentioned a mother and sister and living in Vermont; he would later be firmly established as the only child of a widowed father, from Crabapple Cove, Maine.
    • At the start of the series, the protagonists were Jerks with Hearts of Gold, similar to (but somewhat toned down from) the movie. As the show went on, the heroes became more and more moral as the series itself became more and more serious. A case in point is the show's portrayal of adultery. In the first season, it was implicit that all the men on the show were married and cheating on their wives back home. The only thing which made Frank different was that he was a hypocrite about it. The exception was Hawkeye, who was only "engaged" (because the network censors wouldn't let him say that he was "married" while hitting on Lt. Dish in the pilot). After the pilot, Hawkeye never mentions being engaged again and thereafter appears to be single. As early as the second season, an episode was dedicated to Henry Blake getting feelings for another woman and ultimately choosing to stay faithful to his wife — despite the fact that in the first season, he gave no apparent thought to cavorting with various nurses. Following the departure of Trapper at the end of the third season, Frank was the only cheater left on the show. At this point, adultery started being portrayed as something which only a horrible villain like Frank would do.
    • The show's pervasive use of a (network-mandated) Laugh Track qualifies. Although the series continued to use a laugh track throughout its run, it was used far less frequently in later seasons.
    • Radar, notable for being the "kid" character who preferred grape Nehis over beer, was seen drinking gin and brandy in earlier episodes.
  • MasterChef Australia:
    • The first season had a few differences from the other series, most notably the appearance of "host" Sarah Wilson. Since Gary, George and Matt had become major personalities in their own right, they could handle all of the hosting aspects themselves and Sarah's role ended up being superfluous, so she was dropped.
    • In the first season, if a contestant won the Celebrity Chef Challenge, they got a guaranteed place in the finals and, in the mean time, got a chance to work in a professional kitchen. It became obvious that the contestants who took a break from the pressure of the Masterchef Kitchen would fail against those who were used to it, since both contestants who won the Challenge got immediately eliminated in the finals week. From the second season, it was replaced with the Immunity Pin.
    • The first few eliminations were voting based, where the members losing team from the previous day would vote one of their team out of the competition. This concept clashes a bit with the "competitors as a big happy family" vibe that came out of subsequent seasons.
    • Similarly, the winners of each team challenge were given some sort of reward while the remaining team(s) suffered an elimination challenge, meaning that members of the winning team didn't have the chace to say goodbye to the eliminated contestant before they left.
  • Melrose Place is a classic example. The early episodes reflect the show's original intention to be a realistic drama about the lives of young twentysomethings who lived in the same apartment complex. There are no hints of the Primetime Soap it grew into.
  • Merlin:
    • In the first season, especially towards the beginning, the writers set up Prince Arthur and the Lady Morgana as having a potential romantic relationship. Later, this was abandoned to avoid the creepy incest vibe on a family show — since Morgana is basically Arthur's adopted sister. This caused a good bit of fan outrage in some circles, however, since Incest Is Relative, and they felt Arthur had much less chemistry with Gwen.
    • The very first episode, in particular, is a bit different. Arthur's behaviour is considerably more immature (possibly justified by a combination of Merlin being a good influence in later episodes, or even just getting to know him better), some of the humour is kind of strange (as pointed out on the audio commentary - what was the point of the thing with the sandwich and the porridge?) and Merlin's ability to slow down time has hardly been seen since. As well as this, the brief glimpse of Merlin's home would suggest that it's not quite so poverty-stricken as is shown in later episodes. And, to follow on from the example above, the romantic relationship between Gwen and Merlin was abandoned very early on. Also of note is that his innate magical ability doesn't require any incantations. This is quickly abandoned after he learns some spells and has to whisper them in order to avoid being executed as a magic-user. His original ability just has him look at something.
  • The first few episodes of Miami Vice form a conventional Five-Episode Pilot, which focuses on Crockett and Tubbs (who have just been paired up) working to find Columbian druglord Jose Calderone. The biggest difference in these five episodes is the character of Lt. Rodriguez, Sonny's (original) commanding officer who got directly involved in the action on a weekly basis. Other elements were significantly toned down after the first few episodes, including the length of the montages, Tubbs' heavier accent (seen in the first few episodes), Zito and Switek's comedy routines (which used to take up entire segments of the show) and the length of the before-credits teasers.
  • Season 1 of The Mindy Project falls into this, especially in regards to the Revolving Door Casting. Many of Mindy's female friends suffered Chuck Cunningham Syndrome and were never mentioned again. The inverse is also true, with many characters that play integral parts to the later seasons not even being on the show in the early seasons. The show was also heavier on the Romantic Comedy aspects rather than the Work Com aspects that became more prominent later on. Jeremy is also much more of a ladies man in the seasons pre-Channel Hop to Hulu — although this one is a case of Executive Meddling since Fox demanded that his character be more "manly".
  • The first season of Mission: Impossible contains several oddities that did not appear in later seasons, including missions that focused on a single agent, and one episode that featured genuine supernatural activity.
  • Five seasons in, this is already somewhat apparent when you watch Modern Family's first season over again: a different set of twin girls playing a much more deadpan infant Lily, and much more open antagonism between various pairs of characters (especially Jay towards Phil. He flew a model plane right at him in season 1, something he'd never think of doing later on).
    • In the pilot episode, Mitchell's relationship with his father and sister is distant enough that he manages to conceal from them the fact that he and his partner have adopted a baby. In all subsequent episodes, it's made clear that the three are very close, to the point where the whole extended clan have a big get-together at Jay's house once a week, and most characters seem to interact with members of the other two households on a daily basis.
    • Oh, and after they get the baby and several plane passengers seem uncomfortable with their homosexuality, Mitchell tries to make a dramatic speech and Cam has to shut him up.
    • Also in the pilot episode, Claire refers to her and Phil's kids as "my" kids, with Phil correcting her to "our" kids, to which Claire hesitantly agreed.
  • Season 1 of Monk can feel a bit out of place compared to the other seasons. Namely:
    • There was a different title card which depicted Monk going through his Morning Routine while a jazz instrumental by the show's music composer Jeff Beal played in the background. From season 2 onwards, a montage of episode clips was used as well as a new Randy Newman song "It's a Jungle Out There". Beal's season 1 theme music wasn't discarded completely, though, as several episodes use it to lead in to the end credits.
    • Lieutenant Randy Disher went nameless in the pilot, and Jason Gray-Stanford was credited as "Lt. Deacon" in the credits. Randy Disher became his established name by the third episode.
    • Notably, season 1 was shot in Canada (Vancouver for the pilot, Toronto for the rest of the season) while seasons 2-8 were shot in Southern California. As a result, sets like Captain Stottlemeyer's office, Monk's apartment, Sharona's house, and whatnot, look completely different.
    • Captain Stottlemeyer's relationship with Monk in season 1 is written a lot differently from what later seasons show. Namely, from the way Stottlemeyer acts towards Monk in the pilot, you wouldn't think they were close friends but bitter rivals with some sort of past conflict, as shown when Stottlemeyer has Monk removed from the case after Monk's fear of heights allows Ian Sykes to escape; Monk makes a remark suggesting that Stottlemeyer is mad at Monk for something that happened in the past. In later episodes, the background has been retconned so that it seems like Stottlemeyer has always known Monk to be a genius.
    • In the pilot, the opening credits sequence didn't just feature the credits for the main cast, but also many of the one-time supporting characters. Interestingly, Stanley Kamel is credited third on the cast listing (as if they were expecting Dr. Kroger to become more of a regular character; it's also noticeable Billing Displacement as Dr. Kroger only gets a short two-minute scene at the beginning and another short one near the end), and Jason-Gray Stanford (Randy) comes after such names as Michael Hogan (Warren St. Claire) and Ben Bass (Gavin Lloyd).
    • Monk's personality doesn't seem quite as despairing as it does in later episodes. In fact, it's possible that the writers were thinking that Monk would get reinstated earlier in the show's run (as opposed to in the antepenultimate episode of season 8) and then the show's plotline would be "an OCD detective on the SFPD who solves crimes" rather than being about "a private detective with OCD who the SFPD consult to investigate crimes".
    • In the pilot, there appear to be a lot of additional subplots going on around the main murder mystery - Monk trying to solve Trudy's murder, being lost when Sharona quits, etc. Meaning that if you didn't already know who the main characters were (because of seeing later episodes first), you would probably be confused as to who even are the main characters. The pilot seems to have been written when the writers had not yet decided exactly who were going to be the recurring characters or even the weekly characters, other than of course Monk and Sharona.
    • Monk's quest to solve Trudy's murder was more prominent in earlier seasons. By season 3, around the time Melora Hardin was cast to play Trudy in flashbacks, Monk's investigation into Trudy's death was seemingly dropped completely although episodes where things from Monk's past with Trudy still came into play.
    • During the season 3 mid-hiatus, Bitty Schram left the show over a pay dispute, causing Sharona to be written out. In her place came Natalie Teeger, played by Traylor Howard. It's pretty noticeable that many of Natalie's first episodes seem to have used scripts that were written with Sharona instead, and they simply switched Sharona out for Natalie without changing the characterization accordingly. This results in a Natalie who acts more abrasive, akin to Sharona's methods of handling Monk, as opposed to the kinder though still tough when necessary character we get later on, such as being fussy over money in "Mr. Monk vs. the Cobra". It isn't until some point early in season 4 that the writers were able to firmly get a grasp of what Natalie's character was supposed to be.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus, of course, is weird anyway, but some facts fit this trope perfectly.
    • The phrase "And Now For Something Completely Different" is already said in the first episode, but by Eric Idle instead of John Cleese who traditionally said it in the later episodes.
    • The infamous crushing foot in Gilliam's opening titles doesn't make the Blowing a Raspberry sound it made from the second season on.
    • The nude organist originally appeared in the second season ("Live From The Grill-O-Mat"), but portrayed by Terry Gilliam rather than Terry Jones! The character only became a regular on the show starting with the first episode of the third season: "Whicker's World".
    • Terry Gilliam himself is mostly reduced to appearing as a seldom speaking extra in most of the first seasons.
    • Mr. Gumby was first portrayed by Graham Chapman, rather than Michael Palin. Though every Python member has portrayed him at least once it's Palin who is most associated with the role.
  • The Munsters Today was initially a Sequel Series to The Munsters, with the first season establishing that the family had gone into suspended animation for over 20 years and now had to adapt to the culture of the late 1980's. The theme song even had lyrics explaining this premise. The remaining two seasons disregarded the original premise and changed it so that the Munsters hadn't been in suspended animation, resulting in the show being an Alternate Continuity and the theme song becoming an instrumental.
  • The first season of The Muppet Show looks different compared to the rest of the series. On top of having a different version of the opening theme, many of the characters weren't completely fleshed out yet. Miss Piggy and Fozzie look drastically different. Miss Piggy was even voiced by Richard Hunt rather than Frank Oz in a few sketches. And a few characters were dropped after the season was over. Fozzie was almost dropped as well until Frank Oz took some time to develop the character more.
    • Not to mention Gonzo. He was quite scraggy in the first few series (it makes sense, considering he was a recycled puppet from The Great Santa Claus Switch) and he had a permanently sad expression. As he became a major character, they made him look more up-beat until he became the thrill-seeking daredevil he is now.
  • My Name Is Earl:
    • In early seasons, the Camden police dept. are actually a competent, normal, small time police force. Later on in the series it becomes one fat guy on a bike, and his sister. Also Crab-man is just a generic, if slightly brighter, trailer park-type resident, later on he will become a quirky-genius ex-spy who is in witness protection.
    • In the early episodes, Joy is out-and-out hostile towards Earl, and even schemes to kill him for his lottery money. However, Joy and Earl's relationship quickly normalizes; at one point in the series, Earl even voluntarily goes to jail for an offense Joy commits just to spare Joy a "third strike" conviction. By the end of the series, they are Amicable Exes.
    • Earl's brother Randy is nearly unrecognizable in the pilot. Compared to the "borderline artistic" Manchild that got stuck while trying to steal tapes from a video rental booth in the fourth season, he seems to be of average intelligence, but used to follow Earl out of laziness and lack of personal ambition. At one point he scolds Earl for their current lack of means of living and calls his list "some stupid-ass crusade" not worth their money (it's hard to picture the later Randy being able to pronounce "crusade" correctly, let alone knowing what it means). He also sleeps with Patty once a year (but has no trouble picking up girls in bars), and is the first to realize that Kenny James is gay.
  • Early episodes of MST3K were pretty noticeably different from the 'golden' later seasons. The riffing came at a much slower (and poorer) pace, and it wasn't until about mid-Season 2 that the quality really picked up. (This is because the early episodes were riffed improv-style, with little preparation and rehearsal beforehand) Also, in the first few Comedy Central episodes, the focus of the series seemed to be more on the Mads than the Satellite of Love crew.
    • The characters were also very flat. Dr Forrester in particular was stuffy, officious, and serious, later on developing his mincing energetic and more violent persona, possibly influenced by the replacement of his colleague, Dr Earhart, with the buffoonish sidekick Frank. Tom Servo's personality changed considerably too, around this time, but this was due to his change of voice actor (from Josh Weinstein, who also played Earhardt, to Kevin Murphy.)
    • The intro was very slap-dash, with Gizmonics Institute being just a set of crudely-made buildings around a equally-crude volcano. The intro also implied that the Satellite of Love was actually the rocketship Joel was shot up into space in despite the actual SOL being seen at the end. Season 2 would give up a better set up of Gizmonics and have it that Joel was sent up with the Satellite of Love.
    • The late Comedy Central era has an odd case of this with Pearl Forrester, Dr Forrester's mother introduced as a one-off character in the season six episode "Bloodlust" and brought back to replace Frank for the six-episode seventh season. She played a frumpy older character during that period before switching to a younger character closer to her real age for the remaining seasons when she took over the lead Mad spot from her son. As well, early on Joel Hodgson played Joel Robinson as "sleepy,' which many viewers interpreted as "stoned." This was soon abandoned. Word of God is that Hodgson actually was only half-awake in the first episode, and he decided to incorporate that into the general characterization for a time.
    • Many of the early KTMA episodes didn't feature The Mads at all, and host segments featured viewer phone messages left on the answering machine. At the end of every movie in Season 1, the robots (even Gypsy, who wasn't even in the theater) would have to say one good thing and one bad thing about the movie in order to get a RAM chip as a snack.
    • The Netflix reboot discusses this (as well as Hype Backlash) midway through the second episode.
      [after Kinga complains that the public doesn't watch TV for sane people]
      TV's Son of TV's Frank/Max: Well, lots of shows don't get good until the fifth episode, so you spend your life watching, waiting to see why your friends love it so much, and sometimes it never happens!
    • Someone starting off with the SciFi era would probably be shocked with all of the shorts showing up. These would be phased out in early season 7 with only two reappearing in Season 9
    • Tom Servo had a few quirks that would disappear quickly. Early in season 2, Tom gets a "haircut", exchanging his dome for a tube. This was because some viewers had complained that Tom's head obscured a bit of the movie. This would disappear after a few episodes. As well, Tom had a tendency to overload and cause his dome to explode. This would stop as the series went on.
  • The first season or so of MythBusters featured only Jamie and Adam working on the myths, with other crew members present as helping hands but not given any focus themselves; the "build team" started to get more attention in the second season and began getting their own myths to bust in about season 3, creating the standard format until season 15. The early episodes also include spots by folklore and urban legend specialists explaining the backgrounds of the myths (phased out as unnecessary as the show went on), and formal interviews with experts in fields related to the myth instead of simply filming the hosts' conversations with them as is now the show's current custom.
    • The show's much lower budget is also evident in early episodes, which show Adam and Jamie having to go to sometimes considerable trouble to obtain a single car or enough weather balloons and helium to lift a lawn chair.
    • And in a comparatively lesser example, the first season had only "True" and "Busted" for whether or not a myth was viable. All subsequent seasons have had "Confirmed", "Plausible", or "Busted".
    • Until the Build Team was instituted, a lot of time was also devoted to getting the weird props and supplies for the myth. Eventually the support staff and budget (and the addition of the Build Team to have more parallel experiments) grew large enough to make these interludes unnecessary.
    • In early seasons the Mythbusters would do their own blueprint sketches. This was phased out when a crew member, a cartoonist, was invited to do one. Since then all blueprints have been done by him, though he has never appeared on screen.
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    N 
  • The Nanny:
    • In a first season episode, Fran celebrates her 30th birthday. Shortly afterwards her refusal to admit to being older than 29 became one of the show's biggest running gags (Maxwell says at one point even the FBI couldn't figure out her real age). When the birthday was mentioned a few seasons later, Fran claims she lied about her age on her application.
    • In the pilot, the stairs and front door are in a different location. There's also at least one early episode where there was a pantry between the kitchen and the dining room which eventually disappeared.
  • The National: The anchor position on the early decades of the program wasn't considered a journalist, but an announcer. Therefore, early anchors only read scripts prepared by the working reporters. Lloyd Robertson left for CTV when he realized he could never get editorial control of the newscast. It wasn't until the Knowton Nash era when the CBC won a concession from the journalists' union allowing him to become Chief Correspondent for CBC News, a position to which Peter Mansbridge inherited.
  • NCIS:
    • The differences aren't quite as noticeable as other examples, but watching a current episode back to back with one of the first few episodes can be a little jarring - the director isn't a major part of the activities, making just a couple of appearances over the course of season one, Gibbs is a little more... sociable, there's the mysterious redhead he occasionally hitches a ride with, Tony's regularly the sole butt of jokes (no McGee for him to pick on), Abby's voice is a little huskier, Ducky's assistant is a man named Gerald, and, most jarring of all, Tony does not constantly make movie references, even being confused by one made by a guest character. By the end of the first season, though, things have just about settled in to something close to what we get now.
    • In addition to Abby's voice being different, she started out with a relatively normal level of energy. By season 3, it went to above normal, and now it's just ridiculous. Her hair/makeup/wardrobe was also noticeably toned down over the seasons. Though she still frequently wears her hair in high ponytails or braids, we haven't seen anything like her hairdo in the pilot (there were five or six ponytails) since season one. Her makeup is much more natural now, where in the first season she wore exclusively black or dark red lipstick, and after the first couple of seasons, she started wearing colors other than black, and occasionally, outfits with no black in them at all. Other than being a goth, Abby was also much less quirky in the first season.
    • In the first ten or so episodes of the first season, there was something resembling sexual tension between Gibbs and Abby. By the second half of the first season, it had been completely dropped, and by the beginning of the third season, the writers had really started to capitalize on their father-daughter relationship.
    • Gibbs' relationships with the rest of the team in general were a lot different early on. He flirted some with Kate too, early in the series, and wasn't so much a father figure to Tony or McGee. By season three, Gibbs' relationships with his field agents (and Abby) was pretty staunchly parent-child. This increased protectiveness and involvement with the rest of the team can be explained in-universe by what happened at the end of season two.
    • This is really the nature of the beast when replacing a major character, but seasons one and two with Kate had a noticeably different tone than seasons three onward with Ziva.
    • The pilot has Gibbs making a modern movie reference (going on and on how Air Force One looks exactly as it did in the movie Air Force One), and FBI Agent Fornell has no idea who Ducky is, and barely an awareness of Gibbs (surprising, when they were married to the same woman).
    • At least with Gerald being replaced, that one was actually explained by plot- a terrorist shot him in the shoulder with a rather nasty type of bullet that caused severe joint damage.
    • The first few seasons focused much more on the cases, where most later episodes, starting with Tony's involvement with Jeanne in season four, have a B-plot that focuses on the outside life of one of of the agents. Ziva was really the first character to have any kind of extensive backstory, which is striking considering she didn't even come on the show until season three. Given the emphasis on the backstories, families, and love lives of the agents in later seasons, it seems almost laughable that Kate was on the show for two years and didn't have a backstory past being in the secret service and winning a wet T-shirt contest in college. Also, those "black-and-white" clips that bookend the episode segments didn't start until a third of the way through the second season. If you started watching the show later in its run, it can be quite jarring to watch the oldest repeats that don't have them.
    • The early episodes suggest Abby and McGee have some casual relationship of sorts. This is pretty much forgotten about after the 2nd season.
    • When you watch the backdoor pilot in JAG, it's extremely jarring to watch Ducky hitting on Agent Blackadder over and over with almost DiNozzo-level obnoxiousness. It's a far cry from the affable, paternal Ducky we see in the series proper.
    • Even before the pilot, in the parent series JAG NCIS was rarely portrayed as competent or favorable to the heroes. Key pieces of evidence were overlooked by the NCIS Agents during investigation and would need the military lawyers to find them or motivate them to look for the truth.
  • The early seasons of Newhart are much more realistic, and feature the character of Kirk and his depressing pining over the brilliant, beautiful, and warm-hearted (though not funny) Leslie. Eventually both Kirk and Leslie were written out and the more memorable Michael and Stephanie were written in as characters. The first season was also shot on video and looks noticeably different.
    • Of course, given the famous series finale ending, this may be justified.
  • Nickelodeon was significantly different in its early years. It didn't have commercials and its programming was more educational (with a low budget Sesame Street clone called Pinwheel being their flagship series). Its ratings were dead last among cable channels, so it rebranded itself in 1984. It started airing commercials, changed its logo to the now-iconic "orange splat" logo, and changed its programming to give it a more "kids only" feel, changes that helped make it a household name.
  • The first installment of Night Gallery had stories that all involved paintings that were in the gallery; after that, not so much.
  • The Noddy Shop:

    O 
  • The first season of The Odd Couple featured the poker players and the Pigeon sisters from the original play and movie (with the sisters themselves being played by the same actresses who were in said play and movie). As the show went on, the poker players began appearing less and less frequently (Murray the cop was the only poker player to be featured almost as much as the main characters), and the Pigeon sisters were dropped after the first season.
    • The first season was also filmed using a single camera on the same apartment set as the 1968 film, and utilized a Laugh Track. The show switched to filming in front of a Studio Audience beginning in season two, and the layout of the apartment was changed to accommodate the three-camera setup. It's worth noting that this show was produced by Garry Marshall, whose later Happy Days series would also follow the same path.
  • The Office (US) with its chubby, balding Michael Scott, random background deskworkers, and very straitlaced, plainly-dressed Kelly Kapoor (instead of the pop culture-obsessed Womanchild she's better known as) in its short first season. The first season is also more cynical, keeping in tone with the UK version, right down to Michael Scott being more of a self-absorbed, intolerable boss a la David Brent instead of the well-intentioned bumbling boss he came to be. The series began to shape its own identity in Season 2.
    • Jenna Fischer (Pam) mentions on the commentary for "The Dundies" (the Season 2 opener) that her mom visited the set for the first time during the filming of that episode, and after previously hearing Fischer's description of the unattractive, intolerable Michael Scott, was caught off-guard to meet the much more handsome and charming Steve Carell, who had lost weight, stopped thinning his hair and was filming the episode dressed in a tuxedo!
    • Andy was not introduced until season 3, and he quickly became a major secondary character, so it can sometimes feel odd to rewatch the first two seasons and not see him.
  • The pilot episode of Once Upon a Time had stated that characters should never let Rumpelstiltskin know their names. This is immediately ignored in all future episodes.
    • Snow White also claims in the pilot that Regina gave her a poisoned apple because she was prettier than she was, like in the original tale. This is quite jarring when the very next episode reveals that Regina wants to avenge the death of her lover, in which Snow was somehow involved. No reasons are given for why Snow made this claim.
    • In the second episode, Regina's father Henry is seen passing out instantly when she rips his heart out. In other episodes, people remain conscious when the heart is removed and are only visibly hurt when the heart itself is squeezed. Henry is implied to have died instantly when his was ripped out; something that is a little at odds with the rules established later on.
    • The entire first season of Once Upon A Time can be seen as this. In the first season, outside of flashbacks, the action mainly focuses on Storybrooke, with little to no magic and conflicts that are social at most. The later seasons have characters regaining their ability to cast spells, certain arcs taking place in realms other than ours, and conflicts being more and more violent.
  • Early episodes of Only Fools and Horses don't start with the famous theme song.
  • Oz has this trope in effect for the first season.
    • The Italians gang are called The Wiseguys and The Homeboys gang are called The Gangstas. Many of the members of the Wiseguys are also old-school Sicilian gangsters rather than more modern Italian-American guido gangsters, while Ryan O'Reilly is shown to be a mere street thug rather than the prominent figure of The Irish Mob he's later revealed to be. Also, there's really only four gangs in the first season: The Wiseguys (Mafia gangsters, later renamed The Italians in Season 2), The Gangstas (African-American street thugs, later renamed the Homeboys), The Muslims, and The Aryans. Season 2 onward would have nine gangs, ten if you count The Others as a gang. However, some characters from other gangs get their debut in Season 1.
    • Em City as a whole seems more claustrophobic and dirty as well.
    • The excessive violence and Prison Rape that the show is infamous for is actually very downplayed in the first season as well. There is rape and murder, but nearly all of it is implied and very little is shown. Season 2 onward becomes Bloodier and Gorier as well as Darker and Edgier.
    • The Muslims and Kareem Said in particular are shown to be militant black supremacists and angry rabble-rousers. In Season 2, they drop all black supremacist and Malcolm Xerox tendencies entirely and become the closest thing to good guys in a show full of Black and Grey Morality and Evil vs. Evil. Although this may have been because Kareem became more pacifist after the prison riot at the end of the first season made him see what his violent rhetoric had caused.
    • The first episode took place over a day and had a clock that occasionally popped up.
    • Bob Rebadow was just a little crazy in the first season, suggesting that God spoke audibly to him and acting a little creepy. Later he was just a kindly old man who was a bit religious, and if he mentioned talking to God, it just meant he'd been praying.
    • Earlier seasons were pretty brutally realistic. Even Augustus's narration scenes were lower key. Later they turned into impressionistic short films, other characters took their turn narrating, and the final season seemed to imply that everyone narrating, Augustus included, were doing so from beyond the grave. One episode had several musical numbers including a friendly duet between Schillinger and Beecher. Even the series itself starts playing with reality, introducing a drug that can age a person overnight, having a CO go insane and try to take over the prison, having one character mysteriously disappear and having another claim to be possessed by the Devil, even to the point of speaking in a demonic voice.


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