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  • Compare the first (six-episode) season of Parks and Recreation to the second and onward, and they almost seem like two different shows:
    • The characterizations start off very different. Leslie Knope is awkward, overbearing, and somewhat incompetent, Andy is a lazy Jerkass rather than the affable Manchild of the later seasons, Tom was Leslie's straitlaced Number Two rather than the "swag" obsessed Jerk with a Heart of Gold he later becomes, among others. It's obvious that the characters are based on the characters from The Office (US), where Leslie is Michael Scott, Ann is Pam Beasley, Ron is Dwight Schrute, Mark is Jim Halpert, Andy is Roy Anderson (with a little Andy Bernard thrown in), Tom is a mixture of Ryan Howard and Kelly Kapoor, April is Angela Martin, and Jerry is Kevin Malone and Toby Flenderson rolled into one. There was also a heavier focus on the government aspect of the show. Both were the result of the fact that Parks started off as a clone of The Office before it found its own voice and style.
    • The show's tone also started off as fairly bleak and cynical, with the premise essentially being "there's only one person in the government who actually cares, but she's an overly idealistic doofus who will never accomplish anything." When Leslie was made more competent in the second season, it made her idealism seem more justified and propelled the show to the opposite end of the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism from where it had started.
    • The show was originally going to have recurring Pawnee residents appear during town hall meetings. These characters appear in early episodes but quickly vanished as the idea got dropped.
    • The series was originally more overtly a Mockumentary as a reflection of it being a direct spin-off from The Office. However, while the characters still reacted to and spoke to the camera, this element was gradually downplayed (again as a result of the show finding its own distinct identity separate from the earlier show).
  • Anyone going back to watch series 1 of the Brit Com Peep Show will notice the, frankly, ridiculous music the show opens with.
  • The People's Court: The first couple of seasons of the original 1981 series – especially the very earliest episodes – were markedly different than the show as seen today. Many cases were simple arbitrations, with rather bland, dull cases being heard. The litigants simply answered the judge's questions and rarely if ever tried to interrupt the other litigant, call him names or interrupt the judge while he was talking. Judge Joseph Wapner – himself far more patient than current Judge Marilyn Milian – rarely if ever accused litigants of outright lying, although he would call them on testimony he thought didn't seem to fit the evidence or if a litigant lacked crucial evidence (such as a dated receipt) that ultimately cost them the case. When the judge delivered his decision, the litigants – except to answer a direct question he might ask them – simply listened respectfully, and while some of the litigants were understandably disappointed with the outcome – although there were always a few exceptions – they generally accepted Wapner's decision in good stride or chalked it up as a lesson learned. Once the show became a hit and logged time on the air, a few scattered episodes with litigants similar to the current series made it to air, but overall the Wapner-era shows were far more sedate and Wapner rarely needed to raise his voice or put wayward litigants in their place.
  • Police, Camera, Action!
    • The series had a slightly different feel for the first three episodes; Alastair Stewart's British episode was emphasized a lot but then reverse Flanderization set in; Hampshire Police and Surrey Police footage went Out of Focus after 1995, and he started to wear less charcoal or grey-coloured suits, instead, in later seasons, began to take on a more casual look (except in situations where it was not necessary). Also, his tone changed from formal British accent to a more informal tone. The early episodes Police Stop! (later retitled to the show we know today), Police Camera Action! and Safety Last have a very different feel to later ones; the narration style seems different too. By 1997, the show was semi-Retooled, to mix foreign footage with British footage, leading to the show we have today.
    • In the 2007 reboot (well, as fans consider it, due to Adrian Simpson being the co-presenter), early episodes Speed Dating up to Stop Thief! have a different feel from later episodes, not to mention a 'go-to-middle-of-the-action' sequence, which was absndoned after Technocops.
  • Power Rangers:
    • Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers had a lot of weirdness early on. The unmorphed fights scenes were slower and had a few goofy moves, Alpha5 had a teddy bear, Zordon had an RP British accent, etc. Once the show got its Sixth Ranger, and grew out its beard, the show had found its identity, and most of the weirdness was ironed out. "It's morphing time" (with a G) was first said by Zordon, and wasn't something the Rangers always shouted - it was just a Title Drop and a mention that morphing was what it was time to do. It took a few episodes for "It's morphin' time!" to become an obligatory pre-morph call stated by the Red Ranger (though sometimes taken over by the spotlight Ranger). The first episode had the unmorphed Rangers wearing their Power Morphers as belt buckles (like their Zyuranger counterparts) unlike the rest of the show, where they were usually just hidden in the teens' pockets. The posing-routine-with-name-shouting wouldn't be established for many years and then was still rarely used until Wild Force, though there were a few instances of sentai posing footage finding its way into MMPR episodes, with new dialogue and often going unnoticed due to the fact that all ranger movement is exaggerated while suited. Most notably, the zord summoning throughout season two was a standard roll call in Zyuranger (namely, the role call from when Burai/Dragon Ranger joined the team... which was used when Tommy joined the team).
    • In the greater Power Rangers universe it's interesting to see MMPR characters returning for a Reunion Show taking place later and with newer conventions that the series adopted, such as the elaborate movements made with the morpher. In Power Rangers in Space "Always a Chance" had Adam making dramatic arm movements with the old "belt buckle" morpher (though it is appropriately dramatic for the scene, where morphing could kill him), where all they did in the show was put a hand behind their back as they say "It's Morphing Time!" (as though to retrieve their morpher from their back pocket or something). Jason in Power Rangers Wild Force "Forever Red" had a similar morphing pose that he never did before, and fight scenes done with the MMPR Red Ranger costume had never been done with wire work before.
  • The very first Puppy Bowl didn't have a Kitty Halftime Show.
  • The first episode of Psych features a completely different female detective partnered with Detective Lassiter, who he is having a secret affair with. She's gone by the second episode, Lassiter is separated from his wife, and he has no UST to speak of with his new partner, Juliet, who subsequently appears in the rest of the series.

  • Rainbow: George is missing from season 1 of this long running British children's programme.
  • The first two series of Red Dwarf featured much more complex plots and Myth Arcs, mainly concerning strange alternate universes and Lister's relationship with Kochanski. This was mostly dropped for series three in favour of a Monster of the Week format. Kryten only appears as a guest, and the Cat doesn't spend that much time around the other characters, preferring to wander around alone. In addition, the first two series (especially series 1) take place almost entirely on the Red Dwarf itself, rarely taking the action away from the areas shown in the first few episodes. Later series see the addition of a lot of new sets, as well as plotlines that see the characters going to new areas of the ship as well as getting off the ship more often.
    • The first appearance of Kryten in series 2 has him as a very English robot butler in a suit who is obsessed with cleaning. He's not very intelligent and his only personality quirk is that he's oblivious to the fact his crew have died. His personality, voice and appearance are entirely different to the Kryten who would appear from series 3 onwards (he's played by a different actor). This is Hand Waved with some Unreadably Fast Text at the start of Series 3 that states that he crashed his "space bike" into an asteroid, they found his remains and rebuilt him, but they couldn't restore his original personality. It's also explained that Lister is helping him break his programming. This is lampshaded in series 8 where Kryten is (briefly) restored to his factory settings and behaves just like he did in his first appearance.
  • For the first few seasons of The Red Green Show, many things were different: Red was a lot more subdued, Harold's introductions of him were much longer (and usually accompanied by a pan across the set), and Harold would sometimes interrupt Red's monologues with scene transitions. The first season's episodes also did not end with the Possum Lodge meetings. There was also the second season, which had a "sitcom" feel to it — it introduced a large cast of characters (none of whom made it out of that season) interacting in story arcs with Red and Harold, as opposed to Red and/or Harold simply relating the story of the day back to the audience. (This change in tone was forced on by Executive Meddling.) The sitcom elements were reverted in the third season, at which point the show began to resemble its more familiar format.

  • Sabrina the Teenage Witch:
    • The Pilot Movie had a few notable differences from the series. The setting was Riverdale, unlike the show's Westbridge. Hilda was the smart aunt and Zelda The Ditz (as in the comics) while it's the other way around in the show. Sabrina's rival was a blonde called Katie instead of the iconic Libby. Michelle Beaudoin's character was called Marnie in the movie and Jenny in the series. Salem also has a British accent. Harvey pined for Sabrina rather than the other way around, and Sabrina had a Romantic False Lead called Seth.
    • In both the movie and first episode, Sabrina is embarrassed by the Alpha Bitch and she turns back time to undo it. In the movie the aunts are able to do it themselves, but in the show they have to appeal to the Witches Council.
    • Within the show's first season, several character dynamics are different. Sabrina is a Shrinking Violet who worries about fitting in, with Jenny playing the confident best friend. Later on it's Sabrina as the confident one, with Jenny's replacement Valerie as the needy one. Harvey began as a dumb jock who mistakenly thought Libby was nice, before gaining some more intelligence in Season 2 and knowing exactly what a nasty piece of work she was.
    • The conflict in Season 1 was between Cool Teacher Mr Pool and the aloof Principal La Rue. From Season 2 Mrs Quick took on the Cool Teacher role, Principal La Rue was demoted to The Ghost and Vice Principal Kraft took on the antagonist role. Libby likewise was just mean to her lower classmates in Season 1, before getting bumped up to conspiring with Mr Kraft to antagonise Sabrina.
    • A major subplot in Season 1 is Hilda's on again-off again romantic history with Drell, head of the Witches Council. Season 2 demotes Drell to The Ghost and Hilda becomes a full fledged Serial Romeo.
    • Zelda acts as the Only Sane Man in Season 1 and is a strict disciplinarian. Producers quickly realised the comedic potential for Zelda to get involved in slapstick too. As such, while she remains the responsible one, she gets numerous Not So Above It All moments and becomes a Bungling Inventor. She likewise gets sucked into the wackiness far more often than she had in Season 1.
  • Saturday Night Live first started out as NBC's Saturday Nightnote , and came off as more of a variety show (despite the original idea of making SNL different from the variety shows that were prevalent at the time). In the premiere episode, host George Carlin had several stand-up comedy pieces interspersed with the sketches but didn't appear in any of them, and there were two musical guests with two songs each, two stand-up comedian guests (including Andy Kaufman), and a performance by a bizarre early batch of Muppets in a strange prehistoric land (these Muppets weren't the ones like Kermit and Miss Piggy; these were ones specifically made for SNL that no one – not even the writers – liked). The second episode, hosted by Paul Simon, was nothing but musical acts (except for Weekend Update). However, before the first season was over the sketch comedy element of the show came to dominate.
    • Some of SNL's recurring sketches and characters have this:
      • The first sketch for "Appalachian Emergency Room" (a sketch from seasons 29 to 31 about rednecks explaining to the receptionist their Amusing Injuries) took place in a clean, white, free clinic-type waiting room instead of a cabin version of the aforementioned waiting room.
      • Stefon (Bill Hader's Camp Gay city correspondent with a knowledge of New York City's weirdest clubs) originally appeared in a one-shot sketch on the season 34 episode hosted by Ben Affleck as the estranged brother of a Disney screenwriter named David Zolesky (implying that Stefon's last name is also Zolesky, but a later Weekend Update segment implied that Stefon's father is David Bowienote ). It wouldn't be until the Gabourey Sidibe episode in season 35 that Stefon would be a Weekend Update character. Also, in his first sketch, Bill Hader's Stefon looked more like a burned-out Club Kid than his later appearances and, most noticeable of all, Hader actually got through the sketch without cracking up (like an inversion of Rachel Dratch's Debbie Downer sketches, where she cracked up during the first sketch, but not in any others [though there were times where she came close]). Compare this sketch to this one.
      • Gilda Radner's character Roseanne Roseannadanna was another character who started out in a one-off sketch (a fake PSA, "Hire the Incompetent") and became a Weekend Update fixture later on.
      • "Celebrity Jeopardy!" started off with realistic categories and questions. Eventually, the sketch developed the ongoing gag of making the questions so ridiculously easy that it would seem impossible to get them wrong ("The Beatles' White Album is this color.") and yet the celebrities inevitably do so. Concurrently, Alex Trebek (as played by Will Ferrell) became a long-suffering Straight Man. Also, the sketch was originally conceived as a vehicle for Norm Macdonald's Burt Reynolds impression, but when MacDonald left SNL in 1998, Darrell Hammond stepped in and played Sean Connery, who was in the very first iteration as a supporting character, became Trebek's mortal enemy.
      • The original "Coffee Talk" sketches featured Mike Myers as the middle-aged male radio host Paul Baldwin who talked with callers calmly about "dogs, daughters, lofts and coffee ... you know, no big whoop." Since the sketch's basic joke (on the way the initial vowels are pronounced with a New York City accent) wore thin pretty quickly, Paul Baldwin soon became an older guy, and then Myers began putting on a dress and playing his then-mother-in-law, Linda Richman, as an excitable middle-aged Jewish woman with various cohosts of what was now just a standard TV talk show.
    • Despite being considered one of the worst seasons in the show's 30+ years on the air, season 6 (1980–81) had a very interesting real life Early Installment Weirdness in the form of cast member Gilbert Gottfried. Imagine, if you will, a Gilbert Gottfried who doesn't squint, has a full head of curly, Jewish hair, and didn't always talk in the grating, screechy, obnoxious voice that would later be associated with him.
    • The early "Jarret's Room" sketches had Chris Parnell as the college roommate that Jared (Jimmy Fallon) and Gobi (Horatio Sanz) would always prank. When Chris Parnell left the show in season 27 (and was brought back months later), he was replaced by Jeff Richards, and a Dumbass DJ character named DJ Johnathan Feinstein (played by Seth Meyers back when he actually was in sketches) was introduced.
    • Brian Fellow initially appears on Weekend Update, with a completely different personality and style of dress, in a piece mostly devoted to claiming various male celebrities are secretly gay and being offended when anchor Colin Quinn questions him. Several months later "Brian Fellow's Safari Planet" debuts, ultimately becoming a long-running recurring segment.
  • Schitt's Creek: Early episodes feature far more cynical and bitter versions of the Rose family, but since the show is about them becoming better people this is justified and they really start to soften about the mid point of the first season. However, viewers who began watching in Seasons 3 and 4, around when the show's romantic comedy moments started going viral and the show was on Netflix, are often jarred to find that in the first season pansexual David has a several episodes long romance with Stevie and that Alexis is written as being in love with Mutt Schitt and her later seasons true love Ted is the hypoteneus of that triangle.
  • The first season of Saved by the Bell is totally different from the rest of the series. Instead of being a high school in California, it's a middle school in Indiana. The students are a supporting cast and their teacher, Miss Bliss, is the main protagonist. This is the case because originally, the show was called Good Morning, Miss Bliss, and that was the premise. They changed this after realizing the kids had more potential for comedy plots. (The Miss Bliss episodes were later reedited and repackaged as an "early years" story arc within the main series.)
  • Seinfeld:
    • In the pilot episode, Jerry calls Kramer by the name of "Kessler", which was the character's original name. There's a waitress character who was supposed to be the show's female cast member, but she was dropped and replaced with Elaine in the second episode. The diner isn't called Monk's, and the show is called The Seinfeld Chronicles instead of just Seinfeld. The iconic slap-bass theme song has also yet to appear. Instead it's a generic electronic keyboard theme.
    • Kramer is introduced by having him knock on Jerry's door instead of his classic Dynamic Entry.
    • Jason Alexander portrayed George Costanza as a Woody Allen wannabe until he realized that the character closely resembled his creator Larry David, and subsequently made the character angrier and meaner.
    • In the first two seasons, Kramer's schtick was that he was agoraphobic and many of Jerry's jokes revolved around his resistance to leaving the apartment. In the Season 3 finale, this aspect of the character was completely done away with.
    • In earlier seasons, episodes would always start and end with Jerry's stand-up routines, and they would even take place at various points in the middle of the episodes as well (the original premise of the show was that Jerry's interactions with his friends and routines of his life gave inspiration to his stand-up). These stand-up scenes were gradually phased out in later seasons, eventually disappearing altogether until the series finale.
    • In general the first few seasons are slower paced. There is generally a single A story, many of the scenes were word-for-word from Seinfeld's stand-up, there were much fewer scene changes with cheaper sets, and the characters were slightly more sympathetic. Also, there was less transitional music, and the one that was there tended to be more keyboard driven. On the DVD commentary of the second episode of the series, Seinfeld and co-creator Larry David remark that the episode is reminiscent of a high-school play in terms of pacing and set design, and marvel at the fact that they managed to convince NBC to keep the series going at that point.
    • George is entirely absent from one early episode, but Jason Alexander was so offended by being left out that he threatened to quit if it ever happened again. From that point on, every episode featured all four cast members.
    • The second episode "Male Unbonding" is the only episode in the entire series that doesn't follow the "The [X]" titling scheme. The reason the writers soon settled on the scheme was so they wouldn't spend a whole lot of time thinking of an episode name that people would never see anyway. Some episode guides have the title as "The Male Unbonding" to bring it in line with the others.
  • Sesame Street
    • Early seasons were much slower-paced, and frequently relied on lectures (such as this really long, calming one about how milk is made), making it more in line with competitors such as Mister Rogers' Neighborhood and Captain Kangaroo. Also, some segments tended to repeat at least twice, since they acted like TV commercials. They abandoned this around the mid 1970s.
    • In the earliest seasons the inner-city setting was far more pronounced, since the sounds of busy city streets were always heard in the background.
    • Characters looked very different, too. Oscar, for example, was orange, and only his head was visible. Big Bird was missing most of the feathers on his head, and had the mindset of a dim-witted adult bird rather than a child. During Elmo's first appearance in 1978, he was known as "Baby Monster" and had a deep, gravely voice instead of his recognizable childish one. Plus, Grover was green.
    • Animated segments outnumbered Muppet segments, too. Also, the characters broke the fourth wall more frequently, addressing their audience as well as introducing and commenting on segments, as if they tied into each other more.
    • The first time the 1992 closing sequence was used, there were no sound effects at all, only the music and Big Bird's closing statement that "Sesame Street is a production of the Children's Television Workshop."
  • The first two seasons of Sex and the City seem a little less "chick show" than the later ones, with stories about male, non-love interest friends of theirs, a somewhat more cynical attitude and a lot less emphasis on fashion. The episodes would generally include at least one scene of people on the street giving their opinion on the main topic of the episode. In the very first episode, Carrie herself breaks the fourth wall a couple of times by directly speaking to the audience.
  • The Spanish sitcom Siete Vidas was originally about David, a guy who had just woken up from a coma after several years, and his experiences as he rediscovered his sister, his neighbours and his old love interest. By the second season, the focus had largely moved to the sister and the neighbors, so David and his girlfriend were Put On A Plane and never heard of again except for Christmas specials.
    • The title itself was a reference to David coming back to life ("seven lives" is the Spanish idiom equivalent to "nine lives" - and that's why the logo has a black cat next to the title). Afterwards, the show took "seven lives" to mean that they followed the lives of seven characters - promoting or introducing new (but suspiciously similar) characters as the previous ones left - and became a Friends rip-off.
  • In the first few episodes of Soap Benson was very adamant that being the butler was his job. When the Tates were hosting a party and Bert was expecting his long lost son to arrive, he went to answer the door, Benson tripped him up. He very quickly changed to disliking doing particular tasks, which most fans remember him for, and his catch phrase was "You want me to get that?" whenever the doorbell rang.
  • The first season of The Sopranos is a mild example, playing somewhat more like a lampoon of the gangster genre. It emphasizes the zaniness of Tony's two lives as a family man and a "Family" man. His wife gets this treatment as well. In one scene she expertly cocks and loads an AK-47 when she thinks there's an intruder. In following seasons she's just a typical housewife. The supporting gangsters are also constantly quoting famous mob movies, showing that modern mob culture is partially based on imitating fiction. This is de-emphasized in the rest of the show, though never completely goes away.
  • Soul Train's first couple of seasons used a far different intro animation, featuring a childishly cartoony multi-colored train, rather than the classic big gray one, and the set invoked an old "juke joint" rather than the discotheque/dance club-type sets of the majority of the run. The 1971 pilot in particular seems odd: In addition to the above, there was a completely different announcer (with a higher voice and a more excitable style), the editing seems to borrow more from Laugh In than its counterpart, American Bandstand and instead of showing short clips of the musical guests in the intro, there the guests (Gladys Knight & The Pips, Eddie Kendricks, The Honey Cones and Bobby Hutton) were shown dancing among the rest of the "Soul Train Gang"
  • Spitting Image pales in its first season compared to later seasons. The pilot episode had a laugh track (which was abandoned quickly from the next episode on). Certain puppets look and sound different because the voice actors didn't always comically exaggerate the voices of the lampooned celebrities in the first season. Many episodes in the first season follow plot lines that are continued like a chronological series, while later seasons were always stand alone episodes.
    • The Spanish equivalent, Las Noticias del Guiñol, started as a section in a talk show with a live audience and had the puppets appearing through a small window in a wall (i.e., like in a literal puppet show). It later became its own show and got longer sketches, actual sets, special effects, etc.
  • Stargate SG-1
    • The original Stargate to the series.
      • Abydos is in the "Kalium galaxy", on "the other side of the known universe", instead of the closest system with a gate, Ra looks more like a Grey-type alien at the end instead of the snakelike creatures the series has, the Goa'uld language also sounds extremely different, Daniel's girlfriend/wife's name is Shau'ri instead of Sha're (that has more to do with Michael Shanks's difficulty in pronouncing the "au" diphthong) and the gate symbols on Abydos being completely different from the gate on Earth.
      • Daniel having to learn the language spoken on Abydos (which had naturally drifted from the original Egyptian) is a major plot point in the movie. With a few exceptions, the show is pure Aliens Speaking English. This was a conscious choice, however, as the producers felt that showing Daniel learning an alien language every episode would bog things down.
    • In the first few episodes of Stargate SG-1, the Daniel Jackson character was shown to sneeze a lot, a trait he carried over from the movie. It was so prevalent that he used up an entire box of tissues in one day, yet after the first episode the character sneezes, perhaps, two or three more times in the entire ten-season run. This was lampshaded in a very early episode by stating that Daniel is on heavy antihistamines (which served to protect him from the danger-of-the-week).
    • In the first few episodes of season one Samantha Carter is shown as Feminist to the degree of Straw.
      • The pilot has a particularly cringe-worthy moment wherein Carter defends her combat ability against Jack O'Neill's. After the scene, Amanda Tapping said she went to the writers to tell them "Women don't talk like that" (the "reproductive organs" speech makes a cameo appearance eight seasons later in "Moebius" only to be mocked by Carter as sounding ridiculous):
      Major Samantha Carter: ...and just because my reproductive organs are on the inside rather than the outside, doesn't mean I can't handle anything you can handle.
      • It was used again by "Puppet Carter" in the episode "200", as part of a gag about her tendency to engage in Techno Babble.
    • The bit about Ra being a Grey is particularly troubling considering that the show did introduce Greys later on, in the form of the Asgard, allies of the Tau'ri. Word of God explained that Ra had possessed an Asgard prior to possessing a human. Why this was reflected physically isn't as easily explained, other than the idea that Ra used some form of nonstandard Go'auld possession on his human host. It's also unexplained why this didn't give Ra access to Asgard knowledge, or how he was able to take over an Asgard considering they apparently had such powerful minds that one of them (Thor) was able to partially take over Anubis' ship via the device being used to pick his brain, while keeping it from stealing any Asgard secrets.
    • In early episodes the zat'nik'tel alien weapon disintegrates anything that gets hit with three shots from it. By the fourth season, nothing is shot three times with a zat-gun ever again (with the exception of the Kull Warriors whose armor is completely impenetrable to zat shots). The idea of disintegration is even indirectly mocked on a later episode.
    • Early SG-1 episodes also tended to ape early TNG a bit much, with heavy-handed aesops and the like ("The Nox", for example, had a heavy pacifism message that was both inapplicable to the SGC's situation and pushed Can't Argue with Elves too hard). This settled down roughly about the time Bra'tac first showed up in "Bloodlines" and was largely avoided in favor of straight storytelling afterwards.
    • The Movie and the pilot had gate travelers being freezing cold upon exit, even explained by Carter. This was quickly done away with and supplementary materials retcon it as being caused by the SGC's McGyvered dialing system before bugs were ironed out.
    • Similarly, the gate first caused violent shaking, enough to be detectable as an Earthquake. This was quickly done away with by claiming they installed dampeners to prevent it, but how gates on other planets where the gate is just stuck on a rock or in a museum or some other such basic or unused location are supposed to have these dampers is anyone's guess.
    • The first instance of time travel in season 2 of SG-1 it was a very clear case of Stable Time Loop. However in every other instance in SG-1, as well as later series Atlantis and even Universe, time travel will always create an Alternate Timeline.
    • The pilot and first few episodes of season 1 has SG-2 and SG-3 play an important role as secondary characters with both acting as The Cavalry and SG-3 even explicitly being a team dedicated to that purpose. After the first season both teams are rarely ever seen and characters such as SG-3's leader are never mentioned again.
    • The role of SG teams changed dramatically between season 1 and season 2. In season 1 teams had specific roles, with SG-1 and 2 being recon, 3 being backup marines, and 7 being some form of research amongst others. In season 2 onward all teams are team roles are generalized with each having their roles be purely based on the needs and availability of each team, with only SG-3 keeping its role as the all-soldier team sent as backup.
    • SG-1 had an entire Early Installment Weirdness episode with "Hathor." Among the many: Goa'uld queens reproducing in their host bodies (as opposed to being born from the symbiote form), needing a human to mate with for reproducing, Jaffa being created from humans with a device rather than a separate race, Goa'uld having mind-control powers, amd Jaffa being "healed" back to human form in a sarcophagas. The episode is heavily criticied by fans, staff, actors, and all but retconned out of of existence. And like anything else on Stargate, this gets Lampshaded when Hathor returns in another episode. She tries to entice Daniel by reminding him about their first encounter. Daniel replies that he's tried to forget about that.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
    • The show changed Rom after the first season. In "Babel", Odo says Rom is an idiot who couldn't fix a bent straw. In "A Man Alone", Rom is Quark's sexist brother and Nog's domineering father. And in "The Nagus", Rom outright tries to murder Quark so that he can inherit the bar. This is very different from the jittery maintenance engineer who supports women's rights and his son's decision to enter Starfleet in later seasons.
    • Ketracel-White was not yet conceived when the Jem'hadar was introduced in their self-titled second-season finale. It wouldn't be until later that their distinctive Ketracel-White-feeding neck-tubes and chemical dependence were shown. In addition, the Vorta Eris is shown to be possessed of telekinetic abilities. No other Vorta would have such abilities, and Word of God would later confirm that she was the only one to have them.
    • One early episode had someone accept a payment of gold-pressed latinum in weight (as in "pounds of gold-pressed latinum"). Later episodes would institute the standardized denominations of slips, strips, bars, and bricks.
    • Bashir was a lot dorkier in Season One, frequently hitting on women who would turn him down and making a fool of himself. In later seasons, this behaviour stopped.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation had a lot of weirdness in early episodes that often had to do with recycled plots from the original series. This was, of course, before it grew the beard.
    • Characterization Marches On quite a bit from the early episodes.
      • While Picard was always very reserved, in early episodes he is aloof, cold and quick-tempered. He snaps at people and doesn't even bother to look at Riker when the man first arrives to take his post.
      • Riker is much more of a randy Kirk clone than the more rounded character he becomes. He Really Gets Around for the whole series, but he isn't a Kirk clone after the show grows the beard.
      • Worf is more feral. He occasionally makes reference to not understanding human behavior and once reveals that he had a pet native to the Klingon homeworld, while later seasons establish that he was raised in a human family.
      • Data frequently shows emotion. He grins elfishly at Wesley upon their first meeting and occasionally exchanges worried or amazed glances with others. His makeup is more mime-like, creating a sort of Uncanny Valley effect. He also sometimes used contractions, until "Datalore" established that he can't.
      • Wesley's first-season persona, a whiny, annoying child, stuck in viewers' heads, and even after the character matured.
    • Troi's ability to sense emotions in others initially meant she herself felt the emotions, which could have the side-effect of incapacitating her (this was dropped after the pilot).
    • Costumes changed over the course of the show. In the first season, some crew wore skirts, including a few on men in the background crew. In the pilot, Troi wears a short skirt and her hair down, making her look like a cheerleader. For the rest of the season, she wears a low-cut bodysuit and puts her hair up. Later seasons change her bodysuit slightly and have her wear her hair down again. Dr. Crusher wears a helmet with a clear plastic eyepiece while operating in one very early episode. Wesley wears baggy knit sweaters throughout the first season.
    • Worf and LaForge were not always department heads: they were both originally command officers (which, in TNG, wore red instead of gold, with gold reserved for operation officers). Worf would be promoted to head of security after Tasha Yar's untimely demise, while LaForge became head of engineering in the interim between the first and second seasons.
    • There's no fixed head of engineering before LaForge receives that designation in the second season.
    • The character of Miles O'Brien coalesces slowly over the first few seasons. He first appeared in "Encounter at Farpoint" just referred to as "conn", as he was controlling the ship. He wore the red command uniform and had the rank of ensign. He shows up again in the episode "Lonely Among Us" with no rank and donning the yellow operations uniform (The credits for the episode would list him as "First Security Officer"). At the start of the second season, he's now "Transporter Chief", still wearing yellow and with the rank of lieutenant. He wouldn't gain the surname "O'Brien" until the episode "Unnatural Selection" and become an Ascended Extra due to Writer Revolt. The episode "Family" would establish him as chief petty officer and give him the first name "Miles", but the pips he would wear would fluctuate through the rest of his time on TNG and halfway through DS9.
    • In the pilot, Data's and the flight ops positions on the bridge are reversed from where they would familiarly be later on.
    • Some sets are different. There are some different chairs on the bridge including the captain's own, some of the carpeting and wall colors are different to what they'd be later on, the briefing room doesn't feature information display screens at either end of the room, and in several of the earliest episodes there are additional corridors seen running through the middle of the engineering set.
    • The first Ferengi episode had them wildly hopping around the set like mad monkeys, and the pilot episode implied they ate people. Ferengi also had superhuman strength, and were unafraid of getting into physical altercations with the Enterprise crew. They also wore fur-covered togas and fur-covered boots over jumpsuits. Later seasons, and the later series as a whole, seems to ignore this, portraying them instead to be meek and weak cowards who prefer subterfuge and hired muscle in order to do their dirty work while wearing fancy outfits as a symbol of their wealth. Early episodes also showed Ferengi using gold in their dealings, while Deep Space Nine would establish that Ferengi see no actual value in gold beyond using it to contain the far more valuable liquid metal latinum (although this is inconsistent as in "Little Green Men" Quark was quite happy to accept payment in gold for his services, and two Ferengi did once try and break into Fort Knox according to Tom Paris).
    • The first time we saw Cardassians, they were wearing strange headgear which never showed up again, and Gul Macet is the only Cardassian to have facial hairnote . They were also much more fleshy-colored in skin complexion, rather than having their ashy-gray color in later appearances (and all throughout DS9). There was also an episode in which Wesley said the Klingons had joined the Federation.
    • The policies of the Prime Directive had yet to be firmly established early in the series, so Picard and Co. often beamed down to planets with pre-warp civilizations that in later seasons would almost certainly have been protected by the Non-Interference clause of the Prime Directive.
    • Holodecks:
      • The first episode showcased that Holodecks used replicators in part, so when Wesley fell in the water and was dragged out of the Holodeck, he was still dripping wet. Later episodes would firmly establish that Holomatter instantly dissolved when leaving the Holodeck. Granted, we see people eating on the Holodeck, but nothing prevents people from bringing in food from the outside.
      • In the first season episode "The Big Goodbye", when a holodeck malfunction is fixed and the characters from Picard's Dixon Hill program find out they're holodeck characters, two of the bad guys leave the holodeck intending to loot the ship. They're able to exist outside the holodeck for about 10 seconds before slowly dematerializing. Later episodes established that holographic characters dematerialize instantly upon leaving the holodeck.
    • Several of the first season episodes address the awkwardness of Picard and Dr. Crusher serving together given their personal history. They fumble over whether to refer to each other formally or familiarly. By the third season, Crusher settles into always addressing Picard as "Jean-Luc" rather than "Captain" or "Sir."
    • Q, the first major recurrent antagonist in the series, is introduced in the pilot episode as being opening antagonistic towards humanity, setting up situations in the hopes of seeing them fail to justify wiping them out. Over the course of the series, however, Character Development would see Q transform from a hostile enemy to simply a Troll (and at times, even a Trickster Mentor) whose attitude towards humanity shifts from antagonism to curiosity.
    • When the Borg first appear in "Q Who", the presentation is much different from what we see later.
      • Borg produce no life signs (in "I Borg," life signs are identified from the crash site even before they know it's the Borg). The Borg pointedly have no interest in organic life at all, only in technology (assimilation is introduced later as a unique case with Picard, before being broadened/retconned into their single and solitary purpose).
      • The Borg ship is described as a completely undifferentiated construction (compare to Voyager's endless talk of central nexi and central plexi).
      • Q describes a Borg as "not a he, not a she," implying that Borg are gendered neuter (perhaps cause for a rude awakening for Picard when he was assimilated).
      • There's even "the Borg nursery," implying that, even if they aren't conceived in the typical way, Borg are produced and grown by other Borg. Once the assimilation concept took hold there was no need for Borg to be born. This was later retconned into "maturation chambers", where assimilated children and infants are artificially accelerated to adulthood over the course of a couple of weeks. Voyager had an episode where five Borg children were brought on board the ship - one of them was a baby, and in all cases, the assimilation was incomplete (early in the episode, Seven of Nine finds a man who died in the process of being assimilated because the children's nanoprobes weren't fully developed). The Seven of Nine character is actually a deconstruction of the Unfortunate Implications, as she was assimilated as a child; other Borg reclaimed from assimilation (including Picard from TNG and the entirety of Unimatrix Zero from Voyager), while they certainly would have a serious case of PTSD, generally do not exhibit such difficulty returning to normal life.
    • Spot, Data's cat, initially had longer fur and was darker in colour.
    • In "Ensign Ro", the plural of "Bajoran" was "Bajora". It's "Bajorans" in all later episodes, and all of Deep Space Nine.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series
    • In the early episodes, the Enterprise ran on lithium crystals (rather than fictional dilithium crystals) and the characters served under the United Earth Space Probe Agency rather than Starfleet. Before the United Federation of Planets was first mentioned, Federation bases were called "Earth bases". It also takes some time to nail down the series's 23rd century setting: "The Squire of Gothos" suggested it was taking place in the 28th century.
    • It takes a couple of episodes at least to establish that Spock was half-human. In the second pilot, he referred to having human ancestry, but didn't state outright that one of his parents was fully human. By the time of "The Corbomite Maneuver", it was established that his father married a human. He also displayed emotion on occasion in the early episodes, something the later Spock would almost never do openly... even as he once said "'Irritated?' Ah, I see, one of your Earth emotions." (He smiled as he said it, too.) Naturally, this is well before the Vulcans' more complex relationship with emotion was known.
    • 1st season episodes "The Corbomite Maneuver" and "This Side of Paradise". Spock refers to his father in the past tense in both episodes and Kirk does too in the second one, as if he were dead. In the 2nd season episode "Journey to Babel", we learn that Spock's father, Sarek of Vulcan, is very much alive.
    • For parts of the first season, Spock is referred to as a "Vulcanian" rather than a "Vulcan".
    • The earlier episodes of the original series (notably "The Cage" and "Where No Man Has Gone Before") have a very eerie, creepy mood. Much of the background music seems to be subdued and electronic (unlike the kitchy sixties era music that would become iconic in the rest of the series: the fight scene music from "The Gamesters of Triskelion" for example). There is little to no banter between the characters. This, of course was before McCoy was introduced and the core cast developed (Dr. Piper is the medical officer here played by Paul Fix). Scotty is a background character with few lines and no trademark character traits yet, Sulu is not yet in his familiar helmsman role, and Uhura has not yet been introduced. Gary Mitchell and Lee Kelso are established as Kirk's close friends and Spock's mannerisms are not yet fully set in stone. Also, at this time, female Starfleet uniforms consisted of trousers instead of miniskirts. These early episodes occurred before the more hip era of the sixties started. (Roddenberry's vision was to explore themes more deeply in the manner of written sci-fi, and well-known sci-fi writers were commissioned for the early episodes, accounting for the variable tone. In the real world, networks were dismayed that their flagship show for color TV was a grey ship flying through black space; purple and green spotlights were thrown against the grey walls, and the campy tone was set for later.)
    • "Where No Man Has Gone Before" is also weird for, besides the slow pace, the INCREDIBLY violent tone of the episode, even by TOS standards. Kirk and Spock spend much of the episode beating the hell out of the antagonist (a former buddy of Kirk's!), take turns toting a ginormous phaser rifle, then at the climax, Kirk stops just short of braining the antagonist with a rock, and ends the episode nursing a broken hand. WTF indeed! (In this episode Kirk's uniform top is yellow with a different collar; the exhaust pipes at the back of the ship's nacelles are arrays of smaller pipes; the phaser rifle is never seen again.)
    • The Klingons of the original series bear no resemblance whatsoever to those of every other incarnation, including prequel Enterprise. This is the case not only in characterization— they were a Red Scare allegory instead of Proud Warrior Race Guys— but even physical appearance, in which they lacked the trademark forehead. Their armor has also fluctuated from the original series forward. And there were no Trekkies fluent in Klingon when the original series ran, as the Klingon language didn't exist yet (Klingons exclusively spoke English). This would later be explained as being the result of a genetically engineered retrovirus.
    • The same explanation is used to describe the differences in physical appearances between the Trill introduced in TNG and the Trill as they appear in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. A lot of other characteristics of Trill would also be retconned: in TNG, Trill are said to be a mysterious new race and unjoined Trill are shown to be practically emotionless automatons, while in DS9, Trill are said to be long-time allies of the Federation (one of whom helped to broker peace with the Klingons) while unjoined Trill are shown to be in the majority and are as emotive as joined Trill.
    • Star Trek: The Original Series started off as pure Wagon Train to the Stars with episodes focused on exploration and scientific theories especially in the early episodes, which often had themes similar to the film Forbidden Planet. The Enterprise was supposedly one of very few advanced "Starship-class" vehicles, with a nearly superhuman elite crew. About halfway through the first season, the episodes started featuring more Human Aliens and Rubber-Forehead Aliens engaged in galactic conflicts and diplomacy, parallel civilizations and other more themes and elements more closely associated with Space Opera, incorporating elements from the unaired pilot "The Cage" which introduced, among other classics, the Green-Skinned Space Babe. Sort of a Subgenre Shift. And also a very odd example of this trope in that the early installment weirdness made the early aired show not only dissimilar to later aired episodes, but also very dissimilar to the unaired pilot, which featured mostly different characters, and somewhat more militaristic Starfleet. This would reappear later in mid-late Star Trek: The Next Generation and its spin-offs, as well as the film series featuring both crews, where it's clear that the Enterprise, though the flagship of the Fleet, is one of hundreds, possibly even thousands of vessels operating in the Alpha Quadrant.
    • The idea that the Enterprise is the flagship is really only something that started with Star Trek: The Next Generation onwards. In the original series it was suggested that she is simply treated as one of 12 ships of her class in the fleet that are exploring where no man has gone before, and in the original series movies she was more often than not treated like an out-of-date ship that has been superseded by newer ones (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, for example, sees her being used as a mere training vessel attached to Starfleet Academy).
    • The Klingon language was not developed. Klingon written characters were random and could not be translated.
    • Both the Stardate and Warp Factor could exceed what was acceptable in the Star Trek: The Next Generation era. It was usually explained that the TOS time period used a different scale.
    • The distinctive triangular badge was originally a ship-specific patch to the Enterprise, with officers from other ships wearing differently-shaped ones. Star Trek: Enterprise actually continued this, making it seem like part of the transition from "old" Earth military styling by placing the ship's patch on the arm as is done in modern militaries. (Meanwhile, the progenitor of the Starfleet triangle can occasionally be seen in the background.)
    • McCoy makes an offhand reference to Vulcan being conquered in "The Conscience of the King", an idea which was quickly retconned.
    • The episode "Turnabout Intruder" is not only jarring to modern audiences due to its apparent "women can't be starship captains" sexism but for the fact that female starship captains (no less competent for their gender) appear in later spin-offs, by the time of Star Trek: Enterprise effectively retconning the entire intended premise of the episode. It does help greatly that the only person making any of these claims is clearly insane and can be easily dismissed as such.
    • In several early 1st season episodes, such as "Mudd's Women" and "The Corbomite Maneuver", communications officer Lieutenant Uhura wears a gold-colored (Command) uniform. Throughout the rest of the series, she wears a red uniform.
  • The Suite Life on Deck had a different feel in Season 1. More fantastic elements were snuck into later seasons (including fantasy dream sequences, more cartoonish scenarios and characters and in one episode even time travelnote ) and, naturally, characters started to get Flanderized. Also with Wizards, the literal look and feel of the show changed from Seasons 1 to 2 when On Deck also switched to Hi-Def and had a different post-production process, resulting in the same "washed out" look for the early footage in syndication.
  • Supernatural:
    • Watch the later season one episodes and onwards and remind yourself that at the time of the pilot, Dean and Sam haven't seen each other in four years and are not on good terms. Both brothers went through a lot of character development in Season 1, and a big part of that was that, as adults and no longer under their father's overwhelming presence (a presence that had mostly previously pigeon-holed them as "the obedient one" and "the rebel"), they understood and appreciated one another far more than they once did. For example, Sam only fully understood in Season 1 everything Dean had done for him when they were kids, and everything Dean had had to shoulder that Sam hadn't been aware of. Dean, for what seemed to be the first time, really understood what a misfit Sam had felt like in their family, how little he'd understood of their "mission," and that his independent streak was actually a good thing. Their new understanding of one another, combined with fighting side-by-side and saving each other's lives on the regular, combined with their isolation from general society, combined with some old dynamics between them (prank wars, Dean's protective streak), made them far closer and more reliant on each other than they potentially had been as kids, when they both may have revolved far more around their father than around each other (they were left alone as kids and had to rely on each other then, but due to their age difference and differing outlooks on life, potentially didn't view each other as emotional confidantes, though YMMV there). It was no accident that their relationship seemed to deepen quite a bit after the argument in "Asylum" and "Scarecrow," because they actually resolved some of what caused their estrangement. But yeah, their relatively casual reconciliation after a years-long estrangement is quite the contrast to later seasons, when the brothers split up for 1-2 weeks MAXIMUM after arguments, angst like separated lovers the entire time, then have emotionally fraught reunions.
    • Demons in their first few appearances had some vaguely defined abilities that don't quite match up with their appearances in later seasons. First, that they would flinch upon hearing the name "Christo," which would seem to be a fairly easy way to check if a person's possessed or not, but this is never used again after "Phantom Traveler". When Meg is revealed to be a demon, the heroes are initially unsure if she's possessed by a demon or actually is a demon, which implies at least some of them can take physical forms. Later seasons establish demons only exist as incorporeal smoke and must possess a human to be able to do anything. The devil's trap/exorcism ritual are introduced as being extremely obscure, but quickly become the go-to methods of dealing with demons, not just for the Winchesters but seemingly all hunters. And finally, the special effects used for the demon's incorporeal form in "Phantom Traveler" is noticeably different than the one used in later episodes. Also, it is established halfway through Season 3 that all demons are former humans whose souls are so twisted by their time in Hell that they're no longer human. In the Season 1 finale, it was implied that they were a self-reproducing race of their own, because the Yellow-Eyed Demon (Azazel) told Dean that Meg and a demon Dean had killed were his daughter and son (and Meg had referred to him as "Father" in a previous episode). Also, a monstrous girl-like apparition called an Achiri was referred to as a demon in the Season 2 finale, and was controllable by Ava because of it, but all demons since then have been black smoke possessing human bodies. Likewise in the season 1 episode "Shadow", Meg summons a Daeva, an incorporeal demon that can kill people without taking a human vessel, something that even high ranked demons introduced later can't do.
    • In the premiere of Season 2, Azazel is able to possess Tessa, a Reaper. Reapers are later established as a subset of angels.
    • In the Season 1 episode "Faith" the Reaper has a very creepy appearance, with wrinkly gray skin, sharp teeth, and a lot of eye shadow. All other reapers in subsequent episodes have appeared as normal humans. This may have been Hand Waved by Tessa saying many Reapers take A Form You Are Comfortable With, however even when we see her true form it doesn't look anything like the original Reaper (being a skeletal ghost instead of a flesh and blood monster).
    • Vampires were also said to be extremely rare in their first appearance, to the point that John Winchester, a hunter of 20 years, believed them to be extinct before the events of "Dead Man's Blood". Nowadays, they're probably the most common type of monster on the show.
    • Episode titles in Season 1 are brief and announce the Monster of the Week or a theme ("Wendigo", "Bloody Mary", "Faith", etc.) while in later seasons they are often pop culture references.
    • Werewolves were stated in one early episode to be fictitious creatures based off exaggerated accounts of real shapeshifters. Later seasons clearly establish that werewolves and shapeshifters are two separate, unrelated entities.
    • The show's signature use of "Carry On Wayward Son," doesn't occur in the recap of the season finale, but rather for the episode immediately preceding the finale.
  • The first two Super Sentai shows, Himitsu Sentai Goranger and J.A.K.Q. Dengekitai, are different in many ways to the subsequent shows:
    • They did not have giant robots. For a while they were not even considered part of the franchise, although this was mainly due to right disputes between Toei and Goranger/JAKQ creator Shotaro Ishinomori. Also, in Battle Fever J, the third series, the mecha fights were kick-started by the human-sized monster calling his 'little brother' (a giant robotic duplicate) to avenge him as he was dying, (something of the likes wouldn't be seen in the series until more than 30 years later with Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters) and the Battle Fever Robo was not made from separate vehicles, but was a non-transforming robot stored on a non-transforming airbase. Make My Monster Grow and Combining Mecha debuted in the following shows.
    • While the uniforms of Goranger and JAKQ are very different from later uniforms, they still somewhat resemble the traditional concept of a Super Sentai uniform. Battle Fever J on the other hand, featured face-shaped helmets with two-eyed visors and sculpted noses (a style which was only reused for a One-Shot Character in Hikari Sentai Maskman). Miss America wore a blond wig on her helmet and Battle Cossack is notable for being the only main member on a Sentai to wear orange until 35 years later with the arrival of ToQ #6. The goggle-like visors were not introduced until Denshi Sentai Denziman and the scarfs were eliminated after Dai Sentai Goggle Five.
    • Chouriki Sentai Ohranger: Olé vs. Kakuranger, the first film in the Super Sentai Vs. Series (not counting the earlier J.A.K.Q. vs. Goranger movie), had a slightly different title format than the subsequent Vs. films and the Kakuranger's giant robots are not even present.
    • J.A.K.Q. vs. Goranger established that various Ishinomori heroes existed in that continuity, including Kikaider, Kamen Rider V3 and Kamen Rider Amazon. This was never mentioned again afterwards - Super Sentai series were treated as separate universes until Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger and Kamen Riders and Sentai heroes wouldn't meet until the crossover between Samurai Sentai Shinkenger and Kamen Rider Decade.
    • A minor example is that the first three Sixth Rangers had vests. While the next proper Sixth Ranger wouldn't be seen until Megaranger sans vest, the vest wouldn't reappear until Hurricanger and Abaranger only to vanish again. Gokaisilver sort of had one with his Gold Mode power up.
    • When Ressha Sentai ToQger first appeared in Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger vs. Go-Busters, they had a few differences in their roll call- specifically, their final pose used in the show is instead a build up to a more traditional "Super Sentai" Stance. Also, behind them in the scene their team name is transliterated as "Tokkyuger".
    • The franchise's US DVD releases from Shout! Factory suffered from this, due to them not knowing either how to properly market it or design the DVD sets for it. Initially, Kyoryu Senytai Zyuranger had "Super Sentai" plastered in front of it on online marketplaces while the DVDs would just say "Zyuranger", the subtitles would translate the name completely, and the subtitles themselves were a disgusting yellow rather than white like they would be from Kakuranger on (this one goes for Dairanger as well), which made them feel unofficial. Later sets would rectify these by having the official transliterated names on the covers and menus and would leave them untranslated (aside from Gingaman's name being translated in the opening title sequence and not in the episodes proper) and would have the subs be in white. The odd translation error and whatnot occasionally slips through, but the sets are much better off now.
  • Much has changed on Survivor since its debut in 2000, especially within the first few seasons of the show.
    • The cast of Borneo made numerous mentions of the fact that they were playing a game, and discussed how their actions would be judged by the "audience" watching at home (noted in Colleen's "We are on a game show!" quote). This was rarely, if ever, brought up again in later seasons.
    • Contestants in Borneo were voted off for making alliances instead of voting emotionally - you'd be hard-pressed to find an instance in the later seasons where the contestants didn't forge alliances in the first few days of the game. The contestants in the first few seasons also took things very personal - Richard Hatch and Kelly Wigglesworth were painted as villains for, respectively, forming an alliance/using strategy and winning a string of challenges to save herself after being seen as useless by her tribe.
    • Jeff Probst didn't have the show's terminology down correctly, and would often mix up the names of the various challenges and ceremonies. The contestants were also confused about the name of the different gameplay elements (for instance, B.B. referred to the Immunity Challenge as the "Indemnity Challenge"), and sometimes made no effort to complete the challenge (like Rudy's infamous "I don't know" responses during one memory challenge).
    • Several of the challenges in the first season were based off popular works like the then-recently released The Blair Witch Project. Later seasons had little, if any, reference to any piece of popular media.
    • The merge was instead called a "merger" in the first season, and the players knew in advance when it would occur. It happened at the same time in the next few seasons, allowing the show to do a twist in Thailand where the tribes were brought together on one beach and incorrectly assumed they had merged, when in fact they had not. In more recent seasons, the merge time has varied in order to keep the players guessing about when it will happen.
    • Nearly every challenge features non-stop play-by-play narration by Jeff Probst. In the early seasons, this was edited out, and all we heard from Jeff during challenges was occasional words of encouragement to the players.
    • The shooting style changed greatly from the first two seasons. The production crew seemed apt in Borneo and Australia to focus on "slice-of-life" scenes instead of predominantly focusing on the strategy or tribe politics. In addition, scenes shot during natural disasters and accidents (see Michael Skupin's burn wounds or the camp flooding in Australia) seem much more unfocused and panicked, with included interviews by the medical staff.
    • There was no tribal switch, Exile Island or Hidden Immunity Idols in the early games, meaning they were played slower and more methodically, where survivors didn't have the luxury of finding a "free pass" to the next round.
    • In the first season, Jeff actually announced the winner on the night of the final votes, rather than a live segment. In the second season, instead of announcing the winner, Jeff, to the shock of the players, announced that the winner will be announced at Los Angeles in a live segment after the show's finale is broadcasted on television, then promptly left the island via helicopter (the live segment of the final episode opened with the players at Los Angeles, waiting for Jeff's helicopter to arrive). Each subsequent season's live segment presents Jeff's announcement of the winner to seemingly take place on the island, until a Stuido Audience is suddenly heard cheering at the reveal of thw winner, cuing a Reveal Shot showing that the players are actually at a studio.

  • This happens fairly frequently in That '70s Show:
    • In the early episodes, Hyde has a crush on Donna. This only lasts a little while before that subplot was thrown out, although, unlike many of the other examples on this page, it wasn't entirely forgotten.
    • The lack of Idiosyncratic Wipes (they didn't start using the wipes of the cast dancing in front of the trippy backgrounds until the second season) and a different version of "That 70s Song" (sounded like a version taken from a live concert vs. a studio cut; this was also changed from the second season onwards).
  • Top Gear:
    • A fan from later days might wonder if they've downloaded the wrong show. The Stig is wearing black, James May is nowhere to be seen, Clarkson seems aware that he's hosting a television show instead of just behaving like a child and some fat guy named Jason interrupts once an episode to give you incredibly boring tips on buying your next car. And that's before you throw in more disconcerting stuff like a slightly different version of Jessica and the audience not cheering through transitions.
    • Go back even earlier, to the pre-relaunch seasons, and you'll find that Top Gear was a magazine style programme hosted by a large ensemble cast of presenters and made up of serious road tests of high performance cars. It had no wacky challenges, no Richard Hammond (and James May only joining in the original programme's final seasons), not even The Stig. The only thing it had in common with the current incarnation of the show was the theme music and the fact that Clarkson was in it (although he was just one of the many presenters, and not one of the main hosts either, and not to mention he was putting on a posh accent in those days). Of course, these episodes are not syndicated these days, so Keep Circulating the Tapes.
  • Total Divas:
    • Season 1 had a full set of opening credits, complete with soundbites from each cast member. Starting with Season 2, only a title screen was shown and the credits were dropped.
    • Season 1 had nearly all the performers referred to by their real names, with only Eva Marie going by her stage namenote  From Season 2 onwards, any performers are known under their character names - such as Summer Rae, Rosa Mendes, Alicia Fox and Paige. This is referenced whenever someone who was introduced in Season 1 is shown - as there will usually be a title card with both names. For example, 'Ariane/Cameron'.
    • Season 1 also portrayed Nattie as The Mentor and Cool Big Sis of the group, there to help the other girls out. Possibly to differentiate her from Naomi, Nattie was shown in a far more eccentric light in Season 2 and the show amped up her rivalries with the younger women. Naomi then took on the Only Sane Man role.
    • Season 2 started showing flashbacks and incorporating far more Manipulative Editing that hadn't been as prominent in Season 1.
    • A more meta example is that Season 2 was the only time the show tried to sync up the episodes with WWE's regular programming - featuring matches built off what happened on the latest episode. In Season 3 this was gradually phased out.
  • The first season of Trailer Park Boys utilized its pseudo-documentary format far more thoroughly, with an actual sound and cameraman following Ricky and Julian. Ricky would complain about having to drive them around, other characters would comment on them and occasionally react negatively to being filmed, they even become a plot point in one episode when Julian is forced to drive one of them to the hospital after he is shot while Ricky and Julian were breaking into a shed. Later seasons partly dropped this, with only the camera-style and one-on-one interview segments, along with only a handful of references to an actual camera crew being present, being kept in.
    • Bubbles in the first season also had a much different attitude towards Ricky, treating him with outright hostility whenever he was around, and only being friendly with him in a handful of situations (such as when Ricky needed him to take part in an amateur porn film). This flies in the face of their relationship in later seasons (and a christmas special which acted as a prequel to the series), where it is established that they (along with Julian) have been friends since childhood.
  • The first few episodes, or in general the entire first season of True Blood, are quite different from the series onwards. For one, the setting was much more dreary, gloomy and more horror-esque, the characters were more realistic in their emotions and vampires seemed to be more archaic, rule-bound and "cool". The first season resembled the first Sookie Stackhouse novel quite well, and followed the books' mystery structure. The second, third and fourth season have since discarded the first season's gloom and have become even sexier, gorier, bloodier - and yet, also much more like a soap opera, with Loads and Loads of Characters having their own issues - many of them not even supernaturally related. In addition, the structure of the books was ignored in favor of very loosely adapting plot elements. The True Blood fandom remains divided over which version of the show was better; the dark, brooding first season, or the action-packed, character-focused later ones.
    • Special effects have also drastically changed over the seasons. In the first season, vampire fangs ran out (like they did in the books), suddenly appearing out of the blue and slowly sliding out. Starting in season 2, vampire fangs began coming out more rapidly and aggressively, now also producing a "click"-sound as if someone's loading a weapon.
    • In the first season and second season, vampire death was portrayed differently as well. A vampire who was staked would slowly dissolve and a vampire who burnt in the sun (like Godric) would catch blue flame and turn into dust. Come season three, vampires started exploding on impact, especially when hit with a wooden bullet, and popping like balloons when staked. Vampires burning in the sun now turned into goo as well. It becomes really weird when you come back to this dialogue in season 2.
      Steve Newlin: [on staking vampires] I hear it makes them explode.
      Jason: Nah, they kind of just.. fall apart.
    • Sookie's southern accent is much thicker in the first season. Anna Paquin was cranking her "Rogue" voice up a notch.
  • Early episodes of The Tudors can appear very surprising to viewers only familiar with the later episodes due to the surprising lack of deference shown to Henry VIII by several of his courtiers. Several characters address him simply as "Henry" rather than "Your Majesty" (in later series, only the Duke of Suffolk ever does, and even in his case rarely), and close advisors explicitly telling Henry he is wrong is far more common. Indeed, in the second episode Thomas More actually physically manhandles Henry and not-so-subtly orders him to keep quiet. Justified in that Henry's authority grew with his reign's longevity and his growing experience of ruling.
  • The first season of The Twilight Zone (1959) did not feature the iconic theme or Rod Serling appearing at the beginning of the episode. Instead it featured a shorter, less memorable theme, and Serling introducing the episode in voiceover. Several episodes also featured Serling giving a narration about halfway through. The famous theme and Serling's on-camera introductions both started with the second-season premiere.
  • Twin Peaks is set up so that every episode covers a day. Yet, there is no effort to maintain continuity with hairstyles for Lara Flynn Boyle and Sherilyn Fenn. They both have short hairstyles (especially Sherilyn Fenn) in the first season, but let their hair grow out for the second making it look like their hair was growing about an inch a day. Being that it's a David Lynch show, the weirdness probably wasn't a concern.

  • Everyone knows the Ultra Series is all about giant monsters battling the heroic Ultramen, but less known is that Ultraman wasn't a part of the franchise until the second series. Indeed, Ultra Q, the first installment in the Ultra Series features no superhero action, but instead sees a motley group of ordinary folks who come across all sorts of strange encounters with kaiju, aliens, and even weirder phenomenon in the style of The Twilight Zone and Japan's sci-fi films of the period. And then after Ultraman came Ultraseven, which eschewed the rampaging kaiju for alien invaders in stories closer to Star Trek or Doctor Who than to Ultraman and Godzilla. The Ultra Series as known today only began to take shape with Return of Ultraman.
  • The spin-off miniseries, Ultra Fight, gets rebooted with it's first installment, Ultra Zero Fight having its share of oddities as well. There is the abscence of an actual Big Bad, lack of a coherent storyline (it seems to run on a Random Events Plot starring Ultraman Zero) and the entire series is a Bottle Episode, with Ultraman Zero being stuck on the same planet from episode 1 to 12.
  • Due to being cancelled and then uncancelled, the first season of Unforgettable is different than the other 3, having a more serious and dramatic tone while the others feel more lighthearted. Also, they change most of the cast other than Carrie and Al (explained by them being transfered to another division), and they also drop the subplot of Carrie wanting to find who murdered her sister without resolution.

  • The Vampire Diaries, in the first few episodes, features Damon being able to control fog and a crow. Both disappeared without any explanation of how Damon did that and were never mentioned again.
  • Victorious: Most characters are fairly different from how they were in the pilot. Trina started as "talented, but not enough to justify her ego" and became "untalented". Jade was significantly deepened, saving her from being an Alpha Bitch. Robbie, while still not suave, became capable of normal conversation with the opposite sex. Rex's design is very different from the pilot, including paler skin, a thinner body and neck, paler complexion, and smaller eyes/mouth. Cat's hair is no longer curly as well. Probably the biggest changes include Beck and Tori no longer seeming to be romantically interested in each other, and Cat's transformation from normal-but-ditsy in the first season (particularly the pilot) to full-on dumb in the later seasons.
  • Vikings has undergone several changes since the first season. Naturally, since the show currently has spanned across 2 decades, changes in uniform and such are natural.
    • The most prominent change is the visual look. The first season had a very earthy look, with no obvious tint. Greys and browns where dominating. In season 2, the show started to tint scenes slightly green which got more noticible in season 3 and from season 4 there is a clear blue tint used.
    • The look of the vikings themselves has changed in noticible ways. In season 1, the producers experimented slightly with tattoos as part of the viking-look. Those who had tattoos where mostly hidden unless the characters took of their tunics, but since season 2 most of the vikings has a tattoo. In season 1 & 2 the pagan priests only had black make up on their eyes (like Floki) and mouths (like the Seer), but since season 4 they have make-up that cover their entire face. Actually, most of the people conducting a sacrifice wears heavy make-up since season 4 despite it never being used prior.

  • The Walking Dead:
    • In the first few episodes have the walkers are seen running and climbing after survivors while avoiding obstacles, and one is seen trying to use a doorknob in the pilot. Later episodes showed them as much less mobile and more mindless. This is especially so with the show's first scene depicting a little girl walker holding a teddy bear. On later episodes not only are the walkers never seen holding anything, but it's heavily implied they don't retain any traces of the people they once were, and that any suggestion that they do is delusional.
    • Glenn's introduction is him casually calling Rick a dumbass. Later episodes would establish Glenn as extremely mild-mannered who only uses profanity during danger and/or tragedy.
    • Rick's Southern accent is much thicker in the first few episodes.
  • The early episodes of War of the Worlds (1988) lacked much of the strong narrative tales that defined the latter half of its first season. Norton Drake had an exaggerated Jamaican accent, Harrison Blackwood had a girlfriend who was set up as a supporting character, the villains were generic Irish terrorists with modulated voices and the plots went from "stealing alien war machines" to "infiltrating a location-of-the-week".
  • In The West Wing:
    • The first mention of the first lady involved press inquiries over her use of a Ouija Board. This was never mentioned again, and seems quite out-of-character for the first lady we eventually meet (who is a surgeon and a Harvard Medical School professor). Presumably the original character design was less "Hillary Clinton" and more "Nancy Reagan".
    • President Bartlet, too. Through much of Season One, he was a One-Scene Wonder with an occasional focus episode. According to Aaron Sorkin this was intentional, as the writers didn't want Bartlet to steal the spotlight from his staff. Martin Sheen ended up having such great chemistry with his costars that Sorkin rethought the character and integrated him better into the ensemble.
    • The first major appearance of the Secret Service was an amusing Bullying a Dragon scene where a couple of frat boys harassed Zoey, the President's daughter, and she ended up using her panic button, having a pile of Secret Service-men swarm the bar and one of them grabbing the main aggressor and growls "Don't move! I Swear to God, I'll blow your head off!". After this the Secret Service were always portrayed as an agency with the utmost professionalism and known for always keeping it cool in action. Although in fairness, most of the times we see them after that they're not trying to intimidate someone who, as far as they're aware, is threatening someone they're charged to protect.
    • The first five episodes have a different version of the now iconic theme song.
    • In one episode, midway through Season 1, Tim Matheson as VP John Hoynes attempts a Texas accent. It's bad. Thankfully, it was never heard again.
  • Wheeler Dealers, an automotive restoration show that airs on Discovery networks in the UK and Velocity in the US, has steadily evolved over time. In the first several seasons...
    • Each car was fixed and sold over two half-hour shows instead of a single hour-long show.
    • The budget was tiny, starting at just 1,000 pounds. Budgets now start as high as 20,000-25,000 pounds.
    • Mike and Edd seldom interacted. Instead of taking the car to be worked on directly to the shop, they met at a random site where Mike handed off the car to Edd. Now, Mike takes the car directly to the workshop, where he and Edd discuss options.
    • There was a segment around the beginning of the second half-hour where Mike found an original or fully-restored version of the car they were working on and test drove it. That's been dropped and replaced with segments in which Mike takes parts to be restored by specialists.
    • Edd didn't join Mike on the final test drive before the sale for the first several seasons.
    • There were more occasions where they lost money on the car. One first-season episode saw the dealers purchase a car for 400 pounds, spend 945 on fixing it and sell it for just 700 because the paint over the repaired wings (fenders) didn't come out as it should due to the low budget.
    • Edd had a more stilted delivery and never did studio voice overs. All his narration was delivered as he worked on the car.
  • Whose Line Is It Anyway?
    • The first few seasons of the British version have a much different feeling from later ones. This is mostly because barrister Clive Anderson is getting used to his role, and later show staples Colin Mochrie and Ryan Stiles do not make consistent appearances while John Sessions appears in almost every first and second season episode. The show hits its stride by season four or five.
    • The first season of the American version did not have Wayne Brady as one of the permanent cast members alongside Ryan and Colin. It can be jarring watching one of the early episodes and not seeing Wayne at all. The first season also features a darker lighting scheme, which looks a bit odd compared to the later seasons. Also, Drew, like Clive on the UK version, had not yet completely warmed up in his role as the host, and there wasn't as much banter between him and the performers between games.
    • Viewing early seasons of the UK version and then comparing to any seasons of the US version can be jarring given how many of the challenges in the early UK version are literary in nature. You'd never, for example, see anyone in the Carey version being required to improvise a speech on turtles while imitating the writing style of W. Somerset Maugham.
  • In the first episode of Will & Grace, Grace's assistant Karen is a bored trophy wife who speaks in a fairly nondescript voice. But almost immediately after that, Megan Mullally developed the blaring, high-pitched voice famously associated with the character. Also before long, Karen (who had been, at worst, indolent) became a caricature of the super-rich, a constant substance-abuser who barely recognized the humanity of the poor and had no concept of what life was like for people who don't have servants. In addition, Karen and Jack would go on to become, essentially, the show's Beta Couple, but they share no scenes in the pilot. Despite being established as fixtures in the lives of the respective leads (whose friendship longs predates the first episode), they have a scene in the second episode where they meet for the first time.
  • The first episode of The Wire has two such moments: the "camera" sequence in the elevator (where Jimmy McNulty is seen, from the perspective of a security camera, waiting in an elevator) and the flashback sequence at the end of the pilot (which reiterates why the informant was killed). David Simon is on record as saying HBO mandated the "flashback" sequence because they felt viewers wouldn't understand what was going on, and it's never been used again. Another minor example is the use of a backing track to underscore certain scenes (such as Avon Barksdale's walk into The Pit), which ran counter to the general tone of the show (no music used at all, except when it was played via a car speaker or music player and in the end-of-season montages), and were never used again after the first season.
  • The FBI headquarters set in the pilot of Without a Trace is completely different from what we see in subsequent episodes.
  • Wizards of Waverly Place
    • The show has a very different feel in season one. It is very episodic and feels more like a typical light hearted Kid Com than the darker arc based show it would become. Alex is more nice and more of a typical teenaged girl, and while lazy and not interested in learning, is a pretty far cry from the anarchist she would become. Justin only uses magic when necessary whereas later on he's full out Mad Scientist. Professor Crumb's school isn't around and it seems as if Jerry (and other Wizard parents) are solely responsible for assesing their kids' progress and policing their kid's actions. The Sub Station is more populated and seems as if it is actually somewhat successful (a running gag in later seasons is how it's always empty). Spells are longer and rhyme whereas they would eventually require only one or two words. Also Zeke is stated to be older than Justin whereas they seem to be the same age later on and it's implied Justin is more than only a year older than Alex.
    • Even when the show was transitioning to the one more familiar with later viewers, things were still off. WizTech went from being a soft-mix parody of Hogwarts and a regular tech school (references were made to competing institutions) to almost being synonymous with the wizard realm itself and Professor Crumb went from school headmaster to being the supreme ruler of the wizard realm.
    • The show even had a literal different look between Seasons 2 and 3. That's when the transition was made from standard def to hi-def, and at the same time started farming out post-production to a different company. In addition to the different aspect ratio, the "feel" of the footage is vastly different and the old footage now looks somewhat washed-out on Disney Channel's hi-def feed. The aspect ratio/post-production switch also roughly corresponded to the use of better special effects (or at least, the switch made them look more polished) and when the show really started to get into multi-episode plot arcs (the first notable one, "Wizards vs. Vampires", occurring just before the Season 2 finale).

  • The X-Files:
    • Mulder's basement office is noticeably different in early episodes (including the pilot) than in later seasons. For one, it's much better lit and usual and seems to have a much different floorplan. It also fluctuates between having windows and not having windows. Scully also fluctuates between having her own desk (like in "E.B.E") and making it a plot point that although she and Mulder are partners for years, she doesn't have her own desk (in season 4's "Never Again").
    • Mulder had a penchant for wacky ties that disappeared sometime in the early seasons. He also had glasses off and on in season 1. Scully also suffers from some terrible fashion sense in the first couple of seasons, where her wardrobe consisted of brightly colored, boxy, badly fitting pantsuits—a change from Scully's signature style of later seasons of well-cut black skirts and collared shirts. Some of this were just unfortunate fads (some of the outfits are very 90s), and other aspects of her wardrobe were a case of Hide Your Pregnancy, in that Gillian Anderson became pregnant relatively early into the series, and they tried to conceal it behind loose-fitting clothing until she was finally written out of several episodes prior to giving birth.
    • Scully's character in the pilot. At one point, she finds marks on her back similar to ones found on the victims in the case. In a very un-Scully like manner, she runs to Mulder's room, drops her robe, demands to know what they are, and then throws herself into his arms in relief when he says they're just bug bites. Even later in season one, Scully becomes infamous for her rigid control on her emotions, her staunch independence, and her unfailing logic. By "Irresistible" in season two, Mulder is trying to convince her that she doesn't have to be strong all the time and that it's okay to show weakness in front of him.
    • Scully also apparently has nieces and nephews that come and go as the plot demands. There are some shown in "Beyond the Sea" and Scully mentions babysitting her nephew in "Home" but they are never explained nor mentioned again. By season 5 (when her brother Bill and sister-in-law Tara have a baby), it's implied that Matthew is the first grandchild; there's a deleted scene from season 4's "Memento Mori" in which Bill mentions he's the "last chance" for the Scully name to be passed on, implying that none of the Scully siblings had children.
    • On a story level, Chris Carter and Co. hadn't yet settled on the blend of monster of the week and mythology episodes which dominated later seasons. While the mytharc was only loosely established, conspiracy-centered episodes made up a much higher proportion of the first season than later ones, with even nominal standalone shows like "Ghost in the Machine" and "Young at Heart" adding conspiracy elements.

  • Z Nation: In the first episode Addy seems to be filming the results of her zombie kills, a trait that disappears without explanation. Also, Murphy seems to be less of a Deadpan Snarker than in later episodes, but that might relate to the death of Hammond, who intimidated him into remaining passive.


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