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  • 77 Sunset Strip got one of these for its sixth and final season, with the entire cast save for Efram Zimbalist Jr. replaced, Zimbalist's character given an entirely different history and personality, and the show's overall tone getting much darker and more Film Noir-ish. Viewers largely hated the changes and stayed away in droves, leading to the show's abrupt cancellation midway through the season.
  • This has been done several times in Alias. In one episode during a later season, an overarching storyline is resolved, Sydney finally admits her love for Vaughn, and the show's premise fundamentally changes as a result.
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. started as a relatively-lighthearted Monster of the Week series, with each episode involving a new paranormal mystery. Then everything changed when SHIELD collapsed following the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and the season ended with a multi-episode story arc where Team Coulson dealt with the fallout, including a Mole within the team. This storyline was considered by many to be the show's Growing the Beard moment, and as a result, the series was retooled in the second season to be more serious and arc-driven.
  • Angel was retooled after the first season, which was heavily Film Noir supernatural detective style and became much more modern fantasy oriented. The fifth season showed a dramatic change with the main characters becoming the operators of their enemies' law firm at Wolfram and Hart, including near limitless resources.
  • Ant Farm took the kids out of the local school (and by extension the A.N.T. program) and moved them into a boarding school owned by a high-tech corporation... for some reason. China's family got cut from the cast as a result.
  • Are You Afraid of the Dark? attempted this with a "relaunched" series that aired three years after the conclusion of the original series, and had almost none of the production crew or cast (save for Daniel DeSanto as Tucker, who formed the "New Midnight Society"). The revamped show did well enough to last a further two seasons.
  • The A-Team did this in its final season, via solving the central conflict of the show. The team is captured by the government, and decides to work for them instead of avoiding them.
  • The Avengers was originally about Dr. David Keel (played by Ian Hendry) teaming with a mysterious secret agent named John Steed and their investigation into crimes. In the second season Hendry left and Steed became the lead. Steed then gained a new partner, the leather-clad, judo-knowing Cathy Gale, the first Action Girl of many that Steed would be partnered with through the decade. After her would be the most famous to American audiences, Emma Peel and finally Tara King.
  • Barney & Friends' format has constantly changed. Season 4 introduced a fully redesigned school set. Season 7 moved the setting from a school to a park. Season 9 mixed park segments with parts on a white background featuring just the dinos. Season 10 introduced Riff and took on a Two Shorts format. Season 12 reverted to the full-length format and focused on story genres. Season 13 was about countries and cultures.
  • After its cancellation and renewal, Battlestar Galactica was retooled into Galactica 1980, which proved so unpopular that many fans of the original show refuse to acknowledge its existence (with the possible exception of the "Return of Starbuck" episode).
  • One of the most infamous examples was Baywatch Nights. This Baywatch spinoff involved the show's resident police officer, Sgt. Garner Ellerbee (Gregory Alan Williams) decide to open a detective agency, being joined by Mitch Buchannon (David Hasselhoff) and Ryan McBride (Angie Harmon) and have them deal with street crime. Then when the show proved to be a flop, the producers were inspired by the success of The X-Files and decided to replace Ellerbee (who, again, founded the agency) with a paranormal investigator and turn the show into "David Hasselhoff fights aliens, mutants and ghosts".
  • The British cop show Bergerac had a bizarre final series in which the lead character relocated to France and became a private eye, to little consequence.
  • Gritty police drama Between the Lines ended series 2 with a very over-the-top Cliffhanger, so much so that when it returned for series 3, the only way out was to reshape the show with the lead characters no longer cops and all working as private detectives.
  • The Bill has undergone several in its 26+ year lifespan. The most dramatic were in 2002 (when 7 of the regular long standing cast members were killed off in a single episode), and 2009 (when the series moved to HD, started being broadcast after Watershed, and completely replaced its theme music with a different tune for the first time ever).
  • Blackadder:
    • The original pilot for featured the characters being much closer to those in the second series. It was only after the objections of Rowan Atkinson (who felt they hadn't provided him with an actual character) that the characters were changed around.
    • The first season had Blackadder as a simpering coward and borderline Butt-Monkey, and Baldrick as Hypercompetent Sidekick - his "cunning plans" actually tended to be cunning. From the second season onward, Blackadder became the Deadpan Snarker that the show is best known for; and Baldrick became a classic Bumbling Sidekick. The result was a much funnier show.
    • The change in scale also affected the character of the show. Unlike the ambitious, near-filmic original, the second series was far more small-scale and almost entirely studio-based. While this was pretty much forced on them due to the budget being reduced, Ben Elton (who replaced Atkinson in the writing partnership) also told Curtis he thought they should have done it in front of a studio audience anyway. In addition, he said "Doing it on film in this glorious sort of vastness was probably a mistake. Rowan falling off a horse at 200 metres is not really any funnier than anyone else falling off a horse at 200 metres- get the camera in close and he’ll make you laugh."
  • Bob Newhart's third series Bob! was the story of Bob McKay, a greeting card artist who had a few decades earlier created a semi-successful comic book character called "Mad Dog". When Ace Comics offers him a chance to revive the book he quits the greeting card company and deals with the wacky people who work for the comic book company. After the first season the series was renewed, but in the first episode of the second season it is explained that Ace Comics went out of business and Bob crawled back to the greeting card company to get his job back there (and deal with the wacky people there). This version only lasted a few episodes before it was canceled.
  • Boy Meets World got retooled several times of the course of its run:
    • Season 2: Cory, Topanga, and Shawn start going to John Adams High. Mr. Feeny follows them. Eric has a much larger role, and begins to take on The Ditz traits of his "modern persona." Topanga abandons her Granola Girl roots and becomes a Hollywood Nerd. More of Shawn's home life is revealed. Mr. Turner, "the bullies," and Chubbie's are introduced. Also, the show loses Minkus, and abandons the old theme song and credits sequence.
    • Season 5: At the start of their senior year, Shawn reunites with his Long Lost Sibling Jack, who joins the main cast. Shawn, Jack and Eric (now attending college) move in together in an apartment, and Jack becomes Eric's best friend and comedy sidekick. Heretofore Kidanova Shawn gets a steady girlfriend Angela, who becomes a recurring character. Mr. Turner falls victim to Chuck Cunningham Syndrome and main high school set is changed to the senior hallway. The show gains an increased focus on running storylines, something it had already been experimenting with. Finally, the classic Theme Tune (with lyrics!) is introduced.note 
    • Season 6: Cory, Shawn, Topanga, and Angela graduate and go to Pennbrook University. Mr. Feeny follows them. Angela becomes a member of the main cast. Cory and Topanga get engaged, but don't exactly make a mad dash for the altar. Rachel joins the cast and moves in with Eric (now a full-on Cloudcuckoolander) and Jack, setting up a Love Triangle. Alan, Amy, and Morgan are reduced to Commuting on a Bus.
  • Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, which aired opposite Battlestar Galactica, was retooled to be more like the latter (and at the time when Galactica was cancelled, no less). The second season was a departure from Buck and Wilma protecting Earth from evil. In the second season, Buck, Wilma, and Twiki were stationed aboard a research vessel, but their adventures were somewhat similar to the first season, though some of the main characters were replaced by others, like Buck's new sidekick, Hawk.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer introduced several new characters and a college setting, leaving most of the background characters from high school behind, after Angel, Cordelia, and Wesley left Sunnydale in the third season finale to create a Spinoff in Angel. It was retooled again in the sixth season, emphasizing that Buffy had to take on the role of an adult now and there was no school at all.
  • When the spy craze overtook TV in 1965, the detective series Burke's Law was turned into Amos Burke, Secret Agent.
  • CBS' primetime drama Central Park West suffered this. The show was originally about a pair of siblings who immersed themselves in the world of high-class socialites, and got caught up in all the backroom deals and intrigue that followed. In the second season, the theme song was changed (from a sultry and mysterious jazzy song to the type of theme you'd hear on a cheesy soap opera), the show was marketed as "CPW", half the cast was jettisoned (including one of the two siblings), Raquel Welch was cast as an Alexis Carrington-esque business owner, and many story arcs were dropped. However, it could be said that the show immediately improved as a result of this retool (especially since the writers dropped the pretenses and started having fun with the material). Then, it was cancelled shortly thereafter.
  • Charles in Charge was retooled when it moved from network TV to syndication, discarding Charles' original employers and girlfriend and replacing them without changing the house where he worked — and managing to maintain a single continuity through the process.
  • Charmed had a change after the third season due to Shannen Doherty's departure from the show and Rose McGowan was added to the cast as fourth sister Paige, and the dynamic changed with Piper now being the eldest, Phoebe being the middle child, and Paige acting as the youngest. The opening credits were also changed with Alyssa Milano receiving first billing and Holly Marie Combs getting the "and [insert name] as [character]". There was another retool for the final season which had the character of Darryl written out; new characters Billie, Christy, Coop, Dex, and Henry introduced; and the temporary departure of Leo mid season until the finale. Also Phoebe started wearing actual clothes.
  • Throughout the three series of Chef!, only three actors remained constant, although this was explained in the first episode (Le Chateau Anglais had a high turnover rate), but the third season seemed a real departure from the previous tone, as Gareth's wife left him, a man from Oop North bought the restaurant off of him, an American was added to the primary cast (although one had previously appeared in the first season), the soundtrack got a bit worse, and the entire kitchen staff started to develop personalities. Nevertheless, managed to be an example of a successful retool.
  • Coach had Hayden Fox leave Minnesota State University to coach a pro team in Orlando in Season 8.
  • The Col'n Carpenter Show was a spinoff of The Comedy Company revolving around Kym Gyngell's signature character, a simple-minded, usually unemployed man approaching middle age. It ran for two seasons and was retooled twice during that time. Carpenter was the only regular character throughout the whole series, so it changed the show's dynamic when he moved in with his mother, then again when he moved into a flat with two roommates.
  • Community:
    • Season four had some minor retooling by virtue of original show runner Dan Harmon's departure, but for the most part the format remained the same and at worst the season is simply considered a Dork Age by many fans, a fact which is parodied in the show under the pseudonym 'the gas leak year.' With Harmon's return for the fifth season, a lot of the early episodes in season five involved reversing the changes from the previous season, including giving the study group a reason to get back together, dropping the 'Changnesia' plot for Chang, and giving Pierce's departure proper closure by killing him Off For real.
    • Lampshaded in the first episode of its fifth season; most of the study group have left Greendale, but have generally been unsuccessful in their new careers or found them unfulfilling, forcing them back to the college for more study. Abed lampshades the fact that bringing the group back together for more shenanigans around Greendale is akin to a retool, explicitly referencing the ninth season of Scrubs. Not surprisingly - considering the show's penchant for meta and self-awareness - this season sees some of the biggest changes in the format of the show; two of the seven main cast members leave (one of whom is replaced by a surprisingly not Suspiciously Similar Substitute Expy), a season one recurring character who had a case of Chuck Cunningham Syndrome returns, and Chang is finally (if reluctantly) accepted as a regular member of the study group.
  • Cursed was a sitcom starring Steven Weber as a man cursed by his ex-girlfriend and his unending stream of bad luck. This somewhat one-note premise having a limited appeal, it was renamed The Weber Show and retooled as a kind of gender-reversed Will & Grace focused on Weber's friendship with a Lipstick Lesbian. The show still only lasted one season.
  • The first season of Dark Angel, aired before the World Trade Center attacks, was a story about Super Soldier Max hiding from a Mega-Corp and engaging in Robin Hood-esque criminal acts on behalf of Logan, a guy who called out corrupt authority figures on television. Max had to balance this secret life with her normal young adult life, hanging out with her fellow hip young friends in a borderline Dystopia. The second season, aired less than a year after 9/11, when anything that portrayed America negatively labelled you as an un-American terrorist, dialed back a lot of the Cyber Punk aspects. Max didn't have to deal with corrupt cops and powerful criminal gangs in their daily lives nearly as much, and the Mega-Corp was gone and replaced with a vague Ancient Conspiracy. Max didn't steal from evil authority figures on Logan's behalf anymore, instead getting into trouble dealing with other super soldiers. And her friends were almost completely phased out, getting rid of the cool urban feel to the show.
  • The Doris Day Show changed formats almost every of the five seasons it was on air. Originally it was about the eponymous star as a widowed mother of two sons who decided to move back to the family ranch. In season 2, she took a job at a San Francisco magazine and commuted to work. A year later the family moved to an apartment in the city while Day's character went from a secretary to a reporter. For the last two seasons the show was completely overhauled; the two sons and most of the supporting cast (which had changed every year up to that point) were dropped without explanation, Doris became a swinging single career woman a la Mary Tyler Moore and she was referred to as always having been a reporter. The only thing that remained constant about the show during its five-year run was its lead actress.
  • The 80s teen sitcom Double Trouble, starring twins Jean and Liz Sagal (sisters of Katy), revolved around their life in Des Moines, Iowa, being raised by a single dad (Donnelly Rhodes) who ran a dance studio. The second season did a major retool and sent them to New York City, where one sister tried to make it as a dancer and the other attended fashion school with a tactless, snarky professor. They lived in a townhouse with their eccentric aunt and two kooky single guys. (There was no third season.)
  • Earth: Final Conflict did more or less the same thing. Twice, at least — more (at least once an episode in the second season), if you consider violent changes in tone to be tantamount. The biggest change was killing off the lead character to make way for a new hero.
  • Eerie, Indiana only had one season, but got a retool two-thirds of the way into it that included the addition of John Astin and Jason Marsden.
  • The Electric Company (1971) returned in the late 00s as an updated version — filled with rapping kids with superpowers fighting bad guys, Mind Control plots, and other elements that reek of Executive Meddling. Even Joan Ganz Cooney, the creator of Sesame Street, didn't think it was all that good.
  • The Ellen DeGeneres sitcom Ellen underwent numerous changes during its five season run:
    • Originally titled These Friends of Mine, the series was initially presented as a gender-reversed Seinfeld, with three women (Ellen, Holly, Anita) and a man (Adam) making up the ensemble, though DeGeneres was the center of the show from the get-go.
    • Midway through the first season, production went on hiatus while changes were made. Anita was dropped without explanation, and the bookstore Ellen worked at, which up to that point had only been referenced, was introduced as a new location for stories to take place in. A new character, Joe, was written in as the bookstore's barista.
    • More changes came for the second season, starting with the title becoming 'Ellen'' and her character now owning the bookstore. Holly was dropped from the cast like Anita had been, with her place being taken by another new character, Paige. Adam remained, but was given a steady job and a more clean-cut appearance in order to make the character more likeable. Joe was also promoted to series regular, while Audrey, a one-shot character from season one, was given a personality makeover and bumped up to recurring status.
    • For the third season, the bookstore set was redesigned following an in-universe earthquake. Ellen's cousin Spence joined as a series regular, while original male lead Adam was phased out after five episodes. Audrey was promoted to series regular as well. This ensemble would remain for the rest of the run, which lead up to the famous "coming out" story arc involving Ellen's character in season four.
    • For the fifth and final season, Ellen had sold the bookstore to finance the purchase of a house, resulting in the bookstore and original apartment sets being done away with. More importantly, the character's being out of the closet resulted in many gay-themed episodes, giving the series an entirely different focus from previous seasons.
  • Elton vs. Simon began as a German adaptation of Kenny vs. Spenny. A few seasons in, it was retitled "Elton vs. Simon: Die Show", and the major competitions were abandoned completely in favor of minigames, complete with a studio audience and a host.
  • ITV soap Emmerdale was renamed from Emmerdale Farm in 1989, and became Darker and Edgier (having previously been a pleasingly twee saga about the day-to-day lives of farmers). In 1993, they killed half the cast in a plane crash, leaving only a handful of original cast members.
  • ER had a re-tool at the beginning of season 5 with the introduction of Lucy Knight, starting a new student-mentor arc with Carter moving up to the mentor role. Although Carter had been a mentor to students before, Knight's introductory episode was much more blatantly a soft relaunch for the series, with a lot of effort put in to explain things for new viewers. For instance, every character gets an introduction using their full name, there are multiple As You Know moments to bring viewers up to speed, and several scenes of Lucy and other students walking around the ER, to show off the set.
  • The Event was put on a hiatus in the middle of its first season and retooled due to low ratings. The show stopped using flashbacks to tell the story in an anachronistic style, the villains' motivations were streamlined, and the heroes made more forceful and less indecisive. The show improved in ratings but was not renewed for a third season.
  • The Facts of Life:
    • Half the cast was dropped after the first season (although some of the girls popped up on occasion during the 1980-1981 season), added Jo to contrast with Blair, and most importantly got better writers. (Even the theme song improved!)
    • In addition, there were three major settings throughout the run. At its heart, the main setting always remained at (or near) the campus of Eastland School, but starting in 1983, much of the action shifted to a gourmet bakery called Edna's Edibles. By 1985, with the core group of girls (Blair, Jo, Natalie and Tootie) in their late teens or early 20s, the girls now began managing a novelty store called Over Our Heads; the explanation for that shift was that a kitchen fire (Off Screen) destroyed Edna's Edibles.
    • Another re-tool was planned for what could've been the 1988-1989 season, with series star Lisa Welchel being one of the few cast members opting to stay for the to-be-retitled series. The action was to shift back to Eastland, now a co-educational school (done so on Blair's action to save the financially starved school from closing; as she was extremely wealthy, only she had the financial resources to pull off such a move). The set-up was aired in a two-part Facts episode, "The Beginning of the End/Beginning of the Beginning" (highly reminiscent of the original Facts pilot, "The Girls School," which aired as a Diff'rent Strokes episode back in 1979), but the series never made it to air. Had the series been green-lighted, Facts (and its new name) would easily have been NBC's longest-running sitcom at that time.
  • The Channel Five soap Family Affairs had several retools. The first one got rid of the eponymous family entirely, and later ones were even more drastic. None of them seemed to help the ratings, though.
  • Fear the Walking Dead's sliding ratings led to major changes in later seasons in an attempt to freshen things up:
    • Season three begins with the entire cast of main characters getting caught and imprisoned at a military base. In the rush to escape after a herd of walkers smashes through the base's defenses, one of the main characters dies (by revealing that he's been bit in the opening of the second episode, then throwing himself out of a helicopter), replaced by a pair of new military-oriented characters.
    • The fourth season goes even further, so much so that it might as well be an In Name Only series. In a Flashback, Morgan Jones tells Rick he's not cut out for life in Alexandria before trekking through the U.S., eventually making his way to Texas. There, he meets up with a pair of other survivors and eventually comes across the remaining members of the group from the previous seasons (Alicia, Strand and Luciana). In flashbacks, it's revealed that the main group (having reunited offscreen after the second-season finale) went to fortify a stadium, but flashbacks reveal that several members of the group die to violence or via Heroic Sacrifice. The first-half season also focuses on multiple plots occurring in the past and present, as well as a much more Western-oriented style.
  • The 2007 Flash Gordon remake was retooled during a mid-season hiatus to combat highly negative fan reactions. The Monster of the Week format was abandoned in favor of an arc-based storyline, Flash's Black Best Friend was dropped from the cast and much more screen time was spent on Mongo in general. It didn't save the show from being canceled, although many fans thought it got better after the retool.
  • The sitcom Flying Blind went through a major rework halfway through the first and only series, with the male lead leaving his job as an office drone and becoming a Troma-esque underground filmmaker instead.
  • After the death of Dolph Sweet, Gimme a Break! was given a massive overhaul. The two older daughters were dropped, the rest of the cast moved from the California suburbs to New York City, and Joey was given a younger brother (played by Joey Lawrence's younger brother, Matthew). And even that was tweaked in the final season, with Samantha, Grandpa Kiniski and the new NYC neighbors leaving, and Nell's mother, Addele, moving in.
  • H2O: Just Add Water drops the leader of the main trio in Season 3. Lewis, the main male character, leaves to go study in America.
  • For its fourth and final season Hannah Montana removed Mitchell Musso from the main cast, moved the Stewart family into a bigger house, had Lilly come to live with them, and replaced the series' most-used outdoor set (a generic beach) with a mock-up of Santa Monica Pier. Along with these sweeping changes, the show was renamed Hannah Montana Forever.
  • Hearts Afire changed its setting and most of its supporting cast for its second season.
  • Human Target got retooled for its second season, with several changes: the cliffhanger of the first season was resolved immediately and then forgotten, the sets got a new, shinier look, and two new female characters were introduced, one of whom was Ms. Fanservice who contributed little, and the other did nothing but question Chance's methods but grudgingly admit they worked every single episode and provide a forced romance. Also, the music went from Bear McCreary's sweeping orchestrals to generic action music.
  • I Love Lucy had a temporary retool in the fourth season when Ricky gets a starring role in a movie and he and Lucy and the Mertzes go to Hollywood and stay at a hotel. They move back to New York City early the next season. In the sixth season the Ricardos move to Connecticut and are followed by the Mertzes. In the seventh season the show became the Lucy Desi Comedy Hour, an hourlong show with a special guest star each week.
  • In The House starred LL Cool J as retired football player Marion Hill. Facing financial straits, he rents out the extra three bedrooms of his Los Angeles mansion to newly-divorced mother Jackie and her two children: teenage Tiffany and preteen Austin. The show initially dealt with Marion adjusting to life after football, Jackie re-entering the workforce and dating scene, and the kids' hijinks. After two seasons and a Channel Hop, the series was retooled to focus on the 18-34 demographic: Jackie and Austin move away while Tiffany stays in LA with Marion to attend college, and Marion buys a sports clinic where he's joined by Max and Tonia to help run it. Eventually even Tiffany is written out to focus more on the clinic and the adult trio's love lives.
  • It's About Time was a series made by the creator of the then current Gilligan's Island, and featured that show's slapstick approach. The storyline concerned two Astronauts whose space capsule goes backwards in time and lands in a time of cavemen. Storylines dealt with the astronauts bringing civilization to the local cavepeople, while at the same time trying to fix their spaceship. At the midpoint of the show's first (and only) season the astronauts manage to fix their ship and leave the stone age, only to find that two of the cave people who helped them stowed away on the ship, flipping the storylines to episodes involving the astronauts hiding the cave people from the government while helping them adapt to 20th Century life. The catchy series theme which explained the premise was cleverly flipped and adapted to this for the second half of the season.
  • JAG: The first and, to a lesser extent, the second seasons on NBC focused primarily on action packed pre-trial field investigations, while the third and later CBS seasons joined that formula together with an equal amount of courtroom and office drama in the stylistic vein of L.A. Law.
  • The Jeff Foxworthy Show explored this in a series of commercials between seasons (and a Channel Hop from ABC to NBC). Jeff and his TV son are discussing where they have been recently and why everything is so strange. Jeff calmly explains that their new network is retooling their show so it will be even better and his son shouldn't worry. When the boy asks where his Mom is, Jeff tells him that she is being recast.
  • 90s NBC sitcom Jesse (starring Christina Applegate) was, quite typical for its era, about a single woman in her twenties with a major Will They or Won't They? plot, but distinguished itself somewhat by originally featuring the main character's family (wacky brothers and gruff father) in major roles, as all of them worked at the dad's bar together. However, that family vanished in the second season as Jesse got a new job at a hospital with young and attractive colleagues, while her girlfriends got more screentime than in the first season. The producers were obviously trying to make the show more similar to a certain other show of theirs.
  • The Japanese Kamen Rider franchise has gone through several retools:
    • The very first season had its lead actor, Hiroshi Fujioka, involved in an accident, which made it impossible for him to continue involved in the show's production for an extended period. Initially, that led to a Fake Shemp Hongo, who mostly appeared as Kamen Rider, played by a replacement suit actor and voice actor, and also through Stock Footage spliced with new scenes. In spite of that, the focus shifted to the supporting cast, and FBI agent Kazuya Taki was introduced as a non-super powered heroic lead. After a few episodes, a new protagonist and Kamen Rider, Hayato Ichimonji, was added, Hongo Takeshi left to fight against Shocker in other countries, and the show went through several changes, like lessening the horror elements of the first few episodes and the creation of the instant transformation sequence with a "henshin" call that would go on to become one of the franchise's trademarks. Ruriko, Hongo's love interest, was phased out of the series, the hangout spot of the supporting cast was changed and three new girls were introduced alongside Hayato. The soldiers working for the organization Shocker also started sporting a more uniform look with wrestling masks, rather than the varied situation appropriated look from the first 13 episodes. The changes were a success and the series exploded in popularity. Eventually, Hiroshi Fujioka recovered and returned to the series as Hongo, recovering the main character spot after a few months of guest appearances, but, even when he returned, the style of the series didn't shift to its initial one.
    • The second series titled Kamen Rider, although more commonly known as Kamen Rider: Skyrider, also went through a retool. Initially intended to be a reboot of the franchise with a new Rider with theme and origin very similar to the original, also facing an organization very similar to the one of the original series, the show didn't meet expectations regarding its ratings, with the lead character, Hiroshi Tsukuba, being considered uncharismatic and the villains bland. Several measures were taken to solve those issues, like getting rid of the original villain, while introducing a completely new enemy commander not based on anyone from the original series, phasing out a comic relief character unconnected to the main plot, and adding humorous moments with the interaction between the villains themselves at times, and, finally, bringing back the original 7 Kamen Riders, dropping the reboot aspect from the series. Their return was a success, boosting the show's ratings, leading to many appearances throughout the series. Although most Kamen Rider series up to Black RX had appearances from older Kamen Riders, Skyrider's had the biggest amount of them, and also the most significant ones. Initially, their appearance was so rushed, that many were just Fake Shemps, appearing transformed all the time, voiced by replacement voice actors. After a few months though, all of their actors besides Kamen Rider 1's and Amazon's actually returned to the series.
    • Kamen Rider Hibiki experienced a massive retool about 30 episodes into the 48 episode series. The show, not initially intended to be a Kamen Rider season to begin with, was very different in terms of what it was doing, and took a while to grow on people. Due to the original's staff refusal to take several cost saving measures, the retool was both an attempt by executives to bring the show more in line with what a "normal" Kamen Rider was supposed to be and also reduce the show's costs. The retool, although successfully increasing the show's ratings and costs, was criticized by fans, critics, and even the cast itself, who pretty much hated the changes, and the executives that had ordered it all got lambasted for their gross mishandling of one of Toei's premier franchises.
  • Kirby Buckets, during its first two seasons, was a sitcom about a teenage boy who wanted to be a professional cartoonist, not unlike Out of Jimmy's Head. The format then shifted in season 3 to become a dimension-warping action show. The cartoon cutaways were dropped, and the episodic format was replaced by a serial-style series.
  • The Knight Rider (2008) remake received a massive retool, dropping the government organization aspect and losing 3 cast members (in the space of two episodes) in a horribly anti-climactic KARR plot 12 episodes into the first season. This arguably improved the show quite a bit and focused on more personal stories, more closely resembling the original show in structure. Then it wasn't renewed.
  • Lab Rats started off being a show about a teenage boy introducing his stepdad's bionic children into the real world, while occasionally having to fight of dangerous threats. The last three episodes of Season 3 and all of Season 4 moved the setting to an X-Men-style bionic academy in the middle of the ocean and focused more on the Lab Rats mentoring the abandoned bionic soldiers of the previous season's Big Bad and the normal teenager starting to become a fighter of his own.
  • When Laverne & Shirley moved from Milwaukee to Los Angeles. They took Laverne's dad, Lenny, Squiggy, and Carmine with them.
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit went through a notable retool starting with Season 13 (2011-2012), mostly signified by the departure of primary character Elliot Stabler. The squadroom was renovated, character looks altered, and the writing took a significant upturn, abandoning the ludicrous and quirky stories of Seasons 10, 11, 12, making the show a serious drama again. SVU Seasons 1-12 and 13-present are essentially different shows.
  • Similarly to the Hannah Montana example above, the fourth and final season of Liv and Maddie moves the Rooneys to their Aunt Dena's house in Malibu, California following the destruction of their Wisconsin home at the end of season three, adds Liv and Maddie's cousin Ruby to the cast, and portrays the twins as attending a prestigious college. Also, the season is renamed Liv & Maddie: Cali Style.
  • The Loop was originally conceived as more of a Roommate Com being about a young executive balancing his hard-partying lifestyle, crush on his roommate, and his housemates' hijinx with his serious job. Beginning with the second season, two of his housemates disappeared without a word, and the series became a more traditional Work Com, focusing on the wacky hijinx at his job.
  • Struggling soap Loving moved from its suburban setting to New York City and became The City. The retooled version wasn't any more successful than the original, and the show was soon cancelled.
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  • The original M.A.N.T.I.S. took place in Ocean City and dealt with race issues, including the backstory for the title character, Miles Hawkins, involving getting shot and paralyzed in the LA Riots (which inspired the creation of the exosuit he uses to fight crime). In the series proper, the setting is Port Columbia with the only hold over of the race issues being Miles's backstory. Midway through, the series was retooled again and fully embraced being a superhero show, including other universes, supervillains, and time travel.
  • The first three seasons of M*A*S*H were primarily a wacky Armed Farces comedy, focusing on "antics at the front". With the departure of main characters Trapper John McIntyre and Henry Blake (the latter via a shocking offscreen death in the Season 3 finale), and the arrival of much more serious replacements B.J. Hunnicutt and Sherman Potter, the show transformed into a Dramedy series, with most episodes dealing with serious issues such as racism, homophobia, sexism, and of course, the horrors of war. The show's Laugh Track was also toned down, and even dropped altogether for some episodes.
  • After the first season of Major Dad, the setting was moved to a different military base, with some changes in the cast.
  • Mama's Family, like Charles in Charge, got retooled when it moved to syndication and replaced two thirds of the family - Vicki Lawrence as Mama, Ken Berry as her son Vinton and Dorothy Lyman as Vinton's wife Naomi stayed; Vinton's son and daughter, Thelma's sister Fran and older children Ellen and Eunice, and Eunice's husband, were all written out and replaced by Eunice's son Bubba and the family's neighbor Iola Boylen.
  • In the first season of Mannix (1967-68), the title character worked for a detective agency called INTERTECT that utilized state-of-the-art (for its time) computer equipment to solve crimes. However, Mannix generally disregarded the computers and the agency's rules to solve crimes his own way. Lucille Ball (Mannix was the last show produced by Desilu Studios) decided that the computers were over most viewers' heads and asked to have them worked out of the show. This turned Mannix into a more conventional detective series. The font used in the credits were based on IBM's corporate font of the time. That font and the theme music were about the only things that transitioned over into the new version of the series. This is best shown in the title cards; in season one, the Mannix title card is literally a computer card. From season two and beyond (1968-75), with the better known title card with the shifting letters.
  • Martial Law had a rather bizarre case of this. The first-season finale saw Sammo and Big Bad Lee Hei falling out of a helicopter over the ocean. Sometime during the summer, though, it was decided to retool the show, and instead of season 2 picking up off where the first had ended, it opened with a regular episode, with only scant references to the previous cliffhanger. note  Fans were not pleased.
  • Mary Tyler Moore's follow-up to her iconic sitcom came in the form of a variety show entitled Mary. Featuring early appearances by Michael Keaton, Swoosie Kurtz, and David Letterman, Mary premiered in the Fall of 1978 and was pulled from the air after three episodes. In midseason, Mary became The Mary Tyler Moore Hour and morphed into a sitcom/variety show hybrid about the making of a fictional variety show, and Keaton was the only cast member who remained. The show still wasn't successful and was subsequently not renewed for a second season.
  • McHale's Navy moved to the Italian theater of WW2 in its final season.
  • Melrose Place started out as a rather low-key drama focusing on a group of twentysomethings living in an apartment complex in California. After the show was critically trashed, starting from the second season the producers changed it into a more melodramatic soap opera. They jettisoned two of the residents (Vanessa A. Williams and Amy Locane), played up newly-hired cast member Marcia Cross's duplicitous character Kimberly, Michael Mancini (played by Thomas Calabro) turned into a villain, and Heather Locklear and Laura Leighton became series regulars.
  • The Mentalist: In the middle of season six, Jane finally succeeds in killing Red John, and the CBI is disbanded after it turns out its director Gale Bertram is a member of Red John's organization. After a two-year Time Skip, Rigsby and van Pelt are married and have left the series to run a cybersecurity business, and Jane, Lisbon, and Cho go to work for the FBI out of a Texas office.
  • The Mindy Project took a while to find its footing. Several characters that were present in the first few episodes were written out or suffered Chuck Cunningham Syndrome. The show also changed to become more of a traditional Work Com. This led to Revolving Door Casting, with only 4 characters surviving the first 3 seasons.
  • Millennium was retooled twice, with the result that the eponymous Millennium Group is completely different in each of the three seasons; an unassuming law enforcement consultant group in the first season, an enigmatic but good-intentioned Ancient Conspiracy in the second season, and an unambiguously evil Ancient Conspiracy in the third.
  • The Muppets had a minor retool after the first ten episodes of its only season. The reason was due to complaints from many viewers who said that the characters and the tone of the show was too cynical and too much about sex. It didn't help in the ratings.
  • After "Mystery Science Theater 3000'' moved to the Sci-Fi Channel with their eighth season (and actor Trace Beaulieu, who played Dr. Forrester and Crow) left, they got new villains, a new setting, and (due to Executive Meddling) an actual ongoing plot. At the end of the season, some of these changes were backed off on, with a move to a setting similar to the first seven seasons and a lack of stories that carried on between episodes (though the 10th season had a subplot that was dropped halfway through).
    • Sci-Fi also demanded that the majority of the movies featured on the show be strictly science fiction or horror to fit in with the network's other programming.
  • The Naked Truth, a '90s sitcom starring Tea Leoni as a newspaper photographer, was drastically retooled and almost entirely recast each season. In season 1 Nora (Leoni) works at a sleazy celebrity tabloid and had Tim Curry and Amy Ryan for co-stars. Season 2 de-tabloided the paper she worked for and de-zanified the format; only Nora and Camilla (Holland Taylor) remained of the original cast. Mary Tyler Moore and George Segal were added as Leoni's parents. Season 3 saw Nora and Camilla jump ship to another paper with a staff that included Chris Elliot.
  • Naturally, Sadie was re tooled after the first season with changes including Arden replacing Chelsea as the Alpha Bitch, bringing in a new romantic interest for Sadie, and even changing Sadie's character.
  • Newhart underwent a major change when Kirk and Leslie were written out and Michael and Stephanie were written in. This corresponded with the show becoming more surreal.
  • Nikita flips it status quo around in season 3 as a result of the events of the second-season finale. In light of Percy's death, Division is taken over by the government and Team Nikita, who start using its resources to hunt down the remaining Division agents who don't join in the Heel–Face Turn.
  • CBS's 1974 game show Now You See It retooled its format in a sense halfway into its run, jettisoning the current champion watching from the wings while two teams played the front game. It went right into two challengers in the letter-by-letter round with the survivor playing the champ in the main game.
  • After its first season, The Odd Couple switched to a three-camera format, with a new set and a live audience. Most characters left over from the movies (the Pigeon sisters, Oscar's poker buddies) were jettisoned, with the exception of Murray.
  • The short-lived 1994 ABC sitcom On Our Own had the idea of a family of seven kids who are fighting not to be split up by social services when their parents die. This involved the gag of oldest brother Josh dressing up in drag and pretending to be their "aunt" Mama J. Their social worker sees through it but willing to help while her boss is not only totally fooled but attracted to the "woman." When it became clear the ratings were poor and viewers didn't take to the cross-changing gimmick, the series was removed for retooling. When it returned, it was said Josh had full custody and the social workers were written out with a new character of a feisty female contractor coming on board. It wasn't enough to stop cancellation.
  • Once Upon a Time:
    • In the jump from the first season to the second, the focus of the plots changed greatly. It went from a 50/50 split between flashbacks and characters working to break the dark curse to a revised format that split the flashbacks with plots that boiled down to "Let's fight various story book characters while redeeming the evil queen and Rumplestiltskin."
    • Another retool took place at the end of season six, setting up a new storyline that jettisoned most of the original cast; as Emma has fulfilled her destiny by defeating the darkness and is now settled into a peaceful life in Storybrooke, the focus switches to her son Henry. Having grown up and gone to a new realm in the hopes of finding his own story, he (along with his other mother Regina, his grandfather Rumple and an alternate version of Captain Hook) is ultimately among those caught in a new Dark Curse that transports them to a new neighborhood in Seattle, with Henry's own child (who was born and grew up in the new Enchanted Forest with Henry and his wife before the curse hit) taking his former role as the one to realize the truth about the curse and thus setting out to try and have him break it.
  • The Only Fools and Horses 1988 Christmas special, "Dates". Prior to that episode, the series had focused almost exclusively on Del's get rich quick schemes (it's the original premise; "only fools and horses work!" is a line in the theme song), but in subsequent episodes the series would start to involve Del and Rodney's personal lives much more, aided by the episodes being doubled in length.
  • Our Miss Brooks: In the fourth season of the TV series, Madison High was razed to make room for a freeway, Miss Brooks and Mr. Conklin went to work for a private school, and Walter and Harriet disappeared from the show along with Mr. Boynton (although the latter would eventually return).
  • The ABC run of Password went through this during its final seven months. They turned it into Password All-Stars, an all-star edition with rule changes that made Monopoly look like tic-tac-toe, and they kept this format when they went back to using regular contestants and reverted the title back to Password.
  • Perfect Strangers. After the first six seasons having focused on Larry and Balki living together as roommates in a small urban apartment, the series took a different turn when Larry married his longtime girlfriend Jennifer and bought a large Victorian-style house together. Balki and his girlfriend, Mary Anne, would move in as roommates at the new house and eventually marry as well, and both couples would have children. Characters that had been prominent in earlier seasons (such as Sam Gorpley) were phased out, and the newsroom setting took a significant backseat to the characters' domestic life.
    • There was a retool earlier than that with the first season, Larry was an aspiring photographer and both he and Balki worked at a discount store run by the grumpy Mr. Twinkacetti. They also had a platonic female friend named Susan. In season 3 Twinkacetti and Susan were gone and Larry and Balki were now working at the Chicago Chronicle where Larry was now a junior reporter and Balki works in the mailroom.
  • Although Power Rangers gets a retool every year with new costumes and mecha (and as of the seventh season onward a new cast and storyline), some are more notable than others:
    • Midway through Power Rangers Turbo 4/5 of the main cast were jettisoned in favor of a new cast. This was done to save the show from failing ratings, and the Retool was just enough of a ratings boost to warrant another season...
    • ... Which was Power Rangers in Space. The "kids in high school battle the Monster of the Week and go home" concept was left behind, and arc-based series with the Rangers, well, IN SPACE! took prominence. Additionally, the villains of all past series formed a Legion of Doom. By the time it was over, fans underwhelmed by Turbo and then hit with the loss of their favorite characters (in addition to the belief that this would be the final series) had forgiven the Seasonal Rot and wanted more. They're still getting it.
    • Power Rangers RPM was also supposed to be the last season. It was also a vast departure from the way Power Rangers as usual is done. A post-apocalyptic world's last survivors are in a domed city defended by three, then five, then seven heroes led by the genius inventor who actually created the evil AI that started the Robot War.
  • In its first two seasons, Quantico was a huge conspiracy-laden thriller that often utilized multiple flashbacks and overlapping storylines. For its third (and final) year, it was streamlined into the team working a case every week as a special FBI team without the flashbacks.
  • Red Dwarf has arguably done this four times in eight series: the addition of Kryten and the female Holly in series 3, as well as changes in production staff who made the budget stretch much further; the loss of the eponymous spaceship in series 6, leading to much of the action taking place in a single cockpit; the switch to film-like visuals and a more comedy-drama feel in series 7, plus the departure of co-writer Rob Grant; and the almost complete reboot in series 8, when the whole spaceship and crew were recreated as they had been 3 million years previously.
  • Retro Game Master: The first season was primarily a documentary show in which Arino interviewed people from the game industry involved with certain companies or specific franchises. From Season 2 and onward, the "Arino's Challenge" segments that were originally meant to be a secondary portion of the show became the main feature instead.
  • Famed sitcom Rhoda was retooled at least twice during it's four year run. First, Rhoda and her husband Joe separated and she got a new job. Then, she and Joe got divorced and he disappeared from the show, then she got yet another new job, and her parents separated as well.
  • Robin Hood was retooled after the Wham Episode at the end of Season Two in which Marian is stabbed to death by Guy of Gisborne and Will Scarlett and Djaq (the Saracen) are written out of the show. Along with a new writing team and new costumes for the cast, five new characters were introduced to the show (three of whom were not even part of the Robin Hood legend) and the premise goes from robbing the rich/feeding the poor to a fight for power over the position of Sheriff, as well as Robin's tangled love-life with two new love interests. The three original remaining outlaws become bit-parts, and all of the storylines of the past two seasons become Aborted Arcs. In fact, one could go so far to say that if it were not for the character names and the locations, there is little in Season Three that connects it to the legend of Robin Hood at all.
  • Upon learning that Roseanne would only have one more season, the crew decided to have the Conner family win the lottery. Roseanne and Jackie hobnob with the rich, with some outright Bizarro Episodes where Roseanne fights terrorists or imagines herself in popular movies. The final episode then revealed that most or all of the series is a book that Roseanne had written, loosely based on her life. The 2018 made all this Canon Discontinuity, returning the show to its themes of snarking in the face of working-class struggles.
  • RuPaul's Drag Race: The first All-Stars season introduced a team element that proved unpopular with viewers. When the show tried a second All-Stars four years later, it ditched teams in favor of a new twist: having the two queens who performed the best that week do a lip-sync battle to see who wins (as opposed to the normal seasons where the two weakest queens lip-sync to see who stays and who's eliminated), and the winning queen decides who to send home. This change proved popular enough that All-Stars has since been brought back annually alongside the regular show.
  • The 5th season of Sabrina the Teenage Witch moved Sabrina to college, introduced several new characters and dropped others. The 7th season dropped the college setting and again dropped and added significant characters.
  • Saved by the Bell:
    • The show was originally titled Good Morning, Miss Bliss, and was retooled after a brief cancellation. The school moved from Indiana to California, the name of the series changed, several cast members (including the titular Miss Bliss, played by Hayley Mills) disappeared and the focus shifted to the students exclusively.
    • The show was retooled again after the gang graduated and moved on to California University. In addition to the new setting and a few new characters, the stories became somewhat more "grown-up." The new show didn't make it to a second season.
    • The New Class spin-off was retooled every season with cast changes left and right. The show also featured a different set of non-Bayside episodes every season that took place at different locations including a country club, a mountain lodge, a cruise ship, and the local mall.
  • In the 9th season of Scrubs, the series moves from Sacred Heart Hospital to a medical school and the focus characters become the new students.
  • The computer tech show The Screen Savers that ran on Tech TV then G4 after the merger was retooled as Attack of the Show!; a more geek and nerd entertainment focused show keeping the same hosts — at the time, Sarah Lane Kevin Rose and Kevin Pereira as well as Brendan Moran. The user created challenge from the last The Screen Savers episode was carried over to the first Attackofthe Show where the winners were revealed.
  • Second Chance, an early Fox network offering, was about a man stuck between Heaven and Hell, who got the chance to visit his younger self (played by a pre-Friends Matthew Perry) to alter the course of his life. The series failed miserably, but the network attempted to build on Perry's charm by retooling the series as Boys Will Be Boys, dropping the afterlife angle and instead focusing on Perry's character and his best friend. The retooled version didn't fare much better.
  • Shining Time Station was retooled twice at the end of its life. First, while keeping its title, the show became a prime time series that aired in spurts as a series of specials. Unlike the child-pleasing daytime series, this version added elements of teen drama (such as the addition of a juvenile delinquent from an abusive household), and featured extensive location shooting, breaking free of the prior version's omnipresent train station interior. (The new-found sense of maturity was actually referenced on the show, as Mr. Conductor appeared as usual to relate an Island of Sodor story to the kids, only to be told that they had outgrown Thomas stories). After a handful of these episodes, the show returned to daytime under the new title of Mr. Conductor's Thomas Tales, which scrapped the entire cast except for George Carlin as Mr. Conductor, and focused almost entirely on Sodor segments.
  • Sleepy Hollow: During season 2 the pretty serialized main Story Arc left the way for a more broadcast network typical Monster of the Week approach, which Fox signaled in press tours was something they suggested to the show's writers, and was here to stay. Come season 3, the show acquired a new showrunner.
  • Smallville: Not surprisingly for such a Long Runner, Smallville underwent a 2-3 different retools over the course of its history.
    • Season 4 featured the mutant-of-the-week type stories from Season 1-3 falling away in favor of a season-long arc that centered around the hunt for advanced tech from Krypton by various factions, and featured the introduction of Lois Lane and the first hints that Lex Luthor was starting to grow darker. On the DVD commentary, creators Al Gough and Miles Miller describe the Season 4 premiere as being "like a new Pilot episode" due to the retool.
    • In Season 8, the feel of the show got shaken up again; showrunners Gough and Miller left, along with four major cast members. These departures, combined with a general worry that the show had started to stagnate, necessitated a shakeup. Tess Mercer was introduced and quickly became a fan-favorite character, more DC Comics-related stories and guest stars began to come in, and Clark finally began working at the Daily Planet and exploring the possibility of a relationship with Lois Lane. The more mature and Supermanly tone of the last three seasons had many fans noting that these last three seasons could have quite reasonably been renamed "Metropolis" (a fact that was lampshaded by lead actor Tom Welling in interviews). The new, Supermanly tone introduced in Season 8 garnered enough praise that it successfully breathed life back into the show and allowed it to last until the end of Season 10, at which point the show was able to properly wrap things up and end on its own terms rather than the network's.
  • Smash was retooled in its second season, after negative reviews from critics for much of the first season, as well as a very Troubled Production. The less popular characters were written out and the characters move on to a different musical. It didn't work out very well. The show was cancelled at the end of its 2nd season.
  • In a very strange example, Goodson-Todman's 1967-69 Game Show Snap Judgment was changed for its last three months from a contrived word-association game to a direct clone of Password.
  • Sonny with a Chance is about small town girl Sonny who joins the cast of her favorite sketch comedy show So Random!. Demi Lovato (who played the titular character) ended up quitting the show and taking a temporary break from acting after season two, to deal with some personal problems and also focus on her music career. Disney retooled it by defictionalizing So Random!. Yep, the show within the show became the actual show!
  • Space1999 : Season 1 was rather thoughtful and existential with an atmosphere of both genuine danger and epic grandeur and could almost have been shot in black and white. It featured a huge, multi-level main set, awesome space battles, and a sweeping orchestral score. Season 2 was far more simplistic, fast-moving and colourful, with loads more monsters, comedy robots and running around. Several main characters were ditched without explanation, a shape-shifting alien hottie was introduced, there was more focus on the characters personal relationships, the sets were smaller and more intimate and the score was largely replaced by funky guitar. Even the heroes uniforms were changed, with jackets, mission patches and ID badges added for extra colour and interest.
  • For its ninth season, Stargate SG-1 received new characters, arcs, and villains. The production team actually considered retitling the show Stargate Command and treating the season eight finale "Moebius" as the series finale of SG-1.
  • Star Trek has done this on several occasions:
    • Star Trek: The Original Series was retooled to be more action-adventure-oriented after the original pilot, "The Cage", was thought too cerebral by network executives. Most of the crew was recast as well, with Leonard Nimoy and Majel Barrett being the only actors from "The Cage" to make it on to the actual show. And that's with Barrett playing a different character on the show than in "The Cage".
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
      • In the transition between its first and second season (see Growing the Beard). The supporting characters started to find their niches, the bridge set was slightly redesigned, characters including Worf and Laforge were promoted, and Diana Muldaur came on as the new doctor, Pulaski.
      • The third season dropped Pulaski and brought back Dr. Crusher, but it was also defined by the new uniforms that were more comfortable for the actors (being two pieces instead of jump suits) and had a more professional look to them having high collars, instead of the goofy looking space pajamas of prior seasons.
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine brought in Worf in the fourth season and redirected the story towards a new Klingon conflict. While it was due to Executive Meddling, it was considered a successful integration and helped further their Dominion Story Arc by revealing the Klingons were being manipulated by them.
    • Star Trek: Voyager underwent a retool in its third season because of the long-running Kazon plotline. The Season 3 premiere, "Basics Part II" effectively ended their storyline because Paramount executives complained that it wasn't exciting enough (which the fans agreed with), noting that the Kazon were akin to the Ferengi in the "Dangerous Adversary" department. In Season 4, the show was retooled again by swapping out Jennifer Lien for Jeri Ryan, and introducing Species 8472 and the Hirogen as new threats.
    • Star Trek: Enterprise was retooled twice in response to bottomed-out ratings, and consecutively no less. The first retool occurred in Season 3 and abandoned the Plot of the Week for a season-long "epic" story arc. When that failed, the show was retooled for Season 4 by bringing in new creative staff and focusing the season on two or three-episode long mini-arcs. Although the quality of the show improved significantly (Season 4 is usually considered the best of the show), it was too little too late and said season proved to be its last.
  • Suddenly Susan was a comedy about a career-minded woman who works as a writer with a local newspaper. During the jump from the third to fourth seasons, several characters disappeared (including Susan's boss, who she had previously admitted being in love with, and a newspaper employee [which was caused by the actor who played him killing himself]), the introduction of a new boss and an overhauled office setting. This retool wasn't really motivated by ratings either, as they had stayed relatively consistent. However, the show was cancelled soon afterwards.
  • While billed as a Spin-Off of The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, The Suite Life On Deck featured four of the main characters from its parent series (including the two leads), and simply changed the location from the hotel to a cruise ship.
  • After two seasons, the live-action Superboy series changed its title to The Adventures of Superboy, and moved the two central characters, Clark Kent/Superboy and Lana Lang, away from college to an internship at The Bureau for Extra-Normal Matters, an X-Files like agency that investigates paranormal phenomena. Along with the title and setting change, the show's stories became darker in tone, and the look of the show became darker as well. Many stories took place at night after the change, and the lighting for the final two seasons was done in a film noir style.
  • Super Sentai:
    • The second series, J.A.K.Q. Dengekitai, was initially going to stand out from its predecessor by being Darker and Edgier. However, it ended up being so dark that children started to avoid watching the show, so it got retooled. The retool introduced Soukichi Banba/Big One, who, while initially looked upon as a Replacement Scrappy for Joker, the previous Big Good, ended up becoming one of the most iconic Sentai heroes to date and one of three candidates for being the ultimate Big Good of the franchise. In spite of that though, the series still hold the dubious honor of being the only Super Sentai series that was canceled, unable to finish a full one year run.
    • Chouriki Sentai Ohranger had to have a retool partway through following a terrorist attack on Japan's subway, which was considered too close to the military theme of the season. The show suffered for it and was considered as almost killing the franchise. The show stabilized with the series Gekisou Sentai Carranger, but it was only with Denji Sentai Megaranger finding a new timeslot for the franchise that it managed to soar again, recover and even surpass the numbers of the years before Ohranger.
    • Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters went through a retool too. Before its debut, it was touted as the "New Era of Super Sentai", but it quickly became the lowest rated Sentai show in the series' 36 year run (at the time). The initial plotline of the show, regarding the protagonists attempt to rescue their family, and protect the energy source Enetron came to an abrupt end with a climatic battle, alongside with the rushed addition of a new opening theme, gotten from a CD that was already out at the time. It also had a crossover with Space Sheriff Gavan: The Movie, disregarding how the show had established that it took place in an world with an alternate calendar, differently from Gavan itself, which used the real world one. Finally, afterwards, the popular Dragon-in-Chief of the series, Enter, had a sudden personality change and took the spot of actual Big Bad of the series, with the former Big Bad reduced to The Dragon.
  • Four months into its run, CBS's Tattletales retooled its format from "match the other's story using clues" to "predict the other's answer" (which was part of the original format anyway).
  • The first season of Titans had four leads, was set in Detroit and was Darker and Edgier to the point that many were decrying it as unintentionally silly. It also received criticism for the "team" spending little time together and not really feeling like a superhero show, with Dick even burning his Robin costume. The second season expanded the team to include several Ensemble Darkhorses, moved them to San Francisco and has gone for a more balanced tone, even Ret Conning some elements like why Starfire is on Earth.
  • The first season of 3-2-1 Contact involved a team of college students in a room known as the "workshop". In seasons 2-4, it was changed to a cast of middle school-aged kids in a basement. The last three seasons switched to a location-themed format, focusing more on individual hosts (mainly David Quinn) rather than a team. The theme song was also remixed in the second and sixth seasons.
  • ABC's Too Close for Comfort starred Ted Knight as a newspaper cartoonist who lived and worked in San Francisco with his wife and two grown daughters. When the show moved to first-run syndication in its final season, it was retitled The Ted Knight Show, Knight's character moved to suburban Marin County and changed his job to co-owner and editor of a newspaper, and his daughters vanished without a trace... although Jim J. Bullock's Breakout Character Monroe, originally the boyfriend of one of the daughters, was retained after the retool.
  • Top Gear originally ran from 1977 until 2001, when it was cancelled. Although it relaunched just a year later in 2002, "new" Top Gear is fundamentally different in spirit and character to its predecessor. The original was an informative/factual news and review magazine about cars, and though it became far less dry and more entertaining in the way it did this as time went on, at heart it remained true to that. While the relaunched format isn't uninformative (and does overlap the original in places), it's clear that its ultimate focus is to entertain the viewer, with everything in the end serving that purpose. Unlike the original, it's far more studio based, and more focused on the characters and interplay of the presenters- often intentionally played-up- with the cars often being a means to that end, rather than the point in themselves. Much of the show essentially lets the viewer participate (by proxy) in what James May himself called "self-indulgent cocking-about".
  • Torchwood:
    • The third series, Torchwood: Children of Earth, became a politically charged miniseries as opposed to the episodic structure of before.
    • The fourth series moves the primary setting to America, and turns Torchwood into more of a resistance movement as opposed to a short-staffed special ops group.
  • The Torkelsons was retooled into Almost Home after the first season, having the mother move to Seattle as a nanny, and jettisoning two of her kids for the kids she was nannying (one of whom was played by a young Brittany Murphy.) The tone changed drastically from more dramatic to more comedic; the setting changed drastically (from a small, quaint Oklahoma village to big city Seattle), and the basic premise changed from "single mother-of-five who's financially struggling, and her dreamy, slightly Cloudcuckoolanderish daughter" to "strict, poor, small village parent's values clash with loosely-parenting, rich, big city parent".
  • 24:
    • Quite a few elements changed between the pilot and second episode (largely to fix elements that didn't work). CTU's director, Richard Walsh, ended up dying anticlimactically one episode after he seemed poised to take on a big role. CTU's interior changed, Tony Almeida lost his heavy Hispanic accent and a number of visual elements (like showing different parts of the environment to symbolize that time is passing) were removed.
    • There was a soft retool in season 4. Jack Bauer is fired from his role as CTU Director of Operations between seasons, and gets a new job (albeit one that still gets him involved in the main action) and girlfriend. Additionally, most of the main characters from previous seasons have inexplicably disappeared in favour of a new boss, Voice with an Internet Connection, etc. However, the writers lost their nerve — by the season's midpoint, Jack was working for CTU again and most of the old cast had returned anyway.
    • Season 7 is where they did the retool right. The action is moved to the opposite side of the country, Jack is neither a federal agent or a federal fugitive, he's teamed up with a Distaff Counterpart, CTU has been disbanded (its role is mostly filled by the FBI), and the few returning characters either having gone underground or Face Heel Turned.
  • Ultra Series
    • Ultraman Ace received a retool about halfway through the show. The series began as a Darker and Edgier series with Nightmare Fuel and Family-Unfriendly Violence (apparently an attempt to Follow the Leader to Kamen Rider), as well as the very first female Ultra host. However, halfway through the series, Yuko is Put on a Bus, leaving Seiji as the sole host of Ultraman Ace. This resulted in a Tagalong Kid named Dan Umezu being introduced as well as a slide into extreme silliness (there had been some goofy episodes earlier in the series, but they became standard from this point). Fortunately, Yapool remained the Big Bad.
    • Ultraman Leo got a minor retool towards the end of the series. For its final 13 episodes, a Big Bad was introduced and most of the cast was killed off, leaving only Gen and Toru to confront a string of Flying Saucer Kaiju sent down from a dark planet by Commander Black.
    • Ultraman 80 got this twice. The first 13 episodes were meant to be a school drama that just happened to also have Ultraman 80 fighting giant monsters, but due to failing ratings it was retooled into a more conventional Ultraman series similar to the original show. But then after about twenty or so episodes, these were replaced with stories that gave heavy focus to one-off child characters like in many Showa Toku series and then a female Ultra named Yullian was introduced before the show finally ended. Series producer Noboru Tsuburaya expressed regret with these retools later on, feeling that only the first 13 episodes lived up to his original vision.
  • Unforgettable was canceled after its first season, then Un-Canceled a year later because a couple cable channels were eyeballing it. As a result season two has completely new sets, swapped out most of the supporting cast (though they kept the coroner), and the season premiere ignored the Myth Arc (though we'll see if the last part stays the case).
  • Up All Night:
    • In the original pilot, Ava and Reagan work as PR executives (not on a TV show), and Ava is not supposed to be part of the main cast. Then Bridesmaids happened, and NBC's willingness to cash in on Maya Rudolph's popularity surge led to the show's first retool.
    • The second season dropped the Ava Show Within The Show, which is cancelled in-universe. This effectively changes the show from a Work Com/Dom Com hybrid format to being just a Dom Com. The switch necessitated changes to the cast, with Missy (a worker on the Ava show) being dropped in favor of Scott (a main character's brother).
    • The show was retooled again in the middle of its second season, switching to a new format with Three Cameras and a Studio Audience. The plans were to transform the show into a Show Within The Show, where Christina Applegate and Will Arnett would suddenly be transformed into actors (playing themselves) in a sitcom with the same format as the show's original premise. Upon plans of this abomination being made public, both Applegate and the show's original creator quit in protest, and mercifully the show was euthanized by NBC execs before the re-tooled studio-audience version ever saw the light of day.
  • The title character of Valerie was killed off after star Valerie Harper was fired (a rarity then and now) and her place filled by Sandy Duncan, with the name of the series changed to Valerie's Family and then The Hogan Family. A rare case of a retool centered around a Suspiciously Similar Substitute.
  • To say that the second season of the 1980s War of the Worlds TV series used some "creative liberties" would be stating it lightly. In the jump between seasons, the plots become much more Darker and Edgier, and the the entire style of the show changed from a somewhat lighthearted, highly cerebral communism metaphor into a dystopian near-future proto-cyberpunk survivalist fantasy (handwaved at the beginning of the second-season premiere by an alien hand gripping Earth and causing darkness). Half the cast either disappeared (General Wilson) or were killed off (Colonel Ironhorse, Norton Drake), the main antagonists of the first season were unceremoniously executed, a new group of aliens took their place as the villains and the setting changed from a mansion to a sewer base. The fans were not pleased.
  • For its first two seasons, Welcome Freshmen was a sketch comedy show taking place at a high school, with the sketches devoted to a certain theme for each episode. In the third season, the show switched to having a narrative.
  • Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? has gone through countless retools over time on the American version. This includes changing the host from Regis Philbin to Meredith Vieira, adding a clock, changing several of the Lifelines, omitting the "Fastest Finger" round, etc. The 2010-11 season completely overhauled the game even further, adding a new payout structure and randomizing both the question difficulty and payouts.
  • When the game show Winsanity debuted, it focused on one contestant plucked from the audience. The game was held in four rounds; in each, the contestant had to correctly order numerical items in a list; failing at any point meant they were replaced by a new contestant, who picked up the game from there. Season 2 changed it to a more conventional head to head competiton, where two contestants played three rounds of list ordering for the right to play a bonus round. Season 2 also introduced a new set and logo, went from offering a variety of prizes to just money, and went from having an announcer (Kira Soltanovich) to none at all.
  • The first season of Wonder Woman, was set during World War II with Wonder Woman battling mostly Nazi or Axis foes and her secret identity was WAVES petty officer Diana Prince. The tone was also a little comedic. When the show moved from ABC to CBS, the show became less humor-oriented, the timeframe moved up to the modern era (the late Seventies), and Wonder Woman's secret identity became an agent of a US intelligence organization called the IADC.
  • In its second season to accommodate its full-time move to Nick Jr., The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss abandoned its half-hour story, replaced the Cat's voice with a less gravelly alternative, ditched the CGI backgrounds and became more of a Blue's Clues-style kids show.
  • Yes, Minister, after three series, was retooled in an hour-long special which began with Humphrey being promoted to Cabinet Secretary, and then a cabinet reshuffle resulted in Hacker being appointed Prime Minister.
  • Here's an example that set a record: the premiere of the gameshow You're in the Picture proved that the game was too awkward to be enjoyable. The second episode was completely different: it consists of the show's host, Jackie Gleason, sitting in a bare set and making a drawn out apology for the failed gameshow. This received much better reviews, so the show was turned into a talk show and renamed The Jackie Gleason Show.
  • Zoe Duncan Jack and Jane was retooled for the second season. The show fast-forwarded the kids from high school and into adulthood (subverting the Dawson Casting trope in the process). The title was shortened to simply Zoe...


Alternative Title(s): Live Action Television

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