Pilots & Thereafter

It’s always interesting to see the way a series changes from its pilot to its second episode. There are clearly things that have changed because a producer or an executive (or several of each) sat down, took a look at what they made, and realized something else would work far better.

Famously, Elaine does not appear in the first episode of Seinfeld. People looking at the pilot afterwards thought that a permanent, strong female voice would be needed. And could Seinfeld have been successful without that character, or a similar one…probably not.

More recently, both Psych and Eureka exhibited the subtraction and addition of supporting characters in their second episodes. For Psych, the female detective character changed. A weak excuse was made about her partner transferring her out due to their relationship and then it wasn’t mentioned again. It’s not that the new detective isn’t likable, she is, probably more so than the initial character. It’s just that the change clearly comes from a re-imagining of the relationships, or an actor’s schedule not working into the filming, and always seems to cause a momentary stutter in a show.

In Eureka, Greg Germann’s character of Warren King disappeared and in his place we have been given Ed Quinn’s Nathan Stark. In the pilot King was clearly hitting on Allison and there was an intimation of a possible romantic relationship (whether over or on-going was unclear). But, King is out and Stark is in, and amazingly enough Stark is Allison’s estranged husband (clearly a romantic relationship). It immediately felt as though while King was removed from the show some of his traits were taken and given to Stark.

Of course Germann could be back in future episodes (and I hope he will be), but it felt as though his absence existed in order to make room for Ed Quinn’s character.

Will it be a successful, wise, change? Only time will time.

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