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Old February 15 2015, 11:22 PM   #1
JirinPanthosa
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Best and Worst Replacement Characters

You all know the trope, the 'Suspiciously similar substitute'. An actor leaves, they replace the actor with a similar character who takes up the same role in the show. Star Trek is no stranger with Dr Pulaski and Ezri Dax. What are the best, and worst, replacement characters?

Best:

-Natalie Teeger, Monk

The actress playing Sharona left with no notice over a contract dispute, and they had to immediately cast somebody to take the same role. Natalie was criticized for not challenging Monk's behavior as much as Sharona, but over time she grew into her own and became every bit as good as Sharona.

-Jonas Quinn, Stargate

So he was no Daniel, but given the group he was stepping into and the incredible chemistry they had it was a miracle he was so effective.

-Buzz Hickey, Community

Community has a knack for perfect casting, but taking Mike from Breaking Bad and making him a criminology teacher was utter brilliance. It's only a shame they couldn't have kept him more than one season.

Worst:

-Max, Newsradio

This is just ugh. They never should have tried to continue the show without Phil Hartman, but they took a character equal parts smart and eccentric with a character who's just plain eccentric. They never had the slightest bit of direction and he was never once funny.

-Ms Chokesondik, South Park

Matt Stone and Trey Parker have had a lot of impulses to change up the show. This is one of the cases where they realized quickly how dumb it was and hit the reset button, just randomly killing her off in a completely unrelated episode.
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Old February 15 2015, 11:46 PM   #2
Mojochi
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Re: Best and Worst Replacement Characters

Best:
Woody Boyd - Cheers.

Honestly I thought that Coach was a real loss to the show, & thought it was doubly worse to fill the spot with another "Dumb Guy", but Harrelson really made the character worth featuring, which is something they never really delved into doing with Coach

Roz Russell - Night Court
This was a tough pill, because the 1st lady they had, Selma from season 1 & 2, was pitch perfect in every way. Her loss was just heart breaking, & then they fill the spot with Florence, & she dies before she can even fill more than one season. It just seemed doomed, but they really did a wonderful job of making it work with a younger person finally, when Marsha Warfield came aboard

Worst:
Roger (A.K.A. Ted McGinley) Happy Days

Jefferson D'Arcy (A.K.A. Ted McGinley) Married With Children (I know he lasted longer. I don't care)

"Ace" Covington (A.K.A. Ted McGinley) The Love Boat

Seriously, if your series was thinking about bringing in Ted McGinley... you just needed to stop
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Old February 15 2015, 11:59 PM   #3
CorporalCaptain
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Re: Best and Worst Replacement Characters

Best:

B.J. Hunnicutt for Trapper John. It's not that Trapper John was a bad character; he wasn't. The problem with Trapper, though, in the long run, was that he was too much like Hawkeye. Hunnicutt provided a much greater contrast, and his dynamic with Hawkeye was very effectively used in the series finale. Hunnicutt gets my vote, for managing to top Trapper John. Also, it's hard not to vote for a character integral to the formation of my username.

I gotta think on the worst.
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Old February 16 2015, 12:00 AM   #4
Nerys Myk
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Re: Best and Worst Replacement Characters

MASH has a good record with replacements: Col. Potter, BJ Hunnicutt and Maj. Winchester.
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Old February 16 2015, 12:44 AM   #5
auntiehill
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Re: Best and Worst Replacement Characters

^Very much so. MASH really did well with all of its casting.

I would have to disagree with Jonas on Stargate. I didn't think he had any on-screen chemistry with any of the characters. I thought he was a big yawn.

Might be a bit of a stretch, but I thought Bobby singer on Supernatural was a replacement for John Winchester; he was the father-figure. Actually, I thought he was a better character and far more interesting and likable than John.

Worst? Can't really say. Maybe ER. Once Noah Wylie left (pretty much the last of the original cast), I couldn't watch it anymore. I tried, but really, really didn't like anyone else on the show.

Last edited by auntiehill; February 16 2015 at 12:58 AM.
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Old February 16 2015, 02:17 AM   #6
CorporalClegg
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Re: Best and Worst Replacement Characters

I don't know worst or best, but I'd definitely have to say the most absurd is Rose McGowan on Charmed. I actually like her better than Doherty. Neither can act to save their lives, but at least McGowan has personality.

If I was going to pick a show that had consistently bad luck with turnover, it would be The West Wing. It seemed like each and every year they brought new people in and they were downgrades from their predecessors. But it's not really fair because all the people they brought in were all really talented. It's just the original cast was so perfect that anything else they did just couldn't compare. Even greats like Alda and Smits always seemed tacked on and out of place.

I think the one exception might be Emily Procter. She was great. And Ainsley was such a fun character.

Another show that had similar trouble was Boston Legal. Of course, it didn't really matter because there was The Shat, The Voice, and The Bergen. Everyone else was inconsequential.

A more recent one for me is Kelly McCreary's character on Grey's. I like the actress, and I'm am warming to the charter--I already like her better than I ever did Leigh--but she's definitely no Oh. I miss Eric Dane too.

My all time favorite replacement was Caulfield on Buffy. I never liked Carpenter at all. She's part of the reason I never really got into Angel. That said, Marc Doofus was definitely a downgrade from Boreanaz.
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Old February 16 2015, 03:08 AM   #7
Mr Light
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Re: Best and Worst Replacement Characters

Best: Sheridan in Babylon 5
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Old February 16 2015, 03:40 AM   #8
Mr. Adventure
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Re: Best and Worst Replacement Characters

The previously mentioned Pulaski was interesting because she wasn't so suspiciously similar and might've been more fondly remembered if she was. I remember at the time I was really put off by how abrasive she was but in retrospect it was kind of a brave choice for a show that was as genial as TNG was.

I thought Winchester did a good job substituting for Burns on MASH. Mike did a good job coming into MST3K after Joel with a similar but district vibe.

The worst in my mind were Coy and Vance on Dukes of Hazzard. I don't think it was just my youth that made me not accept these guys because I've never seen much love for them. And Barry Van Dyke as St. John Hawke on USA low-rent revival of Airwolf was pretty horrible.
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Old February 16 2015, 05:11 AM   #9
Mojochi
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Re: Best and Worst Replacement Characters

I think the comedy suffered a tiny bit with MASH's Winchester vs. Burns. He wasn't as silly a target in that respect, but he was the perfect addition to the cast since they were intending to be dramatic in later seasons as well. He was a more realistic character who could grow, whereas Burns was not, & all the characters needed to grow realistically
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Old February 16 2015, 05:36 AM   #10
Green Shirt
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Re: Best and Worst Replacement Characters

CorporalClegg wrote: View Post

I think the one exception might be Emily Procter. She was great. And Ainsley was such a fun character.
Yeah, it would have been nice to see more of her. Her introduction was great. "Get some popcorn, Sam's getting beat up by a girl".
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Old February 16 2015, 07:11 AM   #11
Gaith
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Re: Best and Worst Replacement Characters

I for one really liked the 'second wave' of McKinley High students in seasons 4-5 of Glee - Marley, Jake Puckerman, Kitty, and Unique. No, they never quite matched their predecessors, but then, their predecessors never actually went away.

Boston Legal had a bewilderingly fluid roster, granted, but I certainly don't think the replacement characters were worse, on the whole, than their replacees.
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Old February 16 2015, 02:15 PM   #12
tomswift2002
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Re: Best and Worst Replacement Characters

On "Full House" I never really enjoyed Jesse and Becky's two kids that came at the end there. Sure the storyline and their "birth" made sense, but I just never found that they brought that charm that producers were looking to recapture from the early episodes with baby Michelle.

But one replacement that, while I wish we had seen more of the first guy, but it still worked well, was the Commander Sinclair-Captain Sheridan transfer of Command in Babylon 5. Unfortunately the later Susan Ivannova-Captain Lockley change didn't work as well.
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Old February 16 2015, 03:20 PM   #13
Doctorwhovian
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Re: Best and Worst Replacement Characters

CSI wise I never really cared for Laurence Fishburne as Ray Langstrom (Although he didn't replace Grissom as head of the lab-Catherine (Marg Helgenberger) did-he was still the 'lead' actor). IMO they tried too hard to make the show like Dexter-lite, with Langstrom a potential killer himself (it was even hinted at times he might've been "Dr.Jekyll"), and of course the whole plotline with Bill Irwin's arch-nemesis Nate Haskell/Dick-and-Jane killer(Who debuted in the same episode Langstrom did) which overtook too much of the show IMO. Fishburne's a good actor IMO but it became too dark and disturbing even by CSI standards. Even Grissom's main villain Paul Millander only appeared in three stories (Although there was a sequel of sorts to that arc during the Langstrom era). Irwin's Nate Haskell was like in ten.

Danson's as Russel is more fun, but at times he seems to be a carbon copy of Grissom (except for the family aspect).


Also not too fond of Elizabeth Shue's Finlay, Catherine may have had a weird past but was still a likeable character, Finlay's kind of a loose cannon.

And like Grissom and Sara there's the "Will they or won't they" aspect...(and on another tangent, they kind of completely ruined that too by bringing Sara back sans Grissom).
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Old February 16 2015, 05:29 PM   #14
Kai "the spy"
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Re: Best and Worst Replacement Characters

Mojochi wrote: View Post
Roz Russell - Night Court
This was a tough pill, because the 1st lady they had, Selma from season 1 & 2, was pitch perfect in every way. Her loss was just heart breaking, & then they fill the spot with Florence, & she dies before she can even fill more than one season. It just seemed doomed, but they really did a wonderful job of making it work with a younger person finally, when Marsha Warfield came aboard
Agree, but half the cast of that show deserves a spot on this list.
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Old February 16 2015, 06:33 PM   #15
The Laughing Vulcan
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Re: Best and Worst Replacement Characters

Best

Callum Keith Rennie as "Ray Vecchio" replacing David Marciano as Ray Vecchio in Season 3 of Due South. Not only did they work it into the story in a really effective way, but both of the characters had great chemistry with Benton Fraser, but were different enough to create a different but equally enjoyable dynamic between the leads.

Worst

Kent McCord and Barry Van Dyke as not Apollo and Starbuck in Galactica 80, failing to fill the shoes of Richard Hatch and Dirk Benedict.
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