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Five Shows that Replaced their Entire Cast

In my previous Doux Five post, I looked back at some of the shows that managed to successful (and unsuccessfully) replace key characters. Today, I'm going to go one step further and look at the shows that actually managed to replace every single member of their original cast.

Warning: Mild Spoilers Ahead

DOCTOR WHO (1963-1989, 2005-)

The oldest show on this list and also the only one still being made. The latest season (the 37th overall) will kick off next month and will feature a completely new cast led by Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor. This is just the latest major cast change for a show that goes through so many the TARDIS doors might as well revolve. The first came during season 2 when original stars Carole Ann Ford, Jacqueline Hill and William Russell all left the show. William Hartnell stuck around for a little longer before his declining health led to him being replaced as the Doctor by Patrick Troughton during season 4.

LAW & ORDER (1990-2010)

The original Law & Order ran for 20 years on NBC. In that time not only did the entire original cast get replaced, but so did their replacements, and their replacements replacements. Steven Hill, who played DA Adam Schiff, was the last of the season 1 cast to leave, departing at the end of season 10. Spin-off Law & Order: Criminal Intent also replaced its original cast for season 9, but Vincent D'Onofrio and Kathryn Erbe both returned as regulars for the show's final season.

ER (1994-2009)

When ER came to an end after 15 seasons, its main cast did not feature a single actor who had appeared on the show during seasons 1-9. Sherry Stringfield was the first actor to leave, departing during season 3 when her character, Dr. Susan Lewis, left Chicago to live with her sister and niece in Phoenix, leaving behind a heartbroken Mark Greene. She returned five years later and remained with the show until season 12. By that point the rest of the original cast had already left so, technically, Stringfield was the first and last original cast member to leave ER.

BEING HUMAN (2008-2013)

Unlike other shows on this list, Being Human didn't have a very long run. Just five seasons and British seasons at that. But that didn't make it any easier for it to hold on to its original stars. The first Mitchell and Annie, Guy Flanagan and Andrea Riseborough, didn't make it past the pilot and were replaced by Aidan Turner and Lenora Crichlow, respectively. Turner left at the end of season 3 while Russell Tovey and Crichlow both left during season 4. The fifth and final season featured a new supernatural trio played by Damien Molony, Michael Socha, and Kate Bracken.

MISFITS (2009-2013)

Like Being Human, Misfits only ran for five (British) seasons. And, like Being Human, it burned through its original cast in record time. Robert Sheehan was the first to go, shocking everyone by jumping ship after just two seasons. Iwan Rheon and Antonia Thomas both left at the end of season 3. Lauren Socha was pretty much fired between seasons when she was sent to prison after pleading guilty to racially aggravated assault. Nathan Stewart-Jarrett was the last to go, departing halfway through season 4.

Mark Greig has been writing for Doux Reviews since 2011 More Mark Greig


  1. Nice list.

    An interesting footnote to Law and Order is that Steven Hill was not in the pilot episode ("Everybody's Favorite Bagman"); the DA, a different character than the one later played by Hill, was portrayed by Roy Thinnes. So considering the pilot cast rather than the first season cast, Chris Noth's departure at the end of season five actually marked a complete turnover.

  2. Another interesting tidbit is that Lauren Socha who got fired from Misfits is the sister of Michael Socha from the last few seasons of Being Human.

    I suppose this really doesn't help the idea some Americans have that the UK is some tiny tiny place where everyone knows each other :p

  3. I watched the entire run of ER, and I remember saying to Daniel a couple of times that it was the only show I'd ever seen where you could end up the star of the show by attrition. (I was thinking of Noah Wyle.)

    Trousers_of_time, lol.

  4. This is really interesting. I always forget L&O had a different Captain in the beginning.

  5. I wonder if they will exist long enough for either of the Walking Dead shows to join the list?

  6. There's also Heroes which replaced all its characters with entirely different characters who just happened to be have the same names and be played by the same actors around season 3.

  7. Another show that completely replaced its original cast was Babylon 5. In fact, they emphasized it by having two "cast photo" tableaux at the beginning and end, without a single actor in common.

  8. Anonymous, B5 had a lot of cast changes over the years, but it never replaced its entire original cast. Jerry Doyle, Mira Furlan, Peter Jurasik, and Andreas Katsulas appeared in the original pilot movie and all five seasons, although only Doyle and Furlan appeared in the final episode.


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