Pilot episodes are sometimes fairly totally different from the general collection they kickstart, as writers and actors settle into the brand new world that they’re creating. Yet, at instances, the disparity between the pilot and the official debut of the primary season may be notably dramatic, with a number of members of the unique solid having been changed.

From new characters to recasts to dropped storylines, these adjustments show what number of components contribute to constructing the exhibits that audiences know and love right this moment. A couple of of those pilots by no means really made it to broadcast, maybe on account of the unconventional subsequent casting adjustments making them far too complicated for audiences.


Updated on August nineteenth, 2022 by Tanner Fox: Often produced as checks or used to assist set up the tone of a tv collection, pilot episodes are usually fairly tough and never solely consultant of the ultimate product. While some pilots do go on to be thought of bona-fide debut episodes, others are thought to have been faraway from the canon of the collection they helped to start out, with a number of failing to air in any official capability.

Riddled with casting inconsistencies and together with content material and ideas that might later be expunged or drastically altered, some pilot episodes make for horrible first viewing experiences. Still, hardcore followers of a present could get a kick out of seeing what it might have been like had sure adjustments not been made.

White Collar

The pilot of White Collar not solely launched viewers to its central premise of con artist Neal Caffrey working alongside FBI agent Peter Burke to catch different criminals, but additionally to Special Agent Diana Barrigan (Marsha Thomason).

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After teaming up with Neal, Peter, and fellow agent Clinton Jones within the pilot although, Diana disappeared for the remainder of the primary season, changed by junior Special Agent Lauren Cruz (Natalie Morales). This was defined away as Diana being transferred to a desk job in DC, and, although she returned on the finish of the primary season and took over from Lauren, the change forwards and backwards stays considerably disorienting when revisited.

New Girl

While protagonist Jessica Day developed by way of persona over the course of New Girl’s run, she wasn’t the one facet of the present to alter, as her roster of roommates did, as effectively.

Jess strikes in not solely with Nick and Schmidt, but additionally with Coach (Damon Wayans Jr.) within the pilot, however he’s changed in episode two by Winston Bishop (Lamorne Morris) due to Wayans Jr.’s prior dedication to the sitcom Happy Endings. Although Coach would make a comeback later within the present, a few of New Girl’s funniest episodes featured Winston at their middle, and it is onerous to think about the collection with out his hilarious antics.

Three’s Company

Fittingly sufficient, the classic mid-70s sitcom Three’s Company had a complete of three pilots, and the primary two featured some main casting mix-ups which come throughout as virtually surreal given how ingrained the appears and mannerisms of the present’s solid have turn out to be in audiences’ minds.

In the primary, John Ritter was nonetheless a central determine, however he performed the function of a person named David, not Jack. Crucially, nonetheless, each Joyce DeWitt and Suzanne Somers have been utterly absent. The second pilot re-tooled some issues, nevertheless it nonetheless notably lacked Somers within the function of Chrissy Snow.


Before the character retroactively turned part of the Arrowverse, Constantine debuted on tv through his self-titled present, which ran on NBC for one season, following the occult detective by means of his supernatural escapades.

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In the pilot, John Constantine meets Liv (Lucy Griffiths), a younger lady being threatened by mystic forces she does not perceive, and he works to assist rid her of the burden. Originally envisioned because the present’s feminine lead, Liv was written out after the pilot in favor of Zed (Angélica Celaya), a psychic and artist whose persona extra intently aligned with the creators’ imaginative and prescient for the general narrative.


Given how central to the character of Juliet O’Hara (Maggie Lawson) is to the detective comedy-drama Psych, it is unusual to recollect a time when she wasn’t interacting with Shawn Spencer and teaming up with detective accomplice Carlton Lassiter. But, she was, actually, utterly absent from the present’s pilot.

In her place was Detective Lucinda Barry (Anne Dudek), Lassiter’s unique accomplice with whom he was having an affair. Lucinda’s absence post-pilot was moderately defined as her having transferred as soon as her relationship was found, and, whereas this is without doubt one of the biggest changes the Psych franchise has been by means of, it isn’t the one one, as a number of the essential units used within the pilot have been additionally swapped out for the rest of the collection.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Audiences have been launched to a literal)squad of characters in Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s pilot, so it is unsurprising that many followers neglect that, alongside Detectives Hitchcock and Scully, their buddy Detective Daniels was additionally current.

Described by Sergeant Terry Jeffords as an worker higher at brewing espresso and doing desk work than enterprise precise investigative affairs, Daniels’ character was dropped post-pilot, by no means to be seen once more within the present’s run. The choice looks like a missed alternative on condition that Hitchcock and Scully went on to turn out to be a few of the funniest Brooklyn Nine-Nine characters.


As a sitcom traditional, Seinfeld targeted on the day-to-day lives of its essential characters, so it is maybe applicable that figures handed out and in of its tales. There isn’t any clearer instance of this than with waitress Claire (Lee Garlington), who solely appeared within the pilot episode.

Originally designed to be the present’s feminine lead, Claire was later changed by Elaine Benes (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), and, although there have been differing accounts as to why this variation occurred, it is clear to see that Elaine’s persona rounded out the principle solid completely.

Pretty Little Liars

The advanced net of characters that Pretty Little Liars targeted on could make remembering particulars of the present troublesome, however one important change from the pilot was the actor taking part in Toby Cavanaugh.

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Toby solely had a small function within the pilot the place he was performed by James Neate and may be seen accompanying step-sister Jenna to Alison’s funeral. But, in all subsequent appearances, the function was taken over by the actor followers would come to affiliate with the character, Keegan Allen.

The Golden Girls

While The Golden Girls is remembered as a female-centric present, showrunners within the pilot have been fearful that the solid was imbalanced and aimed to counteract this by means of the character of Coco (Charles Levin).

A personality who fulfilled the function of the cook dinner and housekeeper, Coco solely appeared within the collection premiere episode, as, in the end, it was determined that the 4 central girls of the solid have been sufficient of a spotlight for the sitcom with none additions.


Before she turned a protagonist in DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow, Sara Lance was launched to viewers in Arrow, however her look within the pilot episode noticed the character performed by one other actor, Jacqueline MacInnes Wood.

Later changed by Caity Lotz, the character would go on to turn out to be a fan-favorite determine of the Arrowverse, and, although there are some unpopular opinions about Sara Lance’s direction in newer years, she’s undeniably been a breakout character of the world.

Gossip Girl

Gossip Girl launched viewers not solely to its teen protagonists, however to their households in its pilot episode, and amongst them was Blair’s mom Eleanor Waldorf.

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Played within the pilot by Florencia Lozano, she was changed by Margaret Colin from episode two onwards, because the present’s creatives have been involved that Lozano did not look sufficiently old to have a daughter of Blair’s age. While initially jarring, Margaret Colin quickly made the function her personal and has even appeared within the present’s 2021 reboot because the character, as effectively.

Star Trek

Star Trek is a seminal sci-fi collection that laid the groundwork for nearly each space-faring saga to debut within the ensuing years. That mentioned, the primary official pilot episode, titled “The Cage,” was, in response to CBR, rejected by NBC on the grounds that it was too troublesome to comply with.

“The Cage” launched Jeffrey Hunter’s Christopher Pike because the captain of the Enterprise, and Spock, regardless of being current, doesn’t fulfill the function of first officer; that function as an alternative belongs to Majel Barrett’s Number One. Both Hunter and Barrett would return to the franchise in a while, albeit in much less consequential roles.

Game of Thrones

From outrageous costuming to units destroyed by pure disasters, the pilot episode of Game of Thrones, filmed in 2009, was by and enormous a catastrophe. Afterward, the showrunners had a hand on what labored and what did not and managed to domesticate an HBO collection to surpass the sterling The Sopranos, nevertheless it wasn’t simple within the slightest.

While many adjustments have been made after the preliminary filming course of, a very powerful one was the recasting of Daenerys Targaryen and Catelyn Stark, who had initially been portrayed by Tamzin Merchant and Jennifer Ehle.

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