There’s something comforting about our favourite TV shows and more specifically, our favourite TV characters. We let them into our living rooms every week, we know what they’ll do and what they’ll say and they start to feel like our friends, our family even.
So it can be a little jarring when these characters start to look and sound different. Because it hits us that these people whom we’ve allowed into our homes aren’t our family or our friends. It doesn’t matter how used to an actor a viewer is, when it comes to TV casting, switcheroos happen. We’re just supposed to accept the change and pretend that we’re fine with it.
12 TV characters who got swapped out with different actors
Darrin Stephens, BewitchedThe original — and to many, the only — Darrin was played by Dick York but after chronic back pain forced him to end his run on the witchy series, Dick Sargent took over from Season 6 until the series ended in 1972. On the plus side, York was able to devote himself to recovering; on the minus, ratings plummeted.ABC
Laurie Forman, That '70s ShowEric's sister and Kelso's crush would flit in and out of episodes or sometimes not show up at all. Lisa Robin Kelly left during the third season and Laurie was written out of the show to "attend beauty school." Kelly returned for four episodes in Season 5 but was replaced the following year with Christina Moore. Sadly, Kelly passed away while in rehab in 2013.Fox
Lily Tucker-Pritchett, Modern FamilyWe first met Cam and Mitch's adopted daughter when she was just a baby so she didn't speak for the first two seasons. Twins Ella and Jaden Hiller retired and Lily was recast with Aubrey Anderson-Emmons. And thank goodness because Lily is a sassy, sarcastic, precocious girl who needs to be heard.Instagram, ABC
Ellie Ewing, DallasBarbara Bel Geddes originated the role of Miss Ellie in 1978 but when the actress needed heart surgery in 1984, she was recast with Donna Reed. Fans were pissed, as was series star Larry Hagman, so when ratings took a nosedive, he begged Bel Geddes to come back — and she did, until 1990. Poor Reed, she didn't stand a chance.CBS
Kaitlin Cooper, The O.C.The role was originated by Shailene Woodley in a recurring role in Season 1. She was shipped off to boarding school until Season 3 when she returned sporadically, with Willa Holland playing Kaitlin. The Arrow star became a series regular in the fourth and final season and brought all kinds of drama.Fox
Claire Marie Kyle, My Wife and KidsIn the first season, Jazz Raycole's Claire was a bratty pre-teen going through the usual embarrassing things associated with adolescence. But when Jennifer Freeman took over the role in the second season, Claire became superficial and vain and completely ditzy — and the jokes Michael had for his middle child could not have been funnier.ABC Spark
Jason DiLaurentis, Pretty Little LiarsThe first Jason, played by Parker Bagley, seemed way too old to be Alison's brother so it was a relief when after two episodes, Drew Van Acker took over.ABC Family
Becky Conner, RoseanneOriginal Becky, Lecy Goranson, was perfect as Roseanne and Dan's petulent eldest child but when the actress left to go to college, Sarah Chalke replaced her. Goranson returned in Season 8 but when she was forced to miss a few episodes, Chalke pinch-hit for her. The producers even made light of the role-swapping in several episodes.ABC
Fallon Carrington Colby, DynastyPamela Sue Martin played Blake's spoiled daughter for the first three seasons but the actress left after reportedly being bored with the series. Emma Samms took over and she ended up starring in the spinoff The Colbys, returning to Dynasty until the finale in 1989.ABC
Meg Griffin, Family GuyIf you have good hearing, you may have noticed that Meg sounded distinctly different in Season 1 and with good reason — she was being voiced by Lacey Chabert. The role was later taken over by Mila Kunis, whose voice is first heard in the third episode of Season 2. We can barely remember what Meg used to sound like.Getty Images, Fox
Jesus Adams Foster, The FostersAfter two seasons, it was announced that Jake T. Austin was leaving the show (no reason has ever been given) and his role would be recast. A signicantly taller Noah Centineo replaced Austin and the writers' jokes about Jesus' diet while he was away at boarding school came fast and furiously.ABC Spark
Vivian Banks, The Fresh Prince of Bel-AirJanet Hubert Whitten played Aunt Viv during the first three seasons and Daphne Maxwell Reid took over for the last three after Hubert Whitten was let go. And it wasn't just a physical change; Vivian's personality also underwent a makeover going from no-nonsense and career-minded to less fiery and much more boring. Meh.NBC