Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Talking Point: if a TV series changes its cast, do you tend to switch off?

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Today's question to get your brain juices flowing is simple: are there any TV shows you enjoy that you'd stop watching if they changed the cast in any way?

Of course, some shows thrive on a fast turnaround of actors. Spooks has burned through many leads over 10 series (from Rupert Penry-Jones to Richard Armitage), while Doctor Who has change built into its very DNA, with eleven actors having played The Doctor since 1963. But are there any shows where tinkering with the cast would be a big enough no-no for you to turn your back on a good show forever?

Did The X Files never recover when David Duchovny left because of what he brought to the show, or did it die because it ran out of steam? Both? When CSI's William Petersen was replaced by Laurence Fishburne, did you care? If the lead actor of a series leaves a show, should the show try and continue?

Are you happy if there's a valid reason for an actor's removal, like Charlie Sheen losing his job on Two & A Half Men after weeks of crazy behaviour and public rudeness? Do you only mind if a new actor is a direct replacement for someone else, playing the same character? Is it okay if an actor leaves and the writers bring in fictional relative to takeover, as they did on Midsomer Murders recently? Would you keep watching House if Hugh Laurie quit and House's even more cantankerous brother was introduced? If Benedict Cumberbatch refused to make more Sherlock, should the BBC recast his role or cancel the series? Which of your favourite shows are impossible to mess with, and which ones could survive a major casting change? Do you know of any shows that would benefit from replacing someone, as an actor you hate is the lead of a show you consequently don't watch but suspect you'd enjoy?

Let me know your thoughts and any more examples of brilliant and disastrous examples of recasting. Are there any TV shows that became a bigger success once they'd replaced some people? Are there shows on-air right now that could be improved by changing the cast, in your opinion?