If one of your favourite shows were to almost entirely change the actrors.

So, based on the current negotiiations going on behind The Big Bang Theory, I’m curious. If a show that you watch and enjoy were to have a contract dispute with its acting staff. (Assume the staff are already making a lot more than they could elsewhere, but less than the production company could feasibly support.)

Eventually, after neither side will give any further, the company fires some, and many others walk. Rather than ditching the show, they get actors of equal talent, reprise them in the roles and other than maybe a quick “see what we’re doing here” wink at camera there is no effect on the scripting or plot, possibly a net improvement to the scripting as the new guys are probably more likely to cooperate with whatever demands the scriptwriters ask for.

So assuming the acting quality is around the same, the writing is the same and the production values are the same, would you give up on a show or feel drawn to giving up the show just because of a change in the cast? (Not what you think the general public would do. What you would do.)

I kept watching LAW & ORDER.

Would they be playing the exact same character? It depends on whether it’s an episodic show or a drama where it’s one long story being told over time. It’s how Doctor Who has run for so long. Just change up the main guy. However if in the middle of, say, Breaking Bad, the main actors all changed, then I would feel pissed off and no longer watch it.

I feel like it’s much less of an issue for (most) sitcoms because you really don’t get as involved with the characters as you do on serial dramas.

I second this.

I’d probably keep watching the show just to see if they could pull it off, but something like replacing the whole cast is pretty much a shark-jump. I’d most likely stop watching if/when it started sucking.

Yes exact same character, effectively saying exactly the same lines and performing the exact same actions the previous actors would have done. This could be for a sitcom or long-running “one story, multiple seasons” drama.

True, but while the entire cast was replaced gradually over time, they never just dumped the entire cast at once.

In any real office, there’s turnover- over the years, people quit, move away, die, retire or get fired. New people come aboard. The same has been true for the NYPD and the Manhattan D.A.'s office on Law and Order. But because change has been gradual, it’s felt natural. If ALL the stars had been ousted and replaced in one fell swoop, things would have felt al wrong.

I guess it depends on the show. For a high quality show, something like Breaking Bad or Hannibal, I would think that the company had lost their mind. The great actors are a big part of the quality, and even if you brought in another really great actor, it wouldn’t be the same. For some sillier type show like The Strain, I’d be less bothered by it.

But I seriously question whether actors of equal caliber would be brought in. The company is obviously motivated by the bottom line, not concerned as much about the quality of the show. And if it’s after negotiations that went on a long time and then failed, there’s probably a rush to get the show into production. The studio probably wouldn’t spend a long time searching for all the actors that will perfectly fit in the roles, and work with them so that everything is great. Even if some at the studio wanted to, they wouldn’t have the time or resources to do so. They would get a bunch of actors that are good enough and hope for the best.

And I don’t know why you’d think it was better with the actors cooperating with whatever demands the scriptwriters ask for. Sometimes actors are probably divas and don’t want to follow the scripts for silly reasons. But actors are professionals, and sometimes probably have good input on what should be done.

Also, something like Law & Order is similar to this, but different. Law & Order would have new casts, but they’d be playing new characters. Benjamin Bratt and Jesse L. Martin were playing similar characters, that filled the same role of being the younger partner to Jerry Orbach, but they didn’t play the exact same character. It’d be one thing to watch Big Bang Theory, and Sheldon was gone, but in his place there’s a guy who has a genetics PhD and is from West Virginia, but is very into comics and other nerdy stuff and seemingly has Asperger’s and looks down on everyone. It’d be another thing to have someone other than Jim Parsons play Sheldon.

I know that occasionally that a supporting character has been replaced with another actor, but I don’t know of anytime a main character has been, other than Darren on Bewitched. And TV was very different 40-50 years ago, it’s hard to compare TV from now to then.

I’d say it’d be harder for a lot of comedies. A lot of dramas are about the goals- will they catch the killer, or find the source of the virus, or defeat their enemies. A lot of comedies are more about hanging out with the characters without as much plot. For Parks and Recreation, I don’t care as much about what happens to Pawnee, I enjoy seeing the characters and what they’re doing. And it wouldn’t be the same with different actors in the roles.

Have you watched Doctor Who? They have different characters play “The Doctor” over the years, but they are different incarnations of the same character. Each actor has their own distinctive spin on the character, they are not performing the same actions the previous actors would have done.

I voted “probably still watch” because I’d certainly be willing to check it out. In the 70s I remember tv shows replacing the actor with another actor for the same character. I don’t recall any recent cases of that. Off the top of my head, I am remembering Alias Smith and Jones. Pete Duel was replaced by Roger Davis.

A workplace show with ensemble cast can realistically change over time, as happened on Law & Order, MASH, and other shows. Swapping out the main leads in a family-based drama, on the other hand (as happened late in the *Dukes of Hazzard *series) just doesn’t work, and was quickly reversed.

Soaps switch out characters all the time. I still watch those on rare occasion.

I’d keep watching in order to determine whether the show still held my interest. I’m a huge fan of the “just replace the actor” option, which is so rarely used in American primetime. As NotherYinzer points out, it’s done all the time in soaps. British television also seems more likely to go with a recast. I really think that they missed a perfect opportunity to use a recast on Downton Abbey.

Indeed, as a watcher of soaps, it’s all part of the fun.

Game of Thrones has recast a few as well.

I would definitely give a show I liked another try with a new cast.

This thread is mixing up two questions.

a) Same characters, with new actors (which I think is what the OP is asking about).

No, of course I wouldn’t keep watching. Too much of a mind screw.

b) New characters.

Yeah, I’ll stick around to see if it stays interesting.

Roseanne had second Becky. That was a favorite show in our house growing up and none of us cared. Now she wasn’t a lead but she was still pretty prominate.

If it was a show I really liked like BBT I’d definitely give the new actors a chance.

“….The Daily Show, with Ann Coulter…”

If it’s in the script to do action X, they perform the same actions. DSpending on the quirks of the actor involved he may not perform the same action in the same way. In the case of Doctor Who the quirks and idiosyncricies of various incantations of the Doctor are actually written into the script.

I plan to watch the next season of True Detectives, with an all characters and (obviously) an all new cast.

This is very close to my own opinion.

I might even be able to live with scenario A, but it would really have to be done well. Continuity would be really important and I’m not sure it could be pulled off.

Scenario B I’d treat like like a whole new show by someone I like. Continuity and changes would be fine, as long as they don’t screw with the elements of the show I liked originally.

The Sarah Chalke Becky actually liked Dick Sargent as Darrin … possibly the only person ever to do so.