TV shows that changed the most between their first & last episodes

The Simpsons hasn’t ended yet, but the recent episodes are a HUGE leap from the first season. The show shifted focus from Bart to Homer a lot after the first season, but even aside from that the whole show has taken a major turn in its style and writing.

But he was in the first episode…

But I get what you are saying: the show just kept changing to focus more and more on Steve and his wacky inventions. It became almost a Sci-Fi sitcom…

Another show that is still running but has changed completely since it started: Top Gear.

It used to be a factual and rather dry motoring magazine show. Then it turned into a jolly, laddish, boys-and-their-toys wish-fulfilment kind of programme. Sadly, in the last couple of series it has lost sight of what made it so fun and become a puerile slapstick affair in great danger of disappearing up its own exhaust manifold.

Open House was the first place I ever saw Ellen Degeneres. I watched both of those series and never thought one turned into the other.

This reminds me of the Valerie Harper Show/Hogan Family thingermabobbins.

All In The Family began as a sitcom involving Archie, Edith, Meathead, and Gloria which took place almost entirely in the living room of their house. It ended as a sitcom involving mainly Archie, his partner, and a few cronies and took place almost entirely in Archie’s bar.

Correction – Urkel didn’t show up until at least half-way through the first season.

It was specifically mentioned in the premier of Open House that these were the characters from Duet. I also remember Degeneres from the show, mostly with disapproval – she had “replaced” Jodi Thelan, who was a similar character in Duet and much funnier.

I wish they’d stuck more with the beginning concept of Angel - it’s kind of a noir detective show, and it was cool. We’re in I think, what, season 4 now? And I just do not give a shit who is or is not in a relationship with Fred. I will never care. No, not ever.

That doesn’t really tell us how the series changed though. (I do agree that it’s one of the best series though.)

I’m not sure this really qualifies as the original show stopped because of lack of succes and Clarkson strated it up again with a totally new format (as far as I remember).

Lost hasn’t had it’s last episode yet, but it’s changed a lot over the years. The first season was all about the crash survivors on a weird island, with flashbacks to their pre-island lives. Now we have Ben and the Others, Widmore, Ben’s war with Widmore, Richard the guy that never ages, Jacob, whoever that other guy with Jacob was, Dharma, time travel, flashbacks, flashforwards, flashsidewayses, etc etc etc(spoilers just in case someone who hasn’t seen the show but might want to someday comes in here)

It’s kind of jarring to note the differences when you watch first season episodes (or even 2nd season episodes) after you’ve been watching, say, 5th season episodes.

I’d say Roseanna qualifies, since the show was barely recognizeable by the time the last season rolled around.

Tho it doesn’t quite fit the OP, since the very last episode pretty much cancels out all of the stupid, unbelieveable nonsense.

I knew he wasn’t in the first episode, and I knew he showed up very early in the series; but I was still surprised it wasn’t a *little *later than a half a season. I know because I looked on Wiki – I guess I didn’t think I started watching it that early in it’s first run.

I was folding cloths a few years ago watching a rerun of one of the later seasons’ episodes. It was about them going back in time. I think they were pirates. Or had to act like pirates. It was *really *bad.

I remember seeing a few ‘Stefan Urquelle’ episodes when I was a kid. I must have grown out of it before they were time-traveling pirates.

Happy Days also changed after Ron Howard left the show, after that Joanie and Chachi became bigger characters and eventually got married and their own show.

I only remember this because I did watch the show from the beginning, and stopped when it became “All Urkel – Al the Time.” (I liked “Perfect Strangers” and this was a spin-off featuring one of the likable secondary characters.)

He was an acceptable minor character, good for a one-or-three time joke, but far too annoying to my taste to watch every week. I guess that meant I had finally aged out of the demographic the advertisers were targetting.

Ohh, look, some nits. Let’s pick them!

I’d say the movie was a one-note teen comedy. I can’t really remember the beginning of the TV series, but I’m not sure it was ever a one-note teen comedy.

Wasn’t Archie’s bar a completely different series/spin-off ?
Does The Daily Show count as a series? Because it’s changed a lot with different hosts.

I think The Simpsons has remained remarkably consistent for such a long-running show. Sure, the first season was kind of rough and tentative compared to later seasons; and sure, the show has had its ups and downs in quality over the years; and sure, there have been episodes, and maybe even whole seasons, that make one wonder if the writers et al lost track of what made the show great. But the show still has the same essential core of characters and settings; and the show is still capable of turning out episodes that wouldn’t have been out of place well over a decade before. When a good new episode airs, there will be at least a few people who opine, “That felt like classic-era Simpsons.”

Happy Days has been mentioned, but not for its major change in tone from the first two seasons when it was a single camera, almost cinematic, more serious show to a multi-camera/filmed before a live studio audience show. Fonzie was human and kind of sad (the Christmas show where he lied about having family and was alone eating beans from a can) and there was even an episode where we learned Mrs. Cunningham was a bigot. When it went to multi-camera live audience, it became a “woo-woo” (as in where the audience “woo-woo’s” entrances and kissing and stuff) show with magic Fonzie and goofy sitcom situations.

That’s simple madness. Amy Acker was the best thing about the series. However, I’ll agree that neither Wesley nor Gunn was worthy of her.

LOVED Duet. In a weird sort of way. And, me too on seeing Ellen first on OH.

Here’s my candidate: Two Guys, a Girl, and a Pizza Place. Started out centered in said pizza place, where said two Guys (Ryan Reynolds and Richard Ruccolo, yum on both counts) worked. David Ogden Stiers was a “regular” at the restaurant and sat alone at a table with a beer mug. The guys lived with their best friend from college, the said Girl (Suzanne Cryer). Second season, Stiers is gone. By the time the series was over, the Pizza Place was as dim memory, the show name had changed to Two Guys and a Girl, Ruccolo was with (engaged to?) Traylor Howard, Reynolds was hooking up with the insane-but-loveable woman who lived across the hall (Jillian Bach), and Cryer was living in the basement apartment with the super (Nathan Fillion, doubleyum).

I liked that show, and it was my first exposure to the boy actors, whom I’ve continued to adore. It’s a shame it has not yet made it to DVD.