• New cast member Jessica Szohr has joined the show to replace the departing Halston Sage. (SBS VICELAND)Source: SBS VICELAND
We've done the math and it is without question that these shows were improved a billion-fold once these characters joined.
SBS Guide

29 Jan 2019 - 3:55 PM  UPDATED 30 Jan 2019 - 11:09 AM

You have every right to be concerned when a new character is added to your favourite shows. It's not that you can't or are unwilling to accept change - it's because you've seen it happen before and usually shows stink when major changes are made to them. 

But sometimes... a new character can be magic. You may think you're watching a perfect show and then suddenly, a change is made and it somehow becomes more magic.

In recent week's on SBS VICELAND's The Orville we saw the departure of fan favourite Halston Gage (who played Lt Alara Kitan) and the introduction of Jessica Szohr (as Lt Talla Keylai). We're still not 100% sure about Szohr, but the panel on SBS VICELAND podcast ORVILLELAND are pretty keen on her so far.

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It got us thinking about those times that a new character has improved a show. 

Parks & Recreation

Gone: Mark Brendanawicz (Paul Schneider)
Hello: Ben Wyatt & Chris Traeger (Adam Scott & Rob Lowe)

It is unlikely that anyone was telling their friends that Mark Brendanawicz was their favourite Parks & Rec character, but during season 2 there wasn't really anyone claiming he was the problem with the show. And yet, once they moved Brendanawicz on and introduced Rob Lowe and Adam Scott to the show as two interfering bureaucrats, suddenly everything about the show made more sense. It was like they were the missing jigsaw piece. 

The Good Fight

Gone: Barbara Kolstad (Erica Tazel)
Hello: Audra McDonald

The first season introduced Erica Tazel as attorney Barbara Kolstad into the world of The Good Fight. And Tazel is great - anyone who saw her in Justified would attest to how magnetic she is on screen. But on The Good Fight, she never quite clicked.

The showrunners Robert and Michelle King knew that something was not quite right with the character and decided to introduce a replacement in the show's second season. "Michelle and I had built a character that we didn't kind of feel we had enough directions to go with its future," Robert King told the Hollywood Reporter.  "We felt like we had written a character into a box".


Gone: Coach Ernie Pantusso (Nicholas Colasanto)
Hello: Woody Boyd (Woody Harrelson)

Every Cheers fan loved Coach. He was never seen as the smartest man at the bar, but he was certainly the wisest. When actor Nicholas Colasanto died during the series third season, the writers killed off the character and introduced a new, younger bartender named Woody. In a lot of ways, he's essentially the exact same character - only with the added charm of Woody Harrelson, which evidently goes a very long way.

The Bridge

Gone: Martin Rohde (Kim Bodina)
Hello: Henrik Sabroe (Thure Lindhardt)

Sabroe was introduced in the third season as the new partner for Saga, who really is the main character in the show. While Sabroe brings a more youthful energy to the show, setting him apart from the more seasoned detective Rohde, the further the show develops his relationship with Saga, the more integral the character becomes to the soul of the show. Sabroe brings his own emotional baggage to the show and to a romantic relationship that he forms with Saga.


Gone: Becky Conner (Lecy Goranson)
Hello: Becky Conner (Sarah Chalke)

When young actress Lecy Goransen left Roseanne, the show playfully introduced Sarah Chalke to take over playing the same character. By the stage Chalke was introduced into the show, Becky had become a less bristly character than she had been as a younger girl, which meant that Chalke was actually pretty perfect to take on the character. A few years prior, Chalke would have come across as too-nice to play the role. But, with the right actor introduced at the right time, Chalke was a massive improvement on the 'original Becky'. 

You can check out new star of The Orville Jessica Szohr in new episodes of the show airing Friday nights at 9pm on SBS VICELAND. Episodes are available to stream anytime at SBS On Demand:

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