A work is like cheese, it evolves over time, the first lines of a novel do not necessarily reflect those that the author will publish at the end. In general, when we propose a series to a studio, we film a first episode which we call “Pilot”. Either this one is kept as such, or we change a lot of stuff in it like the actors, the story and the title. Finally we change everything. We will see together some rather intriguing examples of pilots who had nothing to do with the series they gave.
1. New Girl
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When the first episode of the series starts, we discover a happy group of roommates including a character nicknamed “Coach” played by Damon Wayans Jr. ALL IS WELL so far nothing abnormal, except that from the second episode, the character completely disappears from the radar and another one named Winston is introduced in his place. A little strange when you don’t have the explanation, but in reality it comes from the fact that Damon Wayans Jr was at the same time on another series “Happy Endings” and that he could not ultimately reconcile the two. But then why not have shot the few scenes of the pilot a second time? No idea. That being said, the character comes back afterwards. To re-disappear again afterwards. Yeah I know, it’s special, it looks like my uncle on his wedding day.
The very first in-house episode of the hit comedy series replaced Jenna Maroney, played by Jane Krakowski, with Jenna DeCarlo, played by Rachel Dratch. Known for her work on Saturday Night Live (with Tina Fey), the character of Dratch was simply moved from the project by order of the chain since he did not correspond to the rest of the team according to them. Tina Fey then made him participate in the series in the form of cameos on several occasions (video). It’s as if you were going to play your first football match with a team of friends and the following week you learned that they were playing again but that they replaced your position (and only this one) with someone else. There’s reason to have it bad.
3.Big Bang Theory
Ok so hang on to your slibards because the pilot is quite different from the story we know: that of a young blonde who settles next to the apartment of two geeks and one of whom they end up falling in love. In the first version, Penny simply didn’t exist. Instead, a young woman in tears following a breakup that Leonardo and Sheldon took a liking to moved into their home. At the same time, a colleague named Gilda was in love with Leonard and was supposed to become his relationship. As for Sheldon, he went to a sperm bank and realized he was attracted to women with big butts. YEAH IT’S TOO HACKY. But it’s okay, they cast Kaley Cuoco and we got the show as we know it.
4. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
So hang in there too because Buffy wasn’t originally supposed to fight vampires but German children. No, I’m joking. In fact in the first episode that was filmed, the legendary music of the credits is not there, the school is not called Sunnydale but Berryman, the logo and the font of the title are not the same, Buffy is brunette and especially NO trace of Alyson Hannigan as Willow. Instead another actress (Riff Regan) performed a significantly different role which was fortunately re-cast.
For aficionados (I like this word, even if it basically means “passionate bullfighting lover, which I like a lot less) of the Seinfeld series, you’re going to have a little shock when you see the first version of the series which was already to be called “The Seinfeld Chronicles”. When the first episode came out, we can’t really say that it worked like hell. That’s why some changes have taken place. First of all the character of Kramer was called Kessler and had a dog but above all there was no female role (no Elaine what). So we shot four episodes that the channel had ordered by adding the character played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, we kept the title “Seinfeld” we changed the opening credits and voila, the series was a huge success.
6. Desperate Housewives
I’ve never watched a single episode of this series so I’m going to pretend to know it as I talk about it in order to keep what little respect you have left for my little self intact. What changes in this pilot is a good part of the cast since Sheryl Lee played Mary Alice Young (the deceased “housewife” who acts as narrator). Michael Reilly Burke played Rex Van De Camp and Kyle Searles played John Rowland. But even more surprisingly, the quiet suburb of the series was moved to the heart of Marseille and Gérard Depardieu played a crooked guy there. OK THAT’S WRONG AGAIN FOR THE LAST PART. For the rest of the cast, however, it’s true and you can see it in the video. As for me, I have no idea who the people whose names I have just written are.
7. Star Trek
Well, it seems that the first episode of the series to have been filmed and entitled “The cage” presented a team led by captain Christopher Pike in place of the famous captain Kirk who was also completely absent from the team. Mr. Spock played by Leonard Nimoy was there, but not in the role of the first officer and he did not seem to be endowed with the legendary logical thinking that would characterize him later. Differences still major which would have given a series probably very different.
8. X Files
If you knew X-files when you were a kid like me, you probably have vivid memories of this series, which has remained a classic for many people. Well imagine that it could have been very different. The pilot does not have the credits that have become cult but a simple card “based on real events” (yeah already it’s eye-catching), the character of Walter Skinner is not there and is replaced by Chief Blevins, Mulder is watching Scully with insistence and desire (while one of the qualities of the series is never to force their relationship on the sentimental level but to make it evolve slowly without falling into the cliché) and especially Scully calls Mulder “Fox” whereas in throughout the series she must call him by his first name less than 10 times.
The cartoon pilot is quite far from the series and especially in its original version since many voices are not the ones who will finally voice the rest of the series. The drawings are also much less worked and everyone is super nice with Meg Griffin which, apparently is not normal (sorry I don’t watch too much).
10. Game of Thrones
Well, the pilot may seem like a long way to us now, but the first cut of the thing was still quite different from the final result. If we are to believe the two “showrunners” Dan Weiss and David Benioff, the biggest hassle took place during the writing sessions in order to “sort” in the original novel what should remain in the pilot. Already we did not mention the incestuous relationship of Cersei and Jamie Lannister, there was a flashback scene showing the death of Rickard and Brandon Stark (the father and brother of good old Ned Stark) but especially the two actresses who played Catelyn Stark and Daenerys were not the ones we know since it was Jennifer Ehle and Tamzin Merchant who had landed the roles.