Ever begin a binge through a TV show that you haven’t watched in a long time, only to realize, Hey, wait — what? OH RIGHT. That guy wasn’t on the first season! Weird.

Well, I’ve noticed that a lot. And it is really weird.

Just look at all these shows:

  • The first season of Lost without Ben Linus or Juliet.
  • The first seasons of Parks and Recreation without Ben and Chris.
  • The first few seasons of Supernatural without Castiel, or the first season without Bobby.
  • The first season of Stargate: Atlantis without Ronon Dex.
  • The first seasons of Star Trek: Voyager without Seven of Nine.
  • The first four seasons of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine without Worf and/or Sisko’s goatee.
  • The first seasons of Vampire Diaries without Klaus, or various other Originals.
  • The first season of Battlestar Galactica without Sam Anders or Cavil.
  • The first seasons of True Blood without Alcide, and with Jessica as only a guest star.

By contrast, some shows get weird later on.

  • The later seasons of Stargate: SG-1 without O’Neill.
  • The later seasons of The X-Files without Mulder.
  • The later seasons of The West Wing without Rob Lowe.
  • The last season of Highlander without Duncan McCleod’s glorious ponytail.

And then, finally, there are the oddballs:

  • Because of the huge changes in cast due, basically, to the show’s premise, Friday Night Lights is the only show that seems to achieve both effects: at the end of the show, you miss characters A,B,C, but if you re-watch it, when you begin the show, you’re like, “Oh, yeah, right, characters X, Y, Z aren’t even on the show yet.”
  • One time I watched the pilot of Buffy and was surprised to see that Angel was there right in the first episode. He seems like he would have been added later on, but nope.