5 Shows that got better after losing main characters

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Twin Peaks

In its third season,  Showtime’s Twin Peaks underwent a number of audacious changes. Its tone was bleaker, its content was more explicit and its narrative became even more oblique. However, its most significant change was the displacement of former lead FBI Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan). Given that Cooper was the soul of Twin Peaks during its early ‘90s run on ABC, it seemed ill-advised to take the character out of action for much of season 3.

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However, like many of the odd choices made by creators David Lynch and Mark Frost, that decision proved to be worthwhile. Trapping Cooper in the life of near-catatonic insurance salesman Dougie Jones led to some of the sweetest and most life-affirming moments of Twin Peaks third season. It also created more room for other characters take center stage such as oddball former FBI Chief Gordon Cole (Lynch), his eternally sardonic partner Albert Rosenfeld (Miguel Ferrer), and relentlessly bitter Diane Evans (Laura Dern). It also gave MacLachlan the opportunity to show off the full breadth of his acting skills as Dougie and Cooper’s terrifying doppelgänger.

Though sidelining one of Twin Peaks’ most popular main characters for much for much of the revival was controversial, was ultimately a stroke of genius. If nothing else, it allowed the series to become something bigger, stranger and greater than the metaphysical murder mystery series it used to be.