With a daunting ninth season on the way, ABC's newly acquired Scrubs is piecing together a freshman crew with a leftover cast, all in hopes to keep itself from being, well, scrubbed. So far the aged, Braff-narrated comedy has endured four Herculean blows at the loss of oft day-dreamy star, J.D. (Zach Braff), an insecure, stricken-to-"frick" Elliot (Sarah Chalke), seasoned "Puerto Rican" nurse, Carla (Judy Reyes) and supposedly sex-addicted Dr. Kelso (Ken Jenkins).
The show's revamp also entails a drastic switch in setting, from the Scrubs 1.0 abode, Sacred Heart Hospital, to a medical school where the students will be the meat of the new character pool. Skeptical fans can at least rest in the remnant of John C. McGinley's Dr. Cox and Donald Faison's Turk, both of whom will be med-school professors in the upcoming season.
Superbad's Dave Franco is one of three confirmed newbies. He will play Cole, an endearingly arrogant medical student and nuisance to Dr. Cox. Michael Mosley of The Proposal and Kerry Bishe are the most recent additions to the cast. Mosley's character, Drew, is a student giving a second go at med-school after suffering a meltdown 10 years prior, while Bishe will play a first year whose surgical craft sprouts from her heritage of commercial fisherman and her practice in gutting fish.
It's nice to see that the makeover has left creator Bill Lawrence's greased creative gears untainted, but a post-Braff Scrubs could remain an unendurable heartbreak for its fan-base. With such a hazy view of Season Nine, perhaps it will help to reminisce on the fate of other shows that have ventured such daring switch-ups. Here are just a few:
Show: Boy Meets World
Change: The college years ushered in new characters Angela, Jack and red-headed Rachel.
The Result: One
can't help but be nostalgic for the older seasons, however, the
additions proved refreshing and also contributed a hefty tangle of
Show: That 70's Show
Change: Topher Grace and Ashton Kutcher left by Season Eight (Kutcher was a guest star for its first four episodes to smooth the transition), and were replaced by a couple unmentionable characters.
The Result: The laugh track sure came in handy this season, which would be the show's final one.
Change: Due to a nagging back injury, Dick York was replaced by Dick Sargent for the role of Darrin in 1969.
The Result: Perhaps one of TV's riskier change-ups, it played out much like a line from Will Ferrell in its rather vanilla cinematic remake: "...no one even noticed!" Some people probably did, but the show stuck around through 1972.