The Vampire Diaries returns for its seventh season on October 8. But, it's coming back without its titular diary writer. Elena (played by Nina Dobrev) has been locked in a magical coma and tucked away in a tomb, and will only wake up when something magical happens (probably coinciding with the series finale). Now the question is, will fans still tune in for the adventures of her vampirey co-stars?
Other shows have soldiered on without their lead (or a fan-favorite leading player) with mixed results. In some cases, the series never gets its groove back, its chemistry forever out of whack as the show limps along for a season or two more. Sometimes, the refocusing is exactly what the show needs, bringing attention to secondary characters that grow to be even more interesting then the lead. The future of TVD is still unclear. But these series proved that no matter what, the show must go on.