The spinoff is not a new idea but recently I feel like it’s been top of mind. First folks were all abuzz about discussions on proposed new AMC spinoffs. Now completed Breaking Bad, is turning out Better Call Saul, and still on air Walking Dead is turning out something (how could more zombies be bad?).
Then adding to that we’ve got the currently starting spinoffs The Originals, stemming from The Vampire Diaries, and Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, from Once Upon a Time. I don’t watch either of those initial shows so although a good spin off creates a standalone world of its own, one wonders if I didn’t do the original perhaps I should plan to skip them. I of course can’t skip entirely but I found the first ep of the vampires in New Orleans almost unwatchable (a similar reaction was had to the campily popular VD). The Alice version sits in my TiVo queue awaiting a watch.
I may not enjoy them all, but who could argue with cashing in on an existing popular series. In today’s world we can’t imagine fewer than seven Law & Order shows. And with the boom in reality, the franchises were sure to follow, Flavor of Love, Keeping Up With The Kardashians, The Real Housewives of Orange County have spawned countless versions. Unfortunately for every Frasier there is a Tortellis, for every Melrose Place there is a Models Inc. for every Laverne and Shirley there’s a… not even addressing reboots like Star Trek, Dallas, and 90210.
Considering that to a certain extent you do have a built in audience I wonder if there is a difference in carryover between a true character spinoff (Angel or Frasier) a more backdoor pilot version (where they might introduce the characters and a different world in an episode mostly solely for the purposes of selling the pilot) vs. a franchise that can introduce yet another CSI. Whichever way when new dramas or comedies appear I can’t resist a peek.