Once again, it has to be said that the TV show spin-off is a very dangerous proposition. If it’s done right, it’ll elevate the quality of the show that got the ball rolling and give fans a chance to learn more about its many characters and interesting universe. If it’s done wrong, it’s almost unforgivable and it smudges the name of the show that preceded it
When this was announced after Friends finally took its final bow after a solid 10 years, nobody was particularly impressed. For UK audiences, things only got worse when we discovered that the dreaded channel 5 was going to be showing the new Matt Leblanc Joey spin-off. What was most heart breaking was to see the beautifully crafted character of Joey interacting with a whole new cast that he simply wasn’t gluing with. Without Chandler’s superbly sharp wit, Joey’s low intellect is just embarrassing, and without Phoebe’s zaniness to counteract Joey’s forgetfulness, it just becomes painful to see him bumble aimlessly through scenes. It’s no wonder the show got cancelled after only two seasons, with rating plummeting to all time lows and people switching off their TV’s at an alarming rate.
Saved By The Bell: The College Years
The original show has gained iconic status and made it onto our best TV show spin-offs list. Unfortunately, the same can definitely not be said for this program. After the kids graduated high school, the studio clearly didn’t want to stop milking this cash cow, so they followed the majority of the original cast to a university in California. It followed a similar format to the original, but it was just lazy and had lost a great deal of the charm that the previous program beamed with. After only one season, it was taken off the air and we were never to see the gang again…until they made a TV movie revolving around Zack and Kelly’s wedding, involving a run in with some criminals in none other than Las Vegas. Of course.
The only thing Baywatch had going for it originally was its semi skin baring and ridiculous action. With Baywatch Nights, the show didn’t feature Pamela Anderson, instead focusing on David Hasslehoff as he got involved in ridiculous science fiction drama. He joins Sergeant Garner Ellerbee at a detective agency and the two attempt to fight mysterious, supernatural and possibly alien crime together. It was truly bottom of the barrel stuff, and it’s no wonder it only lasted a season before the studio quite rightly decided to pull the plug. Of course, what else could you possibly expect from The Hoff. He’s made a career out of being in terrible shows and movies.
Believe it or not, the re-booted TV show based on the most cheesy of 80’s sci-fi shows actually proved to be an incredibly innovative, captivating and gloriously dramatic affair. It’s made its way onto a number of prestigious lists for the best TV shows of all time, with critics putting it toe to toe with the likes of the mighty Sopranos, The Wire and Breaking Bad. That’s why it’s first spin-off of many, Caprica, is so unforgivable. Not only was it a frothy farce with terrible CGI and even worst acting, it also paved the way for a sea of other spin-offs that added nothing but nonsense to the Battlestar Galactica universe that was so intricially crafted in the original series. Please watch Battlestar Gallactica and be very surprised by its quality, but avoid all its spin-offs at all costs.
Tim Allen’s Home Improvement has gone down as one of the 90’s most popular sitcoms, but we bet you didn’t know it had a pretty terrible spin-off. After the always controversial and often hilarious Dave Chapelle had a successful guest spot on the show’s “Tool Time” segment, the studio decided to have a go at giving the very young comedian him his own show. It only lasted a slender five episodes though before being canceled, with even Chapelle admitting that it was undeniably terrible work. “It was a bad show. It was bad. I mean, when we were doing it, I could tell that this wasn’t going to work.”