I was a little worried with this week’s theme because TV spinoffs for me don’t have a very good track record. I didn’t even watch the Friends spinoff Joey because it felt wrong and unfunny. But once I realised there are good ones out there, I was on a roll. Here are four TV spinoffs that I have loved over the years.
1. SAVED BY THE BELL (1989-1993) spinoff series to Good Morning, Miss Bliss (1988-1989)
I had no idea that Saved by the Bell was a spinoff but I’m so glad I get to include this blast from the blast! So I watched this as a little girl, and mostly have forgotten it but the theme song is forever embedded in my brain. As far as I remember, it was fun, funny and to those, who will tune in now, the fashion will be a worthy shock factor for sure! Also, isn’t it nice to see a spinoff show that is more successful than its predecessor!?
2. ANGEL (1999-2004) spinoff series to Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1996-2003)
The only supernatural spinoff show on my list (mostly because I haven’t seen The Originals) is Angel – the brooding vampire that was first featured in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The fact that it had a supernatural aspect to it probably helped this show to last longer than it would have. Plus, the addition of Spike in the last season was probably my favourite! The series did lost a bit of its momentum in the later seasons, but that’s given.
3. CLASS (2016) spinoff series to Doctor Who (1963–1989, 1996, 2005–)
So here’s something embarrassing you need to know. I haven’t really watched Doctor Who, nor most of its spinoffs. I reckon Torchwood is the best one, but I’m mentioning Class because its early demise made no sense. The show was interesting, I liked the characters, and I wanted to see more. It’s a shame really, I could have been apart of the Doctor Who world and know I might never be.
4. THE GOOD FIGHT (2017- …) spinoff series to The Good Wife (2009-2016)
Hands down my favourite on the list because it’s so exciting! The cast is brilliant, the guest appearances are delightful! And the storyline it follows is intriguing and political – which is what makes it so good. There are many characters I’m very interested in this show, and it’s great to see it stand on its own so well after The Good Wife. To be honest, I like this one even more! By the way, I have a newly found respect for Justin Bartha, he is wonderful!
THIS SERIES IS CREATED BY WANDERING THROUGH THE SHELVES1
I’ve never heard of Class but am familiar with the others however the only one I’ve watched albeit briefly is Saved by the Bell. Looking back now it was painfully stupid but I got a chuckle or two from it at the time.
My first originated from an All in the Family guest shot but my other two were long-time characters on their respective shows before branching off at the original’s conclusion.
Maude (1972-1978)-Topical comedy of liberal feminist Maude Findlay (Beatrice Arthur) living in Tuckahoe, NY with 4th husband Walter (Bill Macy), divorced daughter Carol (Adrienne Barbeau) and Carol’s son Phillip and the social issues that she outspokenly debates with best friend Vivien (Rue McClanahan-playing a character very close to Golden Girls Rose Nyland), housekeepers Florida Evans (Esther Rolle-who eventually was spun off onto her own show Good Times), tippling Englishwoman Mrs. Naugatuck and her prig of a neighbor Dr. Arthur Harmon (Conrad Bain). While geared to comedy this tackled serious hot button issues such as abortion, alcoholism, facelifts, nervous disorders and prescription drug addiction. Maude was introduced as Edith Bunker’s cousin and Archie Bunker’s nemesis on Norman Lear’s groundbreaking “All in the Family” and proved so popular she was spun off to her own wildly popular show.
Lou Grant (1977-1982)-Continuing his character from the iconic Mary Tyler Moore show Edward Asner takes Lou Grant from the cozy hilarity of the Minneapolis WJM-TV to the far more serious drama of the daily newsroom of the Los Angeles Tribune. Working closely with his two strongest reporters Joe Rossi and Billie Newman (Robert Walden & Linda Kelsey), managing editor Charles Hume (Mason Adams) and the paper’s publisher Margaret Pynchon (the great Nancy Marchand) they cover various stories each week. One of the very few shows to move a sitcom character to a dramatic setting successfully this became another awards magnet winning multiple Emmys including Outstanding Drama as well as for Asner who became the first performer to win the statue for the same character in both comedy and drama.
Frasier (1993-2004)-When the sitcom Cheers closed up shop in 1993 hard luck psychiatrist Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer) packed up his bags and moved from Boston back home to his native Seattle and became a radio shrink for 11 eventful seasons. He deals with life with his father-retired cop Martin (John Mahoney), dad’s live-in physical therapist-the somewhat psychic Daphne Moon (Jane Leeves), his fun-loving show producer Roz (Peri Gilpin) and persnickety brother Niles (David Hyde Pierce) a psychiatrist as well. There’s also his perpetually unsuccessful love life including occasional drop-ins from his severe ex-wife Lilith (Bebe Neuwirth-another Cheers alum). Full of expert writing, superior comic performers and a satellite cast of daffy, endearing and hysterical characters (brash sportscaster Bulldog Briscoe, fussy food critic Gil Chesterton, Niles never seen but wildly eccentric wife Maris, and best of all Frasier’s agent Bebe Glazer-a woman totally without shame or scruple) this was as strong when it ended as when it began because the characters evolved over the season while remaining true to their original intent.
Oh man, I completely forgot about Angel. I preferred Buffy but Angel was good too. And I loved Spike.
The Good Fight is a lawyer show right? Yeah, I can’t watch that stuff 🙂 The only lawyer show I like is Ally McBeal because it doesn’t pretend this is real lawyering like other shows do 🙂
I do know Saved by the Bell as I saw it as a young teen before I went to high school and when I arrived at high school, that show just became something I grew to despise. BTW, have you seen the new thing on Funny or Die about the show called Zach Morris is Trash? Man, it made me realize what an awful show it really is and why Zach Morris is such a despicable character.