Spin-Off Sunday

By Rev/Views

I realise this is getting posted on the Monday, but I started it on Sunday before having an accident and as I just got back from an overnight stay hospital I'm finishing it here.

Spin-Offs. They are a strange thing; essentially giving the characters from a show a new lease of life these things. Sometimes not even the character(s) you'd expect. Now I'm going to ignore franchises in this, they're not quite the same thing. So no CSI, L&O or Star Trek here.

Spin-offs are a fairly lazy way of creating a new show, you've already laid the ground work for much of it as at least one of the characters in the new show has already had exposure and a normally a fan base is in place. This I guess gives the spin-off a better chance of being accepted by a network when compared to a fresh new show which could be a complete unknown quantity.

Anyway, enough rambling about Spin-Offs. Here are the very best ones I've seen, followed by the worst. (In no particular order).

The Best

1. Frasier (From Cheers)
I've mentioned it in my top 50. It's a great show that's simultaniously cultured, intelligent and hillarious. While it did run a little thin towards the end it still held up strongly and managed to go out with a bow rather than than soiling itself in a desperate attempt to keep going into TV Senility.

2. The Colbert Report (From The Daily Show)
I love The Colbert Report, it's pardoy of shows like The O'Rielly Factor is unparalleled and it displays a level of sarcasm and irony almost unreached by most American shows. Stephen Colbert really understands comedy. He's an absolute master of the mock interview, only Sasha Baron Cohen is in the same league as him (sorry John Stewart!)

3. Sarah Jane Adventures (From Doctor Who)
The second spin-off from "new" Who is The Sarah Jane Adventures. In this the writers managed to avoid everything that made Torchwood bad and put together an excellent childrens show that's intelligent, fun and well written. It also helps that Elisabeth Sladen is exceptionally charasmatic and an excellent actress.

4. Happy Days (From Love, American Style)
Ah Happy Days, A childhood show that was not only a spin-off itself but also span off into many other shows. Including Mork and Mindy. I still fondly recall many evenings spent watching this with the entire family.

I only watch NCIS occasionally as I'm not a fan of repeated 'crime of the week' shows. I need my shows to have some kind of over arcing plot to work best. But, this said NCSI managed to put out a charasmatic cast, excellent dialog and occasionally interesting crimes so it's one of the best crime of the week/spin offs around.

7. The Simpsons (The Tracy Ullman Show)
The most successfull TV Spin-Off series ever. Sadly now well past its prime and living on life support. But when it was in its prime the show was spectacular. I just wish that it would be put out to pasture.

8. Boston Legal (The Practice)
What a spectacular spin off this is. It has exceeded 'The Practice' in every single way. Boston Legal is simply the best Television Law Comedy/Drama show we've had. Ever.

The Worst
1. Torchwood (Doctor Who)
Now, I do watch Torchwood. But the show dwells in a special level of TV Hell for me. It's set in locations I'm familiar with and it's based from Doctor Who. But it's just awful, mostly because of John Barrowman/Captain Jack. Who has simply no acting range whatso ever, something which has become increasingly apparant as the series has progressed.

Additionally the first season suffered from some ridiculously bad plotting and absolutetly awful writing. Chris Chibnall is a bigger hack than Russell T. Davies. Why he was put in charge of the project we'll never know.

The second season was an improvement, but that's like saying it's good to get beaten with a broom when the alternative is a rusty crowbar.

2. Joey
Now I quite liked Joey, the supporting cast in particular were excellent. But the show took Friends shallowest character and attempted to bulk up an entire series around him. It was doomed to fail right from the start, and it did.

But, that said there were still spots in this show that shined. It wasn't all bad, it just didn't have enough good moments.

3. Cleveland
I've tentively put this one here because I think a show about Cleveland (from Family Guy) is just not a good idea. We'll see.

4. Prison Break: Cherry Hill
Ugh, not content with having one Prison Break show jump the shark Fox are going for a double whammy.

The Should Be:

1. Gobias Industries (Arrested Development)
Spinning off from the "Gobias a Coffee" idea from the Arrested Development episode "Whistler's Mother", this show would star G.O.B. and Tobias's attempts to run a successful coffee shop for the Bluthe Company.

2. Zap Brannigan in the 31st Century (Futurama)
Starring the adventures of Zap & Kiff along with a small group of long suffering crew members this show would showcase the joys of the Futurama universe while parodying Star Trek, BSG and other such sci-fi shows. It would also include attack fish in land suits! See the episode 'A Big Piece of Garbage' for Cinnamon the fish in a land suit.

3. Futures (Millenium)
Starring Terry O'Quinn returning as
Peter Watts, who survived the vicious attack from the Millenium Group at the end of the previous show and now travels the globe seeking the truth behind the organisations activities. He gradually discovers a bigger truth behind all the lies and must make a terrifying decision.

4. Dutch (The Shield)
Starring Jay Karnes as Holland "Dutch" Wagenbach this show would continue the universe of The Shield after the fallout of the final season. Of course, there's no guarantee that Dutch will survive the end of the show, The Shield is just like that. But I'd hope he does so, in fact I'm going to predict here that if anyone shoots Vic it'll be Dutch who pulls the trigger.


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