TV shows that have inspired more than one spinoff
TV shows that have inspired more than one spinoff
Like their big screen brethren—i.e. the common sequel—TV spinoffs bear a similar burden of low expectation. Indeed, the worst examples come off as little more than formulaic cash grabs that try to capitalize on the iconography and success of their predecessors. As one will soon discover, however, there are definite exceptions to the rule. After all, who can argue with the enduring charms and unique rewards of shows such as “Frasier” or “The Jeffersons,” both of which were spinoffs?
Meanwhile, the very concept of a spinoff can get slightly complicated in today’s expansive cultural climate. Take something like “The Archie Show,” for example. Based on a comic book series, it debuted in 1968 and inspired a number of direct spinoffs. But do modern-day vehicles such as “Riverdale” and “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina”—both of which feature Archie characters—technically count as spinoffs of the original animated series? Then there’s a show like “Good Times,” a spinoff of “Maude,” which is a spinoff of “All in the Family.” Does that mean “Good Times” is also a spinoff of “All in the Family?”
Stacker dug into TV history and identified 10 shows that have inspired multiple spinoffs. For the sake of comprehension, any series that could be tied to an original predecessor was counted as a spinoff. Movies, one-off TV specials, and webisodes were not included. In some cases, the spinoff became a smash hit of its own. In others, it quickly faded into obscurity. No matter what its fate, each one expanded upon the universe of an iconic predecessor and thereby broadened the TV landscape at large.
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Happy Days (1974–1984)
- Spinoffs: “Laverne & Shirley,” “Mork & Mindy,” “Blansky's Beauties,” “Out of the Blue,” “Joanie Loves Chachi,” “The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang,” “Laverne & Shirley with The Fonz”
Among the legion of “Happy Days” spinoffs, “Laverne & Shirley” was the biggest hit. It follows two of Fonzie’s friends through various misadventures in Milwaukee and California. On “Mork & Mindy,” former “Happy Days” guest star Robin Williams broke out as a quirky alien.
Star Trek: The Original Series (1966–1969)
- Spinoffs: “Star Trek: The Animated Series,” “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” “Star Trek: Discovery,” “Picard,” “Short Treks,” “Lower Decks,” “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” “Star Trek: Voyager,” “Star Trek: Enterprise”
In addition to nine TV spinoffs (with more on the way), “Star Trek: The Original Series” spawned 13 feature films along with countless books and games. “Star Trek: The Next Generation” debuted in 1987 and takes place a full century after the events of the original show. It stars Patrick Stewart as Captain Jean-Luc Picard, whose story continues with a series called “Picard.”
- Spinoffs: “Grown-ish,” “Mixed-ish”
“Black-ish” creator Kenya Barris followed his hit sitcom with two single-camera spinoffs, both of which aired on the Freeform Channel. In “Grown-ish,” eldest daughter Zoey (Yara Shahidi) heads off to college for a series of misadventures. “Mixed-ish” is a prequel that explores Rainbow Johnson’s unique upbringing in a mixed race family.
The Walking Dead (2010–present)
- Spinoffs: “Fear the Walking Dead,” “The Walking Dead: World Beyond”
“Fear the Walking Dead” chronicles the zombie uprising in Los Angeles and takes place around the same time as “The Walking Dead.” Co-created by comic book writer Robert Kirkman, it occasionally features characters from the original series. “The Walking Dead: World Beyond” jumps ahead a full decade and depicts the first generation of teenagers to come of age during the apocalypse.
Law & Order (1990–2010)
- Spinoffs: “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “Law & Order: Organized Crime,” “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” “Law & Order: Trial by Jury,” “Law & Order: LA,” “Law & Order True Crime”
“Law & Order: SVU” is both the longest-running and most popular spinoff in the entire franchise. It centers on the investigation and prosecution of sexually related crimes. A spinoff called “Law & Order: For the Defense” was ordered by NBC in May 2021 while “Law & Order: Hate Crimes” has been in development since 2018.
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- Spinoffs: “The Tortellis,” “Frasier”
A bar regular in Boston, Dr. Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer) moves to Seattle in his eponymous spinoff. Featuring cameos from a number of “Cheers” stars, the show is held in similar high regard. Far lesser known is “The Tortellis,” a short-lived spinoff about recurring “Cheers” characters Nick and Loretta Tortelli.
The Yogi Bear Show (1961–1962)
- Spinoffs: “Yogi's Gang,” “Laff-A-Lympics,” “Yogi's Space Race,” “Yogi's Treasure Hunt,” “The New Yogi Bear Show,” “Wake, Rattle, and Roll,” “Yo Yogi!”
The original “Yogi Bear Show” ran for just two seasons but spawned an ongoing franchise. It was revived in 1988 as “The New Yogi Bear Show,” which mixed new episodes with old ones. Yogi also appears alongside a number of other Hanna-Barbera characters in assorted TV movies and specials.
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Scooby Doo, Where Are You! (1969–1970)
- Spinoffs: “The New Scooby-Doo Movies,” “The Scooby-Doo Show,” “Scooby’s All-Star Laff-A-Lympics,” “Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo,” “The New Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show,” “The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo,” “A Pup Named Scooby-Doo,” “What’s New, Scooby-Doo?,” “Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get a Clue!,” “Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated,” “Be Cool, Scooby-Doo!,” “Scooby-Doo and Guess Who?”
Scooby-Doo and the mystery gang have penetrated every conceivable corner of pop culture. Series spinoffs “Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated” and “Be Cool, Scooby-Doo!” both aired on Cartoon Network and ran for 52 episodes, respectively. Viewers can currently catch “Scooby-Doo and Guess Who?” on the Boomerang Channel.
All in the Family (1971–1979)
- Spinoffs: “Maude,” “The Jeffersons,” “Archie Bunker's Place,” “Gloria,” “704 Hauser,” “Good Times,” “Checking In”
This game-changing sitcom was so popular that it yielded spinoffs of its spinoffs, such as when “Maude” gave way to “Good Times.” Among the first-wave spinoffs, “The Jeffersons” lasted the longest and arguably rendered the most impact. It chronicles the exploits of George and Louise Jefferson, a well-to-do Black couple who once lived next door to loudmouthed racist Archie Bunker.
The Archie Show (1968–1969)
- Spinoffs: “The Archie Comedy Hour,” “Archie's Funhouse,” “Josie and the Pussycats,” “Archie's TV Funnies,” “The U.S. of Archie,” “The New Archie and Sabrina Hour,” “The Sabrina the Teenage Witch Show,” “The New Archie and Sabrina Hour,” “The New Archies,” “Sabrina the Teenage Witch,” “Archie's Weird Mysteries,” “Sabrina: The Animated Series,” “Sabrina's Secret Life,” “Sabrina: Secrets of a Teenage Witch,” “Superhero Kindergarten,” “Riverdale,” “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina,” “Katy Keene”
What began in the 1940s as a comic book series became so wide-reaching in scope that there’s now a full-blown “Archieverse.” Shows like “Riverdale” aren’t really spinoffs of animated predecessors as much as they are loose adaptations of the comic book characters. Both “The Archie Comedy Hour” and “Archie’s Funhouse” weren’t technically spinoffs either, rather extensions or expansions of the original “Archie Show.”
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