"Spinoff"! Is there any word more thrilling to the human soul? Hi, I'm Troy McClure. You may remember me from such TV spinoffs as Son of Sanford And Son and AfterMannix.Spin-Offs are when part of a successful show, usually characters, but sometimes a general concept (first you have the Law, then you have the Order), are taken and given a second show of their own. From a producer's perspective, it's a chance to explore other aspects of a concept. Actors can find opportunities to grow in their craft, as well as rise in importance by moving from just being part of an ensemble to having a show built around them. For the networks, it's a chance to establish a show with a built-in audience, making it that much easier for them to sell advertising. Lots of spinoffs go on to be successful shows in their own right, sometimes even surpassing the parent series in popularity. Others crash and burn (Joanie Loves Chachi, anyone?), suggesting that there is no such thing as a sure thing. Nevertheless, networks keep trying them.
— Troy McClure, The Simpsons, "The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase"
There are several main types of spinoffs:
- Where a character leaves a show and the two run concurrently. Characters Crossover from time to time.
- Where a show comes to an end and a character from it is given his or her own new show. Provides an opportunity to Retool the character as well.
- Where a character is brought on to an existing show simply in order to be spunoff, hopefully making some of the original audience into viewers of the new show (See Poorly Disguised Pilot).
- The main character is revisited elsewhere in his narrative.
- Reimaginings - the concept is carried into a new show with the same basic premise but other factors and characters are completely new.
- Segment spin-offs - a recurring segment from the show becomes the main attraction.
- A type of Defictionalization - a Show Within a Show gets made into a real show of its own.
- The storyline on one show comes to an end, only to be continued in a new show with a different name.
- Official Fanzine Show - a trope usually applying to Reality TV, usually offering Behind The Scenes info or coverage that wouldn't fit into the main programme, often (but not always) broadcast immediately after the main show, on a sister channel.
- Online Spin-Off - A spin-off that's only shown online, sometimes overlaps with Segment Spin-Off, sometimes a spin-off In Name Only. Generally only an advert for the broadcast programme.
- Shared Continuity - more common nowadays, this spinoff generally carries no characters over from the show that spawned it, though both are in the same continuity that allows for Crossovers from the original.
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Type 1 - parallel stories - Examples
Anime and Manga
- Fist of the North Star (Hokuto no Ken) has a series of spinoff works known as the Hokuto no Ken Gaiden series, which centers around side-characters from the original manga, depicting what happened to them prior to the events of Hokuto no Ken, although they do deviate from canon a bit. Almost all of them, with the exception of Yuria Gaiden, were published in Weekly Comic Bunch (the manga anthology that serializes Souten no Ken) at the time the Legends of the True Savior movies were released.
- Various side story episodes of the Pokemon anime featured former party members after they had left the group. The early ones focusing on Tracey and Misty along with Tournament Arc rival Ritchie were dubbed as the Pokemon Chronicles subseries.
- Doctor Who —> Big Finish Doctor Who —> Sarah Jane Smith, I Davros, UNIT, Counter Measures, Cyberman, Gallifrey, Jago And Litefoot, Kaldor City, Dalek Empire note
- Plantagenet Palliser, a minor character in the Barchester series by Anthony Trollope, became a main character of Trollope's Palliser series, written in the 1860s and 1870s.
- Private —> Privilege
- Doctor Who New Adventures —> Bernice Summerfield
- Eighth Doctor Adventures —> Faction Paradox
- Telos Doctor Who novellas —> Time Hunter
- P. D. James's Adam Dalgliesh detective novels spun off a short line of two novels about private investigator Cordelia Gray, including a surprise cameo by the original detective.
- Dallas —> Knots Landing
- Interestingly enough, Knots Landing was actually shopped first to CBS, but rejected. When Dallas took off, they inserted one of the Ewing brothers and re-shopped KL as a spin-off.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer —> Angel
- Doctor Who —> K-9 and Company, Torchwood, The Sarah Jane Adventures, K9 note
- Hercules: The Legendary Journeys —> Xena: Warrior Princess
- Grey's Anatomy —> Private Practice
- All in the Family is the king of this trope.
- It spun off no fewer than three shows, some of which had their own spinoffs: TheJeffersons, Maude, and Maude's housekeeper Florida, was spun off into Good Times. It also was an example of #8 below, as All in the Family became Archie Bunker's Place. Similarly, but less successfully, the Jeffersons' housekeeper Florence received her own spin-off Checking In, which was cancelled after one season.
- Archie Bunker's Place itself had a one season spin-off Gloria that featured Archie's daughter Gloria , having divorced Mike, starting a new life in New York.
- The last gasp of the franchise came in 1994, with yet another (short-lived) spinoff: 704 Hauser, about the people who were then living in what had been Archie's house. The adult Joey Stivic (son of Michael and Gloria) drops by for a visit in the first episode.
- Mary Tyler Moore —> Rhoda and Phyllis.
- Happy Days—> Joanie Loves Chachi
- Family Ties—> The Art of Being Nick
- Perfect Strangers—> Family Matters
- Soap —> Benson
- Upstairs Downstairs —> Series/Thomas and Sarah
- Star Trek: The Next Generation —> Star Trek: Deep Space Nine note
- The Dukes of Hazzard —> Series/Enos
- Inspector Rex —> Stockinger
- The X-Files —> The Lone Gunmen, though it didn't last long.
- The Vampire Diaries —> The Originals
- Fibber McGee and Molly —> The Great Gildersleeve.
- Fibber McGee and Molly —> Beulah. Beulah was the first radio show to eventually star an African-American performer, and successfully moved to television.
- Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney—> Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth, featuring the prosecutor from the first game as the main character.
- The action-oriented Jet Dream And Her T Girl Counterspies title spawned two spin-offs: It's Cookie, a teen humor comic starring T-Girl Cookie Jarr, and My Jet Dream Romance, a romance comic that focuses on the love lives of the T-Girls.
- Precocious—> Copper Road, about the character Kaitlyn Hu and the "other side of the class" that lives on Copper Road.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series —> Marik Plays Bloodlines
- The Annoying Orange —> Liam The Leprechaun note
- SCP Foundation —> Global Occult Coalition and Church of the Broken God.
Type 2 - new adventures of a character Examples
Anime and Manga
- Triangle Heart 3: Sweet Songs Forever —> Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha (see From the Ashes) —> Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Vi Vid
- Fate/stay night —> Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA
- After Fist of the North Star ended, subsequent gaiden animes set in the verse focused on characters such as Raoh, Yuria, Jagi and others.
- A Certain Magical Index —> A Certain Scientific Railgun, starring the Unknown Rival. Though it also has elements of Type 11 as the two series happen in parallel.
- A Certain Magical Index —> A Certain Magical Index: New Testament, a sequel to the original novels with side character Shiage Hamazura becoming a primary cast member.
- Princess Resurrection —> Naqua-Den
- The Sandman —> Thessaly: The Thessaliad and Witch For Hire, in which Dream's murderous ex-girlfriend Thessaly deals with new problems brought on by a ghost named Fetch.
- Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides starts a completely new plotline which goes completely unmentioned and contains only three characters from the first three.
- Forgetting Sarah Marshall -> Get Him to the Greek
- Knocked Up -> This Is 40
- The Iliad —> The Odyssey. The Aeneid also follows the adventures of a minor character from The Iliad, but it was written by a different writer hundreds of years later.
- Gotrek and Felix —> Thanquol and Boneripper
- Gotrek and Felix —> Ulrika the Vampire
- Cheers —> Frasier
- Friends —> Joey
- Mary Tyler Moore —> Lou Grant.
- Homicide: Life on the Street —> Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (Homicide and Law & Order were already a Shared Continuity before John Munch and Captain Cragen transferred to SVU from those respective shows.)
- Peter Kay's Phoenix Nights —> Max & Paddy's Road To Nowhere
- Inspector Morse —> Lewis (A minor Time Skip, with the series picking up in 2007 after Inspector Morse ended in 2000.)
- That's So Raven —> Cory in the House (A small Time Skip. CITH takes place some time after TSR, after Raven goes to college.)
- Caerdydd —> Gwaith Cartref. (Neither Emyr nor Sara mentions Lea, Peter, or any of the other characters from the earlier show – which is strange, given how it ended.)
- iCarly has two spin-offs in pre-production. The first has Sam as well as Cat from Victorious in a spin-off together, and the second is built around Gibby.
- The Closer —> Major Crimes
- Garth Marenghis Darkplace —> Man To Man With Dean Learner
- Only Fools and Horses—> The Green Green Grass.
- Breaking Bad—> Better Call Saul.
- The Flintstones —> The Pebbles & Bamm-Bamm Show
- The finale of Hong Kong Phooey featured three inept cowboys who were unofficially named "Posse Impossible". Three years later they would get a cartoon of their own as a segment of the 1977 show CB Bears.
- The Archie Comedy Hour —> Sabrina and The Groovie Goolies
- The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron —> Planet Sheen
- Shrek —> Puss in Boots (a variation since its a prequel)
- The Aristocats—> [["Miriya & Marie"]] (Which is only available in Japan and Brazil which starred Marie and Miriya.)
Type 3 - adventures of a new character Examples
Anime and Manga
- Betterman —> Betterman Legends
- OutlawStar —> AngelLinks
- Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha —> Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force
- Golden Girls —> Empty Nest
- JAG —> NCIS —> NCIS: Los Angeles
- Happy Days —> Laverne and Shirley and Mork and Mindy
- Criminal Minds —> Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior
- Make Room for Daddy —>The Andy Griffith Show —> Mayberry RFD (Mixed with type 8)
- Bones —> The Finder
- Star Trek: The Original Series —> Assignment Earth (which never ended up happening)
- The Practice —> Boston Legal, where the spinoff was designed around characters originally introduced in the original in a serious case of Final Season Casting.
- Arrow —> The Flash (2014). The titular character of the latter show was introduced in - and gained his powers at the end of - a two-parter in the middle of Arrow's second season. Episode 2x20 was originally going to be a Backdoor Pilot before the execs decided to make it a standalone episode.
Type 4 - future/past adventures of our hero Examples
Anime and Manga
- Naruto —> Naruto Shippuuden
- Dragon Ball —> Dragonball Z/Dragonball Z Kai —> Dragonball GT
- * Ojamajo Doremi —> Ojamajo Doremi # (Sharp) —> Motto! Ojamajo Doremi —> Ojamajo Doremi Dokkan! —> Ojamajo Doremi 16/17
- Futari wa Pretty Cure —> Futari Wa Pretty Cure Max Heart
- Yes! Pretty Cure 5 —> Yes! Pretty Cure 5 GO!GO!
- Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha —> Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's —> Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Striker S —> Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Vi Vid (also type 2) —> Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force'' (also type 3)
- Rosario + Vampire —> Rosario + Vampire Season II
- You Got HaruhiRolled! —> Cracks in the SOS Dan —> "You Got SasakiRolled!" —> The Obesity of Haruhi Suzumiya
- Sweet Valley High —> Dear lord. There were eight different spin-offs of Sweet Valley High, all but one of them being a type 4. The seven that fit this type were Sweet Valley Twins, Sweet Valley University, Sweet Valley Kids, Sweet Valley Junior High, Sweet Valley Senior Year, Elizabeth, and The Sweet Life.
Type 5 - it's X only different Examples
Anime and Manga
- Bakugan —> Bakutech! Bakugan!
- Beyblade —> Metal Fight Beyblade
- Futari wa Pretty Cure —> Futari Wa Pretty Cure Splash Star —> Yes! Pretty Cure 5 —> Fresh Pretty Cure! —> HeartCatch Pretty Cure! —> Suite Pretty Cure ♪ —> Smile Pretty Cure! —> Doki Doki Pretty Cure
- The Hardy Boys Mystery Stories —> The Hardy Boys Casefiles (for older readers)
- The Hardy Boys Mystery Stories —> The Hardy Boys: Undercover Brothers —> The Hardy Boys Adventures (almost Type 2, except that each of the series is clearly a Canon Discontinuity from the previous ones)
- The Hardy Boys Mystery Stories —> The Hardy Boys are: the Clues Brothers —> The Hardy Boys Secret Files (for younger readers)
- Nancy Drew Mystery Stories —> The Nancy Drew Files (for older readers)
- Nancy Drew Mystery Stories —> Nancy Drew: Girl Detective —> The Nancy Drew Diaries (May or may not all take place in the same universe; hard to tell. If so, it would be a Type 2 example.)
- Nancy Drew Mystery Stories —> The Nancy Drew Notebooks —> Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew (for younger readers)
- Knight Rider —> Team Knight Rider
- The Bionic Woman —> Bionic Woman (2007)
- Life On Mars —> Ashes to Ashes (also partially Type 2 and Type 8)
- The Real World —> Road Rules
- Name That Tune —> Face The Music
- Canada's Worst Driver —> Canada's Worst Handyman
- H2O: Just Add Water —> Mako Mermaids An H 2 O Adventure
- The Gruen Transfer (Advertisment mocking/disection satirical panel show) —> Gruen Nation (Elections advertising, spin, branding and image control satirical panel show) —> Gruen Planet (global advertising, spin, branding and image control satirical panel show) —> Gruen Sweat (Olympics advertising, spin, branding and image control satirical panel show).
- Dynasty Warriors —> Several licence-based spinoffs (Dynasty Warriors: Gundam; Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage; One Piece Pirate Warriors; Hyrule Warriors)
- Lemmings —> The Adventures of Lomax
Type 6 - based on 5 minute sketch - Examples
Anime and Manga
- There was a Manga called Ten, which was about mahjong being serious business, there was a character called Akagi which was an awesome old man who the characters feared and respected, the character was so popular the author made an spinoff prequel series focused on Akagi's early life, at one point he meets his match in an old man called Washizu, who was so popular the author made a spinoff series focused on Washizu's early life (yes, Fukumoto made a spinoff of a spinoff).
- Naruto —> Rock Lee's Springtime Of Youth
- One Piece —> Chopperman
- InuYasha —> Kagome the Adventurer
- The Tracey Ullman Show —> The Simpsons
- Kamen Rider Den-O —> Imagin Anime
- The Carol Burnett Show —> Mama's Family
- Love American Style —> Happy Days
- The end game of the original Match Game —> Family Feud
- The end game of Chain Reaction —> Go!
- I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue —> You'll Have Had Your Tea: The Doings of Hamish And Dougal
- Sound to Screen Adaptation example: "Dave Hollins Space Cadet" in Son of Cliche —> Red Dwarf
- Animaniacs —> Pinky and the Brain
- Cow and Chicken —> I Am Weasel (Although they're both shown on Boomerang)
- Grim And Evil —> Evil Con Carne and The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy
- Liquid Television —> Ćon Flux and Beavis and Butt-Head
- Huckleberry Hound —> Yogi Bear
- KaBlam!! —> Action League Now
- Oh Yeah! Cartoons —> The Fairly OddParents, My Life as a Teenage Robot, and ChalkZone
Type 7 -based on a fake movie Examples
Anime and Manga
- Crayon Shin Chan —> Action Mask
- Genshiken —> Kujibiki Unbalance
- Neon Genesis Evangelion —> Shinji Ikari Raising Project
- Martian Successor Nadesico —> Gekiganger 3
- Yu-Gi-Oh! —> The Magical Adventures Of Dark Magician Girl
- Grindhouse —> Machete
- The Daily Show —> The Colbert Report, which started as a fictional show in commercials promoting The Daily Show and became defictionalized.
- Sonny With A Chance —> So Random!
- Community —> The Comumunity College Chronicle
- Childrens Hospital —> NTSF:SD:SUV::
Type 8 - kinda sequel Examples
Anime and Manga Live-Action TV
- Mash —> AfterMASH
- The Golden Girls —> The Golden Palace
- Three's Company —> Three's a Crowd
- The Suite Life of Zack and Cody —> The Suite Life on Deck
- The Andy Griffith Show —> Mayberry RFD (Mixed with type 3)
- All in the Family —> Archie Bunker's Place —> 704 Hauser a long forgotten 90s show that featured a new (and black) family living in the Bunkers' house, with a role reversal of the original series' dynamic, that last only 6 episodes.
- Da Vinci's Inquest —> Da Vinci's City Hall
Type 9 - behind the scenes Examples
- Big Brother (UK) —> Big Brother's Little Brother, Big Brother's Big Mouth, currently Big Brother's Bit on the Side
- And for the Canadian version, Big Brother Side Show.
- The Apprentice —> The Apprentice: You're Fired
- Britain's Got Talent —> Britain's Got More Talent
- Doctor Who —> Doctor Who Confidential
- Torchwood —> Torchwood Declassified
- Heroes —> The Post Show
- I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! —> I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here Now!
- Merlin —> Merlin - Secrets & Lies
- The Walking Dead —> Talking Dead
- The X Factor —> The Xtra Factor
Type 10 - online spinoff Examples
- Five Fwd is this for Channel Five's The Gadget Show and Fifth Gear - the former features a formalised news segment which has never been part of the main programme with a different presenter and games reviews and interviews with one of the regular presenters- something that rarely appears in the show proper.
- Monk —> Little Monk
- Sonny With A Chance —> Mackenzie Falls
- Ugly Betty —> Mode After Dark
- Offspring —> The Nurses
- EastEnders —> E20, following a group of teenagers outside of the main cast. Some were later promoted to the main series.
- 30 Rock —> Frank vs Lutz and Jack Donaghy: Executive Superhero.
- In the early 2000s, there were four Doctor Who online animated specials featuring the Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Doctors, and an alternate Ninth Doctor.
- Being Human had an online spinoff called Becoming Human which focused on Adam, a charater that had featured in an episode of the parent show, and otherwise entirely new characters.
Type 11 - part alternate continuity, part parallel Examples
Anime and Manga
- A concrete anime example is To Heart 2, which takes place in the same school as the original To Heart, only that it is set three years after. Some nods and cameos reinforce this.
- Puella Magi Madoka Magica has Puella Magi Kazumi Magica, which is about another group of magical girls. Its other spin-off, Puella Magi Oriko Magica is either a Prequel or an Interquel. A third spin-off entitled Puella Magi Madoka Magica: The Different Story was released for the Compilation Movie, and it is part Prequel, P.O.V. Sequel, and What If? story.
- Three new spin-offs began after the premiere of Puella Magi Madoka Magica The Movie: Rebellion. One is an Oriko Magica prequel. The other ones are Puella Magi Suzune Magica, which is about another group of magical girls, and Puella Magi Tart Magica, which elaborates on a background detail from the anime.
- Onegai Twins is set one year after the events of Onegai Teacher, it shares most locations and many of the first anime characters come back either as cameo or secondary characters.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! —> Yu-Gi-Oh! GX —> Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's —> Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL
- Dr. Slump —> Dragon Ball
- Jewelpet —> Jewelpet Twinkle☆ —> Jewelpet Sunshine —> Jewelpet Kira Deco! —> Jewelpet Happiness, all of the series shares the same Jewelpets, but not the same characters in general to prevent canon confusion.
- The Mighty Thor: Has a interesting relationship with Journey into Mystery. Thor debuted in Journey into Mystery and headlined it for a while before taking over the title completely and later getting another series. 49 years after his debut, Journey into Mystery is introduced as a spin-off taking over Thor's numbering and Thor gets another series.
- Fantastic Four After the death of a prominent member of the book, the book ended at issue 588 and was revamped as FF (FF in the title standing for Future Foundation). After 11 issues of FF, Marvel revived the Fantastic Four for issue 600 (the previous issues being FF) and it will continue forward with FF also being released concurrently focusing on the non Fantastic Four members of the Future Foundation.
- Mercy Thompson Series and Alpha and Omega, along with a few short stories set in the same universe.
- The The Infernal Devices series, a spin-off The Mortal Instruments, is an interesting example; the two series share a couple characters, (namely, Magnus and Camille), but they're not central to either series, and all the other characters are new. Plus, "The Infernal Devices" takes place 200 years before "The Mortal Instruments".
- Den of Shadows —> Kiesha'ra
- The Graveyard (notable for featuring Mark Salling, pre-Glee) exists in the same universe as the Bloody Murder duology.
- The Reboot Star Trek films act as a Spin-Off parallel in an Alternate Timeline to the Star Trek: The Original Series.
- Star Trek: The Original Series —> Star Trek: The Next Generation: the spinoff is set approximately a century after the original.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation —> Star Trek: Voyager: the spinoff picks up almost immediately after the conclusion of its predecessor, and although it does not feature any continuing characters it does continue various stories and themes originating from TNG and DS9.
- Star Trek: Enterprise is set more than 110 years before The Original Series, and is arguably a spinoff of TOS, TNG or both.
- Each Star Trek series featured few crossovers, apart from one at the beginning of each spinoff as a symbolic "passing the torch". The first episode of TNG included a cameo appearance by an aged Dr McCoy; the pilot of DS9 (listed under type #1) prominently featured Captain Picard; the first scene of VOY included a cameo by DS9's Quark; the first episode of ENT showed a video recording of Dr Zefram Cochrane, a major character in the TNG film Star Trek: First Contact.
- Stargate Atlantis and Stargate Universe
- Battlestar Galactica (Reimagined) —> Caprica, a prequel spinoff which follows the creation of Cylons ~50 years before the setting of the parent show.
- The various CSI and Law & Order spinoffs.
- The first seven seasons of Power Rangers used the few characters variant, starting with Lightspeed Rescue, they used the no character variant, all set in the same universe, with characters only returning for team-up episodes (except for Power Rangers Dino Thunder and Power Rangers Samurai, where Tommy and Bulk returned as main characters, respectively).
- Eureka and Warehouse13 are established as a shared canon during an episode on each show in which each had a character visiting from the other.
- Once Upon a Time —> Once Upon a Time in Wonderland
- The Portal series, spinoff from Half-Life.
- The Shin Megami Tensei series has several concurrent timelines, with the main timeline and the if.../Persona timeline being the most notable ones. Nocturne implies that all the timelines are canon within the same multiverse.
- The The Legend of Zelda series now has a rather interesting spin off of it's own called Hyrule Warriors for the Wii U. It's a non-canon entry in the Zelda series handled by Tecmo-Koei that uses gameplay similar to their own Dynasty Warriors series, except with a Zelda twist (like incorporating famous Zelda items into the combat). In a way is also one part Cross Over because of the whole Zelda meets Dynasty Warriors thing.
- The Amazing Spiez, spinoff to Totally Spies!.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender -> Legend Of Korra
- Planes, spinoff from Disney / Pixar Cars.
- Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood an animated spinoff of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
- The World of David the Gnome was spun off into The Wisdom of the Gnomes (with no room for crossovers since David and his wife die in the last episode of their series).