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More Popular Spin-Off

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Sometimes, a Spin-Off series ends up becoming more popular than the original that spun it off. See also Adaptation Displacement, where the vast majority of fans are unaware that it started in another medium, and Sequel Displacement. Also see Breakup Breakout, "Weird Al" Effect and Even Better Sequel. Contrast with Quietly Performing Sister Show.



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    Anime and Manga 
  • In 2006, a light novel called SLASHDØG was published but went very much unnoticed. Several years later, another light novel that took place in the same universe was written and was recognized for its relatable characters and... ecchi atmosphere. That light novel in question? High School D×D. The notoriety of D×D became so great that SLASHDØG was eventually retooled into a Prequel series exploring the backstory of The Rival Vali Lucifer as he journeyed with the series' original group, who would then become Canon Immigrants in D×D.
  • Akagi was originally a prequel to the long-running mahjong manga Ten. Despite being launched only three years after Ten, Akagi outlived it by 16 years with spin-offs of its own.
  • The Sailor Moon manga and anime are both relatively well known (the awareness of the manga has increased after ten years and an Updated Re-release), but not nearly as many people are as familiar with its sister manga, Codename: Sailor V which starred Minako as Sailor V. Sailor Moon actually began as a spin-off/quasi-sequel (they ran concurrently) when Toei saw potential and asked Takeuchi to expand it with more characters. In fact, when Codname: Sailor V was finally published in America in 2011, it was treated as the spinoff.
  • Dragon Ball is the finalized version of previous one-shots Dragon Boy and The Adventures of Tongpoo. Akira Toriyama originally hoped for an added arc or two after the first one, but the manga's overwhelming popularity kept the story going for over a decade, solidifying this trope.
  • Dr. Slump, another Toriyama work, originated from earlier one-shots such as Wonder Island and Today's Highlight Island.
  • Magical Girl Site is much more popular than the series it spun-off, Magical Girl Apocalypse, that it even got an anime adaptation first.
  • Paradise Kiss (Gokinjo Monogatari) — The former is more popular outside of Japan since, unlike it, the latter does not have as many official foreign language translations. (Gokinjo Monogatari has French and Spanish translations for the manga and an Italian translation for the anime, at least, but Paradise Kiss has at least 10 translations, including to English, according to That Other Wiki.)
  • Outlaw Star is combination of both this and Adaptation Displacement, as most people only remember the anime, which was adapted from the manga, which itself was a spin-off of a manga called Future-Retro Hero Story.
  • Great Teacher Onizuka was the spin-off of Shonan Jun'ai Gumi!, a tale about two rambunctious delinquents. You'd be forgiven if you thought this series was a prequel instead of the first installment, since most countries that export it give it the title GTO: The Early Years.
  • The anime adaptation of A Certain Scientific Railgun was originally presented as a spin-off of the anime adaptation of A Certain Magical Index, but wound up being more popular and selling more DVDs than the Index anime. It's not quite a straight example though, as the Magical Index novels are still among the best selling Japanese light novels; The debate over whether Index or Railgun (shows, not characters) is better is a highly debated topic among the fan base.
  • The characters Trava and Shinkai in REDLINE were originally from a lesser-known OVA series from 2003 titled Trava: Fist Planet.
  • While it's not strictly a Spin-Off, Gatchaman Crowds aired in the same season as the premiere of a live-action Gatchaman movie. Crowds was likely an attempt to cash-in on the film...except that the movie got poor reviews, and is considered a flop. On the other hand, Crowds got very high ratings for its time slot, and was given a second season.
  • Lyrical Nanoha started out as a brief joke music video in an extra fandisc for Triangle Heart 3: Sweet Songs Forever. Then someone decided to turn this fantasy short into a serious Magical Girl series with Nanoha as the main heroine. Over a decade later, Toraha is dead in all but name, with three visual novels and two OVAs to prove it ever existed, the last of which was released back in 2003. The Nanoha franchise, meanwhile, has become a multimedia juggernaut still going strong to this day, with five televised series, four big screen movies, a dozen published mangas (ranging in length from one-shots to the Doorstopper that is ViVid), and three games (if you count the INNOCENT web game).
  • PriPara is more popular than the 3 Pretty Rhythm shows that preceeded it, to the point where it's the most popular entry in the Pretty Series franchise. At one point, the franchise made 15 billion yen. The same can be said for the Pretty Rhythm: Rainbow Live spin-off/sequel film series King of Prism, which became one of the longest-running movies in the history of Japanese cinema.
  • According to the other wiki, Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE- has sold more volumes than both Cardcaptor Sakura and ×××HOLiC, as well as every other CLAMP series featured. Of course, this is only taking into account manga sales, when it comes to The Merch and anime sales, Cardcaptor Sakura is more well-known. Not to mention Tsubasa is over twice the length of CCS, thus, more volumes sold.
  • The light novel adaptations of Seraph of the End are widely agreed to be of better quality than the main manga. The fact that Takaya Kagami is already an author helps immensely.
  • While Ayakashi: Samurai Horror Tales faded into obscurity, its spinoff Mononoke still remains a highly acclaimed series with a long-running manga. Many people seem to only remember the Bakeneko arc of Ayakashi where the Medicine Seller originated, or only watch that part.
  • WORKING!! was a print spinoff to a webcomic also titled WORKING!!, but by the time the latter was remade for tankoubon format, the former had a large fanbase and several adaptations under its belt. The title became so associated with the spinoff that the original had to rename itself to Web-Ban WORKING!!, and later WWW.WORKING!!, to signify it wasn't the same as the other series. Much like Sailor V, advertising treated it as the spinoff when it was eventually adapted.
  • While Futari wa Pretty Cure was popular when it first aired, one series seems to be more popular than the other parts of the franchise: HeartCatch Pretty Cure!, which remains the most well-received and highest-grossing incarnation of Pretty Cure to this day, especially in the Western world.
  • Canaan is far better known than 428: Shibuya Scramble on the Western side, due to Late Export for You in regards to the latter.

    Asian Animation 
  • The Korean stationary mascot Baby Aru/PinkAru, who can be seen somewhat as South Korea's answer to Hello Kitty, introduced a new character named Nunbory/Noonbory in 2000. Noonbory ended up becoming vastly more popular than PinkAru; not only has he had two Animated Adaptations (one as a film in the early 2000s, and the other as a television series in 2008/2009), but he has made it outside of South Korea while PinkAru remains in No Export for You Land.

    Comic Books 
  • Spider-Man (Amazing Fantasy) Many Marvel characters of The '60s started off in anthology series. The Mighty Thor and Doctor Strange are other examples. The difference here is that Spidey's intro was in the final issue of Amazing Fantasy, while the other anthology books starring future Marvel megastars continued with their anthology titles and formats for a period of time.
  • Batman began as just one of many characters rotating through the spotlight in Detective Comics. Eventually Detective Comics became both the source of DC Comics' name and a full-fledged Batman title.
  • Superman was originally just the central story in Action Comics #1. And while he was featured on the cover, Superman didn't get another cover until Action Comics #7, and wasn't regularly featured on the covers until #16 or #19, depending on interpretation. Action Comics is still alive today... as a Superman title.
  • Marvel Comics' Wolverine first appeared as antagonist for the Incredible Hulk, and has gone on to eclipse him in some respects. And when he was brought into the X-Men initially, Wolverine wasn't a main character at all. In fact, it was something of a toss-up between him and Thunderbird on who to kill off in the second issue of the new X-Men team, as their similar personalities were considered redundant. Wolverine got to live because his appearance and powers were considered more interesting. He then, of course, went on to be one of the very few X-Men characters to get his own long-running solo book.
  • Moon Knight began as an enemy in Werewolf by Night, and debuted pretty late in the title's run to boot. He's since become a much more popular character than the Werewolf by Night, and has gotten his own book several times.
  • ABC Warriors spun out from Ro-Busters, and managed to last much longer and attain greater popularity.
  • Popeye began as a minor character in a comic strip called Thimble Theatre.
  • The Smurfs actually first appeared in, back before they became popular, Peyo's major series Johan and Peewit (Johan et Pirlouit). Guess which series fell in the shadows after the blue critters showed up, to the frustration of Peyo?
  • The Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye is not only this to Mike Costa's run, but also to its fellow spin-off Robots in Disguise. The main reason being that while MTMTE was breaking new ground and taking risks, the latter two books do very little beyond the same old "Autobots v. Decepticons" storylines other than taking place in supposed peacetime (which often came across as an Informed Attribute at times). It also helps that MTMTE has been virtually free of any and all Executive Meddling, while RID constantly has its storylines and characters picked based on what toys are out at the time.
  • Ms. Marvel (2014) was launched as a spin-off of the Captain Marvel series. It's been noted with some amusement that Ms. Marvel frequently outsells Captain Marvel, and has garnered more awards and critical acclaim as well.
  • While the X-Men are still one of the most popular comic book franchises of all time, Deadpool has become a massively popular character in his own right, to the point that his comics have become a franchise in and of themselves, independent of the one they spun off from while still sharing the same universe. He even gives Wolverine a run for his money, publicity-wise.
    Deadpool: Ya hear that, Logan? Suck it.
    • This trope is played straight when one considers that Deadpool specifically began as a New Mutants villain. Over the years, Deadpool has definitely emerged as a more popular character than any of the New Mutants.
  • Speaking of New Mutants, it was the first spinoff X-Men ongoing and featured a younger cast. While initially very successfully, over time the series' sales declined. They were reinvigorated when Rob Liefeld started pencilling and the character Cable was introduced. Cable became the New Mutants' third mentor and, after a significant boost in sales, the series ended and was spun-off into X-Force, the first issue of which is the second-best-selling single issue of all time. In the decades to follow, there would almost always be at least one X-Force and/or Cable title on shelves, while New Mutants has struggled to maintain a series since, with the most successful being a revival in the late 2000s.
  • Lady Death started out as a supporting character in Brian Pullido's Evil Ernie comics, serving as a Lady Macbeth to the title character. She went on to star in her own series, gained her own animated adaptation and all-around is much more well-known now than Evil Ernie himself. This is because Evil Ernie is much more nihilistic in tone, whereas Lady Death at least has a major Evil Is Sexy thing going for her.
  • The Authority began as a spin-off of Stormwatch, then ended up taking Stormwatch's place among Wildstorm's major titles, to the point that for a lot of comic-book fans, the Weatherman is better known as the archnemesis of Apollo and Midnighter than as the former leader of Stormwatch.
  • Hellblazer was spun-off from Swamp Thing after John Constantine proved to be popular with fans, and while Alan Moore's run on Swamp Thing is still acclaimed, Hellblazer ended up becoming Vertigo's flagship series and went on to hugely influence the urban fantasy genre as a whole.
  • Certain characters who made their debut in the pages of Fantastic Four have spun off into their own and/or other franchises, and become more prominent in the Marvel Universe than Marvel's First Family themselves sometimes. Examples include Doctor Doom, Black Panther, Silver Surfer, and Galactus. Doom and Galactus are still heavily associated with the Four, especially with Doom being their Arch-Enemy, but they've both become general villains for the Marvel Universe that just about every hero has encountered at some point, and Galactus himself is a cosmic force of nature that's a threat to all life on Earth and beyond. Black Panther has his own mythos, his comics have become a popular franchise in their own rightnote , and he's been more heavily associated with The Avengers for decades. And Silver Surfer has his own mythos within the cosmic Marvel Universe, and if there's anyone likely to fill the role of hero for that particular side of Marvel, it's usually him.
  • Richie Rich originally debuted as a supporting feature in Little Dot. Richie would latter get his own comic book series in 1960. Since then, Richie Rich has become one of Harvey Comics' most popular characters.
  • Black Canary started out as a recurring character in the Johnny Thunder feature in Flash Comics. Almost immediately, she became much more popular and quickly had her own feature in Flash, replacing his. Since then, even though her own titles have always been short-lived, she's been a regular part of the DCU, most notably as a member of the Birds of Prey and being Green Arrow's longest-running and most popular Love Interest. She's appeared in multiple live-action and animated television shows, and appeared in the DC Extended Universe film Birds of Prey. Johnny Thunder, meanwhile, is remembered as a minor member of the Justice Society of America, if at all.

    Films — Animation 
  • Puss in Boots was much more well-liked than the two Shrek sequels that preceded it.
  • Dreamworks' take on Trolls was much more popular than the previous attempts to modernize the toys, to the point where it became a Cash Cow Franchise.
  • Minions: This spin-off/prequel made more at the box-office than any installment of the Despicable Me trilogy where the Minions came from.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • White Christmas is only a spiritual spinoff of Holiday Inn (both movies feature Bing Crosby, the song "White Christmas" and other songs by Irving Berlin, and a Hey, Let's Put on a Show plot), but it's certainly the more popular movie.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean was based on the Disney Theme Parks attractions of the same name; its popularity led to Jack Sparrow, Barbossa and Davy Jones being added to the ride. The Pirates films have also fared better than other films based on park attractions such as The Haunted Mansion and Tomorrowland.
  • The Pink Panther:
    • There are all these kids for whom the Pink Panther is a cartoon series... or an insulation mascot.
    • In Spain, the Pink Panther is more associated with a pink sweet bun children love eating than with any of the movies. At least the Pink Panther appears on the package.
    • In Trinidad, the "Pink Panther" name is associated with the reigning Calypso Monarch. Good luck finding anybody who remembers the movies.
  • The Naked Gun series began as an effort to relaunch Leslie Nielsen's short-lived television series Police Squad! on the big screen. In contrast to Police Squad, which was canceled after only six episodes, The Naked Gun spawned two sequels and grossed over $216 million.
  • Overlaps with Germans Love David Hasselhoff, but the much-hated Godzilla (1998) is far better known than any of the original (or later) Godzilla movies and is actually highly popular in certain European countries. In fact, most people didn't even realize that there were others until the trailers for Godzilla (2014) came out — which was in turn very, very badly received in these places, even if it was much more positively received than the 1998 film on a global scale.
  • Although Godzilla is the main star of the MonsterVerse, the prequel Kong: Skull Island managed to financially outperform Godzilla in many foreign markets. Notably, in China, its total box office run surpassed Godzilla's in just 5 days.
  • X-Men Film Series
    • Deadpool (2016) is the highest-grossing entry of the X-Men Film Series in both North America and worldwide, and was popular enough to attract the attention of many people who weren't major X-Men fans.
    • Logan became the most critically acclaimed entry in the entire franchise, earning an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay in the process. It also outgrossed the mainline movies X-Men: Apocalypse and Dark Phoenix both domestically and internationally despite having a more restrictive R-rating.
  • Rogue One is a standalone Anthology film in Star Wars as opposed to a numbered episode. However, many fans consider it to be as important as the main episodes, if not better. In terms of ticket sales, it surpassed both Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith while also garnering a much better critical reception than all entries in the prequel trilogy.
  • In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, although T'Challa was initially introduced as a supporting character in Captain America: Civil War, his solo movie Black Panther became the highest-grossing solo MCU movie with an international haul of $1.3 billion. Furthermore, it also became the most critically acclaimed Marvel movie with 3 Golden Globe nominations and 7 Oscar nominations including Best Picture. It also has the distinction of being the first MCU movie to win Academy Awards with 3 wins for Best Costume Design, Best Production Design, and Best Original Score.
  • Although Warner Bros. always intended Batman and Superman to be the main stars of the DC Extended Universe franchise, its movies based on "lesser" DC heroes have turned out to be much more profitable and well-received than the main entries starring the World's Finest. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice scored a 27% on Rotten Tomatoes, but Wonder Woman scored a whopping 93%, and its net profit was more than double what Batman v Superman earned. Later, Aquaman crossed the $1 billion mark, outgrossed Batman v Superman in just 3 weeks, and even made more money than the non-DCEU movie The Dark Knight Rises worldwide, making it the highest grossing DC movie of all time. Ironic, given how Wonder Woman has historically been the least popular of DC Comics' "Big Three", and Aquaman has spent much of his history as a Memetic Loser.

  • Nestle introduced a candy in 1997 known as the Nestle Magic Ball which was Overshadowed by Controversy because it broke a law about inedible objects in food (the same one that got Kinder Surprise banned in the United States). Nestle re-branded it as the Wonder Ball and it became a huge success, with nostalgia for the product causing it to return in 2017.
  • Bellywashers and Tummy Ticklers, juice bottles with figurine toppers of popular cartoon, movie and video game characters, were not all that popular in their initial run. When the two brands were combined into Good2Grow, their popularity soared among children, likely due to retailer Target gaining distribution rights at the time.

    Game Shows 
  • The Price Is Right started as a more relaxed game of price guessing hosted by Bill Cullen in the late 1950's. However, when Mark Goodson decided to produce a revival in the 70's, he decided to re-work the show into a carnival of glitz with elements he scraped from the popular Let's Make a Deal (i.e. plucking contestants from the audience to play mini-games, three giant doors, etc). The revised version, dubbed "The New Price Is Right", eventually eclipsed the original in popularity, and still airs to this very day. Most viewers barely even realize that their favorite show has been around much longer than they thought.
  • The Match Game started in 1962 on NBC as a simple panel game. When CBS retooled it in 1973, it quickly became daytime TV's top show.
  • Family Feud was a spinoff of the Audience Match portion of Match Game. It eventually overtook Match Game in the ratings, and even took Match Game panelist Richard Dawson as host, eventually causing him to leave Match Game
  • Bill Carruthers created a show for ABC in 1977 called Second Chance, which lasted four months. Six years later, the show was revived for CBS, the devils on the game board changed to Whammys and the show renamed Press Your Luck. Even though it ran three years, it still has a following to this day.

  • Beverly Cleary's first book was about an ordinary boy named Henry Huggins. One of the supporting characters was his friend's pesky little sister, Ramona Quimby. She eventually got her own book series which is more popular than Henry's.
  • The Kiesha'ra series (mostly Hawksong) is a lot more popular than the Den of Shadows series; a lot of people aren't even aware that they share the same universe.
  • Carry On is a spin-off of the author's previous novel, Fangirl, it's a defictionalization of the Harry Potter Expy which the main character of the latter novel is writing fanfic about. The novel became a best-seller, and the only one of the author's to be expanded into a full trilogy.

    Live-Action TV 
  • While both shows are well-remembered, Benson ran nearly twice as long as its parent series, Soap.
  • Happy Days (Love, American Style)
    • And then Laverne & Shirley blew past Happy Days in the ratings, almost from episode 1. In the long run, however, Happy Days has made a far greater cultural impact.
      • And then Mork & Mindy was spun off from both of those shows. Probably due largely to Robin Williams' performance, Mork & Mindy became the only one of the shows mentioned here to earn an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Comedy Series (in 1979).
  • Also from the same producers, Family Matters is a show everyone remembers, mainly for Breakout Character Steve Urkel- but what many people don't know or realize is that it was a spinoff of Perfect Strangers- Harriette had originated on that show as an elevator operator, and Carl had made an appearance there too. But characters from Strangers never appeared on the new show, so many people simply thought it was a new show. It also doesn't help that, while Family Matters has been a syndication mainstay since the late 90s, Strangers wasn't nearly as popular in reruns and seemed to fall into relative obscurity after it originally aired. Hulu streaming and DVD releases have brought Strangers more exposure recently, but Family Matters and Urkel remain household names.
  • The Buffy the Vampire Slayer series is far more well-known than the original 1992 Buffy film, which is nowadays known pretty much only for being spun off into the show.
    • In turn, the last two seasons of Buffy were eclipsed in the ratings by its own spinoff Angel, although Buffy is still the more well-known show overall.
    • As for the comics, Angel and Faith (the main spin-off, a Spiritual Successor to the Angel (IDW) comics) has become more popular than the regular Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 9 series. This is at least in part due to the fact that some of the more popular characters were Put on a Bus in the main series to get their own series/mini-series (Angel/Faith, Spike, and Willow).
  • NCIS, a spinoff of JAG, has gotten consistently better ratings and reviews since its debut, although JAG fared better at the Emmy Awards.
    • Unusually, NCIS had fairly modest ratings in its first few seasons. Basically the show was doing well enough to not get canceled but not good enough to be a top rated series. By the show's fifth season, more people became aware of the show thanks to reruns and it became one of the most watched shows by its sixth.
    • Whereas JAG was canceled after 10 seasons, NCIS is still a ratings juggernaut going into 17 seasons (and counting) and has become so successful that it has become its own franchise (NCIS: Los Angeles and NCIS: New Orleans). At this point, most viewers probably don't even remember that NCIS was a spin-off itself. When by-then-retired Admiral Chegwidden makes a cameo in the 10th season finale of NCIS, it's basically an Easter Egg to JAG fans because the average NCIS viewer had no idea he used to be a main character.
  • The Honeymooners was originally a segment in The Jackie Gleason Show. Honeymooners is an interesting example. When the show was spun-off from The Jackie Gleason Show in 1955, it lasted only one season (39 episodes) before it was canceled. The skit version would occasionally be revived up till 1978. In the 80’s, collection of skits of the Honeymooners were repackaged as 1/2 hour episodes for Showtime under the title of the The Honeymooners: The Lost Episodes, which were later combined with “Classic 39” from the single standalone season for syndication. It was then that the show become the popular classic it is today.
  • Diagnosis: Murder was a spinoff of Jake and the Fatman, which introduced the series lead character Mark Sloan in a Poorly Disguised Pilot. While Fatman has fallen into obscurity despite a five-season run (in part because it was never rerun), Diagnosis: Murder ran for eight seasons and has maintained popularity in reruns after ending in 2001.
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit has received more acclaim and ratings than the original Law & Order, and is on the verge of catching up to the original's 20 seasons. Somewhat ironic in that the show is really a Dolled-Up Installment.
    • Technically the show is also a spin-off of Homicide: Life on the Street because of character John Munch. SVU has a dozen seasons more this predecessor and has survived the retirement of his character.
  • Frasier started as a spinoff of Cheers, but it went on to be a Cult Classic with its own enthusiastic fanbase. While it's difficult to say which show was more popular as they were both quite popular and beloved in their day, the Frasier fandom seems to be much more active today, while Cheers is mostly just remembered as a funny sitcom from the '80s. However, Cheers is still frequently referenced in modern pop culture, while Frasier references are much more rare. At the very least, Frasier was definitely a More Acclaimed Spin-Off: it won 37 Primetime Emmys in its entire run, to Cheers' 28. And unlike Cheers, Frasier is set to be revived in 2022 on Paramount+.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959) and The Untouchables were both spinoffs to a mostly forgotten anthology series entitled Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse hosted by Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball.
  • The Colbert Report to The Daily Show. While the Daily Show is still fairly popular and running, Colbert's show was a Breakout Hit that really raked in the ratings, only ended because Stephen Colbert chose to end it and move onto other projects, and many consider Colbert's character performance much funnier than Stewart's more serious approach. Jon Stewart seems to have at least partly realized this and lampshaded it in a few episodes.
  • Xena: Warrior Princess has maintained its fandom to a greater extent than its parent Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and even managed to surpass Legendary Journey's ratings by a wide margin consistently by the time it reached half its run, in no little part due to the character's appeal among lesbians and other women. But it is a more downplayed version than other examples as Hercules was still a very popular show during its run, even beating Xena and freaking Baywatch in the ratings several times. It was so popular at its peak it was the most watched show in the world and was actually consistently more popular than Xena in some countries and thus is still considered a quintessential 90s TV show, and if you ask anyone who watched TV back then they are very likely to remember the show. The fact that Hercules was more consistent with its quality level and never suffered the infamous Seasonal Rot that Xena did certainly doesn't hurt.
  • Ultraman to Ultra Q. While Ultra Q is very well-known and beloved in its home country, it never gained the massive popularity Ultraman enjoys in both Japan and the rest of the world. Thus, Ultraman is the show that Guinness World Records awards for "Most Spinoffs", not Ultra Q.
  • The Flash spun off from Arrow and soon became the highest-rating show on The CW, regularly outrating its parent show by an average of about one million viewers. A big factor is the tone of both shows: Arrow, while a critically-acclaimed show in its own right, is generally very dark, drama-filled and often not very family-friendly; by contrast, the Flash has fully embraced its comic-book heritage and has more of a balance between drama and humour, making it suitable for adults and kids alike. The fact Arrow got a nasty case of Seasonal Rot about halfway through its third season, just as The Flash was hitting its stride, certainly didn't help matters.
  • Stargate SG-1 is considerably more well-known than Stargate, the 1994 sci-fi/action movie that inspired it. While the original film was a modest success at the box office, it's mostly remembered as a minor footnote in the careers of its director Roland Emmerich and its star Kurt Russell. The TV series, on the other hand, ran for a full decade and spawned a major multimedia franchise—including books, comics, video games, a cartoon, and two television spinoffs of its own (Stargate Atlantis and Stargate Universe).
  • Friday Night Lights is a major Cult Classic with a devoted fandom, and it's gone on to be much more well-known than the modestly successful Billy Bob Thornton movie that inspired it (albeit loosely). Overlaps with Adaptation Displacement, since the movie is now primarily known as the inspiration for the TV spinoff, and not so much as an adaptation of the 1990 nonfiction book by H.G. Bissinger. Ironically, the TV show's continued popularity has led to talk of it being revived as a movie, even though it was a movie in the first place.
  • While Chicago Fire is quite popular, Chicago P.D. is far more well known, either because of the questionable police brutality on the show or the fact that it is a staple on the rerun circuit, airing almost as much as the various Law & Order series.
  • The 1982 series Boys From the Blackstuff is much better-known than the original TV play it spun off from, The Black Stuff, to the extent that many people don't even know what the title refers to (in the original play, the characters were labourers who were laying tarmac roads, hence "the black stuff". The series follows their lives after that job ended.)

  • You ever hear of the band Rainbow (no, not the Ritchie Blackmore band)? No? Wicked Lester? No? What about KISS? Yeah, Gene and Paul founded Rainbow which became Wicked Lester and then, under the names Gene Simmons (his name during the Wicked Lester times was Gene Klein and his real name is Chaim Witz) and Paul Stanley (real name Stanley Eisen) they founded KISS. Both Peter Criss (his surname a shortened version of his real one) and Ace Frehley (also not his real first name) were in Wicked Lester and others had been as well.
  • Journey started out as a vehicle for guitarist Neal Schon and keyboardist Gregg Rolie after they left Santana in 1974. While Santana remained popular, Journey had a string of multi-Platinum albums after bringing Steve Perry aboard as lead singer in 1977.
  • Semisonic began as an informal side project for Dan Wilson and John Munson of the cult band Trip Shakespeare. Hugely popular in their hometown of Minneapolis, Trip Shakespeare couldn't translate that success to the rest of the country and eventually broke up. Wilson and Munson focused their attention on Semisonic, and had a huge hit several years later with "Closing Time".
  • Michael Jackson (post-Jackson 5). While The Jackson 5 were undeniably a hit, as a solo act Michael was The King of Pop, with the best-selling album of all time and 8 Grammy awards. The Jackson 5 likely wouldn't have the same legacy they have today had it not been for Michael's solo career.
  • Goth pioneers Bauhaus are considered an extremely influential band, but their members all had more success (in America anyway), although not as much influence, with their post-breakup work: Peter Murphy as a solo artist and Daniel Ash, David J and Kevin Haskins in Love and Rockets.
  • Justin Timberlake post-*NSYNC. JT's solo albums have only sold a quarter of what *NSYNC sold, but he has had more number one hits and far more critical acclaim than *NSYNC ever did.
  • Beyoncé is far more known for her solo career than she ever was as part of Destiny's Child.
  • N.W.A:
    • Dr. Dre and Ice Cube both went on to greater commercial success in their solo careers. However, influence-wise, N.W.A. still wins.
      • In turn, Eminem over Dr. Dre.
    • N.W.A. was this for World Class Wreckin' Cru, of which Dr. Dre and DJ Yella were both members before joining N.W.A.
  • Ever heard of the Norwegian Death Metal band Old Funeral? How about the bands some of its members formed after it: Burzum and Immortal?
  • Crosby, Stills and Nash ended up outlasting and outselling the bands they left (The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield and The Hollies). And once one considers the best known incarnation is Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Neil Young is this to both Buffalo Springfield and CSNY.
  • Following a mistaken felony charge during a North American tour in 1975, Hawkwind fired their bassist, Lemmy. So he went on to found a new group with a much faster and heavier sound, and named it Motörhead after the last song he'd written for Hawkwind.
  • City and Colour is starting to become this, in comparison to singer Dallas Green's former band, Alexisonfire. Though Alexisonfire is still popular, the more mainstream sound of C&C allowed them to be surpassed.
  • The Polyphonic Spree was formed by a few members of cult post-grunge band Tripping Daisy after the death of guitarist Wes Berggren and are much more well known than their parent band. One of the few members of Tripping Daisy that didn't join the Polyphonic Spree was Ben Curtis, who later formed the Secret Machines with his brother (and later left to form indie band School of Seven Bells).
  • Scottish indie band The Yummy Fur, while adored by their small cult audience, were virtually unknown during their 1990's heydey. Lead singer/only constant member John McKeown found more success with his next band, 1990s.
    • Paul Thomson and Alex Karpanos (then going under Alex Huntley), two former members of The Yummy Fur, formed Franz Ferdinand a few years after they left the Revolving Door lineup of the Yummy Fur. They has much more success than not only The Yummy Fur, but also 1990s.
  • Death Cab for Cutie originally began as a solo project of Ben Gibbard, the guitarist for the now obscure band Pinwheel.
  • Porcupine Tree started as a solo project for Steven Wilson alongside his main band No-Man; as Porcupine Tree became a proper band following Up The Downstair and grew in popularity, No-Man became the side-project. No-Man is still alive at the time of writing, but it's less of a priority for Steven Wilson because Porcupine Tree is much more popular nowadays.
  • Another case of "beloved cult band begets more popular group" is The Hold Steady, formed by two former members of Lifter Puller.
  • Uncle Tupelo were famous for being the Trope Codifier of Alternative Country, but when the band broke up the band's two leaders and various other members formed two different bands. Whereas Jay Farrar's band Son Volt is arguably only barely more famous than Uncle Tupelo, Jeff Tweedy's band Wilco is perhaps one of the most critically acclaimed alternative bands of the past 20 years.
  • Joy Division only released two albums before their singer committed suicide, but the ensuing post-Ian Curtis band, New Order, is equal to them in terms of popularity and influence. Not in sales though, New Order is far ahead of Joy Division there.
  • The Seattle grunge band Green River is best known for spawning both Pearl Jam (guitarist Stone Gossard and bassist Jeff Ament) and Mudhoney (singer Mark Arm). Pearl Jam also counts for the two projects Gossard and Ament did following Green River: Mother Love Bone (who were on the cusp of stardom when their singer Andy Wood died of a drug overdose) and Temple of the Dog (a tribute to Wood helmed by the duo along with Wood's friend Chris Cornell, featuring Cornell's drummer in Soundgarden Matt Cameron,note  and Pearl Jam's future singer - Eddie Vedder - and guitarist - Mike McCready). After Pearl Jam and Soundgarden broke out, Temple of the Dog and Mother Love Bone's albums (they only had one apiece) became big sellers due to the connections.
  • Björk was the lead singer of The Sugarcubes, an Alternative Rock band that was one of the first Icelandic artists to ever find any mainstream recognition outside of Iceland. Whereas the Sugarcubes are fondly remembered by fans of 80's alternative music, Bjork's popularity completely eclipsed theirs by the time she released her solo debut album.
    • And before that, she was the singer of the post-punk/goth outfit KUKL.
      • And before THAT she was the singer of the punk band Tappi Tíkarrass.
  • The Yardbirds have three popular spinoffs.
    • Eric Clapton went on to play in the psychedelic rock band Cream and is probably even more popular as a solo artist.
    • Jeff Beck who replaced Clapton as the lead guitarist has also had a very lucrative solo career.
    • Jimmy Page replaced Jeff Beck, all of the group but Page left the band. Page recruited new band members and toured under the name The New Yardbirds for a while before changing their name to Led Zeppelin. Led Zeppelin became one of the most popular rock bands of all time.
  • John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers was a Revolving Door Band whose former membership includes not only Eric Clapton (after he left The Yardbirds and before he started Cream), but also Peter Green, Mick Fleetwood, and John McVie.
  • Electric Light Orchestra from The Move. ELO was originally just going to be a side project for The Move, but lead singer Roy Wood left the organization after the first ELO album, so the others just continued on as ELO. While The Move placed several singles in the UK Top Ten, it didn't have any success in America.
  • Savatage was a Progressive Metal band that ran from 1978 to 2001, known in particular for their Rock Operas. One such album, Dead Winter Dead, featured a song that became a surprise hit: "Christmas Eve / Sarajevo 12/24". Decided to experiment further with the style, they became founding members of Trans-Siberian Orchestra. TSO has became extremely successful for their Christmas themed rock operas (although casual audiences only know them for "Sarajevo"), while Savatage is almost forgotten and disbanded to focus on TSO and other projects.
  • Most people consider Days of Future Passed to be the first Moody Blues album; it was indeed the first of their Justin Hayward era, but their Denny Laine era produced one earlier album, The Magnificent Moodies. This means that Seventh Sojourn, which even they regard as their seventh album, was actually their eighth.
  • The early 90's French indie band Darlin' contained Thomas Bangalter, Guy-Manuel De Homem-Christo and Laurent Brancowitz. Darlin' didn't last very long, but Bangalter and De Homem-Christo eventually began recording as Daft Punk (named after a dismissive comment in a review of an early Darlin' show) and Brancowitz became a member of the popular indie band Phoenix.
  • Young musician Sonny Moore was a vocalist in a post-hardcore band From First to Last, with modest success and a record deal. After going through some trouble with his vocal chords and preparing to do a solo album, he started experimenting with electronic music that he liked as a kid, releasing instrumental dubstep under the name of Skrillex. Skrillex became the face of the fast-rising genre, while From First to Last, while still around, are more known for being his old band than anything else.
  • Epica has had more enduring success then After Forever, the band the main songwriter came from previously.
  • fun. was formed by members of the indie bands The Format, Steel Train and Anathallo, and their success in 2012 far eclipsed the success of those three groups. Notably, The Format and Steel Train each have their own cult followings, both of which are rather split down the middle on Fun's success.
    • Lead guitarist Jack Antanoff's side-project band Bleachers has become this for Fun during their hiatus. Subverted for frontman Nate Ruess, however: Despite very high expectations and a #1 single with a duet with P!nk, his debut solo album bombed.
  • British indie rockers Doves provide an interesting case of this trope, as they contain 100% of the members of another less popular group. After a fire destroyed their studio in the mid 90's, the members of house music also-rans Sub Sub reconfigured themselves into Doves. Whereas Sub Sub were known as a One-Hit Wonder for 1993's "Ain't No Love (Ain't No Use)", Doves has gone on to both critical acclaim and enduring popular success.
  • Imogen Heap is far more known for her solo albums and singles than with her work with Frou Frou, although it can be justified that Frou Frou only had one album and she already had one solo album out before that.
  • Indie rockers Y-O-U, though critically acclaimed & somewhat popularized by collaborations with The Brothers Chaps, hung up their band's collective hat in 2009 due to increasing difficulty getting bookings, but their barely serious side project, the oldies cover band Yacht Rock Revue, took off like a rocket financially.
    • The YRR, on their first studio EP, covers a Y-O-U song. Not sure if sticking it to the people who ignored their original work, or just enjoying playing that song.
  • Have you ever heard of a band called The Garden Wall? No? How about The Anon? Not ringing any bells? How about Genesis, which formed when The Anon broke up due to most of the band members graduating from the boarding school they all attended, leaving the remaining members, Anthony Phillips and Mike Rutherford, to merge the group with The Garden Wall (Peter Gabrielnote , Tony Banks, and Chris Stewart)?
    • On that subject, the main reason why the bands Flaming Youth and Quiet World are remembered today is because, when they broke up, respective ex-members Phil Collins and Steve Hackett went on to successfully audition for Genesis (Flaming Youth's guitarist, Ronnie Caryl, also auditioned, but was unable to make it in).
  • Although The Birthday Party are fondly remembered, they are utterly eclipsed by the next band of about half their members: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.
  • Busta Rhymes was previously a member of a group called Leaders of the New School. The group is best known for its appearance on A Tribe Called Quest's classic posse cut "Scenario", which was a Star-Making Role for Rhymes.
  • Tupac was a member of Digital Underground, best known for their hit song "The Humpty Dance", although he did not appear on that track.
  • Missy Elliott was previously a member of a group called Sista.
  • Chaka Khan had a successful solo career after leaving Rufus.
  • Inverted with rapper Everlast who had previously had a solo career before joining House of Pain. Their only hit song "Jump Around" hit #4 on the Hot 100. He currently has a solo career again (performing "folk rap"), but his one solo hit "What It's Like" was nowhere near as big and remembered as "Jump Around". Inversely, Everlast's follow-ups to "What It's Like" are much better remembered today than anything else House of Pain has recorded.
    • The group's disk jockey, DJ Lethal, may be better remembered now as a member of Limp Bizkit.
  • Nightwish has a case of this. They're far more popular that bassist Marco Hietala's other band Tarot , despite Tarot being fourteen years older.
  • Though Kyuss is influential and has a strong cult following, more people have heard Josh Homme's next band, Queens of the Stone Age.
  • Simple Plan was formed by two former members of Reset, though Reset continues to tour and is somewhat popular
  • One Direction are much more popular internationally than the show they formed on, The X Factor. Back in the UK though, The X Factor has produced many superstars such as Leona Lewis, Cher Lloyd, and Olly Murs, who, while having some international success, haven't reached the heights of the boy band. The same can be said for Fifth Harmony from the short-lived American version.
  • A long-running TV commercial for classical music vinyl records opened with this trope. It opened with the Polovtsian Dance by Alexander Borodin, as narrator John Williams (not the musician, ironically, but the English actor) explains how we may be more familiar with the piece as Stranger in Paradise. Several other songs from the collection are played with both their original and popular titles onscreen, including Tchaikovsky's Concerto #1 / "Tonight We Love" by Tony Martin, and Piano Concerto No. 2 by Rachmaninoff / Frank Sinatra's "Full Moon and Empty Arms".
  • The Shins started out as an offshoot of Flake Music, who released one full length album and were chiefly popular in their hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico. To some extent, The Shins are Flake Music in all but name — most of the same lineup recorded both Flake Music's When You Land Here, It's Time To Return and The Shins' Oh! Inverted World. Interestingly, The Shins got their name from a Flake Music song.
  • In the 1980s there was a modestly successful Vancouver-based Synth-Pop band called Images In Vogue. Not happy with their musical direction, the band's drummer Kevin Crompton started a Darker and Edgier side project under the alias cEvin Key, called Skinny Puppy. He left Images In Vogue after a few years to work with Skinny Puppy full-time, and they're still around while Images In Vogue broke up a few years later.
  • Melodic Death Metal band Kalmah was formed as a side project by several members of Eternal Tears of Sorrow. While they no longer share any members, Kalmah has since become one of the frontrunners of the Finnish melodeath scene, while Eternal Tears of Sorrow remains a fair bit more obscure.
  • Australian Progressive Metal band Karnivool is not "unpopular", but Ian Kenny has had far greater success and more acclaim with his side project, alt-rock/indie pop band Birds of Tokyo.
  • Motograter was a rather unsuccessful metal band, but is today remembered as the starting point for singer Ivan Moody, the future frontman of Five Finger Death Punch.
  • Fecal Matter was a short-lived punk band from Aberdeen, Washington that only lasted a single year from 1985 to '86. After that, the frontman started a band of his own. That band? Nirvana.
  • Issues was formed after vocalists Tyler Carter and Michael Bohn were unanimously fired from their former band Woe, Is Me in 2011 for Creative Differences. They quickly became bigger than Woe, Is Me ever was. For comparison, Issues' debut Self-Titled Album made the Top 10 on the Billboard 200 in 2014, while WIM's debut album in 2010 made #16... on the Heatseekers chart. WIM's second album (post-firing) in 2012 actually did crack the Billboard 200... and it only peaked #167. Just to add insult to injury, Issues' debut EP, released the same year, charted higher... 71 spaces higher that is. Woe, Is Me broke up in 2013, not long before Issues debut album was released. Nowadays, they're remembered solely as "Tyler and Michael's former band".
  • Martin van Drunen started off as the original vocalist for Pestilence, but left after just two albums with them. While Pestilence still remained a name most hardcore death metal fans knew after he left, Martin himself gained a much bigger following with his main bands Asphyx and Hail of Bullets.
  • The Australian band My Friend the Chocolate Cake was formed as a side project by David Bridie as an outlet for his more folksy songs that did not fit the mould of his then-current band Not Drowning, Waving. Suffice to say MFTCC proved to be much more popular (as evidenced by the critical acclaim of their second album Brood) which eventually lead to the breakup of NDW in 1992.
  • Dashboard Confessional started out as Chris Carrabba's side project while he was still in the rock band Further Seems Forever. When he started becoming more interested in Dashboard, he left the band with their blessing after their first album and went on to emo superstardom. He reunited with Further Seems Forever in 2010 and recorded an album with them while he was on break from Dashboard, and Jerry Castellanos has occasionally toured with Dashboard as a backing member.
  • Rock band Downplay were together for over ten years, but never had anything close to mainstream success. Dustin Bates and Ron DeChant started a side project called Starset. Starset quickly became one of the hottest new acts on rock radio, scoring a top 5 hit with "My Demons" and several more top 20s, achieving more in one year than Downplay did in a decade.
  • Sometimes a remixed version of a song can be more popular than the original; One example being the Bad Boy remix of 112's "Only You".
  • When Danish death metal band Dominus' vocalist Michael Poulsen tired of his original genre, ultimately leading to the band's breakup, he and Dominus bassist Anders Kjoholm formed a new band called Volbeat, which was named after Dominus' 1997 album Vol.Beat. That band released six albums since forming in 2001, and has developed a large following outside of its home country, even adding American guitarist Rob Caggiano (ex-Anthrax) in 2013.
  • Filipino Riot Grrrl band Keltscross developed a cult following in the early-mid '90s, but weren't as popular as pop-rock band Prettier than Pink, which featured Keltscross lead guitarist Pam Aquino at the time of their breakout hit "Cool Ka Lang" (English translation: "Just Stay Cool"). They also weren't as popular as the secular alternative, and later Christian rock band the Pin-Up Girls (later the Pin-Ups), which featured two Keltscross members — Aquino on lead guitar, and Jeng Tan on bass — and male vocalist/NU 107 disc jockey Mon "Mondo" Castro as band leader.
  • Also from the Philippines: Heavy metal band Death By Stereo's lead vocalist Jerome Abalos had two big hits on mainstream radio as a solo artist, including "Larawang Kupas" (English translation: "Faded Picture"). Both hits were folky ballads far removed from his metal roots.
    • Fortunately for Death by Stereo fans, Abalos was onboard for the band's reunion in the mid-2000s.
  • Wisconsin bands Spooner and Fire Town are best known for the subsequent producing career of drummer Butch Vig (best known album being Nirvana's Nevermind) and the band Vig and guitarist Duke Erikson went on to form, Garbage.
  • Guns N' Roses, originated from the short-lived Hollywood Rose and the still playing and not as successful L.A. Guns.
  • Montrose had some success, but then singer Sammy Hagar became a superstar through both his solo career and his work with Van Halen.
  • Exodus is a fairly influential thrash metal band. Even if their biggest overall legacy is that founding guitarist Kirk Hammett went on to replace Dave Mustaine in Metallica.
  • White Zombie was an Alternative Metal band that is highly influential to the genre, but only enjoyed mainstream success with their final two albums before breaking up. Afterwards, frontman Rob Zombie formed a new band named after himself and became one of the most inescapable mainstream metal acts of the late-'90s, and still enjoys popularity to this day.
  • Fall Out Boy was formed by members of various Chicago hardcore punk and metal bands as a looser and more musically upbeat side-project. Five years after they formed, they became one of the biggest rock bands in America. Most of the members' original groups - Arma Angelus, Xgrinding processX and Project Rocket - are now only remembered, if at all, for being the bands that Fall Out Boy formed out of, while Racetraitor retained a devoted underground following that eventually helped spur a proper reunion in the 2010s, but was never a big name outside of hardcore and powerviolence.
    • Another former member of Arma Angelus, bassist Tim McIlrath, became the lead singer for the popular punk band Rise Against, while Jay Jancetic (one of their former guitarists) would later go on to join the well-respected metalcore/beatdown hardcore act Harm's Way.
  • Underworld's "Born Slippy.NUXX", the B-side to their 1995 single Born Slippy, completely overshadowed the A-side after being featured in the 1996 film Trainspotting.
  • Feeder's single "Seven Days in the Sun" did well on the UK charts (peaking at #14) and was pretty well-received. However, its B-side "Just a Day" became a major fan favorite, so much so that it was later released as its own single—and managed to chart 2 spots higher than its former A-side!
  • Arguably, at least internationally, Australian band Crowded House's success (at least in The '80s) has far eclipsed that of the band it spun off from, Split Enz (known in America mostly for their minor hit, "I Got You").
  • BABYMETAL started out as a sub-unit of the Japanese idol group Sakura Gakuin, with the intent of "mixing heavy metal and idol music". To say the least, BABYMETAL is far, far more well-known and successful outside of Japan than Sakura Gakuin could ever hope to be. They tour regularly around the world, including the United States (known for being nigh-impossible for Japanese artists to breakthrough), have enjoyed a memetic level of popularity over the internet, and have quite possibly become the most successful Japanese act internationally in over 50 years. While many know who BABYMETAL is, you would be hard-pressed to find someone outside of Japan who recognizes Sakura Gakuin.
  • Fueled by Fire was a Thrash Metal revivalist act that had some very minor mainstream hype in the mid-2000s courtesy of a deal with Metal Blade Records and an appearance on the Saw IV soundtrack, but they quietly receded back into obscurity by 2009 and were mostly remembered as an uninspired Exodus clone. Around 2011, Chris Monroy (their lead guitarist since 2008) started the death metal act Skeletal Remains as a side project, with no real intention of having it go any further than Fueled by Fire did. By the middle of the decade, however, Skeletal Remains had some serious hype behind them, and the success of 2018's Devouring Mortality had managed to give them the clout and meaningful opportunities that Fueled by Fire never had that culminated in a tour with The Black Dahlia Murder around the end of the year.
  • Victoria Hesketh's solo persona Little Boots is much better known than her prior band, Dead Disco.
  • SSQ (formerly Q) were a relatively obscure New Wave band, whereas their frontwoman, Stacey Swain, gained more prominence as Stacey Q.
  • Believe it or not, Rick Ross, who took his name from a real life former drug kingpin named "Freeway" Rick Ross who was big and well known in the 80s, until he was arrested and did a prison bid fading from the spotlight. However, most youth and young adults today only care about the rapper. The real Rick Ross tried to sue for his name sake... and lost.
  • The German progressive rock group Amon Düül II were a breakaway group from, unsurprisingly, Amon Düül, which continued to co-exist with them for a few years. The original Amon Düül was more of a loose jam band, while Amon Düül II choose to take a more song-based, commercial direction — which paid off, as it became both critically acclaimed and far more popular than the original group.
  • The Afterimage was a decently popular djent/metalcore act in their day, but they could never quite break that midtier ceiling they were stuck under. A combination of Tragic Hero Records not doing much with them and their final album Eve being considered middle of the road by their fans caused them to call it a day in 2018. Singer Kyle Anderson started brutal deathcore act with the final lineup of The Afterimage called Brand of Sacrifice soon after and it quickly blew up in popularity and became one of Unique Leader's flagship bands. Brand of Sacrifice would end up being heavily in demand for live shows and are seen as one of the rising stars in Deathcore while The Afterimage has largely been forgotten about outside of djent and metalcore circles.
  • DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince were very successful in their own right, but Will Smith was only launched into superstardom (first as a rapper, and later as a film star) after going solo.
  • The Cockroaches were a 1980s Aussie pub rock band that were hugely popular in their native land, up to an appearance at World Expo 88 in front of 92,000 people. In 1991, members Anthony Field and Jeff Fatt formed a little children's band called The Wiggles with Cockroaches roadie Greg Page and a Macquarie University student named Murray Cook (and another Macquarie student, Phillip Wilcher, but he left early on). Within a few years, The Wiggles became a huge success and became far more well-known and successful outside of Australia than The Cockroaches could ever hope to be, becoming one of Australia's most famous exports. While many know who The Wiggles are, you would be hard-pressed to find someone outside of Australia who recognizes The Cockroaches.
  • Musical instrument example: the Mellotron, the early magnetic tape-based keyboard synthesizer famously used by The Beatles and The Moody Blues, was basically a British retool of the Chamberlin Musicmaster, invented by California-based Harry Chamberlin. Chamberlin's sales rep took it to England, ostensibly to find manufacturers for the interior tape heads, but instead his contacts talked him into letting them redesign the instrument. After some legal threats from Chamberlin, they worked out a licensing deal. To give you an idea of how much more famous the Mellotron is, its article on Wikipedia is nearly 3,000 words long, while the Chamberlin article is about half that length.
  • Blur were a reasonably popular act on the Britpop scene, and were part of the so-called "Battle of Britpop" with Oasis. While Blur won that battle, Oasis wound up being the more internationally successful band. And then Blur frontman Damon Albarn founded a little virtual band named Gorillaz, and the rest is history. While Gorillaz are one of the most successful and recognizable virtual bands ever, Blur is pretty obscure if you're not British or a Britpop fan. In America they're considered a One-Hit Wonder ("Song 2").
  • Fast food-themed parody cover band Mac Sabbath are more popular and recognizable than the band they were spun off from, shock rock band Rosemary's Billygoat.
  • 'Til Tuesday were a Boston-based new wave band who had a One-Hit Wonder with their 1985 song "Voices Carry". Their frontwoman, Aimee Mann, gained much more popularity with her solo career as a folk rock singer/songwriter.
  • Death Grips started out as a side project of Zach Hill, the drummer for the Math Rock group Hella. Today, Death Grips are a recognizable name in internet culture, while Hella is only known among Math Rock geeks. This is to the point where Death Grips' Wikipedia page is 2,430 words longer than Hella's Wikipedia page.
  • The frontman of Sound Horizon, Revo, uses the name "Linked Horizon" for when he is making music based on other creators' works, rather than his own stories, such as the soundtracks to the Bravely Default games and the openings and endings to Attack on Titan. Plenty of fans of the latter love the songs, but have no idea that Sound Horizon exists.
  • Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) was a fairly popular Synth-Pop group in the early 80s in the UK, scoring several hits including the anti-war anthem "Enola Gay". In 1998, during the band's hiatus, members Andy McCluskey and Stuart Kershaw gathered a couple of girls from Liverpool and formed a girl group named Atomic Kitten as a vehicle to circumvent the fact that Britpop (which had already begun to die out by then) had killed OMD's career. Atomic Kitten became one of the UK's most successful girl groups, scoring a double platinum-certified debut album and many hit singles, including "Whole Again", the fourth-best-selling song of all time by a girl group in the UK. Today, Atomic Kitten are one of the most beloved 90s British pop groups, while OMD has largely been forgotten about outside of Synth-Pop circles.
  • Dobber Beverly was a longtime figure in the Texas death and black metal scenes and more generally underground extreme metal, but for most of his career, the grindcore band Insect Warfare was his biggest success, and even that was a moderate-at-best success. Around the beginning of the 2010s, he started a new progressive/gothic metal project to explore a different and more eclectic side of his influences, with no real expectation of anything beyond minor underground success. Oceans of Slumber instead became his biggest band by a long shot, and began to steadily pick up a bigger and bigger fanbase by the end of the 2010s that eventually made them into a solid name in progressive metal.


    Professional Wrestling 
  • Rey Misterio Sr. was a successful lucha libre star in his day, but his successor, Rey Mysterio Jr., has all but eclipsed him in popularity.
  • IWRG, a largish and moderately respected independent federation with aspiration of grandeur, has two more popular spinoffs: Último Dragón's Toryumon, and Dragon Gate, the Japanese branch of Toryumon rebranded under a rough English translation when Dragon left. Both have at points gotten large enough for people to consider it improper to call them "independent", a level IWRG continually falls ever so short of.
  • WWE NXT as a developmental brand is much more popular than it ever was as a competition.
  • The Nexus were born after seven of the eight wrestlers from the first season of NXT banded together. They left a much longer lasting legacy with the stable than they did with the season, thanks to an unforgettable RAW debut. Their promise, however, was snuffed out when Team WWE's sole survivor John Cena beat the odds to singlehandedly defeat their last two members in a 7-on-7 Summerslam match in the summer of 2010, then when Cena literally buried Wade Barrett in a pile of chairs at the main event of 2010's TLC pay-per-view. This is averted with the Nexus's splinter factions, CM Punk's New Nexus and the Corre, neither of which were nearly as popular or successful as the original Nexus.
  • Pentagón Jr. (as hinted by his name) is technically a Legacy Character to the older "Pentagón" gimmick established during the 90's in Mexico's AAA, but he has completely outclassed all other 9 persons to carry the name of Pentagón. Noticeably Wikipedia has a list of all the members to bear the gimmick, but only Pentagón Jr has a page of his own under the name "Pentagón".

    Puppet Shows 
  • Barney and the Backyard Gang was a Direct to Video series involving a purple dinosaur named Barney and a group of children (the titular Backyard Gang) going on adventures that taught educational concepts as well as children's songs. It would have stayed obscure had the daughter of a Connecticut Public Television production executive not rented a tape from this series and watched it on loop one Super Bowl weekend, causing the smash-hit Barney & Friends series to be greenlit.
  • Sam and Friends, a puppet series from the 1950's, featured the titular Sam and his team of bit players, including a character named Kermit the Frog, who later went on to star in both Sesame Street and The Muppet Show. Nowadays, The Muppets are beloved by millions of people across the globe, while Sam and Friends is practically unknown to all but the most expert Jim Henson aficionados.
  • The Chica Show was created in 2012 as a spin-off to Sprout's then-popular programming block The Sunny Side Up Show, even featuring then-host Kelly Vrooman and Chica's mom (Mrs. C), who made occasional appearances at the time.

  • A Prairie Home Companion, from Garrison Keillor's weekday morning public radio show in Minnesota, which he stopped doing in 1982.
  • The Dr. Demento Show started out in 1970 as a recurring guest segment on the weekly show of another DJ named Steven Segal ("The Obscene Steven Clean"). In 1971 Dr. Demento got his own timeslot for a few months, only to be fired along with the rest of the station's on-air staff. Then after guesting again on Segal's show on a different station, Dr. Demento permanently spun off into his own show in early 1972.
  • Science Friday began as a weekly edition of NPR's daily talk show Talk of the Nation, but its popularity started equaling, if not surpassing, the parent show's. Talk of the Nation was discontinued in 2013, but Science Friday is still going.
  • Transatlantic Quiz was a panel game co-produced by the BBC and NBC. When it ended in 1947, the BBC adapted the format into a UK-only version, Round Britain Quiz which despite, or because of, its Nintendo Hard questions, is now the UK's longest-running quiz show and isn't likely to end any time soon.

  • LEGO Dino Attack was a short-lived and relatively unpopular theme which generated a lot of controversy due to its poorly explained scenario. Dino Attack RPG on the other hand took the basic concepts of the original line, and expanded it into a legitimately well-written story with some very good drama.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000 is much better known than Warhammer Fantasy in America, France, and Germany. Just look at how many examples on this very wiki describe elements common to both as coming from 40K! However, in the game's home country, the United Kingdom, Fantasy is still more popular.
  • Dungeons & Dragons, the Trope Maker for the Tabletop RPG genre and major influence on the development of Video Games and the modern fantasy genre, began life as a supplement/spinoff of Gary Gygax's old medieval war game Chainmail and actually originally recommended that players use Chainmail to resolve combat situations. In turn, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons spun off as the more in-depth branch of the baseline D&D, but fully supplanted it from the third edition onwards, dropping the "Advanced" from its title.
  • While the Monopoly board game has the most sales, its card game Monopoly Deal has the better positive reception including from those who are not fans of Monopoly in general note . Notable for being one of the very few Monopoly spin-offs to still be sold in several stores years after its debut.
  • BANG!: The Dice Game to the card game BANG! due to keeping the spirit and gameplay intact while removing the clutter and downtime between players.

  • The Richard Strauss opera Ariadne auf Naxos was originally written as the Show Within a Show for a Max Reinhardt production of Molière's Le Bourgeois gentilhomme. Strauss also composed substantial incidental music for the play, and later revised it so it too could stand on its own.
  • Felix Unger was a minor character in Neil Simon's play "Come Blow Your Horn" before becoming half of The Odd Couple.

    Theme Parks 
  • Waterworld: A Live Sea War Spectacular has received much better reviews than the original movie and continues to be popular with tourists at Universal Studios Hollywood after more than 20 years. This popularity lead to Universal Studios having it at the parks in Japan and Singapore.

  • In 1981 Hasbro released a line called My Pretty Pony, based around a 10" tall hard plastic pony doll with grooming tools, accessories and so on. In 1983 they spun off a new line of smaller, simpler, brightly colored, baggable or pocketable pony dolls called My Little Pony... which needs no further introduction (apart from noting that the franchise that it launched has, for the most part, been running ever since). My Pretty Pony was nothing like as successful, and basically died when the original 1981 production run was exhausted. The design of the second My Pretty Pony was later reused for the My Little Pony character Peachy, and ponies that were the same size as the original run were rebranded as "big" variants.
  • Digimon was originally designed as a Spear Counterpart to Tamagotchi. Both series would go on to become Cash Cow Franchises in their native Japan but in the English-speaking world, Digimon has gotten a lot more attention since the original Tamagotchi toys from the 90s lost their popularity, owing to the former's line of anime series.
  • You'll be hard pressed to find people who are familiar with LEGO Technic, but you'll have much better luck finding people who know about one of its spin-offs, like BIONICLE and the "Constraction" themes in general.
  • Bandai's S.H. Figuarts brand of action figures aimed at adult collectors was a spinoff of their prior Souchaku Henshin series (which is where the "S.H." comes from, which now stands for "Simple Style and Heroic Action" in every SH Figuarts packaging), which were 1/12 scale figures based on various tokusatsu heroes (primarily from the Kamen Rider franchise) as their civilian selves with snap-on armor that transformed them into their powered alter-egos (hence the name of the line, which means "armor transformation" in Japanese). While Figuarts are still being made, the original S.H. series has been discontinued since 2009.
  • ToyBiz's (and later Hasbro's) Marvel Legends line was originally a spin-off of their Spider-Man Classics line. 15 years later, Marvel Legends is still going strong, while Classics is long since defunct. In fact, Classics was essentially absorbed into its own spin-off, as all of Hasbro's 6" super articulated Spider-Man figures since 2014 have been released through Legends.
  • Shopkins was created as the Distaff Counterpart to The Trash Pack which was decently popular when it began. Now, Shopkins is more well-known than The Trash Pack.

    Video Games 
  • Dwarf Fortress is the In Name Only sequel to Toady's older RPG Slaves to Armok: God of Blood. It's more this than Sequel Displacement, though, because the original game had very little to do with what DF is now.
  • Wolfenstein 3-D to Castle Wolfenstein (an overhead stealth action game) is one of the earliest and biggest examples in the medium.
  • Unreal Tournament, a multiplayer-centric offshoot to Unreal, which was more singleplayer-centered.
    • The Unreal Engine, the Game Engine the above games run on, has become more well-known than said games, due to it becoming heavily used in the gaming industry, not just Epic Games.
  • The Starsiege / Earthsiege series of Humongous Mecha Simulation Games, has been all but displaced by the Tribes series, multiplayer FPSs with an emphasis on extremely fast-paced team objective play, jetpacks, and no HERCs in sight. After the release — and enormous popularity — of the first Tribes game, Starsiege: Tribes, the Starsiege name was dropped entirely (instead simply becoming "Tribes ______"). Then again, the series has never had a particularly consistent naming scheme to begin with. Ironically, the original Starsiege series is more familiar to fans of the MechWarrior franchise, due them being Dueling Games up til 2001, when Starsiege's creators went bust
  • beatmania IIDX to beatmania. IIDX added two more buttons and more powerful hardware, and quickly eclipsed beatmania in popularity. The last beatmania game came out in 2002, whereas IIDX has seen at least one new game a year since its debut in 1999.
  • Due to the much lower barriers of entry, some video games based on Warhammer Fantasy almost certainly have far more players than the tabletop games ever did (but much lower revenue), as they cost low to mid double digits of pounds or dollars whereas pretty much everyone who plays the tabletop has spent several hundred at least. To wit, Games Workshop has grossed about 2.7 billion pounds of revenue on all their non-licensed products over the last three decades (most of the licensing revenue is from video games); assuming Fantasy products account for a third of that (a quite generous assumption as 40,000 is far more popular and they publish other lines besides, including Middle-earth and the quite successful Age of Sigmar) and that the average Fantasy player only spent 300 pounds on the game over their entire lifetime (any player could tell you how much of a lowball that is), that puts its total player base around 3 million people. Of which only a fraction would still be active in the 2010s and 2020s. The inhouse novels have even lower exposure than the tabletop - the revenue figuresnote  pointing to all Fantasy novels together having only sold in the low single digit millions of copies - or less (and note that there are over 150 Fantasy novels in over three dozen series, meaning the average one has been read by very few people indeed). By contrast, at least two game series have bigger player bases than even the highballed 3 million figure despite having been out a fraction as long as the tabletop game:
    • The largest example is without a doubt Total War: Warhammer and its sequels. As of August 2021, the first game had sold 2.38 million copies and the second game 4.55 million. The series had also sold several million expansion packs (Steam achievements indicate that 27.4% of the second game's players bought the Tomb King and/or Vampire Coast packs, for example). Total War: Warhammer dominates online discussion about the IP as a result, despite itself being an Alternate Universe scenario. The Total War sub-series is so popular that units and characters first featured in it were inserted into the Fantasy prequel game, The Old World, which was likely created in the first place because of Total War's revitalization of the brand.
    • Vermintide and Vermintide II are in a similar boat. The first game sold well over 2 million copies (of which 2/3 on PC), while the second sold 2.92 million on PC alone (and thus about 4.38 million if its ratio of PC to console sales was similar to the first game). Whatever discussion of the IP that isn't taken up by Total War is usually snatched up by Vermintide. Aside from sales figures, an easy way of confirming this is searching fan art or fan fiction website tags for Vermintide characters and comparing them to Fantasy characters who get minimal presence in Total War but are prominently featured in the tabletop and/or novels; for example, Saltzpyre versus Gotrek or Nagash. Like Total War, it also sold a large amount of DLC. Vermintide is a particularly extreme example as, in addition to being more well-known than the tabletop franchise as a whole, it's also far more so than the Warhammer: The End Times event that it's set in (said event being the territory of wargame supplements and novels that were obscure even by the tabletop's standards).
  • Super Mario Bros.:
  • The King of Fighters:
    • First and foremost, KOF serves as this to both Fatal Fury and Art of Fighting. Apart from various differences in gameplay mechanics, this status can partly be attributed to the setting of KOF itself: an Alternate Continuity to the AoF-FF timeline operating on Comic-Book Time that features a large, rotating cast of characters with little regard for their fate in other installments. (Most notably, Fatal Fury Big Bad Geese Howard met his end in 1995's Real Bout Fatal Fury... only to appear as a member of the Boss Team alongside Krauser and Mr. Big the following year in the KOF verse.) The fact that the series periodically has Dream Match Games for the explicit purpose of bringing back everyone who was playable in the current Story Arc, regardless of if they're alive in KOF's continuity, doesn't hurt either.
    • While Psycho Soldier and Ikari Warriors don't exactly count, as those weren't fighting games, the characters ported to KOF (Ralf Jones, Clark Still, Athena Asamiya, and Sie Kensou) are much more well known for their roles in this series than in their debut games.
    • K''s partner, Maxima, was originally the main character of Robo Army, a belt-scrolling Beat 'em Up released during the Neo Geo's early years.
    • KOF's status as a sort of Crisis Crossover series for SNK renders it as this for any of the company's other games that get represented (with the exception of Metal Slug and Samurai Shodown).
  • Dark Souls is an essentially a sequel to Demon's Souls that only became a separate IP out of necessity due to the developers wanting to bring the game to multiple platforms, when the original IP was owned by Sony.
    • Demon's Souls itself was a spiritual successor to King's Field, an earlier series of first-person RPGs released for the original PlayStation.
  • Many World of Warcraft players are unaware that the Warcraft series also has three Real-Time Strategy games, which weren't exactly slouches either (two of them were best-sellers) — World of Warcraft was just that big. A sort of a running gag among the fandom is somebody mentioning having played Warcraft III and a WoW player responding something along the lines of: "World of Warcraft 3? I didn't know there was even one sequel." In fact, out of Blizzard Entertainment's most popular franchises, Warcraft without WoW is likely the least known of the three.
    • This led to a rather hilarious April Fools joke by the staff, announcing a new game that was a RTS-style spinoff of World of Warcraft. They then went on to describe Warcraft III, as if it were an up and coming new game set in the World of Warcraft universe: Warcraft, Heroes of Azeroth. WHoA, to be precise.
    • Speaking of Warcraft 3, the Defense of the Ancients mod has become far more popular than the game it was built from with people having bought the game just to play DotA, inspiring both a sequel and an entire genre.
    • Many critics and bloggers mistakenly referred to the 2016 film as "an adaptation of World of Warcraft." While it does borrow a lot to the latter for aesthetic and Worldbuilding purposes, the story adapts the 1994 RTS game that started it all, Orcs and Humans.
  • Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and the two following sequels, compared to the original series that was quite popular in its own day. The Sands of Time trilogy was the first successful attempt to take the Prince into 3D after the failure of 1999's Prince of Persia 3D.
  • The Persona series is this to Shin Megami Tensei, especially from Persona 3 onwards. While the Shin Megami Tensei franchise is considered one of the "Big Three" alongside Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy in Japan, Persona sells far better internationally - the extreme success of later Persona games has caused the series to slowly eclipse Shin Megami Tensei in Japan as well.
  • Outside of Japan, if you see somebody talking about Tokimeki Memorial, they're probably talking about one of the Otome game spinoffs. This is in no small part because they're the only games in the series to date that have a Fan Translation note . None of the "original" games, where you play as a guy and date girls instead, have complete fan translations. In the case of the very first "original" game, this is very odd, because it was the Trope Codifier for the entire dating sim genre of video games, and is famous among dating sim fans in Japan. note 
  • The Raving Rabbids series have garnered a lot of attention than its parent series, Rayman, to the point that most people don't know about Rayman, while the Rabbids are easily recognizable for almost everyone.
  • Rune Factory from the Harvest Moon series, but only in Japan. The Rune Factory was produced as a Harvest Moon spinoff, but sold so much better than most Harvest Moon games that subsequent games were spun off into their own series. The first three Rune Factory games still keep the Harvest Moon label in the West.
  • Many fans of the DJMAX series seem to be unaware that there was a PC DJMAX game that preceded DJMAX Portable, or at least have only heard of it.
    • Lately, DJMAX Technika has been gaining popularity, becoming even more popular than Portable in areas that have Technika arcade machines.
  • GoldenEye was a successful movie in the James Bond series. GoldenEye 007 for the Nintendo 64 is one of the most beloved games of all time, a triumphant aversion of The Problem with Licensed Games, and one of the games which basically made the First-Person Shooter genre into something other than Doom clones. Not to mention proving that the genre could have first-rate console titles, not just inferior ports of PC games. Many players didn't even know the game was based on a film.
  • Phantasy Star was a well-received series of console RPGs, albiet a series that was consistently overshadowed by Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest. Phantasy Star Online went on to become more popular than the original games, being one of the Killer App games for the Sega Dreamcast.
  • Heroes of Might and Magic, a Turn-Based Strategy series, has all but displaced Might and Magic, the original first-person, party-based Role-Playing Game series, even before the setting was rebooted by Ubisoft, who acquired the rights to the franchise from the bankrupt 3DO. This led to some dramatic Fan Dumb events in the form of fan backlash towards the developers upon their attempt to bring Science Fantasy elements, mainstays of the RPG series to the spinoff, perceived by unwitting fans to be solely High Fantasy, despite taking place in the same universe as the original series.
  • Modern Warfare, a contemporary FPS compared to Call of Duty's World War II setting.
    • Battlefield's modern-day installments (2, the Bad Company series, and 3) are similar to this, overshadowing the original Battlefield 1942 and the less-than-well-received Vietnam and 2142.
  • The Puyo Puyo games was a spinoff of Compile's RPG series Madou Monogatari, using the slime-type enemies as Falling Blocks. However, the Madou games have since all but fallen off the face of the planet, due partially to the popularity of Puyo games and partially to being Screwed by the Lawyers.
  • NANACA†CRASH!! is a fairly popular browser game that spawned loads of browser game clones that requires no translation to understand. CROSS†CHANNEL, the original Porn with Plot Visual Novel that inspired it, did not receive a Fan Translation until August 2009, and remains relatively obscure.
  • Da Capo is a semi popular Visual Novel series that started as a bonus scenario in Suika, which remains rather obscure.
  • River City Ransom and Super Dodge Ball to Renegade, which were all part of the Kunio-kun series in Japan, but are hardly related to each other outside of having the same main character. Even in Japan, the more comical Downtown Nekketsu sub-series of Kunio games had a bigger following than the original "serious" Nekketsu Kōha games.
  • The Warlords Battlecry series is a real-time spin-off of the turn-based Warlords series.
  • The Guardian Legend was a Surprisingly Improved Gaiden Game to the experimental MSX shmup Guardic, which had nonlinearity going for it but little else.
  • Bloons Tower Defense is actually a spinoff of the game Bloons, a Flash puzzle game where a single monkey has to pop a set amounts of balloons by carefully aiming and throwing a set number of darts. Bloons TD became so much more popular that there are now six main games in the series and it has its own spinoff games. Meanwhile, the original Bloons is mostly forgotten, despite being quite popular back in the days.
  • Monster World to Wonder Boy, which specifically spun-off from the second Wonder Boy arcade game Monster Land (Monster World was the title of the Sega Mark III version in Japan). There's a reason why the Compilation Rerelease of the whole series is called the Monster World Collection and not the Wonder Boy Collection.
  • Shining Force: The Legacy of Great Intention and its sequel, Shining Force II: The Ancient Sealing were vastly more popular than their predecessor, Shining in the Darkness. The former two were Turn-Based Strategy Role Playing Games with Loads and Loads of Characters, while the latter was a first-person dungeon crawler where you only controlled three characters.
  • First-person shooter Duke Nukem 3D is far better known than earlier platformers Duke Nukem I and II
  • Ganbare Goemon was a spin-off of an obscure arcade game titled Mr. Goemon.
  • Ninja Jajamaru-kun, a sort of spin-off of an earlier game called Ninja-kun, became one of Jaleco's longest-running series in Japan; ironically, more of UPL's Ninja-kun games were released internationally because Jaleco often failed to export Jajamaru-kun even when they tried.
  • Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus, a Dynasty Warriors-style spin-off of the sidescrolling beat em' up main series. It sold over twice as much as the first game in the first week and almost twice as much as the second.
  • Dynasty Warriors is relatively niche compared to Hyrule Warriors and Fire Emblem Warriors, spin-off games based around the more mainstream franchises The Legend of Zelda and Fire Emblem, which itself is more popular than many other Warriors spinoffs of other series.
  • Phantom Breaker: Battlegrounds is more popular in the U.S. than the fighting game it was based on, as the localization of the original fighting game was cancelled for unknown reasons.
  • The popular online Casual Game series Papa's Gameria started out as a 2006 platformer named Papa Louie: When Pizzas Attack!. Papa Louie has a sequel (in fact, has two sequels), but it's eclipsed by the fast food titles.
  • Hudson Soft's Momotarou Dentetsu was a long-running digital board game series spun off Momotarou Densetsu, a shorter-lived RPG series that was essentially Dragon Quest in feudal Japan.
  • The Dwarves vs. Zombies "genre" of Minecraft server was originally created for livestream-only events. As people wanted to play DvZ on their own time, they made their own clones. Years later, even with the original Dwarves vs. Zombies server having long since switched to an on-demand system, the now-outdated clones are much more popular than the heavily updated original. Part of the reason is that the official DvZ server was never really advertised, while the clones are common on Minecraft server list websites.
  • In a rare inversion of The Problem with Licensed Games, the video game adaptation of X-Men Origins: Wolverine received significantly better reviews than the movie it was based on (although that was not the most popular spinoff of the film overall; see the Film section above).
  • While SimCity is by-far no slouch in sales, in the 2000s The Sims began eclipsing it. Many people even think the latter came first. They're both popular in their own right however more people remember the 90s Sim City games than the newer ones, while The Sims pretty much gets more popular each game.
  • Bloodrayne is better-known than Nocturne.
  • Knytt is an extremely popular indie game franchise, but it's actually a spinoff of Within a Deep Forest. The original protagonist of the first Knytt is a nameless NPC from the first game who originally existed just to provide atmosphere.
  • A strange subversion occurred with Pokémon GO. While the franchise has managed to hold on a very large and dedicated fan base throughout the years, Pokémon Go became one of the most successful video games EVER, with many people who hadn't played any video games, let alone Pokémon, playing it, despite the fact Pokémon Go was in fact a spin-off with only a few similarities to the main series games and started a new Pokémon craze as big at the one in the 90s. This might seem like it qualifies at first, but in the fall of 2016, the upcoming main series games Pokémon Sun and Moon were revealed to be the most pre-ordered games in Nintendo history, no doubt due to Pokémon Go's popularity introducing new people into the franchise. Part of the reason why Go was so popular was because it's a free mobile game, compared to the main titles which require buying a console and then the game itself.
  • While the Drakengard series has a fairly decent following in Japan, more people are probably more aware of its spin-off series NieR ever since the game achieved Cult Classic status and especially after the sequel became the series' most successful game.
  • Although Fallout: New Vegas was initially thought of as being just an expansion pack of Fallout 3, it is now considered to be possibly the best of the Bethesda-Published Fallout games.
  • The Divinity games weren't exactly unknown, just that their popularity waned pretty drastically as the 00s went on and The New '10s started. However, these days, most Divinity fans started with Divinity: Original Sin.
  • The Mummy Demastered is much more beloved than the movie it was based on.
  • Ensemble Stars! is the main compartment and spinoff of Ensemble Girls! and shares some connections to it through Leo and Anzu 's backstory, but due to the former's wild success, the latter was mostly regarded as its Quietly Performing Sister Show until it ended in 2018. Amongst Stars! fans, Girls! is seen as little more than background reading for the aforementioned connections, and the characters in it more or less talked about according to their role in Stars! lore (i.e. "Leo's sister" for Ruka, "Mao's inspiration" for Mai, "Anzu's friend/brother" for Suzu/the Transfer Student). The lack of a dedicated translation team for Girls! unlike with Stars! is also a big contibutor.
  • Fate/stay night was relatively well-received, but it and its various spinoffs mainly catered to a niche fandom, with game sales typically along the lines of 100k total. Then along comes Fate/Grand Order, which not only became such a moneymaker to the point Sony Music consistently cites it in investor reports since release as a primary source of profit, it managed to rocket the fanbase to Touhou and KanColle levels at Comiket after only a year into release.
    • The Fate series itself is this to the rest of the Nasuverse, especially after Type-Moon started putting their other works on the backburner to promote it.
  • Paladins is a Hero Shooter with a respectable-sized playerbase. When its Battle Royale spinoff, Realm Royale, went public, major Fortnite streamers tried out Realm Royale because Fortnite servers were down at the time. They really enjoyed RR and the exposure caused Realm Royale's player numbers to skyrocket, sitting much higher than Paladins on Steam's top 25 most played games. Though as time went on, the numbers starting to slowy decrease from 100,000 players upon release, to ~6500 players. For comparision, Paladins has around 20,000-30,000 concurrent players. You can view the data here.
  • Fortnite's Battle Royale mode started off a side game to the main Save the World mode. Player Unknowns Battlegrounds fans flocked to the game due to PUBG's buggy launch state and price, while Fortnite was comparatively less buggy and free to play. Fortnite: Battle Royale has since eclipsed both PUBG and Save the World's popularity and is usually the first thing people think of when talking about Fortnite.
  • Although both Titanfall and its sequel are critically acclaimed, they are relatively niche properties that only sold 15 million copies combined across both titles. However, the free-to-play Battle Royale Apex Legends, which is set in the same universe, garnered over 50 million unique players in just one month after release. The popularity of Apex was so strong that it lead to newcomers trickling into the mainline Titanfall games with Titanfall 2 seeing its concurrent playerbase double.
  • Downplayed with the Game Boy Color game Xtreme Sports. It was meant to be a companion game to the completely different Dreamcast and PC versions by Innerloop Studios, but both ended up being forgettable cash-in games, while this version became fondly remembered enough as a cult hit that WayForward eventually re-released it for the 3DS Virtual Console.
  • The Dragon Slayer series eventually dropped the "Dragon Slayer" moniker after both the Xanadu and Legend of Heroes sub-series became more popular. Legend of Heroes in particular also has one of its own with the Kiseki/Trails Series.
  • The fanmade Sonic Robo Blast 2 (which itself had completely overshadowed the first installment) was modified by different developers into Sonic Robo Blast 2 Kart, a Mascot Racer that ended up being just as popular as the original platformer, if not more-so. In fact, the game singlehandedly broke the "Most Users" record on SRB2's forums when it was released.
  • While the original version of The Idolmaster was popular in Japan, THE iDOLM@STER: Cinderella Girls eclipsed it in popularity after the anime and Starlight Stage app were released. To put this into perspective, said app often makes the ranking of highest-grossing in-app purchase games year after year, with it being the third highest-grossing game in 2018. It was also the first installment in the franchise to become popular with Western audiences thanks to Crunchyroll releasing official same-day subs for the anime series.
  • In the eary '90s, Sega's AM2 division developed the Virtua series, a series of early polygonal 3D games of varying genres, for their Model series of arcade systems. Out of all the titles in the initial AM2-developed Virtua lineup, Virtua Fighter saw the greatest success among all of these titles, spawning five major installments and garnering a dedicated fanbase due to its complex gameplay and perfect balance.
  • Despite early fears due to Teyon, a Polish studio previously responsible for the much-reviled Rambo: The Video Game and the Invisible Advertising (only a couple of trailers shortly before release), Terminator: Resistance ultimately proved to be more popular among Terminator fans than Terminator: Dark Fate, which it was a tie-in for, feeling Resistance was much more respectful to the series than Dark Fate, which famously opened by killing off John Connor, the crux of the series from before even he was born, and then introduced a new character with essentially the same destiny as him, making all the attempts to save his life pointless.
  • Aleste started off as "Zanac, BUT ON A SEGA CONSOLE!" It then ended up spawning a much more popular series with numerous sequels and a Compilation Rerelease with M2's touch, while Zanac got relegated to a single sequel with the original game as a tie-in and an average-quality Virtual Console rerelease.
  • Maximum Carnage was a Spider-Man comic storyline that sold well but was poorly received for its mix of violence and silliness, along with making Venom start to wear out his welcome, and is often being considered a standout case of Marvel's Dork Age. But it managed to avoid obscurity like other reviled events because the Maximum Carnage beat 'em up it inspired is considered to be one of the best Spider-Man games.
  • GRIDD: Retroenhanced is a Continuity Reboot for a pair of forgotten mobile phone games by the same developers.
  • Playground Games' Forza Horizon, an open world arcade-style racer, was initially a spin-off of Turn 10 Studios' semi-sim track racing series Forza Motorsport, which already had four well-regarded games, one on the original Xbox and three on Xbox 360, prior to the first Horizon's release. But during the Xbox One's lifespan, Motorsport's reception took a hit with Motorsport 5, which was released as a launch title for the console, as it was seen as a bit lacking in content. Horizon 2 was released to greater acclaim and success than the first Forza Horizon. Both sub-series' next games got better reception, with Motorsport 6 being seen by Forza fans as a return to form, but Horizon 3 did even better than Horizon 2 with its beautiful depiction of Australia (helped by a chillingly stellar E3 reveal trailer), to the point that it was seen as the Xbox One's Killer App. The next games after those, however, did quite differently; Motorsport 7 lost some of its goodwill thanks to some questionable decisions by Turn 10, while Horizon 4 got even more acclaim than Horizon 3 and became one of the best-selling games on the Xbox One. It has now gotten to the point that the first Forza game on the Xbox Series X|S is not the still-in-development eighth Forza Motorsport (which was announced in 2020), but Forza Horizon 5, which was revealed at E3 2021 as Xbox and Bethesda's "best for last" game during their presentation and won "Best of Show" for the 2021 E3 Awards.


    Visual Novels 
  • CLANNAD shares the same universe as Kanon and AIR, and has proved more popular than both.

    Web Original 
  • NationStates (Jennifer Government) The game was intended to only have a few thousand players and last a few months at most. Two million accounts, seven years, and copious amounts of improbable world-building by the players later...
  • OverClocked ReMix is so much more popular than the webcomic it spun off, even the creators have neglected the latter in favor of the former.
  • The Annoying Orange. Created by Dane Boedigheimer, Orange was originally just another Gagfilms character. The company was dedicated to making various one-off comedy short films, including videos about Anthropomorphic Food, amongst others. After the first Annoying Orange video became massively popular, Dane made more videos with the character, which were still posted on his YouTube channel alongside his other Gagfilms videos. However, Orange migrated over to his own YouTube channel soon after and began uploading new episodes every week. As of 2020, The Annoying Orange continues to release weekly videos long after the main branch of Gagfilms stopped producing videos.
  • YouTube user Manga Kamen originally primarily made videos revolving around My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic with his commentaries known as Skull Commentaries being intended to just be one of his numerous side series with the character hosting it, Skull Kamen, not even being placed alongside his two other characters, Manga Kamen (an OC with the same name as his YouTube username) and Al Kenneth Holic (another OC who hosts a series of CinemaSins styled videos known as Al's Sins) on his channel banner. However, the majority of his most popular videos tend to be Skull Commentaries with Skull Kamen becoming even more iconic an avatar of his than the original Manga Kamen, and as a result, has made commentaries the most frequently updated type of content on his channel.
  • Is It a Good Idea to Microwave This? didn't take long to eclipse the Jogwheel Originals in popularity. And in a sense of the microwaving show genre itself, that same show surpassed both Will It Blend? and dOvetastic Microwave Theater, the two shows that inspired it, in total views and subscriptions.
    • And in the same vein, the most popular videos by Jon Paula are Movie Night episodes, one of his newest series'.
  • Ask Fluffle Puff. Originally a recurring gag in the now defunct Dan VS FiM blog, the pink fuzzball quickly grew in popularity. Eventually receiving her own spinoff blog, with Dan relegated to a background character.
  • YouTuber "Danger Dolan" had already achieved a small amount of fame on YouTube thanks to his gaming channel The DD Guides, which he's been running since 2012. However in 2014 he decided to create a channel dedicated specifically to non-gaming related countdown videos simply called Danger Dolan, and the amount of subscribers and video views show that this second channel has already managed to eclipse the popularity of his original gaming channel.
  • The "Heist" videos of Achievement Hunter's Let's Play Grand Theft Auto V were initially just a mini-series that played off the lack of real heists in Grand Theft Auto Online, but it received so much Fan Art, fan-made videos, and tropes on the overarching series' page that it overtook their Let's Play Grand Theft Auto IV "Cops 'n Crooks" videos in popularity.
  • Speaking of Rooster Teeth productions, Red vs. Blue is hardly unpopular by any means, being the Trope Codifier of the Machinima genre. However, during the eighth season, the company hired acclaimed CG animator Monty Oum to create custom animated sequences in order to have fight scenes and character movements not possible in Halo 3 limitations. Seasons 9 and 10 continued this formula with large sections in pure animation, which became incredibly popular with fans. Spurred by the success, Rooster Teeth later created RWBY, which isn't exactly a spinoff as much as a Spiritual Successor, which has gone on to generate a massive fandom and quickly became much more popular and recognized than RvB ever was. Being fully animated without Machinima, possessing an Animesque art style with some Magical Girl Tropes, and lacking the large quantities of swearing, it had much more universal appeal, including those that might have been put off by the former series' use of Halo lore.
  • YouTube comedy duo Mike & Gian managed to have this happen to them twice. Their original channel had few short sketches before they decided to make another channel focused on the Breakout Character, Dom Mazzetti. The channel became much more popular than their old one, which stopped being updated soon after. After another two years they created another spinoff, BroscienceLife, focused on satirizing gym and fitness culture. It quickly gained enough popularity (especially among gym and fitness enthusiasts) to surpass both channels in popularity. The Dom Mazzetti channel stopped being updated soon after.
  • Rhett & Link's morning talk-show (Good Mythical Morning) has more subscribers than their actual main channel.
  • What Culture Wrestling was originally just an offshoot of the WhatCulture YouTube channel, itself a branch of the WhatCulture website, but continuously grew in popularity that it overshadowed both the main channel and the website.
  • Russian YouTube personality Ekaterina "Kate Clapp" Trofimova's first channel, FoggyDisaster, has about two time less subscribers than her vlog channel, which was created two years later. It helps that FoggyDisaster is not updated consistently.
  • Atop the Fourth Wall is quite the respectable show and still continues to this day as Lewis Lovhaug's primary show. However, several of his observers think that his side show History of Power Rangers might actually be in higher demand overall since its "next episode" was always in crazy demand once the series got going. Despite this, Lewis (in part due to official rules from Saban and in part due to his own desires) has always made his comic book show priority over HOPR due to wanting to use official DVD's for his clips and because they're MUCH more time consuming compared to his once a week comic reviews.
  • The Mysterious Mr. Enter's Animated Atrocities was meant to be a placeholder between seasons of MLP Reviews. It quickly became the favorite series of both him and his fans, to the point where he eventually put MLP Reviews on an indefinite hiatus and Animated Atrocities becoming more or less his staple show.
  • Netflix's digital streaming service has long since eclipsed its original mail-based DVD rental service in popularity, to the point that many people barely remember that the streaming service was originally an optional add-on called "Netflix Instant". It doesn't hurt that the streaming site is now home to many original programs and movies (House of Cards (US), Stranger Things, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, etc.) that have brought the site into new prominence as a network in its own right. note 
  • Malinda Kathleen Reese's Twisted Translations (formerly known as Google Translate Sings and Translator Fails) started out as a series on her main channel, where she primarily posted non-parody song covers. The popularity of the series made her expand her entire channel to Google Translate Blind Idiot Translations.
  • Strong Bad Email, originally a weekly feature of the greater Homestar Runner site, very quickly eclipsed the site's "main" content in popularity after its introduction in 2001 — it spawned many classic Internet memes and inside jokes, and even some of its own sub-series (such as Teen Girl Squad and Stinkoman 20X6). The site's DVD collections are sorted into "Strong Bad Email" and "Everything Else". In-universe, this is lampshaded to no end.
    Strong Bad: I'm Strong Bad, and you don't know it yet, but I'm the reason you're here.
    Homestar Runner: It's true.

    Western Animation 
  • Beast Wars will never be as famous as its predecessor, The Transformers, but fans of the franchise generally agree it's the best written/produced of them all.
  • Betty Boop (Bimbo the Dog)
    • In turn, Popeye from Betty Boop. Not to mention, Popeye started as a newspaper comic that spun out of another comic, an anthology called Thimble Theater.
  • Donald Duck's Classic Disney Shorts to Silly Symphonies. Donald's co-stars in both the short The Wise Little Hen and a Disney comic strip in the early '30s (featuring other barnyard animals) are basically footnotes in the duck's history.
  • Celebrity Deathmatch (Cartoon Sushi)
  • The Simpsons started off as animated shorts on The Tracey Ullman Show. Although Ullman was a solid hit for the then-budding FOX network, it is today almost entirely forgotten outside the context of being The Simpsons' parent show.
  • Beavis and Butt-Head and Æon Flux (Liquid Television)
  • Daria. Downplayed, as while everyone still remembers Beavis and Butt-Head as being a staple of MTV in the 1990s, few know that this dry humoured, satirical turning point for both female-led and geek-oriented comedy was a Spin-Off of that show. Helps that the two shows are so different and completely avert Required Spinoff Crossover. The only reference to its parent show that Daria ever makes is in the first episode, where it's mentioned that her family moved to Lawndale from Highland.
  • Batman: The Animated Series was originally produced as a tie-in to the Tim Burton-directed live-action movies, with the designs of certain elements and characters (such as Selina Kyle's blond hair and The Penguin's deformed hands) being clearly influenced by the 1989 movie and its sequel Batman Returns. The show went on to spawn the DC Animated Universe, which would go on to last over a decade throghout several more shows (such as Superman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond and Justice League), outliving the live-action film series after it took a more campy direction with the two Joel Schumacher-directed sequels (Batman Forever and Batman & Robin) that failed to attract an audience.
  • Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law to Birdman and the Galaxy Trio.
  • Sealab 2021 to Sealab 2020.
  • Godzilla: The Series is almost universally more well liked by Godzilla fans than the American film on which the series is based due to being much more faithful to the source material.
  • In the Looney Tunes franchise, the Porky Pig series gave us Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny (his appearance in the Porky Pig short was actually an early prototype called Happy Rabbit), both of which quickly eclipsed it in popularity.
    • Not to mention, the Porky Pig series itself is much more popular than the Beans the Cat series, which is virtually unknown to those who aren't a diehard Looney Tunes fan by comparison.
  • The entire point of the animated anthology series Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon produced were specifically to invoke this trope; create a large number of shorts and greenlight the ones with the greatest audience reaction.
  • While the original Teen Titans series was a hit for Cartoon Network and Kids' WB in its own right, the spin-off, Teen Titans Go! has arguably seen even greater success, eventually gaining a theatrical movie. There's some infamous Fandom Rivalry with fans of the original series who dislike the Denser and Wackier tone of the series.
  • Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends has overshadowed Spider-Man (1981), a cartoon made specifically to get the attention of the major networks. That show has since faded into obscurity, despite actually being a strong show in its own right. (Try putting "1981 Spider-Man" through Google.) Both were actually made concurrently. However, the solo show was sold to syndication while Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends was aired on network TV during the traditional Saturday Morning children's show block, so it achieved a wider audience. Also there are inconsistencies with the portrayals of some villains who overlapped both shows, so calling one a sequel to the other may not be accurate.
  • WordGirl began as a series of shorts on Maya & Miguel before becoming its own series, which ran for eight seasons (130 episodes) and gained a fairly large Periphery Demographic. On the other hand, you'll be hard-pressed to find anyone who remembers Maya and Miguel.
  • Space Ghost is an example of a show that started a spinoff chain reaction. It was just one of many old Hanna-Barbera series that ended up on Cartoon Network. Then someone made a talk show out of it, Space Ghost Coast to Coast, which was actually fairly popular and led to more spinoffs.
    • The first of these, Cartoon Planet was Coast to Coast reinvented as a Framing Device for the Turner cartoon library, keeping the personalities established in Coast to Coast. Cartoon Planet was more popular in its day, though not as long-lasting as Coast to Coast, and its version of Brak became the centerpiece of the Adult Swim acid trip The Brak Show.
    • Coast to Coast's second spinoff featured Moltar, another Space Ghost villain, broadcasting action cartoons from the Ghost Planet. Toonami was a massive smash hit that eclipsed all the other descendants of Space Ghost, with its amazingly high production values and resurrection of several syndicated anime and Western Animation action series. While it was later retooled to get away from its Space Ghost roots, ditching Moltar and replacing him with TOM, it remains a genuine icon of today's pop culture and the most popular spinoff of this family yet. In late 2015, a Shout-Out was made to the block's roots, with TOM's spaceship being destroyed and his escape pod landing at what appeared to be Moltar's old studio on Ghost Planet, which TOM promptly reactivated to broadcast anime once again.
    • The third one is Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Originating from an unfinished SGC2C episode called "Baffler Meal", the trio of Master Shake, Frylock and Meatwad proved to be very popular, that it became one of Adult Swim's flagship shows during the 2000s.
  • Doubles as an animated film example: The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius is much more popular than the movie it spun off of, Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, to the point that many people thought the movie was a spin-off of the series instead of the other way around.
  • Noddy's Toyland Adventures can be considered this. While the other attempts to bring Noddy to TV in the United Kingdom were only mildly successful at best, this adaptation made Noddy a household name in the United Kingdom and was one of the most popular British children's shows of the 90's.
    • Overseas, Make Way For Noddy is considered this to all of the older Noddy series (including the Importation Expansion The Noddy Shop), especially in Portugal, where it was massively popular, and the United States, where it was a staple program of PBS Kids Sprout.
  • Legend Quest also doubles as an animated film example. A lot of English speaking fans of Legend Quest didn't realize it was a spin-off/reboot of a Mexican film series, and fewer have gone back and watched the original films.
  • In 1998, a pilot for a Cartoon Network show called Kenny and the Chimp was aired, called Diseasy Does It. Among the planned recurring characters were five children called "those Kids Next Door", who would eventually star in their own show, Codename: Kids Next Door. Now, Kids Next Door is one of the most famous and beloved Cartoon Network shows of the early 2000s, while Kenny and the Chimp never became a full show and has been forgotten by all but the most dedicated of Cartoon Network historians.note 
  • The 1989 Aardman Animations series Lip Synch produced two:
    • Ident featured a then unnamed character who became Rex the Runt.
    • The Oddball in the Series Creature Comforts spun off into a series of advertisements for the Electricity Boards, which became massively popular and acclaimed. A full television series followed some years later.
  • Count Duckula is more popular and better known internationally than its parent show Danger Mouse and has a more prominent influence in pop culture, in fact a lot of people probably don't know that is even as spin-off of an obscure 80s cartoon if they don't read The Other Wiki. It helps that the character has nearly nothing to do with its Danger Mouse counterpart other than name and somewhat similar look and that it never had the Required Spinoff Crossover.
  • While Mister Rogers' Neighborhood was a big hit, the animated spin-off Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood has become even more popular than the show it was based off of in the past decade, possibly thanks to the parents of the American kids who watch the show growing up with it, that the show is highly praised by many people for its lessons and the fact that it is the first official release of something related to Mister Rogers outside of North America. The popularity of Daniel Tiger lead to renewed interest in the original series, causing PBS to return reruns to their schedule and greenlight another spin-off involving Mister Rogers characters in 2020, this time involving puppets.
  • Pinky and the Brain became so iconic most people forget it was a spinoff of the umbrella series Animaniacs.

    Real Life 
  • The Bible (specifically, the Christian version) and Christianity have spread far more than The Tanakh and Judaism, largely due to the fact that Christians send out missionaries to convert people while Jews don't.note  Islam and The Qur'an can also be considered a "spinoff" of Judaism, though they retold much of the Bible rather than just adding to it.
  • Mozilla Firefox (Netscape Communicator/the Mozilla suite/SeaMonkey)
    • Netscape Communicator (NCSA Mosaic)
    • Additionally, Mozilla Thunderbird is to the e-mail client portion of Netscape and the Mozilla suite as Firefox is to the Web browser portion.
  • The premium cable network Starz, in that the older network in the equation, Encore, has been completely subsumed into the Starz multiplex, to the point that it was renamed as "StarzEncore" in 2016.
  • UNLV (University of Nevada, Las Vegas-founded in 1957) is larger and more famous than the original University of Nevada in Reno (founded in 1874). Although the latter's official name is now "University of Nevada, Reno" they've taken to billing themselves as "Nevada" in athletics and other events to emphasize that they were first (though the state of Nevada recognizes both campuses as flagship schools).
    • Something similar happened in Alaska—the University of Alaska's original Fairbanks campus (officially University of Alaska Fairbanks; founded 1917, opened for classes in 1922) bills itself as "Alaska" in athletics although the Anchorage campus (University of Alaska Anchorage; traces its history to 1954, but operated solely as a two-year college until 1969) is larger. However, Alaska recognizes only Fairbanks as its flagship school.
  • While on the subject of American higher education, there are several examples of this phenomenon within college sports conferences, generally overlapping with Screw This, I'm Outta Here!
    • One of the country's first athletic conferences was the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association, founded in 1894 by a group of schools in that region with play starting the next year. It steadily grew over the next couple of decades until a dispute over athletic eligibility of freshmen (first-year students) led to a split. Eight of the largest SIAA schools left in 1921 to form the Southern Conference (SoCon), joining with six other non-SIAA schools. The next year, the SoCon lured six additional SIAA members, and the SIAA became a de facto small-college conference before disbanding in 1942. In the next 30-odd years, the SoCon would be on the receiving end of this trope twice...
      • First, in 1932, the SoCon split along geographic lines when the 13 members located west and south of the Appalachian Mountains left to form the Southeastern Conference (SEC). The SoCon, which still had 10 members, mostly large and public, continued to thrive. However, in 1936, it added seven relatively small private schools, leading to more than a decade of conflict between large and small schools.
      • Said conflict finally came to a head in the early 1950s, and in 1953, the large public schools (plus the private but ridiculously wealthy Duke) left to form the Atlantic Coast Conference.
      • Fast forward to today. The SoCon still operates, but dropped to the second level of NCAA Division I football, now known as FCS, in 1982, and is clearly a "mid-major" conference. The SEC and ACC, by contrast, are two of the so-called "Power Five" conferences in college football's top tier, Division I FBS.
    • The Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association, a league formed in 1907 by Midwestern and Great Plains schools, experienced two decades of conflict along public–private school lines. In 1927, six of the seven state schools left, with both factions claiming the MVIAA name for a time. The departing schools eventually called themselves the Big Six Conference, with the schools that stayed becoming the Missouri Valley Conference. While the MVC remained a respectable conference, the Big Six, which later became the Big Seven and Big Eight, greatly surpassed it in status. The MVC dropped football in 1986, though several of its current members now play FCS football in the closely related Missouri Valley Football Conference. The Big Eight became one of the most powerful college leagues, and in the mid-1990s picked up four members from the collapsing Southwest Conference (SWC) to form a new league under a new charter: the Big 12 Conference, now another of the Power Five leagues. (Which now has 10 members, but that's for another trope.)
    • A similar situation to the Southern Conference has been going on for the last century in the interior West.
      • The Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference was formed in 1909, ultimately encompassing schools in Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and Montana. By 1937, the aforementioned issues of budgets and player eligibility led seven of the RMAC's schoolsnote  to break off and form the Mountain States Athletic Conference, which later became known as the Skyline Conference. The Skyline became a respectable second tier league, with some membership shifts over the decades. Meanwhile, the RMAC declined in prominence and is now an NCAA Division II conference. By 1962, though, there was another big philosophical split among the Skyline schools, so several membersnote  joined with discontented members of the neighboring Border Conferencenote  to form the Western Athletic Conference.
      • The Skyline and Border leagues disbanded, but the WAC added more members and by The '90s had become a prominent conference, though not quite at the level of leagues like the SEC, ACC, Big Ten or Pac-10. With the collapse of the SWC, the WAC saw a chance to stake a claim to major status. In 1996 it expanded from 10 schools to 16.note  Big. Mistake. The new WAC was arguably the most unwieldy conference in NCAA history, as it spanned nearly 4,000 miles and four time zones.note  The "WAC 16" was not only sprawling geographically, but a jumble of different institutional profiles: state flagship schools, land-grant schools, overgrown normal schools (founded as teachers' colleges), one overgrown mining college, state-run commuter schools, one federal service academy, and private colleges both small and large, all standing shoulder-to-shoulder.
      • Fed up with all this, after just two years five old-line membersnote  met in Denver and decided to go the Skyline/WAC route and form a new conference, eventually recruiting two more old-line members,note  plus 1996 arrival UNLV, to form the Mountain West Conference (MW), which began play in 1999. Today, the MW is one of the better leagues in FBS football's "Group of Five", though two of the charter members have left (Utah for the Pac-12, BYU as a football independent and the West Coast Conference in other sports). As for the WAC, it muddled along until its members became targets for leagues seeking to survive the conference realignment cycle of the early 2010s. It dropped football after the 2012 season, and is only now beginning to recover some semblance of stability.
      • Though there's now a tiny possibility of further WAC turmoil. The conference added four schools in July 2021 and reinstated football, this time at the FCS level; another school will join a year later. However, the word "tiny" is advised because this expansion is far different from the 1996 one. The four schools that joined in 2021 are all from Texas, previously home to two WAC members, and the 2022 entry is from Utah, also home to two pre-2021 members (with one of them less than an hour's drive from the newcomer). And even though the revived WAC football league started with single-sport members in the very non-Western states of Alabama, Arkansas, and Kentucky, those schools are only in WAC football to give it enough members to qualify for an automatic bid to the FCS playoffs, and will leave once their home conference starts its own FCS football league.
  • The operating system Ubuntu, which started out as a fork of the older Debian distribution, managed to become one of the most popular Linux distributions, to the point where it has quite a few forks of its own.
    • Likewise Microsoft Windows was originally an add-on program for MS-DOS, eventually merging with the text-based OS and finally replacing the DOS kernel when NT was releasednote  to form a stand-alone operating system.
    • Linux itself is a more popular spinoff of UNIX and OS X is a more popular spinoff of BSD UNIX in particular. The various other BSD operating systems are at least more popular than the original incarnation of BSD, and possibly commercial UNIX-based or UNIX-like operating systems (aside from OS X and commercial Linux distributions, obviously).
  • Wikipedia is extremely popular with numerous articles in multiple languages while its predecessor Nupedia was closed down within a few years of Wikipedia's formation.
  • This site, which spun off from a thread from
  • The Scuderia Ferrari was originally Alfa Romeo's racing team in the 1930s before becoming a separate entity. Alfa Romeo still sells way more cars but Ferrari is more glamorous and has won far more Formula One races than Alfa Romeo.
  • In the 1920's, General Motors launched their Companion Make Program which introduced smaller divisions within Oakland, Oldsmobile, Buick, and Cadillac to close price gaps between the makes. The companion makes all ended up failing... except for Oakland's: Pontiac, which outlasted Oakland by seventy-five years and was only chosen over Buick for shutdown because Buick's so popular in China.
  • Most people don't use AOL as their browser these days, but its instant messaging service AIM was still quite popular until it shut down in 2017.
  • The AK-47 is one of the rarest guns in the world. Surprised? The ones you are seeing in the hands of Iraqi insurgents or Somali pirates are AKM's, a version of the AK-47 that was improved and made easier to mass produce and the one that eventually saw mass popularity in both Warsaw Pact armies and Soviet client states.
    • While much more extensively modified than AK-47 variants, the M-16 emerged from the attempt to create a lighter, more controllable version of the M-14. Hardly anyone uses the M-14.
    • The G3 came into existence primarily because West Germany wanted their standard rifle to be locally produced but Fabrique Nationale wouldn't let them do so with the FAL that everybody else was using (the fact that Germany had invaded Belgium and seized the FN factory twice in 25 years probably had something to do with that decision). So they chose to license-produce the Spanish-made CETME as the G3. Today, the G3 is, along with the FAL, one of the most popular battle rifles in the world, while the CETME is little-known.
  • Cruise Ferries are ocean going vessels used to transport people and their cars over long distances, essentially being a combination between a cruise ship and a ferry and the name implies. However they are derived from a much older classification of ship called cargo liners. Cargo liners carry people and general cargo. They were never all that popular as they usually didn't address why a ship would need to carry both.
  • The fast food chain Carl's Jr. got its name because its founder, Carl Karcher, originally opened it as a smaller version of his restaurant Carl's Drive-In Barbecue. note  The name became a bit ironic when Carl's Jr. became a major restaurant chain in the western half of the US, while Carl's Drive-In Barbecue remained obscure.note 
  • Panda Express is a scaled down fast-food version of the fairly upscale Panda Inn. Panda Inn is itself a chain, but it's a VASTLY smaller one — six locations, all in California, compared to Panda Express and its 1600+ locations across the US and even internationally. It speaks volumes that people commonly refer to Panda Express as just "Panda".
  • Famitsu, the famous Japanese video games magazine which began as far as 1986, was spunoff from a column in LOGiN, a Japanese PC gaming magazine that began only a few years earlier. LOGiN would ceased publication in 2008, while Famitsu is still ongoing to this day, having amassed over 1,500 issues and still counting.
  • When Starbucks introduced the "Caramel Macchiato" in the 2000s, it ended up becoming one of their most popular drinks, partly because its distinctive lattice pattern of caramel syrup helped it stand out. Many casual espresso drinkers didn't realize that the drink was a flavored variant of a much older drink called a "Latte Macchiato", which had been served at most coffeehouses—including Starbucks—for decades before the Caramel Macchiato became popular. note  This ended up drawing the ire of quite a few baristas at other coffeehouses, who would sometimes encounter customers asking for a "macchiato", expecting it to be a flavored drink with a lattice of caramel syrup on top. Starbucks itself is the more popular spinoff of Peet's Coffee. Alfred Peet taught Starbucks' founders about roasting coffee, and they decided to try their hand at it up in Seattle.
  • Apple's claim to fame is its Macintosh — later just "Mac" — line of computers. Then they came out with the iPod, one of the first widely-successful portable digital media players, with Apple soon becoming "that company that makes iPods" by Mac users and users of non-Mac computers alike. And after that, Apple would release the iPhone, leading to one of the most successful line of cellphones ever, with Apple being associated with the iPhone by the average consumer more than anything else today. Still later, the Apple Watch has pretty much defined the "smart watch" category, and overshadows the Mac though not the iPhone.
  • Windows 2000, along with Windows XP and beyond, are actually part of the Windows NT line of Windows operating systems originally designed for workstations and servers, with the complementary Windows 9x line being focused on the average consumer; Microsoft simply chose to remove the "NT" branding from 2000 onwards. When Windows ME was released after 2000 as part of the 9x lineup, it was received extremely poorly due to its poor stability and killed off the Windows 9x line for good, leading to the NT line becoming the new main Windows branch from Windows XP onwards.
  • Fruit-flavored frozen daiquiris—strawberry daiquiris, in particular—are one of the most popular and iconic alcoholic beverages in the world, mostly because their blended texture and sweet taste make them appealing to casual drinkers. Many people don't realize that they're actually a variant on a traditional daiquiri, which is a standard straight-up cocktail containing rum, lime juice and sugar. note 
  • Midwest FurFest, an annual Furry Fandom convention held in Chicago, started as a spinoff of a now-obscure science fiction convention called Duckon. The two were split in 2000 and MFF grew to become one of the two biggest furry conventions in the US (it surpassed Anthrocon in 2017 to become the world's largest furry con, and the 2018 incarnation became the first furry con to surpass 10,000 attendees), while Duckon gradually petered out due to lack of interest.
  • Target was originally started in 1962 as the discount store subsidiary of the Twin Cities-based department store chain Dayton's. By the 1980s, it began to eclipse the company's other stores in sales. In 2000, the entire company changed its name to the Target Corporation and sold off all its other brands to other companies, leaving just Target.
  • The discount clothing and home-goods chain T.J. Maxx started out as a subsidiary of Zayre, a New England-based competitor to Kmart. The stores typically sold close-out merchandise from the bigger chain. In the late 1980s, the company sold its flagship Zayre brand to its rival Ames, and selected to rename itself TJX Companies and put its focus on expanding TJ Maxx. Since then, TJ Maxx and its sister store Marshalls have become ubiquitous in strip malls around the United States, and no one really remembers Zayre anymore.
  • Disneyland is huge and one of the most iconic theme parks in the world, but even that cannot hold a candle to Disney's second park, Walt Disney World, which is an absolute juggernaut and probably the most famous theme park on Earth. It helps that it's a massive complex rather than just a pair of parks and it generally serves the eastern U.S. states which are much more populous than the western states where Disneyland is closer.
  • DreamWorks is now better-known as an animation company than a would-be conglomerate with animation being one of its assets. It helps that after DreamWorks Animation was spun-off from DreamWorks SKG in 2004, the DreamWorks trademarks were part of the deal.
  • F. W. Woolworth Company (Woolworth), an American five-and-dime chain, went under in 1997, and its stores are largely forgotten by anyone who wasn't old enough to have shopped at one. However, the Woolworth company owns many other retail chains that they kept and remain popular to this day, including the athletic footwear and apparel chains Foot Locker and Champs Sports, to the point they are now known as Foot Locker, Inc.
  • The Limited was a popular mall clothing store chain in the 1980s and 1990s, and parent company Limited Brands owned a myriad of sister chains. By 2002, however, it had begun to fall out of favor, and was sold off to another owner before finally closing in 2017. The parent company, since named L Brands, has kept going with its two remaining brands, Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works, both of which have surpassed The Limited in popularity. Former Limited subsidiaries that have remained more popular in the long run are Abercrombie & Fitch, Lane Bryant, New York & Company (formerly Lerner New York), Justice (formerly Limited Too), and Express/Express Men (formerly Limited Express and Structure, respectively), although none of them are still under the same ownership.
  • Converse's "classic" black design of their Chuck Taylor All-Stars (or "Chucks" for short) are this for the shoe's much older white design; the black design was first unveiled in 1949, well over a decade after the white variation was first made available. note  Converse has experimented with several designs over the years, but the black one is the most popular and iconic by far. However, the red variant also received a huge Colbert Bump thanks to Doctor Who's Tenth Doctor including them as part of his standard outfit.
  • New York is much larger and definitely more well-known than York, a city in England and the namesake of America's largest city.
  • There was a longstanding pizza joint in the college town of Ypsilanti, Michigan, called DomiNick's, named after its founder, Dominick DeVarti. In 1960 the Monaghan brothers, Tom and Jim, bought it, but kept the name. Within a few years, they'd acquired two other local pizza places and wanted to turn DomiNick's into a chain, but DeVarti wouldn't let them use the name. Instead, one of the Monaghans' employees suggested changing the name to Domino's Pizza. Shortly afterwards Jim sold his share in the business, and Tom eventually expanded the operation beyond Washtenaw County. Now it boasts 17,000 locations in 84 countries.
  • Between 1999 and 2002, Universal Pictures' indie film division was USA Films. While it produced some hits, it was eventually replaced by Focus Features in 2002. This paid off as they managed to distribute 2 acclaimed Oscar contenders that year (Far from Heaven and The Pianist), with Lost in Translation coming the following year. To this day, Focus remains as Universal's indie division, and still distributes movies that become Oscar contenders and box office hits.


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