Spin-offs are the sequels of the TV world. From a business stand point they make a lot of sense. Let's do a show where the audience is already familiar with the characters. It works for McDonald's, right? Give the people what they want and they'll keep stuffing their faces until they can no longer walk and are scooter bound. Now, creatively speaking, there's an excellent reason spin-offs mostly fail and that's because if these characters were so strong, they'd be leads in the show they were originally spun off from.
Usually the characters are extreme which is why they catch on in the first place but with these characters, a little usually goes a long way. It's the same way with fudge. The first three bites are amazing. The fourth is pretty good and by five you're about to go into a diabetic coma. What goes for sugar, butter and milk heated to 240 degrees Fahrenheit goes for wacky next door neighbors. You see, for every "Rhoda" there's a "Phyllis." For every "Frasier," there's a "Tortelli's" and for every "Laverne & Shirley" there's a "Joanie Loves Chachi."
With "How I Met Your Father," "Super Natural: Bloodlines" and "NCIS: New Orleans" set to premiere this upcoming television season, let's hope they don't follow the piss poor examples of the following shows because they are the ten worst spin-offs in TV history.
10 The Love Boat: The Next Wave (1998)
9 Baywatch Nights (1995)
8 That 80's Show (2002)
Usually with a spin-off there are familiar characters because that's kind of the idea, right? This show was completely different from "That '70's Show." True, the lead character's cousin was Eric Forman from "That '70's Show," but it's never mentioned. Maybe the producers figured the viewers would catch onto this piece of subtext. I didn't.
7 Star Trek Voyager (1995)
6 The Apprentice: Martha Stewart (2005)
On paper it seemed like a good idea. Take a successful business reality show starring a mogul and spin it off with a different mogul. Martha Stewart had a huge following and she had just gotten out of prison, so she had that going for her. Instead of using the Donald's catch phrase, "You're fired," Martha said, "You just don't fit in." Could a phrase be any more bland? Martha would also write a cordial letter to all the fired applicants. Very Junior League.
5 The Hills (2006)
We needed this show, because if there was one thing that America was thinking, it was that "we need more Laguna Beach!"
Now, what can you say about a show that gave us Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag? Somehow thank you just doesn't seem like enough. The show started off with Lauren Conrad as the lead but by season five even she was fed up and left. Kristin Cavallari stepped in and managed to be just as vacant as her predecessor.
4 Saved By The Bell: The College Years (1993)
3 Here Comes Honey Boo Boo (2012)
This show airs on TLC which stands for The Learning Channel, so there's dishonest statement number one. Here Comes Honey Boo Boo was spun off from "Toddlers & Tiaras" which was a show about beauty pageants for eight-year-olds. There really should be a special room in hell for anyone who tries to make prepubescent girls look sexy.
2 After MASH (1983)
MASH was a huge hit. It's final episode, "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen" was the highest rated program in American history until 2010. So, it's understandable why CBS wouldn't want to say goodbye to these numbers without a fight, hence After Mash. The thinking being, you loved them in Korea so you'll love the lesser characters working at a V.A. hospital in the mid west. Well, we didn't. Hey, if the second season premiere of Max Klinger escaping from jail doesn't grab you, nothing will.
1 Joey (2004)
Much like the number two entry on our list, "Joey" was a case of a network trying to keep a hit going for as long as possible. The character of Joey Tribbiani was an amiable dumb guy. Dumb guy's generally don't make good series leads. Why? Cause they're dumb. Gomer Pyle was the exception, not the rule.
Joey was an actor trying to make it in L.A. He was joined by his older sister, Gina and her son, Michael. Most of the episodes were centered on Joey trying to make it in show business but the actor was in his mid-thirties so it never felt quite right. Other cast members, like Miguel A. Nunez, Jr. and Jennifer Coolidge, were introduced but ultimately the show just got its butt kicked by American Idol. So, when Joey, the character said his catch phrase, "How you doin'?," Joey, the show, would have to reply, not too good.
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