A TV spin-off is almost bad by definition: it's whatever is left when an executive draws a big circle around the characters people actually care about and says, "let's write a pilot without these people."
But the truly terrible TV spin-offs are awful on a whole different level. They take these characters and wedge them into some pointless or ill-fitting premise that makes us care about them even less. Here are five spin-offs that truly make us wonder what the fuck they were thinking.
Spun Off From: Baywatch
Bored in his position as resident police officer of Baywatch, Sergeant Garner Ellerbee forms a detective agency with Baywatch lifeguard and former Navy Seal Mitch Buchannon (David Hasselhoff) with the intention of solving the apparently countless paranormal mysteries that plague the beaches of Los Angeles.
Given that 90% of American males envision their retirement from the corporate grind as some variation of an episode of Baywatch, it's hard to imagine that a man whose job responsibilities include "watching breasts bounce" and "confiscating recreational drugs from surfers" would endeavor to transition into a more demanding, more dangerous line of work.
Picture unrelated to article.
But beyond the Baywatch gang's incomprehensible motivation to change careers, the storylines of some of Baywatch Night's episodes are downright ridiculous. For example, take Episode 24: The Creature, wherein the detectives come face-to-face with an amphibious, serial-killing woman hell-bent on procreating. Or Episode 38: Zargtha, in which a man-wolf torments teenaged runaways living in an earthquake-prone abandoned building.
As you've probably deduced by now, the show was a cheap attempt to cash in on the X-Files craze. But there's a reason Mulder didn't wear zinc on his nose and Skully wielded a gun instead of a whistle: otherworldly encounters just don't occur on the beach.
Not pictured: A realistic setting for a show about monsters.
Spun Off From: The Golden Girls
Rejuvenated by seven years of living in a house together and discussing their unfathomably active sex lives, three of the four Golden Girls (minus Bea Arthur) open an upscale hotel in Miami. Because running a hotel slightly more work than these spunky 70-year-olds can handle, they hire Chuy Castillos (Cheech Marin) to run the kitchen and Roland Wilson (Don Cheadle) to manage the front desk.
While some projects, like putting together a bookshelf, only require elbow grease and a can-do attitude, we're pretty sure that opening an upscale hotel in one of the most expensive cities in the world takes millions of dollars and years of industry experience.
But that's not to say that these lively gals don't have one thing going for them: the second any of them mentioned sex in front of a guest, they wouldn't have to worry about paying the kitchen staff overtime that day.
"Picture us fucking!"
The show was canceled after one season, and producers resisted the temptation to generate another spinoff where the girls buy and run their own island nation.
Spun Off From: Designing Women
After Suzanne Sugarbaker's (Delta Burke) fifth husband dies, the former Atlanta beauty queen assumes his congressional office and, along with her mentally-handicapped brother, her spry, vivacious daughter, and her sassy administrative assistant, enters the bureaucratic power-labyrinth of Washington D.C.
We can buy Delta Burke's marriage to a parliamentarian (although in the deep South we think they're called Grand Wizards). But even before the first poorly-scripted one-liner about Congress being full of more nuts than momma's pecan pie can signal to the audio tech that it's time to light up the "APPLAUSE" sign, the show asks us to accept that not a single person would object to a dead senator's elected position being taken over by his sassy wife.
The show lasted just nine episodes, when CBS abruptly pulled it off the air when they saw that episode 10 featured a "montage of women being brutally abused." CBS demanded the scene be cut (whatever for?) and then just decided to kill the show completely.
To be clear, the scene was not of actual women being abused on, like, a hidden camera or something. It was a montage of movies and TV shows, and was supposed to be making some kind of point about the way women are treated in popular culture. Way to stand up for feminism, Show About Wacky Lady Who Marries Her Way Into Congress.