11 Spin-Offs That Were Better Than They Had Any Right To Be

11 Spin-Offs That Were Better Than They Had Any Right To Be

When a movie or TV show is successful, it's not unusual for the studios to want to capitalize on that success by creating a spin-off. A spin-off is a new show or movie that is based on an established property and often features some of the same characters. Spin-offs can be a great way to continue the story of a favorite character or explore different aspects of the original property. However, they can also be risky since they may not be as popular as the original.

Spin-offs often seem like unwanted attempts to claw a couple of last dollars from a successful show through the TV ratings of the world's ants. But some of them aren't just for people who are too tired to change the channel after the show they like is over. In fact, some of the most successful and critically acclaimed TV shows of all time started as spin-offs. Here are 11 of the best.

COMEDY NERD CRACKED.COM DARIA daria Daria has such a specific tone and cult following that it may be surprising that it's a spin-off from, of all things, Beavis and Butt-Head. Daria first appeared on Mike Judge's animated MTV series before becoming a staple on messenger bag pins everywhere. But where's the Cornholio sitcom?

COMEDY NERD CRACKED.COM THE COLBERT REPORT THE The Daily Show took both the worlds of comedy and cable news by storm, and left your parents' DVR wheezing for air and storage space. Executives smelled money in the water and created The Colbert Report, a spin-off that eschewed snark in favor of wholesale satire. It paid off.

COMEDY NERD CRACKED.COM WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS Even massive fans of the Taika Waititi film might not have had high hopes for a TV spin-off with a new cast. But when in doubt, cast Matt Berry. And then have new(ish) faces Natasia Demetriou, Kayvan Novak, Mark Proksch, and Harvey Guillen steal the scene from him on multiple occassions.

COMEDY NERD CRACKED.COM BETTER CALL SAUL Is Better Call Saul a comedy? It seems the lines are blurring on just how funny a comedy needs to be, so it seems only fair we give Saul the same credit in reverse. Spinning off a national phenomenon and critical success like Breaking Bad invites raised eyebrows. They were quickly lowered.

COMEDY NERD CRACKED.COM MORK & &MINDY One of two Happy Days offpsring on this list, Mork & Mindy was a little more, let's say, high concept. The late, great Robin Williams played perhaps the most successful on-screen alien James Cameron wasn't involved in. I have to imagine the casting discussion went something like: Yes, right? Yes. Ok.

COMEDY NERD CRACKED.COM M*A*S*H M A S H H M*A*S*H's final episode aired in 1983. It remained the most-watched US TV broadcast until 2010, only ever beaten by SOME Super Bowls (and not the last 4). The show was so outrageously successful, the fact that it was a spin-off of a 1970 feature film of the same name sometimes goes forgotten.

Source: NPR

COMEDY NERD CRACKED.COM THE JEFFERSONS Spin-offs are often written off as money grabs, pushing comfort over substance. All In The Family spin-off The Jeffersons defies that characterization on every front. The Jeffersons was not only a success, but an incisive and fearless show, treading into topics that most current sitcoms would steer clear of.

COMEDY NERD CRACKED.COM FRASIER Before he was examining the heads of Seattle natives over radio, Dr. Frasier Crane was one of the barflies from Cheers. It's no surprise NBC wanted to continue to capitalize on Cheers' success, but even they may not have expected Frasier to become a touchstone sitcom on its own merits.

COMEDY NERD CRACKED.COM FAMILY MATTERS Yes, Family Matters was a spin-off. And from a character you might not expect: Harriette, who appeared as an elevator operator in Perfect Strangers. Though I still choose to believe it's a Die Hard spin-off and Carl Winslow is Reginald VelJohnson's cop character from Die Hard with a new name and family.
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