The road of TV spinoffs is littered with turds (sorry, "Joey"), but with this week's hugely anticipated debut of "Breaking Bad" spinoff "Better Call Saul," we're counting down some spinoffs that worked.
The road of TV spinoffs is littered with turds (sorry, “Joey”), but with this week’s hugely anticipated debut of “Breaking Bad” spinoff “Better Call Saul,” we’re counting down some spinoffs that worked.
Now in its 26th season, it’s easy to forget that America’s longest-running sitcom actually got its start as an occasional short on “The Tracey Ullman” show.
“The Colbert Report”
When “Daily Show” correspondent Stephen Colbert headed of for his own show, it seemed like his right-wing-blowhard parody character couldn’t last that long. After running for almost a decade, he’s now due to succeed David Letterman on “The Late Show” in 2015.
“The Muppet Show”
Jim Henson’s puppet-filled variety show from the mid-to-late ’70s actually leapt off from his work on “Sesame Street,” even featuring many of the same puppeteers.
“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”
The Dick Wolf-created “Law & Order” has spawned a comical number of spinoffs, but none stuck quite like this one, thanks to Christopher Meloni, Mariska Hargitay and even Ice-T.
Co-created by Adam Reed — who went on to create “Archer” — this inspired Adult Swim show reimagined the absurdly serious Hanna-Barbera series “Sealab 2020” as a comedy. RIP, Captain Murphy.
“Star Trek: The Next Generation”
Two decades after the short-but-influential “Star Trek,” creator Gene Roddenberry rebooted in a series that many fans hold in higher regard than the original.
“The Steve Wilcos Show”
Wilcos learned from the daytime trash-TV master during his time as the head of security on “The Jerry Springer Show.” He went from occasionally filling in for Springer to his own show in the same (ridiculous) vein.
Of all the characters from “Cheers” to anchor a show, Kelsey Grammar’s uptight psychiatrist did not seem like the best fit, but a great cast and a fresh start did the trick.
A second-generation spin-off of “All in the Family” — with “Maude” being the link between — “Good Times” was an unexpected breakout, especially for Jimmy Walker’s J.J. Dy-no-mite.
An icon for misanthropes everywhere, Daria Morgandorffer was the smart female foil for the unbridled male idiocy of Beavis & Butthead. She definitely was worthy of her own show.
“Laverne & Shirley”
One of several spin-offs of “Happy Days” (including “Mork & Mindy”), “Laverne & Shirley” was the rare sitcom featuring female protagonists (Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams.) It also introduced America to comedic great Michael McKean (“This Is Spinal Tap”) as Lenny.
“Summer Heights High”
Australian comic Chris Lilley expanded this series around characters from his previous series “We Can Be Heroes.” “Summer Heights High” has itself spawned a couple of spin-offs, but this was Lilley’s crowning moment.