TV Lexicon: Spinoff
The process of deriving new radio or television programs from existing
ones is also referred to as spinning off (see list of television
spin-offs). Spin-offs work with varying degrees of success. Some become
very popular and last for a number of seasons, others are not well
received and have considerably shorter life spans.
is an example of a spin-off that was not well received. Before the final
season of M*A*S*H
the main cast voted as to whether or not to continue the series. The final
vote was 4-3 against. William Christopher, Jamie Farr, and Harry Morgan
wanted to continue work on M*A*S*H. After the 11th season, they
began work on AfterMASH. It lasted two seasons, with 30 episodes.
Without those cast members and writers who made the original TV show
successful, AfterMASH was never as popular as the original.
Trek: The Next Generation is an example of a popular spin-off. It
was a spin-off of the original Star Trek television series and
movies. Most fans consider The Next Generation to be the pinnacle
of the franchise. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager and
Star Trek: Enterprise are also spinoffs of the original series.
Frasier is one of most popular spin-off series of all time,
based on the character Dr. Frasier Crane from the American sitcom Cheers.
The series ran for eleven seasons.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer is another example of a hit spin-off:
it was a spin-off of the original movie, but surpassed it immensely in
popularity. Even more rare, another show, Angel, was spun-off of
the Buffy series and was almost as popular as its mother series.
Some consider The
Simpsons to be a spin-off, as it features characters that
originally appeared in brief comic sketches on The
Tracey Ullman Show. The Simpsons, launched in 1989, remains
on the air and is the longest-running primetime television cartoon series
of all time. An episode of the series features a "spin-off
showcase", in which secondary-characters have their own shows,
parodying classic TV series. The duration of each segment is typically
The Law & Order series has spawned a total of four
spin-offs: Special Victims Unit, Criminal Intent, Crime
& Punishment (a documentary series as opposed to scripted drama)
and Trial by Jury.
CSI the popular series produced by Jerry Bruckheimer has
produced a pair of spin-offs in CSI: Miami and CSI: NY, both
connected by the series before it by a cross-over episode.
Joey is an example of a not so popular spin-off that followed in
the Frasier mould of continuing after the popular series before it,
in this case Friends, had ended.
It should be noted that some observers only consider the term
"spin-off" to be appropriate when the setup for the new show is
introduced IN an episode of the original series. Using this criteria, the
television show Maude
is a genuine "spin-off" of All
In The Family, while Frasier is more accurately referred to
as a "sequel series" to Cheers.