Spin off

The long running hit Cheers produced another long running amusing spin off Frasier, following the character Frasier Crane.

The inexplicably popular Happy Days produced the inexplicable Mork and Mindy.

Stargate has produced Stargate and, I think, Stargate with a consistent character, I think. 

Star Trek.. something similar.

How many did All In The Family produce?

What TV series character would you most want to see spun off in a show?

For example, I would like to see The West Wing’s character Charlie spun off into his own show.

Firefly’s Mel… on another life track and ship?

Prime Suspect’s DCI Tennison post police?

And if you don’t like any TV at all, you might go find another entry to read and leave this one be.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Since you asked, I’d like to see Joe Mantegna’s character on Criminal Minds spun into a decent TV show.


  2. Cristero says:

    Going on the Joe Mantegna tangent, Fat Tony from The Simpsons.

  3. Brandon says:

    I wanna see the West Wing\’s Sam (Rob Lowe) character…

    The show was initially supposed to revolve around him, and Josh (Brad Whitford). In one episode, President Bartlett tells Sam \”You\’re going to run for President some day. Don\’t be scared.\” I want to see that.

  4. Lubeltri says:

    Basil Fawlty. In the new show, he moves to America and becomes co-owner of Bob Newhart’s bed and breakfast. Think of the possibilities!

  5. kaneohe says:

    Torchwood’s Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) becomes a chaste celibate who works for the Congregation for Divine Worship.

    His job is to protect Holy Mother Church by rounding up the liturgical abuse aliens before they can do more harm.

    He has no mercy.

    The show is broadcast in Latin with English subtitles.

    The soundtrack is a mix of Gregorian chant and polyphony with some melodic Eastern and Orthodox undertones.

    Sets by Studio Michelangelo-Bernini assisted by Pugin.

    Costumes by Tridentium, Luzor, Benedictus, et. al.

    Special script writers are Lang,Nichols,and Reid.

    Oh, and Captain Jack knows his birettiquette – that is one of the ways he spots the aliens who have absolutely no clue…

  6. Alice says:

    It’s a bit late I know, but Fr Mulcahy from MASH. I love that show!

  7. Noel says:

    Bishop Len Brennan from Father Ted

  8. Jack says:

    I’m already enjoying Battlestar Galactica’s spin-off “Caprica” but I’d also like to see Bishop Brennan (perhaps making sure that the traditionalists in his diocese are looked after?)

  9. John Enright says:

    I like Showtime\’s The Tudors even though it takes liberal artistic licence with the historical facts. The show is presented primarily from the viewpoint of Henry VIII, so I\’d like to see an accurate version presented from the perspective of St. Thomas Moore, Patron Saint of Lawyers (Yeaaaaaaa!).

  10. Rompicollo says:

    I couldn’t envision Mal on any other ship than Serenity. The only spin-off that seems plausible to me would be his time in the war.

  11. Gil Grissom from the original CSI. I miss his character.

  12. Eric R. says:

    Just thought I’d mention the Laverne & Shirley is also a spin-off from Happy Days as is Joanie Loves Chachi. I think Happy Days produced the most spin-offs of any sitcom. Star Trek and Stargate are more of a franchise model.

    Anyway, The West Wing is my favorite show ever, so I wouldn’t mind seeing any of the principal characters get a spin-off. My top pick would be Toby Ziegler in a series set at Columbia University where he teaches a bunch of political science majors.

  13. Charivari Rob says:

    I think All In The Family produced the most spinoffs (5):

    Maude, The Jeffersons, umm… whatever the title of the spinoff (short-lived, I think) that followed Mike and Gloria to California, Archie Bunker’s Place, and (the years-later, very-short-lived) 704 Hauser.

    There were 5 assorted Star Trek series after the original.

  14. Nana says:

    Maude and The Jeffersons are two spinoffs from All in the Family that come to mind. West Wing? My very best favorite of all time.

  15. telcontar says:

    Any of the Firefly back stories: particularly Mal, River (two-by-two…), or Shepherd Book, also the story going forward of the enforcer from the movie.

  16. Ann says:

    To my shock I have realized, while trying to think of a show I like, that I have watched so little TV this past few years that I have NO idea what the shows being discussed are if they were created after 1990.

    I would however, be curious as to what would happen if someone decided to revive I Dream of Jeannie in a modern context. What if….she were Catholic, devout, and Jeannie? Think of all the trouble she might cause around a typical suburban parish? The potential for comedy without being blasphemous is there. Personally I think that would be fun but then again, my tastes have never been mainstream! LOL!

    (sigh) then again, hollywood isn’t likely to manage it without twisting the potential goodness into something ugly or occult/new age. (blech!)

    Pro-family comedy–not soap opera–clean with content–is that even possible these days?

  17. Somewhere there is a website that lists all the spinoffs. A lot of surprises. Happy Days itself was a spinoff of Love, American Style.

    And Twilight Zone’s roots were traced back to … I Love Lucy. [You know… I can see the connection.]

  18. The inexplicably popular Happy Days produced the inexplicable Mork and Mindy.

    ‘Happy Days’ was good its first year: if the opening-credits theme is Bill Haley’s ‘Rock Around the Clock’ it’s worth watching. Of course it was a knockoff of American Graffiti (and began as a ‘Love, American Style’ episode), right around the time the destruction identified with the late ’60s was calming down and nostalgia became socially acceptable again. In the first year it was believably set about 18 years in the past. Then ‘filmed before a studio audience’, Fonziemania and perhaps the producers’ own carelessness ruined it (dumb plots and people who seemed like time-travellers from the late ’70s – ugh, Chachi, but he wasn’t the only offender).

    Set in the then-present ‘Mork & Mindy’ didn’t have the period-authenticity problems most of ‘Happy Days’ did but was very explicable again especially its first year: Robin Williams’ tremendous talent. I’ve seen him in person.


    Back when ‘Friends’ was wildly popular I thought a show dropping most of the cast and replacing them with the guest-character boyfriends and girlfriends of the regular cast, keeping Chandler to deliver his sarcastic punchlines and keeping Monica as well, would have been better than the real show: Richard played by Tom Selleck, Charlie the black woman, Emily the Englishwoman and maybe the underappreciated David Rapaport (a Jewish tough guy) as a smarter, more believable Joey. Oh, and give Gunther a bigger role. And possibly keep Ross. (I can see keeping three guys and three girls as leads.) That’s right, no Rachel. Not necessarily the set of sitcom stock characters, a formula going back to commedia del’arte.

  19. Correction: Michael Rapaport the actor not David Rapaport the behind-the-scenes guy. Easy mistake to make.

  20. Lauren says:

    I have to say … “Pushing Daisies” was a drastically under-appreciated show in its day, before it got canceled. All of the characters in that show were so good, I’d love to see a spin-off with any of them.

  21. Michael Petry says:

    Charlie’s character was not spun into his own series however Dule Hill (the actual actor)was cast in a show on TBS called PSYCH…pretty funny imho.

  22. Mark says:

    I know there have already been a lot of Star Trek spinoffs, but I always wanted to see Riker get his own show.

  23. Mal does not belong on any ship but Serenity. But, I would love to know Shepherd Book’s story. And more Jayne would always be welcome.

  24. Allison says:

    I would like to see what happened next with Le Femme Nikita, that whole underground agency. Did it go on? What was Nikita like running the place?

  25. Ioannes Andreades says:

    Jimmy Smitts from NYPD Blue if for not other reason to have Dennis Franz come by every once in a while. I always thought that Law and Order would have been much better if it has combined with NYPD Blue. You know there were some awesome Dennis Franz-Sam Waterson scenes that the world has had to do without.

  26. Cliff W says:

    Maude and the Jeffersons vs. the Bunkers and Lavern and Shirley in an all-out tagteam battle to the death. Pay-per-view only!

  27. Rob Cartusciello says:

    It’s a very odd tangent, but would love to see Jeeves & Wooster, “The War Years”.

    The concept of Jeeves coming to the aid of Bertie Wooster as they battle the Nazis on the high seas or the deserts of North Africa amuses me.

  28. Allan says:

    Castiel from Supernatural.

  29. FrGregACCA says:

    Not a necessarily a character, but I’d like to see a CSI: Chicago.

  30. Ioannes Andreades says:

    Awesome, but only if we can have the Richard Garnett, original Gussie.

  31. Thursday says:

    I think Sam Axe from Burn notice would be a great character to have a spinoff. Imagine the possibilities of having bruce campbell getting a spy series of his own. Bonus points if they can get him to say the line “This… is… my…. BOOMSTICK!”

  32. Trisha says:

    Seems we would all be far better off to throw out the TV and instead use that time to study the science of the saints and grow in grace. Just think of all the useless garbage you are taking in thru your eyes and ears.

  33. Most Excellent Sledgehammer says:

    I’d like to see a Simpsons spinoff called “Lovejoy and Z”, where Reverend Lovejoy converts to Catholicism and is ordained a priest (after a proper dispensation from Rome) and joins Father Z as two liturgical abuse fighting priests with superpowers. Broadcast in Latin with English translation on the right side of the screen.


  34. Trisha says:

    Think we would all be far better off to throw out the TV – not turn it off, but throw it out. Just think of all the useless garbage being fed into your mind and soul via your eyes and ears. We will have to account for how we spent the time allotted to us – it would be far better to spend it by working out our salvation and growing in grace.

  35. Thursday says:

    Very true trisha, now back to the topic, I’d accept the simplsons spinoff if they made a futurama spinoff that featured reverend lionel preacherbot fighting against the robot devil. perhaps he could also face off against oprahism and engage in witty banter with bender a la the ball and the cross… or not, I’ll admit it’s all a silly idea :)

  36. I’d like to see Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer spun off to the National League somewhere.

    Thank you in advance,
    Kansas City, USA

  37. Doug says:

    1. Hawk from Spencer for Hire.
    2. Franchise Matlock like the Law & Order series…
    Matlock: Tort and Personal Injury Claims
    Matlock: Patent, Trademark, and Copyright Licensing and Litigation
    Matlock: Consumer Law and UCC Transactions…

  38. Mary says:

    The only TV show I’ve followed regularly was NCIS. Any of those main characters could have a spin-off, but I think Tony is best suited for it. I think McGee is unappreciated though, so if he had a show where he was the lead we’d see some great stuff. Then again, Ziva is quite mysterious and they could do a lot with her, too.

  39. Maggie says:

    anything Firefly related would be great. Maybe one that follows Book or Inara during the months between the end of Season One and Serenity.

    West Wing- anything, anyone, and yes!! Charlie would be super, and so would a Josh & Donna one.

  40. Maggie: Wouldn’t following Toby be even better?

  41. LCB says:

    The show “Kings” recently debuted poorly, and I think is set for a re-launch this summer.

    That show has incredible potential, and I’d like to see it brought back and continued for several seasons.

    The basic premise of the show is a modern day retelling of the Saul-Samuel-David narrative, with liberties obviously taken. Really quite gripping and well done.

  42. Doug: ‘Hawk’ from ‘Spencer for Hire’ had a short lived spin off. I believe it was called, “A Man Called Hawk.” It only had 13 episodes. (Kudos to IMDB!) Spencer was a great show and great character!

  43. mike hurcum says:

    I find it inapropriate to foster any leaning towards aggrandizing Tee Vee. Look at what it promotes. Prime Suspect one scene opens with Helen Mirren undergoing an Abortion. Often she is having sex with co workers. On Sundays the gladiators try hard to maim each other for money and when they succeed,reaching their nirvana they kneel and bless themselves. I guess we could spin this as practicing the sabbath. Very few TV shows today in some way does honor disorders. aai do not think this subject should be discussed by any orthodox catholic.

  44. anon says:

    WOW mike hurcum. catholicism IS the real world, not a micro- or macrocosom of it. according to these super ultra mega conservative orthodoxes, everyone who embraces catholic orthodoxy to any degree should confine themselves to a cloister.

  45. Thursday says:

    TV, Like print and internet is a medium by which any and all communication may move, as is the nature of all media. It is true TV in today’s world is often terrible, but does that mean it should never be discussed? Media like most tools are morally neutral. If Fr Z was known for making posts like this the staple of his blg I’d have reason to be upset, but they are not.

  46. Thursday says:

    I when I say Media I of course mean media as an abstract concept. today’s Television media has it’s own inherent bent, but it is caused by those who use media and not the medium itself.

  47. PaulJason says:

    Not sure if any of you have ever seen St. Elsewhere. St. Elsewhere crosses over with 281 shows, and was one of the better shows on TV. Seeing as it ended up being just an autistics boy’s dream I don’t think there will ever be a spin-off. Here’s is a link to “The Grid” all the shows that St. Elsewhere is connected to.



  48. Jackie says:

    The Costanza’s

  49. Trisha says:

    Sorry, Father, but all the traditional priests I know advise eliminating TV from our homes and have done so themselves. I will no longer read your blog and you won’t have to hear from me again. [Okay… best wishes!]

  50. Charivari Rob says:

    These aren,t charaters, I know, but how about a This Old House spinoff for Norm Abrams and Tommy Silva? The premise can be the same as TOH except that they’re restricted to using my grandfather’s handtools (old-school “cordless”) instead of their corporately-underwritten arsenal of power tools.

  51. stike says:

    Walt from Lost!


    Dude has powers! As long as they kept it Lost-ish and didn’t turn it into another copycat, vanilla show

  52. Seattle Slew says:

    Just resurrect “Arrested Development”. That’s all.

  53. Maureen says:

    Whatever is good, true, or beautiful is okey-dokey to watch on TV.

  54. chris p says:

    Stargate (the movie) spawned Stargate SG-1 whoch spawned Stargate Atlantis…how Stargate Universe comes in remains to be seen.

    Battlestar Galactica spawned Caprica, which looks promising.

    As to what I\’d likt to see, I\’d like to see a spinoff of Boston Legal featuring the cast that remained from the first to the final season (Shirley Schmidt, Denny Crane and Alan Shore…in fact that would make a good name for the firm: Schmidt, Crane & Shore or Crane, Schmidt & Shore — no way Crane and Schmidt would let Shore come first LOL).

  55. “Sorry, Father, but all the traditional priests I know advise eliminating TV from our homes and have done so themselves. I will no longer read your blog and you won’t have to hear from me again. [Okay… best wishes!]

    Comment by Trisha — 11 June 2009 @ 1:23 pm”

    Hahahaha, Oh Father Z, you are too funny! Do you know this person and have been monitoring their usage of the site? Of course not, then why would you care if they plan on never visiting again? And why would they care to tell you in such a public manner? Is she trying to insult you by saying you are not a traditionalist priest? Is there an agreed definition on what a traditionalist priest is?

    I stopped watching television for Lent and have just kept it up because my life has become more fulfilling by leaps and bounds. However, I’m not crazy… (Or, I hope I am not)

  56. Argon says:

    Apparently, a Traditional Priest doesn’t own a TV (this may come as a bit of a shock to most FSSP Priests I know).

    Of course, the real evil is the printing press; if it hadn’t been for that miscreant Gutenburg (sp?), all those heretical tracts which spawned the Prod revolt would never have seen the light of day.

    Therefore, if you own a printer, or a book, you are clearly not a Catholic. ;-)

  57. John Enright says:

    Charivari Rob: You could call it “This Old Tool.” LOL. Semi-seriously, how ’bout a series based on the “Brady Bunch” grandchildren?

  58. cuaguy says:

    I personally would have liked to see a spin off from JAG. I think that a lot could have been done, especially following Harm and Mac, considering the way that the show ended.

  59. mike hurcum says:

    well anon I guess you have put me in my place. I am concerned for you. If TV is bad enough to give it up for lent then it ia bad enough to give it up forever. [Ehem… we don’t give up things for Lent that are BAD. We give up things that are GOOD… that’s why giving them up requires sacrifice… penance… mortification… ] Simply observed with the sex, the liberal news reporting and the total dislike of church teaching shown so often in the criticism of many of our dogmas how can yoy say that the majority of TV is a temptation to sin. I was in the media and built TV stations. I can claim that the first porno TV show in N America back in the 70’s I took off the air and I stand by my beliefs. [Good for you.] Tell me the truth do you think that prime suspect with the main star having an abortion is good for the soul. [Apparently you missed how that abortion caused her horrible emotional scars and regret that drove her to drink. But this is over now.] Insted of malevolently slagging me answer the question. [With my comments I now END your digressions and close this rabbit hole.]

  60. I am not Spartacus says:

    A Blob by a Priest ought have an entry recommending a Reverend as a Spin Off Charactder.

    Who better than ,Reverend Jim Ignatowski, of Taxi?

    He made much more sense than many NO Priests.

  61. I am not Spartacus says:

    Sorry, Fr. Of course I meant BLOG, not “blob”

    A “Blob” is what The Bride calls me

  62. Sharon says:

    Abbie from NCIS, which I thought was sort of a continuation from JAG, tho not exactly a spin off.

  63. kaneohe, I think you are spinning off into a Twilight Zone episode on the blog :-) But while such things are impossible for man, anything is possible for God!

    How about a re-spin of The Saint or Dr. Watson of Sherlock Holmes? Put in it black and white for the full effect.

  64. Cortney says:

    Allison, I’m with you. Whatever did happen to Nikita and Michael? Interesting comments on the merits (or lack thereof) of TV. I think that many shows are not worth watching; others are. Moderation is the key, and good sense, and knowing when to turn the tube off and grab a good book instead. And of course monitoring what our children watch and for how long. On one hand, if our consciences are well-formed, we hopefully will know when and what to watch and when to turn away. On the other hand, if our consciences are not yet well formed—or when we are a bit weak through human frailty—we may have some difficulty in recognizing when a show might cause harm, either morally or intellectually. And I wonder if sometimes we must at least be aware of “bad” shows in order to make better decisions about what we choose to watch and how we choose to order our lives? Our priests can help us here, through spiritual direction and by example.

  65. Charivari Rob says:

    How about…?

    Law and Order: Say The Black, Do The Red Unit


    An aging priest is named rector of Shiloh Seminary, near Medicine Bow, Wyoming. A cleric with the slightly stolid and taciturn manner of a ranch foreman or longtime TV cowboy, he must teach his younger charges what priests do – and why. James Drury is – The Rubrician!

  66. Charivari Rob wrote:

    I think All In The Family produced the most spinoffs (5): Maude, The Jeffersons, umm… whatever the title of the spinoff (short-lived, I think) that followed Mike and Gloria to California, Archie Bunker’s Place, and (the years-later, very-short-lived) 704 Hauser.

    Make that seven, if you count second-generation spinoffs. “Good Times” was a spinoff from “Maude”. and “Checking In” was a spinoff from the Jeffersons.

    “Happy Days” was pretty close: “Laverne & Shirley”, “Blansky’s Beauties” (quickly and mercifully forgotten), “Joanie Loves Chachi” (worst title of any show ever), and “Mork & Mindy”. Checking Wikipedia, it turns out there was a fifth, “Out of the Blue”, which I never heard of. Plus two animated spinoffs.

    There were 5 assorted Star Trek series after the original.

    I would say four. The animated “Star Trek” was really a continuation of the original series, not a spinoff.

    My choice: Any spinoff Joss Whedon wants to write about any character from “Buffy” or “Firefly” would make me quite happy. A Giles-and-Faith show would be excellent. Although there is now a quite good Buffy comic book telling that story.

  67. Jayna says:

    Wouldn’t following Toby be even better?

    Took the words right out of my mouth, Father. Toby is my favorite West Wing character. Will, CJ, and Sam are all somewhere right behind him. I don’t think they could get a whole show out of it, but Leo and Margaret together always greatly amused me. You are right, though, there’s a lot going on with Charlie and they definitely could have filled out a whole new series.

    Someone already mentioned Fr. Mulcahy from M*A*S*H. They tried a short-lived spin-off with Col. Potter, Klinger, and Fr. Mulcahy called After Mash, but it didn’t last long and wasn’t very good. They also worked a miracle cure in there for Fr. Mulcahy’s hearing loss from the series finale. Would have been interesting to see him work as a more or less deaf priest.

  68. mfg says:

    EWTN. Remove all the beards.

  69. Just last week, the Onion had a hillarious piece on the smoke monster from LOST getting it’s own show.

  70. Rob Cartusciello says:

    As an aside, I believe Richard Belzer holds the record for having portrayed the same character (Det. Munsch) on five different television shows (all Homicide and Law & Order related).

  71. how about more of the British comedy Bless Me Father, it was a scream

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