We live in a strange time, a time where everything is getting rebooted, remade, or sequelized. It’s an embarrassment of riches and sometimes just an embarrassment of embarrassments. But the industry should be careful — sometimes, these things don’t work. Just ask the teams behind these seven spin-offs from beloved TV shows.
For reasons I still to this day cannot understand, while Ally McBeal was still on the air, the hour-long dramedy was shortened to a half hour, stripped of all the courtroom stuff and aired as a separate sitcom called Ally. This was the weirdest decision Fox has ever made and I’m including Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire and Who Wants to Marry Harry in that.
Baywatch Nights was a thing that happened. It had crime and ghosts. It had David Hasselhoff and werewolves. It somehow lasted two whole seasons. The mid-’90s was a weird time.
Young Americans is a show no one can possibly remember but was definitely a spin-off of Dawson’s Creek, wherein a friend of Pacey’s gets into a fancy boarding school by cheating. Ian Somerhalder and Kate Bosworth were in it. I bet they don’t remember it either.
The beloved series The Golden Girls ended with Dorothy marrying Leslie Nielsen and moving out of the very Floridian home she shared with her mother and roommates. But what became of Rose, Blanche, and Sophia? They bought a hotel with Cheech Marin and Don Cheadle. It lasted one season.
You know what people were clamoring for? A Gossip Girl spin-off just about Serena’s mom. The pilot of the spin-off was aired sneakily as a second-season episode of Gossip Girl featuring Brittany Snow as a young Lily van der Woodsen and Krysten Ritter as her sister. The show was never picked up for a run, with CW choosing the much wiser, super long-lasting decision of the new Melrose Place. You totally forgot they rebooted Melrose Place didn’t you? We all did, friends.
Time of Your Life
There was a very brief time in the late ’90s when Jennifer Love Hewitt ruled the world. She had movies, she had that “How Do I Deal” song, and she even had her own Party of Five spin-off where her character Sarah moved to New York. The show was canceled very quickly but served as a launchpad for another young actress: Jennifer Garner.
Two things are about to shock you:
1) There was a Home Improvement spin-off
2) It starred Dave Chappelle.
It ran for five episodes. “It was a bad show. It was bad,” Chappelle said of the project. “I mean when we were doing it, I could tell this was not gonna work.”
We still have high hopes for Fuller House. The Gossip Table weighs in on the likelihood Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen will make an appearance.