In a world where existing intellectual properties are dominating the box office and the Nielsen ratings, TV spin-offs could be on the rise again.
The spin-off is a familiar cousin of the reboot -- though it has never had to work as hard for legitimacy. Spin-offs take one character or aspect from an existing show and build a whole new series around them. In many ways, this makes more sense than a reboot does from a creative standpoint. There are fewer expectations to live up to and there is more room for something new and interesting to emerge.
Long before the "Golden Age of TV" and the era of countless series revivals, we have all known that spin-offs work. At least, they have as good a chance of succeeding as any other show does in the cut-throat world of television.
In fact, some of the most popular shows all time have been spin-offs of previous ones. They formulated their own story so well that the association gradually faded over time, and we were left with an organic series of our own.
Still, no production plan is fool proof -- if one was, it would be the only kind of show on television. There have been some great spin-offs and some terrible ones, and all manner of others in between. In the entertainment industry, there is always a pecking order, and when it comes to stories that go on for years, people will always have a preference.
Here is a look at some of the greatest TV spin-offs of all time.
Hypothetically, there are some generation Z teenagers out there who are loving Better Call Saul without ever having watched a second of Breaking Bad. The show works on that level, but it also serves the AMC drama's existing audience consistently.
Never forget that the belovedly sarcastic Daria Morgendorffer began as a bit character on MTV's Beavis and Butt-Head. Writers, producers and voice actress Tracy Grandstaff had time to develop Daria's biting wit and signature monotone organically, so that when she got her own series she was already full formed. To many, Daria stands entirely on her own, and some might not even realize she came from another series at first.
After Buffy the Vampire Slayer was over, Angel continued delivering the one-two punch of supernatural intrigue and biting snark that audiences had come to expect. The show was just as unpredictable and creative as its predecessor, never falling into a rut or establishing too clear of a rulebook for its own magical system.
The Facts of Life spun off from Diff'rent Strokes in 1979. The show quickly established itself as more than just a nostalgia-driven offshoot, and it ran for almost a decade. The series followed Edna Garrett (Charlotte Rae) to an all-girls' boarding school in suburban New York.
It's hard to believe the winding path that led Steve Urkel to his status as a cultural phenomenon. Family Matters began as a spin-off from Perfect Strangers, but it overshadowed its predecessor -- at least in terms of long-term impact. To this very day, everyone pictures the same massive glasses and suspenders when you say "did I do that?"
That's right, if you want to get technical, The Flash is a spin-off of The CW's massively popular Arrow. Of course, the architects of DC's network TV universe knew by then what they were building, and The Flash had all the resources possible behind it. Still, Barry Allen began as a bit part on Arrow and grew into one of the staples of Greg Berlanti's world. On top of that, Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow -- and to a certain extent, Black Lighting and the upcoming Batwoman and Titans series -- all owe some amount of thanks to the speedster's groundwork.
Frasier may be the spin-off most frequently called out as a success story. The series had an unlikely start as a Cheers spin-off with just one character in it. It was not even set in the same city as the original, but it found its footing and more as the years went on.
All in the Family gave rise to The Jeffersons, a topical, thoughtful show that pushed the envelope and helped to establish the New York City sitcom as a genre. On top of that, it was consistently hilarious -- an undervalued trait in TV at times.
Finally, it is easy to forget after 30 seasons that The Simpsons is a mere spin-off. The series started out as a short sketch made for pennies on The Tracey Ullman Show. These days, it is a television comedy institution second only to Saturday Night Live.