From Robin Williams’ breakout performance in Mork & Mindy to David Caruso proving that overacting isn’t always necessarily a bad thing in CSI: Miami, the humble spin-off series has been a staple on our TV screens for almost as long as we’ve had TV screens. And now that we’re experiencing something of a golden age of television, it should come as no surprise that the quality of spin-offs is at an all-time high.
Whether they take familiar characters in a new direction, explore fresh themes, enrich the story or simply continue to deliver more of what we’ve come to know and love, we’re counting down our favourite TV spin-offs currently on air!
8. Fuller House
Spin-off of: Full House
If you grew up in the late 80s or early 90s, you’re bound to appreciate the easy-to-watch cheesy sitcom stylings of Fuller House. With heavy nostalgic value, it achieves exactly what it sets out to do – critics be damned! The plot is a perfect mirror image of the original series, with newly widowed D.J. Tanner-Fuller (see what we mean by cheesy?) raising her children with the help of her younger sister and best friend.
7. Check It Out! with Dr. Steve Brule
Spin-off of: Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!
It’s certainly an acquired taste, but this parody of community television from the surreal minds of Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim features one of the best comedic performances on television. Like a nightmare version of Sacha Baron Cohen’s Borat, Oscar nominee John C. Reilly explores different aspects of everyday life as a bizarre and inept doctor as his shocked unsuspecting guests follow along with an equal mix of confusion and horror.
6. Ash vs. The Evil Dead
Spin-off of: The Evil Dead films
Bruce Campbell reprises his role as the one-liner quipping, boomstick shooting, chainsaw wielding hero Ash Williams in this quasi-sequel TV spin-off of the cult classic comedy-horror film series. Cue gut-wrenching laughs, and gut-wrenching gore galore.
5. Marvel’s Luke Cage
Spin-off of: Marvel's Jessica Jones
The enigmatic Mike Colter reprises his role as the bulletproof comic-book hero taking on street crime while dealing with racism, poverty and corrupt politicians in modern day Harlem. Much like it’s equally fantastic sister-series Daredevil and Jessica Jones, this superhero story is more interested in complex social commentary and tackling issues than its big-screen counterparts – and it’s all the better for it!
4. The Flash
Spin-off of: Arrow
If the socially conscious, unapologetically bold Luke Cage is a little too serious for your liking, The Flash is the stylish and slick family-friendly superhero drama you’re looking for. The superfast Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) is an incredibly endearing and likeable character, with the series striking the perfect balance between light-hearted fun and emotional gravitas.
3. Full Frontal with Samantha Bee and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
Spin-off of: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
If you miss Jon Stewart’s perfect take on news commentary and political satire, you should be watching its spiritual spin-offs, helmed by The Daily Show alumni Samantha Bee and John Oliver. Samantha Bee brings a wonderfully fresh approach to the talk-show format with sharp, hilarious, and utterly scathing critiques destined to go viral, while John Oliver offers a unique outsider’s perspective with delightfully acerbic British cynicism.
2. Better Call Saul
Spin-off of: Breaking Bad
Focusing on the backstory of fan-favourite character Saul Goodman, the unscrupulous lawyer more at home in the criminal underworld than the courtroom, this spin-off of the critically acclaimed Breaking Bad had big shoes to fill. But with brilliant darkly-comedic writing, and creator Vince Gilligan back at the helm, it’s fast on its way to establishing itself as a more-than-worthy successor.
Spin-off of: The Walking Dead
Centred on a blended family in Los Angeles, this companion series to the immensely popular zombie apocalypse drama The Walking Dead brings viewers back to the initial days of the outbreak to answer the burning questions fans have pored over for years. How did society fall? How did the military lose control? And why, oh why don’t our plucky survivors consider hoping on a boat and heading out to sea? Surely zombies can’t swim, right?
FEAR THE WALKING DEAD SEASON 2 is on Digital, Blu-ray & DVD now.