+the scene

7 Iconic Spinoff Series That Are Just As Good As (Or Maybe Even Better Than) Their Predecessors!

Written by Rachel Rosenfield. Published: February 05 2024
(Photo: Freeform)

 

The beauty of these television shows is that people will find all sorts of reasons to love it, whether it be specific aspects of the story, characters, or the universe itself. Sometimes, show creators/writers will recognize the specific parts of shows that people love and then give the people what they want. That could lead to them creating a spinoff series. These are series that are related to an original television show in any sort of way. There are no rules when it comes to a spinoff series. As long as there is some sort of connection, it can be a spinoff. Unfortunately, these spinoffs do not always work. A bad call could have been made and that spinoff gets canceled quickly. However, other times, the spinoff series becomes a massive success that could almost match the success of the originals. These are the spinoff series that have certainly done their predecessors proud!

 

1. "Frasier" (1993 - 2004)

There are some spinoffs that become so popular, there are people who don’t even think about watching the original. When it comes to the series "Frasier", there are some huge fans that have never watched its predecessor. "Frasier" is a spinoff of the popular '80s sitcom "Cheers", which centered around a Boston bar and its regulars. One of those regulars was psychiatrist Frasier Crane. The character proved to be popular, so after "Cheers" ended, "Frasier" began. In the spinoff, Frasier has moved back to his hometown of Seattle where he hosts a radio show. He has a whole new group of people to hang out with, including his brother Niles, his father Martin, and his producer Roz. "Frasier" was praised for its humor and wit, winning 37 Emmys (the most of any sitcom ever!), and some critics even enjoyed its comedy more than "Cheers". Recently, a revival of "Frasier" came out where he is now back in Boston with his son and nephew. Even though none of the other original cast members besides the star came back, the revival shows that this is a spinoff that will stay in the zeitgeist. Stream on Hulu, Paramount+, and Pluto TV.

 

 

 

2. "Better Call Saul" (2015 - 2022)

The point of spinoffs is usually to tell a new story that peels back layers of a known character. That character may be only shown a couple times in the original series, but there could be more than what meets the eye. "Better Call Saul" was able to take one supporting character to the extreme. This series is a spinoff of the popular crime drama "Breaking Bad" and focuses on the main character Walt’s lawyer, Saul Goodman. The series shows how he became a lawyer, how he got into his crooked and seedy lifestyle, and how he actually got the name Saul Goodman. Even though this series premiered after "Breaking Bad" ended, there are still some crossovers into their universe to show exactly how their stories connect. The enthralling drama with all of its plot twists has had some people say it is just as entertaining as "Breaking Bad", maybe even moreso. The show also holds another Emmys record, though this one a bit more dubious -- it is the most-nominated show to have never won a single Emmy!Stream on Netflix.

 

 

 

3. "Young Sheldon" (2017 - 2024)

Often, spinoff series focus on the continuation of a character’s story. However, what if the spinoff decided to show the origin of a character? That is the concept behind "Young Sheldon". The sitcom "The Big Bang Theory" was a smash success for its 12-season run, specifically thanks to main character Sheldon Cooper, the overconfident genius physicist with an eidetic memory. Because of this fascination, the creators of the series decided to make a new series that focused on Sheldon’s childhood. "Young Sheldon" shows what it was like for Sheldon to be raised in a Christian household in the South while also being in high school as a 9-year-old. While still a comedy, this series delves into more serious topics compared to "The Big Bang Theory" and also lacks the original show's laugh track. "Young Sheldon" has built up a new set of fans who love watching this wacky family every week. The 7th and final season premieres on February 15. Stream on Netflix and Max.

 

 

 

4. "The Jeffersons" (1975 - 1985)

When a series has established an iconic status, it can be hard for a spinoff to reach a comparable level. However, if the series’ creators are lucky, they can strike lightning twice and create a second iconic series. That was the case for "The Jeffersons". This series was a spinoff of "All in the Family", which centered around the opinionated Bunker family and received universal praise for its, at the time, contemporary family dynamics. In this series, the Bunkers’ neighbors were the Jeffersons, a Black family who easily matched wits with the Bunkers. Because of the popularity of these characters, the Jeffersons got their own series. "The Jeffersons" saw the family move into a big high rise apartment in Manhattan where they got to experience an upper-class lifestyle for the first time. The series ended up running longer than "All in the Family" and became iconic for being one of the first shows to focus on a successful Black family and also feature an interracial couple. Over 40 years later, the series has still retained its illustrious status. Stream on Pluto TV.

 

 

 

5. "Good Trouble" (2019 - 2024)

A spinoff does not necessarily have to be a complete side story. Sometimes, it can be some of the main characters growing up in a new phase of their lives. "Good Trouble" is a good example of that. This series is a spinoff of the hit drama "The Fosters", which followed the lives of a unique blended family with a lesbian couple raising adopted children, foster children, and a child from a previous relationship. There were two daughters in this household, Callie and Mariana, and "Good Trouble" focuses on their adult lives after they move to Los Angeles where Callie becomes a law clerk and Marianna is a software engineer. They don’t have to deal with living with their big and complicated family anymore, but they have to deal with the new struggles of being young adults. The series has received a lot of praise and is currently in its 5th and final season. These are characters that people watched grow up, and "Good Trouble" shows them facing the world on their own. Stream on Hulu and fuboTV.

 

 

 

6. "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (1999 - present)

Dun-Dun! Sometimes, a spinoff can be less about the characters and more about the created shared universe. "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" displays the darker side of its predecessor. "SVU" is a spinoff of "Law & Order", a gritty series about the investigation and prosecution of criminals in New York City. It went on for decades and has devoted fans and recently underwent a revival. The series has had many spinoffs, but undoubtedly the most successful one is "SVU", which focuses on a specific departnent that investigates crimes involving child abuse and sexual violence. It has done so well due to each episode's gripping stories where you never know what will happen. It is currently airing its 25th(!) season, making it the longest-running primetime scripted series. The original series proved that people are curious about crime, and this series demonstrates that they want to see some dark truths. Stream on Peacock, Hulu, NBC, Pluto TV, and fuboTV.

 

 

 

 

7. "Daria" (1997 - 2002)

Spinoffs do not always have to be aimed towards the same audience as their predecessor. An example of that idea is with the animated series "Daria". This was a spinoff of the animated series "Beavis and Butthead", where Daria was somewhat of a foil to the two leads of the series. The character proved to be popular, which led to her own series where audiences got to see what life was like for her. "Beavis and Butthead" skewed toward a more masculine audience and was seen as a goofy series with low-brow humor. "Daria", on the other hand, had a more feminine viewpoint and was dryer and more cynical. The lead character can be a bit more subdued but full of wit, which could have engaged a different group of people. Daria is seen as one of the greatest cartoon characters of all time and she was certainly a character that many women saw as relatable and felt a connection with. Stream on Paramount+ and Pluto TV.