Thursday, June 26, 2014

TV Spin-offs: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

It may seem like a no-brainer. Take a popular show and make a spin-off show out of it featuring one or more of the characters. Some work out well, (think Laverne and Shirley or The Jeffersons) and some are flops (like Joanie Loves Chachi or The Bradys), lasting only a few episodes. Here are some notable spin-offs, listed after the original show the were based upon. How many do you remember?

All in the Family...The Jeffersons...Archie Bunker's Place...Maude
Several spin-offs emerged from the groundbreaking All in the Family, produced by TV titan Norman Lear.

Happy Days...Joanie Loves Chachi...Laverne and Shirley...Mork and Mindy
Laverne and Shirley also lived in Milwaukee, like the Cunningham family. Mork (Robin Williams) had appeared on Happy Days. Happy Days' Ron Howard and Laverne and Shirley's Cindy Williams appeared together in the film American Graffiti, directed by George Lucas.

Cheers...Frasier...The Tortellis
Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer) had a long running sitcom after Cheers ended, playing a Seattle radio talk show host. The Tortellis, featuring Nick and Loretta Tortelli, was short-lived and failed to attract an audience.

Three's Company...Three's a Crowd...The Ropers
After the end of Three's Company, Jack Tripper (John Ritter) had a show called Three's a Crowd. Mr. and Mrs. Roper (Norman Fell and Audra Lindley) had their own spin off.

Diff'rent Strokes...The Facts of Life
Mrs. Garrett from Diff'rent Strokes went on to supervise the girls at the boarding school in The Facts of Life. Both shows enjoyed many successful seasons.

The Cosby Show...A Different World
A Different World was a spin-off created for Lisa Bonet as she left the Huxtable family and went off to college.

The show MASH was such a smash hit, garnering record setting ratings for its final episode. After MASH featured only 3 of the original MASH cast members, and it was a ratings disappointment that was quickly cancelled.

The Golden Girls...Empty Nest...The Golden Palace
The Golden Girls was a smash, Empty Nest lasted for a few years. The Golden Palace had the original ladies from Golden Girls except for Bea Arthur. It did not fare well.

The Danny Thomas Show...The Andy Griffith Show...Gomer Pyle, USMC...Mayberry RFD
These were shows from the early days of television that featured much loved characters. Of course little Opie from Andy Griffith was Ron Howard, who went on to star in Happy Days, which spawned several spin-offs.

Perfect Strangers...Family Matters
Some may not recall that characters from Family Matters had appeared in Perfect Strangers.

The Tracey Ullman Show...The Simpsons
The Simpsons animated shorts, created by Matt Groening, appeared on Tracey Ullman's comedy show, in the early days of the Fox network.

Friends was a smash hit for NBC and it was a big break for Jennifer Aniston, Courtney Cox and more. Joey was a short lived show and a disappointment for Matt LeBlanc who hoped for a continuation of the Friends magic.

That 70's Show...That 80's Show
That 70's Show, big hit with Ashton Kutcher, Laura Prepon, Mila Kunis and more. That 80's show, one decade later, much worse in the ratings.

The Brady Bunch...The Bradys
The Bradys took a more serious tone but it did not last long, and people had seen enough of this family.

Mary Tyler Moore...Rhoda...Lou Grant
People loved the character of Mary Richards played by Mary Tyler Moore. Valerie Harper had her own show as Rhoda. Ed Asner reprised his role as the crusty newsman Lou Grant.

Beavis and Butt-Head...Daria
Daria was a spin-off featuring a dour yet unquestionably more mature friend of Beavis and Butt-Head.

Jackass...Viva La Bam
Skateboarding pro Bam Margera had his own show where he would play wacky stunts on his family members. The Jackass guys would appear on his show regularly.

Family Guy...The Cleveland Show
Cleveland Brown became the focus of his own show, separate from Family Guy's Griffin family.


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