Successful spinoffs of popular TV shows are a rare thing. It’s a tough proposition, and not every supporting character can take the spotlight, and not every new setting can provide the stories to keep people interested. There are some shows that have made it, even become as popular, or more popular than the shows that spawned them. Here are the top ten best spin-offs
10. The Flash
Parent Show: Arrow
Introducing The Flash to Arrow seems like a no-brainer. After all, The Flash is a much popular character than Green Arrow, so expectations were high as Grant Gustin as Barry Allen got his own show. The Flash is now the CW’s highest rated show, with the character becoming so popular that many fans feel he should make the jump toi the DC Extended Universe.
Parent Show: Bevis and Butthead
For many people, including this writer, Daria transcended her old pals Bevis and Butthead in her own show. A high school cartoon show that both celebrated and made fun of Generation X, Daria deserves to be rediscovered.
8. Better Call Saul
Parent Show: Breaking Bad
Better Call Saul has done the impossible. The show about the once and future Saul Goodman has managed to create its own unique identity in the Breaking Bad universe. Starring Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill, the show is a both a sequel and prequel to the events of Breaking Bad as it charts McGill’s transformation into “Criminal” lawyer Saul Goodman.
7. Ashes to Ashes
Parent Show: Life on Mars
Re-introducingeveryone’sfavourite hard-man copper, Gene Hunt, Ashes to Ashes is the gleefully 80s set sequel to Life on Mars. Keely Hawes is sent back in time after being shot on duty, and like Sam Tyler before her, wakes up in the past. Ashes to Ashes started slow, but with three seasons cemented itself as one of the best British shows around.
6. Xena: Warrior Princess
Parent Show: Hercules: The Legendary Journey
Xena started off as a villain in Hercules before seeking redemption in her own show. Starring Lucy Lawless, Xena easily surpassed the show she was introduced in to become a feminist icon of the 90s. Talks of a reboot are always circulating, but now one will ever be as amazing as Lawless as everyone’s favourite Warrior Princess.
5. Boston Legal
Parent Show: The Practice
From the king of legal dramas David E Kelley comes his best show, easily surpassing The Practice and Ally McBeal. The reason for this is the leading trio of James Spader, William Shatner, and Candice Bergen. Spader’s Alan Shore is an often-forgotten anti-hero, as the show gave Spader the space to produce his best performance in years which lead to two Emmy wins.
4. The Simpsons
Parent Show: The Tracy Ullman Show
America’s first yellow family certainly came from humble roots. The Simpsons were first introduced as the stars of short cartoons broadcast on the Tracy Ullman Show, before making the leap to legendary status with their own show.
3. Star Trek: The Next Generation
Parent Show: Star Trek
Without Star Trek: The Next Generation we would be denied one of the greatest of pop culture arguments: Kirk or Picard? Without The Next Generation, Star Trek wouldn’t still be so popular, as the crew, led by Patrick Stewart, became just as iconic and memorable as Shatner and co.
Parent Show: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
The vampire with a soul was fast out-growing his love-interest role on Buffy, so Joss Whedon got to spin him off for his own search for redemption. In five seasons Angel sometimes surpassed the quality of Buffy, with it’s hybrid of horror, film Noir, and fantasy, and Whedon’s sadistic predilection to put his characters through the ringer.
Parent Show: Cheers
It’s not every day that a spinoff of one of the most popular American comedies of all time becomes just as popular. But that is the charm of Frasier. A secondary character in Cheers, Frasier, and Kelsey Grammer’s potential to lead his own show wasn’t immediately apparent. Yet after 11 seasons, with only a few bad episodes, Frasier became the comedy with the most Emmy wins ever, and one of the best shows of the 90s.