Spin-Off

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"'Spinoff!' Is there any word more thrilling to the human soul?"
Troy McClure, The Simpsons, "The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase"

Spinoffs are when part of a successful show, usually characters, but sometimes a general concept (first you have the Law, then you have the Order), are taken and given a second show of their own.

From a producer's perspective, it's a chance to explore other aspects of a concept. Actors can find opportunities to grow in their craft, as well as rise in importance by moving from just being part of an ensemble to having a show built around them. For the networks, it's a chance to establish a show with a built-in audience, making it that much easier for them to sell advertising.

Lots of spinoffs go on to be successful shows in their own right, sometimes even surpassing the parent series in popularity. Others crash and burn (Joanie Loves Chachi, anyone?), suggesting that there is no such thing as a sure thing. Nevertheless, networks keep trying them.

There are several main types of spinoffs:

  1. Where a character leaves a show and the two run concurrently. Characters Crossover from time to time.
  2. Where a show comes to an end and a character from it is given his or her own new show. Provides an opportunity to Retool the character as well.
  3. Where a character is brought on to an existing show simply in order to be spunoff, hopefully making some of the original audience into viewers of the new show (See Poorly-Disguised Pilot).
  4. The main character is revisited elsewhere in his narrative.
  5. Reimaginings - the concept is carried into a new show with the same basic premise but other factors and characters are completely new.
  6. Segment spin-offs - a recurring segment from the show becomes the main attraction.
  7. A type of Defictionalization - a Show Within a Show gets made into a real show of its own.
  8. The storyline on one show comes to an end, only to be continued in a new show with a different name.
  9. Official Fanzine Show - a trope usually applying to Reality TV, usually offering Behind The Scenes info or coverage that wouldn't fit into the main programme, often (but not always) broadcast immediately after the main show, on a sister channel.
  10. Online Spin-Off - A spin-off that's only shown online, sometimes overlaps with Segment Spin-Off, sometimes a spin-off In Name Only. Generally only an advert for the broadcast programme.
  11. Shared Continuity - more common nowadays, this spinoff generally carries no characters over from the show that spawned it, though both are in the same continuity that allows for Crossovers from the original.

Spinoffs are Older Than You Think. Plantagenet Palliser was a minor character in The Small House at Allington, one of the novels in the Barchester series by Anthony Trollope. Plantagenet Palliser became one of the main characters of Trollope's Palliser series, written in the 1860's and 1870's. And earlier than that, the character of Falstaff, from Henry IV parts 1 and 2, was given his own play, at Royal request, by Shakespeare.

See also Distaff Counterpart. When a TV series is successful enough to produce a film Spin-Off, this is The Movie. When the same principle is applied to Video Games, the result is a Gaiden Game.


Examples of Spin-Off include:


Cases where a character leaves a show and the two run concurrently[edit | hide | hide all]

Anime and Manga[edit | hide]

  • Fist of the North Star (Hokuto no Ken) has a series of spinoff works known as the Hokuto no Ken Gaiden series, which centers around side-characters from the original manga, depicting what happened to them prior to the events of Hokuto no Ken, although they do deviate from canon a bit. Almost all of them, with the exception of Yuria Gaiden, were published in Weekly Comic Bunch (the manga anthology that serializes Souten no Ken) at the time the Legends of the True Savior movies were released.


Live Action TV[edit | hide]


Video Games[edit | hide]


Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • Eerie Cuties got two spin-offs - the first, Magick Chicks, was created when Melissa and her coven were transferred out of Charybdis Heights (to Artemis Academy), and second, Dangerously Chloe, when Chloe was transferred (to Tarterus Academy).


Cases where a show comes to an end and a character from it is given his or her own new show[edit | hide]

Anime and Manga[edit | hide]


Film[edit | hide]

  • The fourth Pirates of the Caribbean movie starts a completely new plotline which goes completely unmentioned and contains only three characters from the first three.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • The Iliad --> The Odyssey
  • Gotrek and Felix --> Thanquol and Boneripper
  • Gotrek and Felix --> Ulrika the Vampire


Live Action TV[edit | hide]


Western Animation[edit | hide]


Cases where a character is brought on to an existing show simply in order to be spunoff[edit | hide]

Anime and Manga[edit | hide]


Live Action TV[edit | hide]


Western Animation[edit | hide]


Cases where the main character is revisited elsewhere in his narrative[edit | hide]

Anime and Manga[edit | hide]


Reimaginings[edit | hide]

Live Action TV[edit | hide]


Segment spin-offs[edit | hide]

Anime and Manga[edit | hide]

  • There was a Manga called Ten, which was about mahjong being serious business, there was a character called Akagi which was an awesome old man who the characters feared and respected, the character was so popular the author made an spinoff prequel series focused on Akagi's early life, at one point he meets his match in an old man called Washizu, who was so popular the author made a spinoff series focused on Washizu's early life (yes, Fukumoto made a spinoff of a spinoff).
  • Naruto --> Rock Lee's Springtime Of Youth
  • One Piece --> Chopperman


Radio[edit | hide]


Live Action TV[edit | hide]


Cases where the storyline ends on one show and continues under a different name[edit | hide]

Live Action TV[edit | hide]


Online Spin-Offs[edit | hide]

Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Five Fwd is this for Channel Five's The Gadget Show and Fifth Gear - the former features a formalised news segment which has never been part of the main programme with a different presenter and games reviews and interviews with one of the regular presenters- something that rarely appears in the show proper.
  • Monk --> Little Monk
  • Ugly Betty --> Mode After Dark
  • Offspring --> The Nurses
  • 30 Rock --> Frank vs Lutz and Jack Donaghy: Executive Superhero.


Spin-offs connected only by shared continuity[edit | hide]

Anime and Manga[edit | hide]


Comics[edit | hide]

  • The Mighty Thor: Has a interesting relationship with Journey into Mystery. Thor debuted in Journey into Mystery and headlined it for a while before taking over the title completely and later getting another series. 49 years after his debut, Journey into Mystery is introduced as a spin-off taking over Thor's numbering and Thor gets another series.
  • Fantastic Four: After the death of a prominent member of the book, the book ended at issue 588 and was revamped as FF ("FF" in the title standing for Future Foundation). After 11 issues of FF, Marvel revived the Fantastic Four for issue 600 (the previous issues being FF) and it will continue forward with FF also being released concurrently focusing on the non-Fantastic Four members of the Future Foundation.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • Mercy Thompson Series and Alpha and Omega, along with a few short stories set in the same unvierse.


Film[edit | hide]

  • The Graveyard (notable for featuring Mark Salling, pre-Glee) exists in the same universe as the Bloody Murder duology.


Live Action TV[edit | hide]


Video Games[edit | hide]


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  1. Liam actually predates the orange but the series is considered a spinoff anyway