"The Walking Dead" fans have a new show to binge in 2020! AMC's "The Walking Dead: World Beyond" might not have a premiere date set, as its original debut has been postponed in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, but in honor of the upcoming series, Wonderwall.com is taking a look back at some of the all-time greatest spinoffs. Keep reading to see which ones made our list…
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Sometimes a show's characters are so beloved, they get a new life! "Angel" debuted in 1999 when its parent series, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," was in the fourth of seven seasons. The spinoff, which chronicled the titular vampire's attempts to "help the helpless" while working as a private detective in Los Angeles, was darker and heavier in tone than "Buffy" and dealt with themes of adulthood where its predecessor dealt primarily with themes of teen angst and growing up. David Boreanaz starred as the title character until 2004.
After giving a man the power to pick and choose his mate for two seasons on "The Bachelor," ABC launched "The Bachelorette" with Trista Rehn in 2003. While nothing tops the drama on "The Bachelor," we tune in just as diligently for its female-driven spinoff, which enters its 16th season in 2020.
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"NCIS" has been on for so many years, it's easy to forget that it began as a spinoff of "JAG." Originally referred to as "Navy NCIS," the CBS drama follows agents from a fictional Naval Criminal Investigative Service Major Case Response Team (MCRT) based in Washington, D.C. The spinoff has become such a huge success since its debut in 2003 that it's led to two spinoffs of its own: "NCIS: Los Angeles" and "NCIS: New Orleans."
After appearing on every episode of the first season of "Diff'rent Strokes" as Drummond family housekeeper Edna Garrett, Charlotte Rae (center) got her own spinoff: "The Facts of Life." The sitcom lasted nine seasons between 1979 and 1988 and the actress scored an Emmy nomination in 1982 for her work as the housemother at the fictional all-girls Eastland School.
"The Simpsons" has become such a pop culture staple, it's hard to think of a time when it wasn't one of the biggest shows on TV. But back in 1987, "The Simpsons" was just a series of shorts that appeared on "The Tracey Ullman Show." Two years later, "The Simpsons" hit the air and the rest, as they say, is history. The FOX animated comedy is now the longest running American sitcom ever, with 31 seasons, and has led to merchandise, books, a movie and a theme park ride!
Addicted to FOX's "9-1-1"? In January 2020 Fox launched more "9-1-1" action with the spinoff "9-1-1: Lone Star," which follows first responders to Texas. The show serves up just as much drama, following in the footsteps of the original series, which is set in Los Angeles.
A spinoff of "Beverly Hills, 90210," "Melrose Place" had all the melodrama, '90s fashion and over-the-top romantic relationships you could ask for. The FOX series followed a group of young adults living in an apartment complex called Melrose Place in West Hollywood. The show built a huge audience when it debuted in 1992 and lasted for seven seasons until its cancelation in 1998.
Kelsey Grammer joined the cast of "Cheers" as psychiatrist Frasier Crane during the third of 11 seasons and quickly became a fan favorite. Just months after the sitcom ended in May 1993, his spinoff, "Frasier," debuted. Like its parent series, the show aired for 11 seasons — and was beloved by Emmy voters. It racked up six Emmys during its final year, and Kelsey took home four Emmys for his work as the title character during the sitcom's lengthy run. David Hyde Pierce also won four Emmys for his work as Frasier's brother, Niles.
After appearing on the first three seasons of "Grey's Anatomy" as Dr. Addison Montgomery, Kate Walsh scored her very own spinoff, "Private Practice," in 2007. The medical drama ran for six seasons until early 2013. ("Grey's," meanwhile, in 2019 inked a deal to remain on the air until at least 2021!) "Private Practice" never made quite the same impact with Emmy voters as its predecessor, but we loved it nonetheless!
"Joanie Loves Chachi" debuted in 1982 while its parent series, "Happy Days," was gearing up for its 10th of 11 seasons. The sitcom, which featured Erin Moran and Scott Baio as the titular couple, lasted just two short seasons. Despite its dismal ratings at the time, "Joanie Loves Chachi" has earned a permanent place in pop culture history — and in our hearts!
"Mork & Mindy" starring Robin Williams and Pam Dawber morphed from a highly successful episode of "Happy Days." The 1978 spinoff follows the story of Mork, an alien who comes to Earth from the planet Ork, and Mindy McConnell, Mork's human friend and roommate who later his becomes wife and the mother of his child. The ABC series was loved by audiences for its great writing, original storyline and, of course, its great jokes.
As much as we adore "Mork & Mindy" and "Joanie Loves Chachi," our favorite "Happy Days" spinoff will always be "Laverne & Shirley." Shirley (Cindy Williams) and Laverne (Penny Marshall) were first introduced as friends of Fonzie's on Season 3 of "Happy Days" in 1975. Their show debuted the following year and concluded in 1983.
"Daria" centered around the life of an exceptionally intelligent and sarcastic high school outcast, Daria Morgendorffer, who was first introduced to audiences on "Beavis and Butt-Head." Her animated series, which spoke to every teen who's struggled to fit in, aired on MTV from 1997 to 2002.
"Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" is such an amazing spinoff, it's outlasted the series it was based on! The NBC crime drama, which centers on the detectives of the Special Victims Unit in the New York City Police Department, premiered in 1999 and has lasted for 21 seasons. The second series in the "Law & Order" franchise, "SVU" has it all: beloved characters, drama, action and "ripped from the headlines" stories that you can't help but watch.
"Better Call Saul" debuted on AMC in early 2015, less than two years after its parent series, "Breaking Bad," concluded after five seasons in 2013. Now gearing up for its fifth season season, set to debut in 2020, the drama — which is technically a prequel but occasionally jumps forward in time to events following Walter White's death — is one of our favorite spinoffs ever. It's racked up several Emmy nominations already including three back-to-back best lead actor nods for star Bob Odenkirk, who portrays the titular con man.
"Xena: Warrior Princess" debuted in 1995 just months after its parent series, "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys," premiered following five 1994 made-for-TV movies. Writers originally intended to kill off Lucy Lawless's onscreen alter ego, who was first introduced as a villain, but when she became a favorite with "Hercules" fans, they instead decided to give her a show of her own — and a sidekick: Renee O'Connor's Gabrielle! "Xena" had six seasons between 1995 and 2001.
"Boston Legal" debuted in 2004 just months after its parent series, "The Practice," concluded after eight seasons. The spinoff centered around James Spader's ethically ambiguous lawyer Alan Shore, who appeared on the final season of "The Practice." Unlike its predecessor, "Boston Legal" was light and often comedic in tone. It was equally beloved by Emmy voters though: James earned one Emmy for his work as Alan on "The Practice" and then two more for his work as the character on "Boston Legal."
We often forget that "Family Matters" — one of our all-time favorite sitcoms — was a spinoff of another show: "Perfect Strangers." The heads of the Winslow household, Carl (Reginald VelJohnson) and Harriette (Jo Marie Payton), were first introduced during the third and fourth seasons of the comedy, which aired from 1986 to 1993. "Family Matters" debuted in 1989 and ran for nearly a decade. Ultimately, though, the focus of the show shifted from the Winslows to their obnoxious neighbor: Jaleel White's Steve Urkel.
Like it or not, "The Hills" has an important place in television history. The reality TV show — one of our all-time favorite guilty pleasures — aired on MTV for six seasons between 2006 and 2010 and made stars of Kristin Cavallari and Lauren Conrad, who first appeared on a little show called "Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County," which debuted in 2004. Eight years after its cancellation, it returned to MTV in 2019 as "The Hills: New Beginnings" — minus K-Cav and LC.
"The Good Fight" debuted on CBS All Access in February 2017, less than a year after its parent series, "The Good Wife," concluded in May 2016. The spinoff centers on Christine Baranski's attorney Diane Lockhart. Cush Jumbo returned as Lucca Quinn and Sarah Steele came back as Marissa Gold.
Don't make us choose! Super-producer Dick Wolf's "Chicago" franchise, which can trace its roots back to the long-running "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," started with "Chicago Fire" in 2012. Since then, it's expanded to "Chicago P.D.," "Chicago Med" and "Chicago Justice," the latter of which got canceled after one season. If we absolutely had to pick a favorite, we'd have to go with "Chicago P.D." (featuring LaRoyce Hawkins as Kevin Atwater and Marina Squerciati as Kim Burgess, seen here).
Much like it's predecessor, "The Cosby Show," "A Different World" was a groundbreaking series that changed the dynamics of television. Set on the campus of a fictional HBCU in Virginia, "A Different World" originally centered on Denise Huxtable and the life of students at Hillman College. The "Cosby" spinoff, which ran on NBC for six seasons, is remembered for its heartwarming stories, diverse cast and impactful point of view.
"All in the Family" spawned a whopping five spinoffs, but our favorite was "The Jeffersons," which starred Isabel Sanford and Sherman Hemsley and aired for 11 seasons from 1975 to 1985. (The other four were "Maude," "Archie Bunker's Place," "Gloria" and "704 Hauser.") The CBS sitcom earned several Emmy nominations over the years and a best lead actress in a comedy Emmy win for Isabel in 1981 for her work as Louise Jefferson.
We were obsessed with "The Closer," on which Kyra Sedgwick starred as Brenda Leigh Johnson from 2005 to 2012. We also loved its spinoff, "Major Crimes," which managed to (mostly) fill its parent series' shoes until it went off the air in 2018. "Major Crimes," which debuted in 2012, centered around Mary McDonnell's Captain Sharon Raydor, Brenda Leigh's successor, who was first introduced during Season 5 of "The Closer."
Stephen Colbert appeared on "The Daily Show" as (in his own words) a "well-intentioned, poorly informed, high-status idiot" from 1997 to 2005 until he scored his very own show, "The Colbert Report." The late-night talk show, which ran for 10 seasons between 2005 and 2014 on Comedy Central, made the comedian a household name and helped him win the coveted role of host of "The Late Show" in 2015.
"The Originals" debuted in 2013 when its parent series, "The Vampire Diaries," was in the fifth of eight seasons. The spinoff chronicled the titular first family of vampires — who served as the primary antagonists (and eventually the quasi-allies) of the heroes on the original CW series — as they attempted to reclaim the city of New Orleans from other supernatural forces. Joseph Morgan starred as hybrid werewolf-vampire Klaus Mikaelson.
Vampires' reign over Hollywood continued into 2018 with "Legacies," which got a full season order at the end of that year. The spinoff of "The Originals" and "The Vampire Diaries" follows Hope Mikaelson, the daughter of Klaus Mikaelson and Hayley Marshall, who's a student at the Salvatore School for the Young and Gifted.