It never fails. A seriously awesome tv show hits, the world loves it, and then they make a spin-off and it ruins everything. It could be a money-making gimmick, or maybe someone seriously thinks it’s worthwhile to develop the world of the show more deeply.
Either way, it doesn’t matter because they are never as good as the original, and they usually end up taking away from the main story. Let’s look at some examples.
I love Captain Jack Harkness. I think he is one of the funniest and most lovable sidekicks in Doctor Who. When the Doctor just left him after the first season, I was absolutely devastated until I found out that he would be starring in his own show. Captain Jack is awesome, so surely his show would be awesome, right?
Wrong. That character is so much better as a sidekick. As the hero of the story, he’s a bit dry. Granted, the tone of Torchwood is much different from Doctor Who, but it’s really just not as much fun to watch.
Why are spin-offs always so much drier and more realistic? Making a darker version of an awesome show doesn’t mean it will be good. Plus because of Torchwood, we don’t get to see Captain Jack in Doctor Who as much, which is where that character is so much more in his element.
I wasn’t really ever a fan of Angel even in the Buffy series. I always thought he was a bit too melodramatic so I knew that show would obviously be darker than the fun-loving Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I actually only gave it a chance when I heard that Spike appeared in the last season because I absolutely adored Spike and had to know what happened to him post Buffy.
However, Angel just wasn’t satisfying as a show at all for me. In fact, it was almost impossible to make it through an episode without nodding off a little. Maybe spin-offs are difficult to enjoy because it’s easy to expect it to be just like the original show. It never is, and that can be disappointing. But I think it goes a couple of steps further.
The hero of a show should be able to stand alone as strong, lovable, and possibly funny (depending on which show you’re watching). The problem is that the spin-offs are staring characters that were designed to be sidekicks. Just let them be what they were made to be. There is no shame in being a sidekick.
Are there any spin-off shows you like or dislike? Why?