TV show spinoffs always mean well and are usually the cause of a lot of excitement and hope. Think about it; your favorite show is ending but one of your favorite characters gets to lead a show of their own. Who doesn’t want to follow the next chapter of their fictional lives, just as one chapter ends? See? It’s easy to get really hype about spinoffs because the potential for greatness is so high.
Unfortunately, the end result often isn’t as, er, sparkling.
Yes, of course, there have been great spinoffs over the course of television history. Hell, Daria is a spinoff and it absolutely rules. And I’ll drop everything to watch a Law and Order: Special Victims Unit marathon, okay? I’m not above that. But I think it’s easy to remember the ones that were really good and ignore the ones that were really bad because most of them…are really effing bad. The characterization gets wonky, the new direction turns off fans, and the try hard factor goes through the roof. To get an idea of what I’m talking about, here are just eight of the worst TV spinoffs ever.
Sam And CatAll most of us know about Sam and Cat is the controversy surrounding its production and--perhaps--untimely end. But if you ignore the behind the scenes drama between Ariana Grande and Jennette McCurdy for a second, this show was just not...great. It was doing the absolute most, supporting the notion that maybe spinoffs and crossovers have a limit, and this is what that limit looks like. The characterization was grating (is Cat really that much of an idiot?), the plot was dull, and...jeez, just look at this promo image. That should have told us all we needed to know about this train wreck.
RavenswoodSo here's the thing about a spinoff: It really shouldn't be a totally different genre, especially when its successor is still on the air. That just makes everything really confusing. Unfortunately, that's exactly what happened with Ravenswood, the spinoff to Pretty Little Liars. Yes, both shows were about hot youths getting thrown into mysteries, but Ravenswood had a strong supernatural element to it. That makes things confusing because it's like...what universe is this show in? Is PLL also supernatural? Can that explain some of the messiness? Yikes. This is a perfect example of a show that had potential but was pretty half baked in the end...and it showed.
Cory In The HouseCorey in the House was Disney Channel's first spinoff, and while it certainly wasn't its last, it might have been its worst. The That's So Raven sequel is about Cory moving to the White House with his dad, who has been chosen to be the head chef. Cute enough premise, but the show just ended up being mediocre. The jokes fell flat and Sophie--the president's bratty daughter--usually took the spotlight away from all of the other main characters.
Fuller HouseWho asked for this? Seriously, of all the '90s shows to resurrect, this is the one? Snark aside, as surprising as it is that this show managed to bring back almost every single cast member from the original series, it's so hard to ignore the fact that Mary-Kate and Ashley couldn't be bothered. Sure, the show makes some funny jokes at their expense, noting Michelle's absence, but it sort of comes across as a cringeworthy reminder that this show might be a little on the desperate side.
JoeyAmerican shows have a tendency to let shows drag on for ages instead of ending on a high note. But whatever kind of note you think Friends ended on, everyone should have been content that the show was just...over. Done, gone, a television legend put to rest. But no, NBC got thirsty and decided to produce a spinoff about Joey called--you guessed it--Joey. It's about him moving to Los Angeles to finally become an actor, and while it lasted for two seasons it was a dud throughout its short lifespan. You should have just stayed in New York, Joey.
That '80s ShowOkay, so basically take all of the heart that was in That '70s Show, obliterate it, keep the token non-white character, throw it in a new decade, make the jokes worse...and you've got That '80s Show, one of the worst spinoffs of all time. The show lasted one season before getting the boot.
Brady BridesThere were a couple of spinoffs to The Brady Bunch, including a variety show that really wasn't all that different than the other variety shows that dominated television in the '70s. But one of the weirdest spinoffs was Brady Brides. Here's the premise: Marcia and Jan get married to some dudes and decide to live together; hilarity ensues. It wasn't a winner and only lasted 10 episodes before getting cancelled, but it's not hard to see why. At a time when comedy was getting bolder, sticking to the cookie cutter Brady facade was boring AF. Plus, one has to wonder why they would want to do this in the first place? Live ya own lives, damn.
Saved By The Bell: The College YearsOh, where to start? There's a delicious level of camp and '90s cheese to Saved by the Bell, but none of that is evident in the college sequel. First of all, we only really follow the boys into higher education; only one member of the original female leads wanted in on the spinoff. That should have been enough to tip us off that this show would be trash. Not only that, every episode was basically a Very Special Episode because--I don't know--college is...darker? That just didn't jive well with the original show at all. In short, this show blew, but that's okay, hardly anyone remembers it anyway.
What other awful spinoffs should be on this list? Tell us in the comments!