I am wary of sloppy seconds. Second albums by a great one-hit wonder, second films in a trilogy, and the second child of a good series, the spin-off television show. The 1990′s brought us the kick ass teen drama Beverly Hills 90210, which then morphed into the ugly step children Melrose Place and Models Inc. Now, let me make clear I am not talking about the rebooting of an “old” television show, for example, the 2005 revisioning of Doctor Who. That is another beast entirely. I’m talking about two entirely new series springing from a show such as Doctor Who–i.e. the creation of Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures at the BBC as side stories to the companions of the Doctor in the Whoniverse (although, I would love to see Moffat write a River Song spin off). A spin off means new characters, new audiences and story lines that may have similar themes to our old favorites but that are filtered through (often times) new writers, producers and actors. While I enjoy the Doctor Who spin offs, to an extent, Torchwood is much darker and a tad sexy (I totally ship Jack/Ianto), and therefore I can’t sit around and watch it with, say, my 10-year old daughter as I would DW. On the other hand, The Sarah Jane Adventures was made for a younger audience and, except the few episodes that feature The Doctor, don’t particularly interest me.
Spin offs just aren’t the saaaaaame.
So, let’s work out, dear reader, our feelings about the recent announcements of spin off television shows for 3 of the best series’ on the small screen.
Supernatural has had 8 amazing seasons on the CW and is about to begin season 9 on October 8th. From what showrunner Jeremy Carver has said, the show may run up to season 10 and then…? No one knows for sure, but I would be happy to watch Sam, Dean and Cas kill monsters for another 20 years or so. Since that probably won’t happen, the folks that run CW have been tentatively planning for a spin-off show, which will begin it’s unfolding in Episode 20 of season 9, written by Andrew Dabb. Set in Chicago, back-door pilot will feature Sam and Dean but also an ensemble cast that focuses on monster/hunter interpersonal relationships. While I am looking forward to watching the season 9 episode, which should feature an epic battle between the hunter culture and the demon culture, I am a tad nervous that the CW will fuck up a spin off unless done tactfully and with the fanbase in mind. Still, if Bob Singer and Jeremy Carver are involved, there is a glimmer of hope. Honestly, I’ve got to start giving the CW the benefit of the doubt, because I didn’t expect Supernatural to be as good as it is, and that was because of my lack of faith in the network to obtain decent programming. I am so, so sorry! The channel is weak sauce, but I readily admit error, as Maggie Q in Nikita and J2 in Supernatural are all pretty amaze balls.
What about Breaking Bad? Well, I have higher hopes for the spin off show, which has been in talks since 2012. The comedic genius of Bob Odenkirk has been the backbone of Breaking Bad since season 1, and I have no doubt that Odenkirk’s character, Saul Goodman, the crooked lawyer to Heisenberg and Jesse, will produce a funny show with some fun and sleazy characters. The one hour (we want more!) prequel, titled Better Call Saul, will focus on Saul and all the seedy things he did with other seedy clients before meeting Walter White. I love that idea and am waiting with baited breath to see it unfold. The fact that Odenkirk is the lead and the show will retain it’s top writer and producer had me at HELL YES. So, an hour long dramedy on AMC about Saul’s misadventures produced by Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould of original Breaking Bad fame? I am so in and I already want third helpings.
Last but not least, AMC announced today plans for a spin off series for The Walking Dead with Executive Producer Robert Kirkman, the creator of the original comic series, with a debut date some time in 2015. The new series will focus on a different group of zombie apocalypse survivors, and there is no word yet on if any of the original cast members will take part in the project. As with the other AMC spin off (see the paragraph right before this one), I have high hopes for a show that will retain the original creator of the series as well as the producers. That type of commitment is a recipe for success. Kirkman has stated that he is excited to explore a “new corner of the Walking Dead Universe” and, with the in depth writing that takes place in the comic world, which is much different and expansive than the hour-long tv show, I have no doubt that a spin off will not take away from the original product, but enhance the quality of the product and continue to delight zombie fans everywhere.
The Collectiva Diva
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