10 Forgotten TV Spinoffs That Were Actually Good
There are some spin-offs that go on to be just as popular (if not more so) than their predecessors. Spin-offs like Frasier, with 37 Emmy wins and eleven seasons, proved even more popular than Cheers. Family Matters certainly became must-see TV with the hilarious Steve Erkel, even though he never featured in the series it was based off, Perfect Strangers. Then there's all the wildly acclaimed Star Trek spin-offs from the original series, each with its own niche audience.
But what about all those spin-offs that people rarely talk about, that were wildly successful at the time and actually decent? Do audiences even remember that they carried the torch for their respective franchises even after their parent shows went off the air? Without further ado, presenting the 10 forgotten spin-offs that were actually good.
Though most fans of Bea Arthur know her as the sardonic high school teacher Dorothy from The Golden Girls, serving withering asides like they're slices of cheesecake, she was the star of a spin-off that featured an even more scathing character.
Maude was a spin-off of All in the Family, and featured Edith Bunker's liberal minded Maude (Bea Arthur) confront all sorts of timely issues, from race politics to civil rights and labor disputes. Maude lived with her fourth husband and adult children in the suburbs of Tuckahoe, NY, and had a sassy comment for everything.
9 MORK AND MINDY
In the fifth season of the popular series Happy Days, Richie Cunningham sees a UFO, and then later the extra-terrestrial inside it, Mork (Robin Williams). While it may have made for a strange episode, audiences liked the character of Mork enough to be curious about his origins.
Fantasy as a genre was popular to mashup with the torpor of everyday domestic sit-coms, such as Bewitched or I Dream of Jeannie. Adding a science fiction element proved a new twist, and it became one of Robin Williams' most beloved characters.
While Torchwood may very well be in the minds and hearts of Doctor Who fans, many viewers may not realize its origins. It began in the mid '00s after the Doctor Who reboot saw great interest, and followed a secret agency called the Torchwood Institute.
Led by their leader Captain Jack Harkness (who guest starred on Doctor Who), the Torchwood team investigated strange extra-terrestrial events all over England (and occasionally further). It combined the whimsical fun of Doctor Who with its own brand of adventure and excitement.
7 THE GOLDEN PALACE
After the huge success of The Golden Girls, and Dorothy was married and left the series, the rest of the girls weren't finished sharing their misadventures on television. In 1992 The Golden Palace premiered, and featured Blanche, Rose, and Sophia purchasing a Miami hotel recently lacking in luster.
The series didn't have the same tone of four ladies gathered around a coffee table eating cheesecake and talking about their sex lives, but the additional cast members added a different comedic charm. Don Cheadle as the concierge and Cheech Marin as the chef were particularly amusing.
6 THE CLEVELAND SHOW
After the extreme success of Family Guy, Seth McFarlane tried to capture lightning in a bottle twice with The Cleveland Show. Initially, it relied heavily onFamily Guy style humor, until it settled into its own rhythm and decided to embrace its differences.
The Cleveland show wasn't for everyone. It wasn't the animated version of Family Matters. It was gloriously odd, having more in common with American Dad than its predecessor. Cleveland Brown and his family interacted with a family of talking bears, a British family stuck in the 19th century, and tried not to kill each other. Once you embrace its eccentricities, it grows on you.
5 STAR TREK: THE ANIMATED SERIES
When news spread that Gene Roddenberry's science fiction series Star Trek was being taken off the air in 1970, he tried to think of ways to have it live on. He ultimately decided that the crew of the USS Enterprise would have their adventures chronicled in animated form.
Star Trek: The Animated Series has been called both a spin-off and a sequel - it involves many, but not all of the characters from the original series, and is often regarded as a continuation of its storyline. The animated format allowed for the creative team to do a lot more without the budget constraints of the live show.
4 KENAN AND KEL
All That, the immensely popular sketch and variety series on Nickelodeon, produced several spin-offs, including The Amanda Show and Kenan and Kel. These days, you can watch Kenan Thompson on Saturday Night Live, but back in the '90s, him and Kel got up to all sorts of shenanigans on their own showh.
The show was set in Chicago, and followed Kenan the humble grocery clerk and Kel, his orange-soda-addicted buddy from high school as they tried to come up with a variety of schemes and dreams to get them rich and popular. It features some truly side-splitting skits from the dynamic duo, especially for such a kid-friendly comedy.
3 SABRINA THE TEENAGE WITCH
Though Sabrina the Teenage Witch is getting some newfound love thanks to the dark and spooky reboot of the series on Netflix, the original series starred teen star Melissa Joan Hart as Sabrina, a teenage girl that had to balance learning how to be a witch with learning how to have a normal life.
What some viewers may not have realized, is that the series was actually spin-off from the Archie Animated Series, which features a Sabrina that actually looks a lot more like the one featured on Netflix currently. She also received her own comic, but the '90s series followed a very different path loosely based on her appearance in Riverdale.
Though there have been talks of a Daria reboot almost ever since the incredibly nihilistic animated series went off the air, it seems that it's endured long enough on streaming platforms to feel fresh in the mind of a whole new cynical generation.
What new viewers may not realize is that it was actually a spin-off from another animated series, Beevis and Butthead. Daria, the jaded high school student who just wanted to survive small town American high school, was the pairs' neighbor, and her lack of personality ended up ironically enthralling to Gen Xers steeped in peak irony.
1 SAVED BY THE BELL
Saved by the Bell may get a bad rep for taking a squeaky clean approach to the rigors of high school, but no one can deny that as far as programming went for teens of the '90s, it set the trends and knocked them down with its ridiculously good looking cast of youngsters.
What viewers of today may not realize, is that it was actually a spin-off of Good Morning, Miss Bliss, a series about a school teacher (Hayley Mills) that only lasted for one season in 1988 but featured all of the same cast (including Mr. Belding).