Do we really need a series about Breaking Bad's Saul Goodman? Probably not. But we're still getting Better Call Saul.
Although we'll reserve judgment (and we won't be
shocked if we actually like it) many spin-offs do little more than taint
the memory of their motherships. Click ahead to see the biggest offenders.
Photo by: Ursula Coyote/AMC
How I Met Your Dad (CBS)
Spun Off From:How I Met Your Mother
Fortunately, this pilot didn't make it to series, but it never should have been created. At all. We weren't really asking for a direct spin-off in the first place following one character, but the proposed plot — centered on a new group of friends with a female character searching for her future husband — is lazy and insulting to HIMYM's once imaginative concept. Not to mention, unlike HIMYM's cliché-subverting lead in Ted, a girl looking for love is as rom-com trite as it comes. Wait for it? No thanks.
Photo by: Cliff Lipson/CBS
The Walking Dead Spin-Off (Working Title) (AMC)
Spun Off From:The Walking Dead
When AMC first announced its upcoming Walking Dead "companion" series, we couldn't help but laugh, especially when network boss Charlie Collier called it a "no-brainer." Doesn't the flagship series have enough characters? What's next, a zombie apocalypse network? (They could call it Z!) Let's face it: The reason that Walking Dead is such appointment television is because it tells a psychologically compelling story that is unique in the current TV landscape. Trying to duplicate that formula will just dilute the brand's impact and be, well, overkill.
Photo by: Gene Page/AMC
Spun Off From: Friends
We can understand NBC wanting to continue Friends somehow, but following Joey to Los Angeles as he pursued his acting career was misguided. Joey's lovable, womanizing and dim-witted ways worked so well on Friends because he was playing off the rest of the gang, and his moo points came in small doses. But asking him to front a show, backed by the blandness of Paulo Costanzo's Michael and aggressiveness of Drea de Matteo's Gina, was a recipe for disaster. The show earned a second season, but NBC pulled it mid-run and never aired its final eight episodes.
Photo by: Chris Haston/NBC/NBCU Photobank via Getty Images
Time of Your Life (Fox, TBS)
Spun Off From: Party of Five
Sarah – Bailey = boring. Fox's "Summer of Love" was short-lived as this Po5 spin-off that focused on Sarah (Jennifer Love Hewitt) going to New York to search for her biological father bombed. After Fox pulled the show midway through its first season, the final seven episodes aired on TBS, but went largely unseen. Back in San Francisco, the Salingers felt Sarah's loss too: Party of Five's sixth season ended up being its last. One silver lining: Time of Your Life featured Jennifer Garner and Pauley Perrette before they were stars.
Photo by: Stephen Danelian/Columbia Tristar Television/Everett Collection
Young Americans (The CW)
Spun Off From: Dawson's Creek
Although viewers loved The Creek, no one cared enough to follow Dawson and Pacey's long-lost childhood friend over to his posh boarding school. Even though the show only lasted eight episodes, the series ironically featured a number of now-famous faces, including Kate Bosworth, Ian Somerhalder, Charlie Hunnam and Matt Czuchry.
Photo by: Columbia TriStar Television/Everett Collection
The Finder (Fox)
Spun Off From: Bones
Although the concept was based on The Locator books by Richard Greener, Bones creator Hart Hanson decided to work Geoff Stults' reclusive "finder" into the Bones universe as a friend of Booth's from the service who appeared in a backdoor pilot. Despite compelling performances from Stults and Michael Clarke Duncan, Hanson's quirky, lighthearted style didn't play as well between buddies as it did in the will-they-won't-they dynamic of Bones. Perhaps a straightforward adaptation of the source material would have been more fruitful. Instead, only a few viewers found this show, which ended after 13 episodes.
Photo by: Jennifer Clasen/FOX
The Lone Gunmen (Fox)
Spun Off From:The X-Files
Despite being the brainchild of X-Files genius Chris Carter and future Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan, this 13-episode drama, which focused on the titular group of geeky conspiracy theory investigators who often counseled Fox Mulder on the mothership, just didn't measure up. While its predecessor dealt with aliens and supernatural creatures, Gunmen seemed a bit more tied to reality, with plots involving corporate crime and government-sponsored terrorism. (Oddly, the show's pilot, which aired six months before 9/11, involved a plot to steer a hijacked plane into the World Trade Center.) Ultimately, viewers didn't want to believe in this show, which ended its short run with a cliff-hanger that was ultimately resolved in an episode of X-Files.
PLL has tested our limits by dragging out the 'A' mystery so long. So, the last thing we wanted was a whole other series' worth of questions we won't get answers to. Plus, PLL has gone out of its way to stay away from the paranormal, so a supernatural spin-off puts everything we knew in question.
Law & Order: Trial By Jury and Law & Order: Los Angeles (NBC)
Spun Off From: Law & Order
On paper, Trial By Jury made perfect sense. The flagship series was still going strong and its two previous spin-offs, SVU and Criminal Intent were doing robust business. While those two series focused on solving crimes, Trial By Jury focused almost entirely on legal proceedings. But with an unoriginal formula and the untimely death of series regular Jerry Orbach just two episodes in, the odds were stacked against the unmemorable iteration, which lasted just 12 episodes. The same was also true five years later, when NBC rushed Law & Order: LA onto the air without a pilot after canceling the mothership. Though producers tried to fix some of the obvious problems (by killing off Skeet Ulrich’s detective), the bland copycat lasted just one season.
It's one thing to watch cutthroat professionals compete to work for Donald Trump, but the concept just didn't translate when the tasks involved home decor, arts and crafts, and cooking. For proof that Martha's more sensible approach didn't make sense, look no further than her elimination catchphrase: "You just don't fit in" doesn't come close to Trump's famous, "You're fired."
Photo by: WireImage
Living Dolls (ABC)
Spun Off From: Who’s the Boss?
Long before Halle Berry made a name for herself on the big screen, she starred alongside Leah Remini in this short-lived 1989 series, which began as a backdoor pilot when Who's the Boss?'s Samantha began modeling with her very photogenic friend from Brooklyn, Charlie (Remini). The series followed Charlie and her fellow aspiring model friends as they tried to establish careers. Unfortuantely, this series never established a following and was canceled after 12 episodes.
The Ropers launched in 1979 and featured Stanley and Helen Roper (Norman Fell and Audra Lindley), the landlords of the original trio on Three's Company. In their own series, the Ropers sold the apartment building they owned and struggled to fit in in their new upscale neighborhood. But the show didn't fit in either and was axed after Season 2. When Three's went off the air in 1984, producers once again tried to prolong the franchise by following John Ritter's Jack, his new love interest (Mary Cadorette) and her disapproving father (Robert Mandan). Viewers disapproved, and the show was canceled after one low-rated season.
Photo by: ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images, Everett Collection
The Love Boat: The Next Wave (UPN)
Spun Off From: The Love Boat
This is one ship viewers weren't on board with. More than a decade after the original Love Boat went off the air, Aaron Spelling tried to parlay its success into another nautical series starring Robert Urich as Capt. Jim Kennedy. Though several original cast members guest-starred on a reunion episode, the only holdover from the original was the boat itself. Alas, it only stayed afloat for two seasons.
A spin-off of a spin-off, this shallow prime-time soap followed a group of pretty young people working at a modeling agency run by Amanda Woodward's mother (Dallas star Linda Gray). Despite also starring Carrie-Ann Moss, the show's bad acting and ridiculous plots kept this show from being the ratings powerhouse its forebears were and led to its demise after only one season.
After NBC canceled The Golden Girls when Bea Arthur decided to leave the show, CBS took Rose, Blanche and Sophia, and head-scratchingly made them hoteliers of the run-down Golden Palace Hotel in South Beach. The charm and magic of the original never checked in though, and it was canceled after one season.
The name of this one really says it all. Following the success of one of TV's greatest comedies ever, this effort focused on M*A*S*H regulars Col. Potter, Cpl. Klinger and Father Mulcahy, who, after having trouble adjusting to civilian life after the Korean War, resume working together at a veteran's hospital stateside. Although it tried to mix laughs while talking about the horrors of war like the original show, AfterMASH lacked the high stakes of actually working in a war zone. After being pummeled in the ratings by The A-Team in its second season, the show was axed after 29 episodes.
Viewers loved visiting the Crane family on Frasier once a week, but the same could not be said for this first Cheers spin-off. Unlike Frasier, which followed one of Cheers' regulars, The Tortellis simply focused on the misadventures of Carla’s ex-husband, Nick, and the younger and dumber woman he married after Carla. The show was an instant dud and lasted only 13 episodes.
The Brady Bunch inspired various spin-offs, but The Brady Brides (a spin-off of The Brady Girls Get Married) featured Maureen McCormick and Eve Plumb reprising their roles as Marcia and Jan. Both recently married, the sisters decide to move in together with their husbands, who spend most of their time channeling The Odd Couple. The series, which was the only Brady sitcom filmed in front of a live studio audience, only made it to 10 episodes.
Less sun and skin on Baywatch?! Not a good idea. And yet, that's what the producers tried to do for its spin-off centered on a private investigation firm. The creative denial continued into its second season, when the cases switched the formula to a more paranormal focus, a la The X-Files. Finally, everyone accepted that Nights was failing, and it was allowed to peacefully sink beneath the salty waves of cancellation.
Originally conceived as limited series to bridge the two halves of OUAT's third season, Wonderland featured almost entirely new characters and chronicled Alice's journey down the rabbit hole to reunite with her love, Cyrus. While there was the (very rare) appearance from a Once character, the biggest tie between the two series is simply their titles. So why have it be a spin-off at all? There's no reason an Alice arc couldn't have just been a part of the mothership.
Saved by the Bell: The New Class, which inexplicably ran seven years, gets most of the spin-off hate, but The College Years was just as ill-conceived. The prime-time show struggled to adapt its parent series' enduring corny humor to the heavy-handed "mature" situations it portrayed and introduced completely dull replacements for Lisa and Jessie. And don't even get us started on casting former football player Bob Golic as the R.A. At least the one-season non-wonder ended on a good note: Zack and Kelly got married in a Vegas-set TV movie.
Photo by: Chris Haston/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images
Spun Off From: Battlestar Galactica
Set 58 years before the events of Battlestar Galactica, the series focused on the father and uncle of William Adama and investigated how humanity first created the robotic Cylons. We give props to the producers for not trying to re-create BSG's wartime space opera formula exactly, but unfortunately, the prequel's focus on a society filled with excess and hubris just didn't connect with viewers. In a very "Fall of Rome" kind of a way, the series just felt like the setup for something bigger and better. Plus: We kind of missed that perpetual guessing game of, "Is so-and-so a Cylon?"