As much as viewers enjoy television finales, it is a sad day when a favorite show comes to an end. (These are the best classic TV shows available to stream.) What better way, then, to please audiences than to revive beloved characters or continue a story line with a new series? And for producers, spinoffs almost guarantee that a new series will have a ready made audience, which in turn almost guarantees interest from advertisers.
Giving Saul Goodman from “Breaking Bad” his own show turned out to be a great bet, as did rebuilding a law firm for Diane Lockhart in “The Good Fight,” a central character but not the star of “The Good Wife.”
Perhaps the greatest minor character spinoff machine was the “Daily Show,” with Stephen Colbert, Steve Carrel, Samantha Bee, John Oliver, Trevor Noah, and Larry Wilmore all moving on to star in their own successful programs.
But spinoffs based on supporting characters are not a sure thing, as Joey, a spinoff of the hugely popular Friends series demonstrated, as did Joanie Loves Chaci, which sprung from “Happy Days.”
While taking a chance on a minor character is risky, re-employing an entire ensemble cast to continue a story line seems to be less so, as is certainly true for the animated favorites. It can even be true when the entire ensemble is replaced by another, as in the Star Trek series and in the British sitcom, “Porridge.”
Many other spin-offs bear very little resemblance to an original series, but rather played off a limited segment or even an obscure episode, as was the case for “The Simpsons” and “The Andy Griffith Show.” Their success had less to do with audience familiarity than with the showrunners’ creativity and vision. Here are the highest rated shows you can watch today.
To determine the 27 best TV spin-offs, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data on audience reviews from the Internet Movie Database. All television spin-offs were ranked based on the average audience rating from IMDb. All additional show data came from IMDb. Data was collected July 2021.