Sidequel: Successful Spin-Offs Of Popular Television Shows

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Spinoffs are greatly appreciated for a few reasons: they allow viewers to see lesser characters develop independently; they give viewers a different take of the characters from the previous sitcom; and, finally, spinoffs are uniquely responsible for creating that ‘neighboring effect’ on television, allowing audiences and characters, alike, feel as if they are stepping from one living room into another. This has been seen time and time again in television. Cheers begot Fraiser, Grey’s Anatomy begot Private Practice, Buffy begot Angel, and  Dr. Who begot Torchwood. Check out some our favorites over the years.


All That > Kenan and Kel

The kid-centric sketch comedy/variety classic, “All That” featured an ensemble of teens from different backgrounds, all gathered in the interest of delivering impersonations and comedy. That show spawned  a series of spin-offs: “Drake & Josh,” “The Amanda Show” and, best of all, “Kenan & Kel.” “Kenan & Kel,”the teen comedy sitcom starring Kel Mitchell and Kenan Thompson,  focused on mischievous antics as part-time employed high school students.


The Cosby Show > A Different World

The most iconic African American family to ever be featured on television focused on an upper middle-class family, fathered by the legendary Bill Cosby. When it was time for his second eldest daughter, Denise, to go to college, this gave way to the birth of “A Different World.” A comedy based around the life of students at Hillman College. Though Denise (Lisa Bonet) departed from the show, “A Different World” continued on, focusing more on the characters Whitley Gilbert and Dwayne Wayne.


Diff’rent Strokes > The Facts of Life

The sitcom “Diff’rent Strokes” focuses on two young boys, Arnold and Willis, from Harlem who moved into the home of a wealthy white man who lived on Park Avenue.  The penthouse suite came equipped with everything the pair needed, including a maid. The maid, Edna Garrett had bigger plans, however.  She left Park Ave and headed to Peekskill, NY to become the housemother at an all-female boarding school on the television show “Facts of Life.” The show stared Kim Fields as Dorothy “Tootie” Ramsey.


Flavor of Love > I Love New York >Charm School > I Love Money

Best known for his role as a hype man for the rap group Public Enemy, Flavor Flav opted to turn reality television in order to find love. The show “Flavor of Love” was an indirect spin-off of the show “Strange Love,” and prior to that “The Surreal Life.” The three seasons of “Flavor of Loveled to the shows: “I Love New York,” “I Love New York 2,” “New York Goes to Hollywood,” “Real Chance of Love,” “New York Goes to Work,” “Frank the Entertainer… in a Basement Affair,” “Flavor of Love Girls: Charm School,” “Charm School with Ricki Lake,” andI Love Money.”


Girlfriends > The Game

The long-running sitcom is centered on the lives and loves of four African American women living in L.A. Joan, the protagonist and a lawyer, introduces the audience to her cousin Melanie Barnett on episode entitled “The Game,” which laid way to a spin-off of the same name.  That show focused on Melanie and her athlete boyfriend, who was rising to fame as a football star.


Moesha> The Parkers

Norwood stars as the title character on the show Moesha, a show focusing on a typical African American girl and her family. Through her school life and random hangouts, viewers are introduced to Moesha’s friends: Hakeem Campbell, Niecy Jackson and Kim Parker.  The boy-crazy mother/daughter duo, Kim and Nikki Parker, found their happiness on their own sitcom, “The Parkers,” as roommates and classmates.


That’s So Raven > Cory In The House

The sitcom focuses on a teen psychic by the name of Raven Baxter (Raven Symone) who has a keen interest in fashion design and and Lucille Ball-type shenanigans. Through the four seasons of the show, audiences are introduced to her friends, Chelsea and Eddie, and her family. Her family consists of her father, mother and her younger brother, Cory. During the fourth season of the show Cory and their father headed to Washington D.C. on the spin-off sitcom, “Cory in the House.”

TV Land

Hot in Cleveland > Soul Man

Three 40/50-something women move from Los Angeles to Cleveland, Ohio, and into the home of a caretaker played by Betty White. During the second season of the series, Cedric the Entertainer stared as a meddling minister, which led to the spin-off series, “Soul Man.”  That series focuses on Reverend Boyce, his family, his singing career and his church life.


Family Guy > The Cleveland Show

“Family Guy” is an adult animated series that focuses on an unorthodox Rhode Island family that is made up of six individuals: a mother named Lois, a husband name Peter, a daughter named Meg, a son by the name of Chris, a baby with a football-head named Stewie and talking dog named Brian. Peter introduces onlookers to his friends, including friend Cleveland Brown. Cleveland gained his own show, called “The Cleveland Show” –a show about Cleveland’s blended family and his happenings in his new town of Stoolbend.


Perfect Strangers > Family Matters

The show that focused on the tumultuous relationship between a Midwesterner named Larry and his eastern Mediterranean cousin led to development of “Family Matters.”  Harriette appeared on “Perfect Strangers” for two seasons before becoming a fully formed character as the wife of Carl Winslow, sister to Rachel Crawford,  aunt to Richie Crawford, daughter-in-law to Estelle Winslow, mother to Laura Winslow and Eddie Winslow, and neighbor to Steve Urkel.


All In The Family > The Jeffersons

The all-American working class bigot, Archie Bunker entertained audiences by vocalizing his conservative outlook, ignorance and intense prejudice.  Bunker’s neighbor, George Jefferson was a working class African American had a chilly relationship with his neighbor before he moved “to a deluxe apartment in the sky” on the spin-off series, “The Jeffersons.”

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