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Has there ever been a surprise spin-off?

Discussion in 'TV Show Talk' started by Stewart Vernon, Mar 3, 2012.

  1. Mar 3, 2012 #1 of 34
    Stewart Vernon

    Stewart Vernon Leapin' Lizard Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    As I watch Alcatraz... and being a fan of Fringe... I had a thought.

    I would love to see a show pop up as new on the TV schedule... then a couple of seasons in have a big reveal that it is tied to another show. Secrets are hard to keep in the modern world.

    But imagine, if you are a Fringe fan... if 2 seasons in Alcatraz was revealed to be part of the Fringe universe and they tied the prisoner disappearances to other Fringe events.

    Nobody would see that coming... and it would be a way to bring back people from another series and do some stories if the other series is off the air.

    Obviously you can't do it with all series.... but sci-fi lends itself well to this sort of thing... Imagine watching any good series for a couple of years then suddenly they tie the world plausibly to another popular series. I don't think that has been done before, has it?
     
  2. Mar 3, 2012 #2 of 34
    RunnerFL

    RunnerFL DIRECTV A-Team

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    You mean like how after a few seasons it was revealed that Adam-12 and the firemen from Emergency work together in the same area of L.A.? :)

    If Alcatraz turns out to be a Fringe event I'm not sure I'd like it.
     
  3. Mar 3, 2012 #3 of 34
    Stewart Vernon

    Stewart Vernon Leapin' Lizard Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    Alcatraz + Fringe was just an easy example to communicate the idea.

    There have been crossovers... like NCIS and CSI had a crossover... and NCIS: LA crossed over with Hawaii 5-0.

    I guess I'm thinking more of the kind of surprise that brings new meaning to the series. Finding out that Adam-12 and Emergency crews work in the same universe/city doesn't change how you view either show...

    But finding a Terminator dropped into the (canceled a few years ago) Journeyman universe... or Alcatraz having an Observer pop-in from Fringe... those revelations would change everything about the show.

    I can't think of a series that had that kind of change happen.
     
  4. Mar 4, 2012 #4 of 34
    RunnerFL

    RunnerFL DIRECTV A-Team

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    Sure it did.
     
  5. Mar 4, 2012 #5 of 34
    Stewart Vernon

    Stewart Vernon Leapin' Lizard Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    How so?
     
  6. Mar 4, 2012 #6 of 34
    dmspen

    dmspen Hall Of Fame DBSTalk Club

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    I think it's a great idea. I'd love it if Alcatraz ended up as part of the Lost island chain!
     
  7. Mar 4, 2012 #7 of 34
    SayWhat?

    SayWhat? Know Nothing

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    Those two were not spinoffs of each other. If anything Adam-12 would be a spinoff of Dragnet since Kent McCord appeared in several episodes as both Reed and other characters and the unit number 1-Adam-12 is mentioned several times in different episodes.
     
  8. Mar 4, 2012 #8 of 34
    RunnerFL

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    I guess you just had to be a kid back then to understand.
     
  9. Mar 4, 2012 #9 of 34
    RunnerFL

    RunnerFL DIRECTV A-Team

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    I never said one was a spinoff of the other.
     
  10. Stewart Vernon

    Stewart Vernon Leapin' Lizard Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    You haven't tried to explain. I am genuinely curious how you think that Adam-12 and Emergency being in the same city makes either show substantially different.

    Those kinds of shows just don't seem to me like it would make a big deal how different they are.

    Like... if Law & Order and NCIS crossed-over... that wouldn't shatter the reality of either show. They are both reality-based shows in the sense that things on the show are meant to be real-life plausible... so if I found out they existed in the same universe it wouldn't fundamentally change how I interpret the show.

    But (using my example) if Alcatraz was revealed to be part of Fringe... that would change almost everything about the show because whatever is happening on Alcatraz would be part of a bigger Fringe plot suddenly.
     
  11. frederic1943

    frederic1943 Icon

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    Not quite a surprise spin off but the record for cross-overs goes to Richard Belzer.
    Belzer carried his role of Det. John Munch over to Law & Order: SVU from the series Homicide: Life on the Street and the TV movie Homicide: The Movie. He also played John Munch in Law & Order which had several crossover episodes with "Homicide", an episode of The X-Files, an episode of The Beat, an episode of Law & Order: Trial by Jury, the finale of Arrested Development and an episode of The Wire. This is a record for appearances by an actor playing the same character in different programs. Det. John Munch's character was also played in Sesame Street voiced by Joey Mazzarino.
     
  12. tonyd79

    tonyd79 Hall Of Fame

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    You mean like Green Acres, Petticoat Junction and the Beverly Hillbillies?
     
  13. James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    Normally a spin off of a popular show is promoted as such to attempt to have the audience of the old show cross over to the new show. It doesn't do promoters any good to wait until a second season to admit that the shows were tied together from the beginning (unless they really were not tied and the show is in a hole and needs the gravitas from the first show).

    Crossovers are used to let one popular show help another show. Perhaps the second show needs help ... or the writers are doing it for fun. For example, the Montecito Hotel and Casino at the center of the show Las Vegas appears in episodes of several other series. The writers of the other series are not tying the universes together to explain a great mystery of the show ... often it is done to give a nod to an established show.

    The only problem I see with connecting universes is continuity. If you have one police drama set in a city with an on screen mayor then any show that crosses over should either have the same mayor for that city or not disclose their mayor. Otherwise you're breaking continuity. The same would go for any other shared character ... if a role is shared between shows the role needs to be consistent.
     
  14. Stewart Vernon

    Stewart Vernon Leapin' Lizard Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    Yeah... Traditional spinoffs usually fall into one of the following categories:

    1. Popular character on a current show has been around for a while and gets his/her own show to capitalize on that built-in audience. It is a legit spin-off because the new show is being created from characters that have been around a while.

    2. Popular show is used to introduce a new character already intended to have its own show BUT the intro is made on the existing show to get that audience to follow rather than just introducing the new show. Slightly less legit spin-off in that usually the only appearance of the new character is on that one episode used to intro him before beginning the already-made new show.

    Both share the common thing, that James noted, which is the desire to use the spin-off as a form of promotion to gain viewers from the start.

    That's why I figured what I was asking about hasn't been done before... because usually studios would want the promotion for their show.

    But it seems like there could be some "surprise" factor that would get buzz for a show later IF the spin-off factor was saved until a later reveal.

    Think of a show like Smallville that was clearly based on Superman from the start and they used all the popular character names BUT the story was a less-super-heroic setting and no costumes for the first several seasons... so it drew in a broader audience before really diving into costumed heroes and villains in the later seasons.

    Now... what if there had been a way of making the show and keeping the Superman reveal more of a secret (hard to do given the character names) until later.

    The first time I thought of this idea... was back when I saw Independence Day... and I thought, wouldn't it have been interesting to go the whole movie and not really show the aliens until the end and then have the surprise be that the aliens were familiar ones (like the Alien movie aliens for example)... then you would go back the next time and have a completely different idea of what was happening in the movie.
     
  15. cj9788

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    The Jefferson's started out as the bunkers neighbors, then they moved on up to the east side. Could that be considered a surprise?

    I always wanted to see a Dexter/Criminal Minds crossover. I would love to see the BAU go after Dexter and then fail in that endeavor.
     
  16. James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    Smallville was supposed to be a "back story". The key part of the show was that the audience was in on the plot ... or at least the ending. We knew that the kid would eventually put on the tights and fly - even though the actor's contract said no tights/no flights (and there was occasional "flying").

    The worst part about Smallville was when they broke cannon and did something that was contrary to the Superman we already knew. But comics have a way of reinventing themselves and "retelling" a well known story with different details.


    As far as Independence Day having aliens from another movie they writers would probably have just got bad reviews for not coming up with their own creatures. Where is the creativity?
     
  17. James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    That is a defined spin-off where the Jeffersons characters were developed on one show and then "moved on up" to another.
     
  18. BobaBird

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    One of the all-time great TV moments, when Bob describes his strange dream to his wife... Emily!
     
  19. armophob

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    Rhoda?
     
  20. armophob

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    Frasier?
     

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