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Has there ever been a surprise spin-off?


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33 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 10:44 AM

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?

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#2 OFFLINE   RunnerFL

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 11:03 AM

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?


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.
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#3 OFFLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 09:13 PM

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.


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.

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#4 OFFLINE   RunnerFL

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 11:27 PM

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...


Sure it did.
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#5 OFFLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 03:31 AM

Sure it did.


How so?

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#6 OFFLINE   dmspen

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 11:27 AM

I think it's a great idea. I'd love it if Alcatraz ended up as part of the Lost island chain!

#7 OFFLINE   SayWhat?

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 11:38 AM

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.?


Finding out that Adam-12 and Emergency crews work in the same universe/city doesn't change how you view either show...


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.
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#8 OFFLINE   RunnerFL

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 01:33 PM

How so?


I guess you just had to be a kid back then to understand.
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#9 OFFLINE   RunnerFL

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 01:34 PM

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.


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

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 04:34 PM

I guess you just had to be a kid back then to understand.


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.

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#11 OFFLINE   frederic1943

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 04:49 PM

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.
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#12 ONLINE   tonyd79

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 08:10 PM

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

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 09:48 PM

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 OFFLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 11:06 PM

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.

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#15 OFFLINE   cj9788

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 12:49 AM

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 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 12:56 AM

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 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 01:03 AM

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

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

#18 OFFLINE   BobaBird

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 02:07 AM

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.

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#19 ONLINE   armophob

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 07:25 AM

Rhoda?

#20 ONLINE   armophob

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 07:26 AM

Frasier?




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