The series House of the Dragon, set to release in a few weeks, has been the center of a great deal of speculation. In particular, many are wondering if it might become one of those spinoff series that ultimately becomes better than the original show.
Throughout the history of television, numerous successful series have spawned even more successful spinoffs, which often succeed because they manage to capture something of their parent series while also establishing their own identity and characters. Fortunately, a number of Reddit users have identified these great spinoff series.
Frasier (1993 – 2004)
Stream On Hulu
In many ways, Frasier is the paradigmatic example of a spinoff that was better than its predecessor (in this case, Cheers). It managed to fully flesh out the character of Frasier Crane, and it featured a stunning cast and finely-crafted writing.
One Reddit user puts it this way: “Cheers was great, but the writing on Frasier was overall a bit better, and not having to deal with the Sam + Diane drama seals the deal.” It is certainly the case that, throughout its run, Frasier managed to not only develop its central character but also the other members of the ensemble.
Daria (1997 – 2002)
Stream On MTV
Daria has come to be regarded as one of the best adult animated series. With its title character’s signature ennui, it managed to capture the angst of Gen X and the elder cohort of millennials. Though a spinoff of Beavis and Butthead, it soon showed that it had an identity of its own, with its own unique style and characters. It also appears to be more popular with various Reddit users.
Dialcforcasey, for example, says, “I’ll take Daria any day of the week.” With its sharper and more intelligent sense of humor, it’s not surprising to find that Daria continues to appeal.
Green Acres (1965 – 1971)
Stream On Tubi
The 1960s was a rather unique decade for the sitcom, and many classics of the form appeared during that time period. Green Acres, for example, focused on a wealthy city couple who move to the country to take up a more bucolic lifestyle. It’s a quirky and very funny show, and there’s undeniable chemistry between Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor.
It’s also a series that clearly appeals to today’s fans more than its predecessor, Petticoat Junction for, as joedevivre states, “Green Acres is so much better than Petticoat Junction!”
Better Call Saul (2015 – )
Stream On Netflix
Breaking Bad has established itself as one of the best crime dramas in the history of the genre. However, very quickly Better Call Saul, which focuses on the character of Saul Goodman, has become even better than its predecessor as it explores the rich character and his backstory.
BlazeBro420 says bluntly: “Better Call Saul is better than Breaking Bad.” Though it can be just as brutal as Breaking Bad, it is also the case that Saul is, in his own way, more likable than Walter White, so the viewer is led to like him, even as they can’t help but be dismayed at some of his choices.
Xena (1995 – 2001)
Not Available For Streaming
Xena is without a doubt one of the best TV series from the 1990s. With its camp aesthetic and its adventuresome spirit, it is a fine use of the great acting skills of Lucy Lawless. It is also, in the view of many users of Reddit, a better series than its originator, Hercules.
Vio_ puts it this way: “Xena definitely became bigger harder than Hercules, esp after it hit with the lesbian audience. Also doesn’t help that Lucy Lawless is a far better actress than Sorbo.” It is definitely a series that found its niche and made sure to play to it as much as possible.
Angel (1999 – 2004)
Stream On Hulu
Buffy was and is widely regarded as one of the best series about vampires. However, it is also true that its spinoff, which focused on the character of Angel, came to be regarded very highly in its own right, particularly since it gave Angel a chance to grow and develop beyond the restrictions imposed by Buffy’s storylines.
Cory120 has this to say: “I prefer the increase in serialization, the long-term villains and how it took several characters that were annoying in Buffy and turned them into awesome people you could root for.” As such, the series stands as an excellent example of how a series can take on a life of its own after it embarks from its predecessor.
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999 – )
Stream On Hulu
Few procedurals have been quite as enduring as Law & Order, which demonstrated that it had what it took to be one of the great examples of the genre. However, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit has also become a perennial favorite with fans.
Pvt_Wierzbowski notes: “Law and Order SVU has outlived its parent show and all spinoff brethren. It’s even getting its own spinoff starring Christopher Meloni.” In terms of longevity, SVU has shown its superiority to its parent series, but it has also managed to keep its powerful bite and its social conscience.
Mama’s Family (1983 – 1990)
Stream On Philo
Though it doesn’t often get as much respect as it deserves, it is nevertheless the case that Mama’s Family was a staple for many of those growing up in the 1980s and 1990s.
What makes it an especially striking case is that it, as JMan1989 states, “was a spin-off from sketches on The Carol Burnett Show.” Like the best spin-offs, Mama’s Family managed to take all that was funny about the original sketches and then expanded them, giving the characters, particularly Mama herself, much more depth and richness than she had in the short space provided by a sketch.
The Simpsons (1989 – )
Stream On Disney+
The Simpsons is inarguably one of the best adult animated series in the history of the genre, and its continuing presence in the American imagination is a testament to its staying power.
As homerlovesmarge says: “The Simpsons– 684 episodes and counting,” compared to the smaller number of episodes of Tracey Ullman’s series, which is where The Simpsons got its start. The fact that relatively few people can even remember that The Simpsons was a spin-off at all is itself revealing of how much better it is.
Fear The Walking Dead (2015 – )
Stream On AMC
The Walking Dead has shown itself to be one of the best series about zombies. And, like all good series, it eventually spawned a spin off, Fear the Walking Dead, which is something of a prequel. Fear the Walking Dead has quickly established itself as a very strong series and, in the eyes of some Redditors, it is much better than the original series.
Dbbk writes: “Fear on the other hand, actually tries interesting things in the universe.” This is in marked contrast to The Walking Dead, which is arguably far too reliant on soap opera plotting.