Reporter’s Notes: The spin-off spiral

DKS Editors

Spin-off shows are a recipe for disaster. An injustice is done to the original show since the spin-offs, with all of their bright ideas and massive potential, just never seem to live up to the quality of its mother show.

Strewn across a massive graveyard of one-season shows are literally hundreds of failed attempts of good ideas for spin-offs, which were badly executed (pun intended). Many series are buried with DVDs reading “The Complete Series” and an immense amount of network debt that can never be resolved by the saving grace of syndication.

Walking amongst the gravestones I find multitudes of forgotten spin-offs, all of which will never see the light of day again. I look over to read a gravestone saying, “‘That 80’s Show’ – No cliché left untouched.” The 13-episode failure left a bad taste in the mouths of fans of “That 70’s Show.” Network execs pulled the show after it ran all of its episodes in 2002.

As I walk by in remembrance of failed attempts at success, I realize that some of these spin-offs were so bad they were stopped before their season could even finish. I rush over to the short-lived tombstone titled “Joey,” and I think back to the fond memories of its parent show “Friends.” The spin-off (that should have never been) suffered from bad storylines, horrible scripts and even worse acting. One friend just isn’t the same without the other five.

Speaking of good friends, my Saturday morning line-up switched it up from one of my favorite childhood shows “Saved by the Bell” to its spin-off successor, “Saved by the Bell: The College Years.” The show lasted for one season spanning from 1993 to 1994. The failed attempt to follow six main characters from the halls of Bayside to California University dug yet another spin-off grave. This one can certainly be found with piles of those classy “The Complete Series” DVDs buried in the dirt with it.

Examples such as these are exactly why I was dumbfounded to find out about Fox’s latest venture, “The Cleveland Show.” The spin-off for the “Family Guy” character of the same name sounds like a recipe for a quick demise. I instantly began estimating the number of episodes it’ll get on the air before tanking faster than the Titanic.

The premise follows Cleveland back to his hometown in Virginia where he moves in with his high school sweetheart Donna, her kids and his son, Cleveland Jr. With creator Seth MacFarlane working on “Family Guy,” “American Dad” and now “The Cleveland Show,” the quality of one or more of these shows is going to severely suffer. I obviously place my bet on the tragic spin-off.

Amid this dreary graveyard of spin-offs, there lies more plots ready to swallow the failed attempts of yet another disaster.

Contact all reporter Robert Checkal

at [email protected].