Breaking Bad’s ‘Better Call Saul’: From The Worst To The Best Spin Off Shows Ever
The first image from ‘Better Call Saul’, the spin-off of the hugely successful Breaking Bad, has been released, getting fans excited for the highly anticipated series.
Looking at the history of success for spin-off shows, we’re awaiting the series with trepidation, and with news the release date has been pushed back until 2015, we’re pretty curious to see if it can match up to the original.
Spin-offs are always dodgy territory and shows almost start on the backfoot and aren’t given as much time to win over the audience. BB didn’t become a worldwide smash until well into its run, so what does that mean for the future of ‘Better Call Saul’?
Bob Odenkirk in character as Saul Goodman on set of Better Call Saul (Breaking Bad/Twitter)
Some spin-offs have been worth it though, and have even managed to eclipse their parent show.
Check out our worst to best of TV spin-offs, let us know if there should be any others added.
Friends was arguably the biggest show of the late 90s, early 00s and made superstars out of its cast. Matt Le Blanc’s spin-off, following dumb but lovable Joey Tribianni to Los Angeles tanked. With a solid audience already established, and desperate for a little more from the Friends-verse, it was surprising how quickly it fell from favour. Even with guest appearances from Matthew Perry, it was beyond saving, and was cancelled after two seasons.
9. The Carrie Diaries
Carrie Bradshaw as a teenager running around New York? What wouldn’t viewers love about that? Very little apparently. The CW show felt a bit like Gossip Girl or 90210 does the eighties, and while the fashion was great, it failed to capture the essence of what had made Sex And The City popular. Women who loved SATC were unlikely to tune into the preppy comedy/drama, when shows like Girls have taken up where SJP & co left off. It was dropped after two seasons.
8. Melrose Place
Melrose Place was the adult 90210, created by Aaron Spelling and Darren Star, it was actually pretty good. Led by Heather Locklear, the LA soap about a group of gorgeous people living in a complex in the sun, went down well with viewers. It ran for seven seasons, and even picked up a couple of Golden Globe nominations. Go team.
When Angel aka David Boreneaz waved goodbye to Sunnydale and true love Buffy at the end of the third season of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, we were a little skeptical about the spin-off dedicated to the tortured vampire. Up until then the vampire with a soul had been, mainly, Buffy’s dreamboat love interest, so how would he do on his own? Pretty well, the show established its own cult following and even carried on after Buffy finished. It did a good job of crossing over characters too, and no Buffy fan will ever forget the episode, ‘I Will Remember You’, sobfest.
6. The Hills
The Hills was a spin-off of MTV show Laguna Beach: The Real OC and while Laguna was popular, The Hills was massive. Making huge stars of Lauren Conrad, and Heidi Montag as well as Audrina Partridge, and let’s not forget Spencer Pratt, the series following their entangled love lives and feuds had people tuning in for an epic six seasons and even had its own spin-off, The City when Whitney went ot New York.
As well as Lauren’s endless wisdom – ‘I want to forgive you and forget you’- it also gave us the most famous GIF ever.
5. Saved By The Bell
Who knew everyone’s favourite after school special, was actually a spin-off? Saved By The Bell was actually rooted in Disney show ‘Good Morning, Miss Bliss’, which no-one remembers. It gave most nineties kids their first crush. Kelly Kapowski and Zac Morris are still the ultimate teen dream. It spawned several spin-off and even movies, where Zac and Kelly finally got married!
4. Absolutely Fabulous
The exploits of Eddie and Patsy actually started life as a sketch on French and Saunders. The BBC eventually made it into a show all by its self and was a huge smash. Starring Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders, it ran for five series’ and fast became one of the most successful British comedies of its time. Boasting guest stars, including Kate Moss and Elton John, it’s got to be up there as one of the most successful spin-offs ever right? Sweetie?
3. Happy Days
The most successful TV show of the 1970s, was actually a spin-off from one episode of anthology series Love, American Style. Inspiration can also be taken from George Lucas’ movie American Graffiti, which was set in the same period and shared alot of the same cast, including Ron Howard as Richie Cunningham. Happy Days has got to be one of the most loved shows of all time and characters like the Fonz have become cultural icons. It was also responsible for spin-offs of it’s own including Mork and Mindy and Laverne & Shirley.
When Dr Fraiser Crane left the Cheers bar and headed home to Seattle, who knew that his show would do so well? Teamed with brother Niles and his police cop father, the Kelsey Gramer-starring show became a smash hit and boasted huge critical acclaim for its 11-season run. Not bad for a spin-off, eh?
1. The Simpsons
The Simpsons has to be the most successful spin-off show of all time! The yellow, four-fingered cartoon family started life as shorts on the Tracy Ullman Show in 1987. After three seasons, it was developed into a 30-minute show and hasn’t really looked back. Marge, Homer, Lisa, Bart and Maggie are now cultural icons in their own right, and is now the longest running TV sitcom of all time. Currently in its 25th season, there have been 552 episodes and one movie which grossed over $250 million worldwide. Not bad eh?