Top Television Spinoffs

Television has been around for many years. Sometimes during seasons there is a cast shake up, or scenery change. But during some shows there is that ONE episode that feels out of place. In that one episode we meet tons of different characters while our main characters are pushed to the background. This is what the industry calls a backdoor pilot. Sometimes characters from the original show just goes off to do their own show without a backdoor pilot to hopefully bank on their popularity. Here is a list of some of the top best Television spin offs that have in some cases done better than the original show it came from.

Family Matters

Before Family Matters the character Harriette Winslow was a character on the show Perfect Strangers. Family Matters was created in 1989 and ran for 9 seasons ending in 1998 while Perfect Strangers ran for only 8. The show grew in popularity once the arrival of Steve Urkel happened. The show became less about the family and more about Steve and his misadventures. The original actress who played Harriette realized this and left the show during it's final season. Ironic seeing as the show was created because of this. She was recast. But that wasn't the only major cast shake up this cast has had. Harriette and Carl Winslow had another daughter Judy who dissappeared after season 4 to never be mentioned again and Richie's mother Rachael but she returned for a couple of guest spots.


Angel was created as a spin off of Buffy the vampire slayer. Angel wasn't there alone, bringing Cordelia Chase with him to battle the big evil of L.A. Angel soon got it's own following and many characters from both Angel and Buffy would crossover. Angel was created in 1999 and ran for 5 seasons, it's 5th season right after Buffy concluded it's chapter helping to bridge the gap between the show. Angel itself didn't really have a satisfying ending but it along with Buffy was continued in comic book form. Where Buffy, Angel, and the gang continue to have misadventures.

Laverne And Shirley

Out of all the spin offs that came out of happy days, Laverne and Shirley was the most popular. It was created in 1976 and ran for 8 seasons. This spin off was so popular they actually had their own animated spin off and had a backdoor pilot that never happened. ABC wanted a 9th season to happened but since Shirley and half the cast was gone. The show would of been awkward to continue. That last season was a tough one seeing as the two actresses were having feuds and actress Cindy Williams became pregnant and received less screen time which caused her to storm off set and sue paramount to be let out of contract.


Daria started off as a reccuring character in Beavis and Butt-Head. She usually played the straight man to the duo. When she finally got her own series the writers fleshed out her character. Daria was created in 1997 and ran for 5 seasons. Growing up people were able to relate to Daria and her friends, as each season continued more we able to see how Daria navigated her life through high school.

The Simpsons

Probably the most successful spin off of all time. It was created as shorts for The Tracey Ullman Show in 1987. After being developed as a half an hour series. The Simpsons began breaking records becoming the first show to be in the top 30 in fox's history. The show is a merchandising giant and it's catchphrases are even included in the dictionary. Recently a short based on the character Maggie Simpson was nominated for an academy award. The simpsons helped create a genre of adult orientated cartoons. It is still currently on air.

The Facts of Life

The facts of life was a spin off based off the character Edna Garrette on the show Diff'rent Strokes. The facts of life was created in 1979 and ran for 9 seasons. After the first season they got rid of five characters mainly because they were boring and the network didn't want everyone to care about them all. But they returned a couple of times. After a good run Charlotte Rae decided to reduce her episodes and finally decided to leave for good letting Cloris Leachman to take care of the girls. The majority of the returned for a tv movie. During the 9 season run they tried doing seven different back door pilots but none were ever commissioned.

Xena: Warrior Princess

Xena first appeared in the series Hercules as a bad guy. She tried to kill hercules several times but realized the error of her ways. This brings her own series Xena: Warrior Princess created in 1995 which ran for 6 seasons. Xena got her own sidekick and cast with adventures happening even in modern times. The series is most known if Xena and her friend Gabriel were in reality lesbians. Xena was well known for her signature weapons and her battle cry. Despite the show having multiple gods, Xena herself became a demon and a angel and went though heaven and hell, suspended animation, cloned, etc. Xena was also known as one of the few shows to have a musical episode.


Torchwood began as a series 2 plot device for Doctor Who. When it was finally revealed that Torchwood was an organization, all the pieces fell into place for this spin off. Captain Jack who was in the first series reprises his role along with a new cast of characters. Doctor references came off in hints. In the second series though with the inclusion of Martha Jones they referenced him more. The show was then made into a mini series in the UK and in america. The captain and the rest of his team appeared in the 4th series finale of doctor who.

The Jeffersons

The Jeffersons were another spin off from the show All in the family. It was created in 1975 and ran for 11 seasons. It produced it's own spin off staring Florence but that was cancelled and she returned to the cast. The show is best known for use of the words honky and n*****. After the show ended the main characters showed up on the series finale of The fresh prince of Bel air, Tyler Perry's house of payne, and Grande Hotel.

Flavor of Love

The show that started it all was The Surreal Life, Which gave us Strange love which gave us Flavor of love. Flavor of Love is such an iconic show because it gave us New York who gave us her own spin offs. The other girls had their own spin offs themselves in Charm school. Surreal Life also gave us My fair Brady but how can they compare to all the girls and guys New York and Flava Flav brought to VH1.

A Different World

Created in 1987 and ran for 6 seasons, the show was originally developed for Denise Huxtable from The Cosby Show. But she left the show after the first season. They retooled the show to make it more of a predominantly Black college and made the show revolve around Whitley and Dwayne. The show dealt with major issues such as domestic violence, rape, and AIDS.

The Hills

The Hills was created as a spin off from Laguna Beach following Lauren Conrad. He it gave us the full force of Spiedi and Lauren Conrad a book deal.

Here comes honey boo boo

The adorable Alana first came to our screens in Toddlers & Tiaras. Her Family was soon given a tv series and America grew to love them. Despite certain articles and peple trying to drag them down. This family shows us no matter what they love each other.


NCIS was introduced in a two part episode of Jag. It was well recieved enough to earl it's own televison series in 2003. NCIS is one of the most popular shows on television. Popular enough to be running for more than 10 seasons and recieve it's own spin off NCIS:LA which in turn is creating it's own spin off NCIS:LA which be televisions first ever fourth generation spin off show. The majority of the cast has been on since the back door pilot.

No Source mods due to this being an original list. Used Wikipedia for the dates and my head for everything else

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