15 Spinoffs That Outshined The Original Series

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Spinoffs are a tricky thing to get right.

If the new series sticks too closely to the original's premise and formula, it can end up feeling superfluous. On the other end of the spectrum, stray too far away from it, and you run the risk of alienating the core fanbase.

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That small margin of error in between is where a spinoff series finds success. There have been countless attempts at spinoffs throughout the history of television, but very few succeeded in capturing the magic of the original series. And some even managed to surpass them.

Here are the best TV Spinoffs that not only captured the spirit of the original but drove the franchise to exciting new heights!

1. The Flash

The Flash
Marvel may own the big screen, but what DC has been bringing to our televisions over the past seven years is a thing of wonder! While first introduced during Arrow's sophomore season, Barry Allen and team Flash took what made the original show so much fun and dialed it up to eleven. The Flash's lighter tone, lovable characters, and simply Tom Cavanaugh's presence give this series a leg up over the original series.


NCIS originally aired as a backdoor pilot on JAG. While only Mark Harmon and David McCallum remain from the original cast, the show's procedural storytelling and enthralling characters continue to outshine its parent series in every way. Now in its sixteenth season, NCIS shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

3. Law & Order: SVU

Law & Order: SVU
There have been several spin-offs of Law & Order over the years, but none have lasted as long or garnered as much of a following as Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. This series delved deeper into the lives and backstories of the officers more than the original series ever did. Now in its twentieth season, it shows no sign of running out of gas.

4. Fear the Walking Dead

Fear the Walking Dead

Fear the Walking Dead premiered during its parent show's peak popularity. While the first two seasons struggled with inconsistent tone and writing, Fear the Walking Dead Season 3 is where the series finally found its footing.

The show's significantly smaller group of characters enabled the series to put more focus on its core cast, and the series has also proven to be willing to take more risks. And as a result, this spin-off has become far more engaging than The Walking Dead has been in years.

5. CSI:Miami

While keeping the same formula as its parent series, CSI Miami moved the action to a new city and introduced us Lieutenant Horatio Caine, played by the always fantastic David Caruso. While the series was unceremoniously canceled during its tenth season, CSI: Miami remains a prime example of an exceptional spin-off.


6. Saved By The Bell

Saved By The Bell
Little known fact: Saved By The Bell was actually spun off from Good Morning Miss Bliss. The original series which only aired for thirteen episodes, revolved around elementary school teacher, Carrie Bliss. The series included characters Zack Morris, Lisa Turtle, Screech, and Mr. Belding, which were carried over into the repackaged series we know and love.

7. Xena: Warrior Princess

Xena: Warrior Princess
The character's debut on Hercules proved to be so popular, that a spinoff was inevitable. While it only lasted a tad longer than its parent series, Xena: Warrior Princess took what made Hercules: The Legendary Journeys so much fun and shifted the focus to a far more intriguing character.

8. Angel

Following the success of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, a spinoff of the beloved "vampire with a soul," Angel, was inevitable. The series was praised for its darker tone and storytelling, which seldom held anything back and took far more risks than its parent show. While Angel did see an untimely cancellation during its fifth season, it remains a prime example of a spin-off done properly.

9. Family Matters

Family Matters
This spinoff from Perfect Strangers originally focused on police officer Carl Winslow and his family. However, once the series introduced the family's nerdy neighbor, Steve Urkel, midway through its first season, the character quickly became the show's star and main focus.

10. Facts Of Life

Facts Of Life
The Facts of Life revolved around an all-female boarding school located in Peekskill, New York. After the second season, the series decided to drop much of its cast and put more focus on a smaller group of characters.

This change helped the series immediately take off during its second season and eventually outgrew its parent show in both popularity and ratings. Facts of Life ended up becoming the longest-running sitcom of the 80's.

11. Frasier

Following the character's immense popularity on Cheers, odd-ball Frasier Crane was the perfect candidate to receive his own series. The camaraderie and chemistry between Kelsey Grammer, John Mahoney, and David Hyde Pierce was pure magic on our TV screens.

12. Star Trek: The Next Generation

Star Trek: The Next Generation
Following the cancellation of the original series, TNG didn't grace our screens until almost twenty years later. While the first season wasn't a great success, season two quickly garnered the series huge following. The show ended up becoming a massive hit and ran for seven seasons.

13. Fuller House

Fuller House
Fuller House is chock full of nostalgia and cameos that pay homage to the parent series while continuing to emphasize its moral and family values to a new generation. This spinoff series has been able to tackle situations and subjects that the original series wasn't able to during its original run.

14. The Originals

The Originals
The Vampire Diaries was a tough act to follow, but The Original's core cast and solid storylines were enough to rival the original series. The show didn't shy away from providing its audience answers to many of its mysteries, and the series benefited immensely from having Klaus as its main villain.

15. The Simpsons

The Simpsons
Originally created as an animated sketch on The Tracey Ullman Show in the late 80's, The Simpsons were way ahead of its time during its inception. The Simpsons' transition into its own primetime series on FOX allowed its characters and stories to push boundaries that they were otherwise limited to on the original series.

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