Last week, the CW green-lighted a pilot for a spinoff of Supernatural, and earlier this week, CBS moved forward with its latest NCIS spinoff. Pretty Little Liars has Ravenswood, How I Met Your Mother is getting How I Met Your Dad. Spinoffs are in the air right now. And that doesn’t have to be a bad or unimaginative thing! Some spinoffs could be good! For example:
I’ve been arguing this one for a little while, but ABC Family’s foster-family drama is primed for a spinoff since our heroine Callie has been living in a group home with other teen girls who have been in and out of the juvenile justice system. That part of the show is getting a webisode spinoff, but it deserves a real-deal show. (And Rosie O’Donnell, who is playing the head of said group home, should definitely return. She’s really embodying that I-have-seen-everything wisdom you expect from characters who run group therapy sessions.) ABC Family has other shows about teen killers, but it’d be nice to have a show about lower-level teen criminals, and it could be a spinoff only in the most nominal sense, à la Melrose Place technically being a spinoff of 90210 — but they become independent entities after the first few weeks.
This is Justified’s penultimate season, and while Raylan Givens’s story does seem to be running out of juice a little, there’s still plenty of fun to be had elsewhere in the Elmore Leonard universe. One of Justified’s strengths is the richness and humor of its secondary, tertiary, and even one-shot characters, which means a spinoff could easily repopulate itself with brand-new people. The Walking Dead is getting a spinoff that’s set within the same zombie world but doesn’t include any of the same survivors, and Justified could do the same thing: Unjustified, say, could still be set within Leonard’s extended universe, and wouldn’t have to include any of the specific Justified folks.
At first, the idea of a Breaking Bad spinoff seemed insane. But a Better Call Saul prequel spinoff? Actually, that sounds great! Downton Abbey should follow that same model and base a prequel spinoff off its zingiest character: The Dowager Countess. What was Downton like in the 1850s or ‘60s, when Violet was in her late teens or early twenties? If this is how salty she is in her old age, just imagine her with a little more pep in her step.
Scandal is ripe for a traditional spinoff, and Shonda Rhimes has said she’s open to the idea, so this seems like an inevitability. Just as Grey’s spawned Private Practice, Scandal too could send some of its characters off to a new start — specifically Charlie and Quinn. Quinn’s run her course as a Gladiator, and now she has a creep-o assassin boyfriend in Charlie. Send them off to be assassins in love or some such.
It’s hard to spin off a show that already includes every possible story the world has ever known, but if anyone can do it, it’s Sleepy Hollow. Are Ichabod and Abbie really the only people fighting to keep the world safe, and is Westchester County really the only place that the forces of evil converge? It can’t be! Maybe the spinoff could be set in Paris or Rome or Tel Aviv or something, and there could be time-travelers from all different wars, and contemporary sidekicks with whom they share deep affection. Sleepy Hollow: Global Edition.