10 Worst TV Spin-Offs – Rolling Stone
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10 Worst TV Spin-Offs

From ‘Beverly Hill Buntz’ to ‘Brady Brides,’ here are the creme de la crud of TV series sequels

'Joanie Loves Chachi,' 'Joey' and 'Brady Brides'

Everett (2); NBC

There have been many attempts to take characters from popular shows — your housemaids, your second bananas, your vampire boyfriends, your visiting aliens from the planet Ork — and base entire new series around them, in the hope extending a brand or keeping that fan-based excitement alive and kicking. Often, these shows can turn into unexpected hits; once or twice, they’ve even managed to become superior to the originals. Occasionally, however, these spin-offs manage to spin off of a cliff and into the abyss: For every Mash, there is a potential AfterMASH, waiting in the wings to soil a show’s good name forever.

We imagine that the makers of Better Call Saul, the highly anticipated prequel to Breaking Bad that’s debuting this weekend, are praying for a best-case scenario here. We also hope that they’ve looked at the following 10 case studies of broken, bad TV spin-offs and have learned valuable lessons from these failures. Not even Saul Goodman could have gotten these TV-series Hindenburgs out of a jam.

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‘Joanie Loves Chachi’

Garry Marshall's Happy Days has given the world some of the very best TV spin-offs; it's also given us this, the absolute nadir of taking people from shows you loved and putting them in shows you loathed. The show tried to sell us on Erin Moran and teen heartthrob Scott Baio relocating to Chicago in the mid-Sixties and trying to make it a singer-songwriter duo — a concept that allowed for all the Moran-Baio singing duets you never, ever wanted to hear. (We're 99 percent sure that the show's theme song has been used in enhanced interrogations.) The inclusion of Al from Happy Days and the occasional Fonz guest appearance only served to remind us of how much we missed the original, and how much better these two teenagers-in-love characters worked as part of an ensemble. Joanie may have loved Chachi, but nobody loved this musical disaster, and within 19 episodes, it had gone to that great Brill Building in the sky.