As much as we’d love our favorite shows to get rebooted or just never end, sometimes things can go really, terribly wrong — especially when it comes to spin-offs. There’s a reason why most spin-offs have been canceled shortly after they went on air – making a new show with a beloved character (or characters) can be tricky business. Just like the sequel is never as good as the original, offshoots aren’t typically even close to the quality of the OG. (Unless you’re Frasier, of course.)
Let’s hope upcoming spin-offs like the ones coming from Pretty Little Liars and The Fosters do their parent show justice! We’d hate to add The Perfectionists to this list.
15. Joey – Friends
Friends succeeded where Joey failed. Viewers fell in love with Rachel, Monica, Ross, Chandler, Phoebe and Joey together, but in reality, their individual personalities leave a lot to be desired. In Joey’s case, his shtick is playing the clueless womanizer who cares only about food and girls and only seems to have a heart of gold when his friends are concerned. The Joey show creators put too much weight on this and expected fans to take to it outside the scope of Friends. There was little character development and it felt like Joey would forever be that creepy old guy hitting on girls because that’s just his nature. The struggling actor trying to make it big on Hollywood without his sidekicks just did not work – and definitely made us like the Friends character a little less.
14. Ravenswood – Pretty Little Liars
Pretty Little Liars had a wide range of drama, horror, scandal, and unrealistic plot points, but Ravenswood undermined its complexity by turning the plot into a one-dimensional, trite storyline about ghosts in the small town of Ravenswood. We love Tyler Blackburn‘s Caleb, the cute hacker who wooed Hanna (and later, Spencer) on PLL. But on Ravenswood, his hunt to demystify an age-old curse seems almost beneath his qualifications – plus him leaving for a show of his own meant the best couple on PLL had to break up. It’s no surprise this spin-off was canceled after one season. Caleb got to go back to Rosewood where he belonged.
13. That ’80s Show – That ’70s Show
Part of what is so irksome about That ’80s Show is how it’s so ostentatious in showing that the characters live in the 1980s. The show tries to be zeitgeisty and instead falls victim to its own need for cultural relevance. Not to mention, it’s a blatant copy of That ’70s Show. It tried to emulate the successful show by trying to incorporate similar counterparts and capitalize on the 20th-century nostalgia, but it came out super random. Let’s get one thing straight: actors like Wilmer Valderrama, Topher Grace, Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis are pretty irreplaceable.
12. The Golden Palace – The Golden Girls
The offshoot of The Golden Girls’ biggest faux-pas is that it’s missing Dorothy’s character, who gets married in the series finale of the parent show. By keeping on only three of the four leading ladies, the show was already setting itself up for fan disappointment. It hearkens back to its original show in both comedy and style, which feels akin to prolonging an inevitable end without bringing anything new to the table – which a spin-off undoubtedly has to do to be a success. A sequel, in movies or on TV, is supposed to enhance the storyline of the franchise, not recreate the original in a way that feels like it’s trying too hard to bring back the good ol’ days where Rose, Blanche, Sophia AND Dorothy were a force to be reckoned with.
11. The Brady Brides – The Brady Bunch
The creators behind The Brady Bunch did a spin-off of Marcia and Jan’s double wedding where they buy a house together. Unfortunately, the setup wasn’t compelling enough or sustainable for a long series, and it was canceled after 10 episodes. Jan’s husband is more uptight of the two and Macia’s is more easygoing, and their contrasting personalities are supposed to mirror that of The Odd Couple. More contrived than anything else, the latter show didn’t have the same effortless humor as its parent (pun intended).
10. AfterMash – Mash
AfterMash only includes three characters from the parent show M*A*S*H: Colonel Potter, Klinger and Father Mulcahy. It was panned by critics and often appears on lists for one of the worst TV shows. Which is pretty crazy considering its parent show often shows up on “Best TV” lists. It has a more fan-fiction feel to it as it tries to tries to chronicle the lives of the characters after the Korean War while making sure fans of the original series don’t forget what the show was based on. One of the show’s own executive producers Ken Levine concurred in 2006 as he sarcastically wrote on his blog: “Take the three weakest characters of M*A*S*H, put them in the hilarious confines of a Veteran’s Hospital and you have a recipe for classic comedy.” What a stunning endorsement!
9. Enos – The Dukes of Hazzard
Enos Strate was the sheriff in Hazzard County on The Dukes of Hazzard. He becomes so popular that halfway through the show, the creators decided to do a spin-off show about him moving to Los Angeles to join the LAPD. Ratings, however, completely plummeted even though many of the original show’s character guest-starred in an attempt to make the show more enticing. Unfortunately, fans still didn’t like the fact that one of their favorite characters was removed from Dukes of Hazzard, nor did they really care about his new storyline, so the show was canceled. Enos ended up returning to Dukes and stayed on the show till its end.
8. Joanie Loves Chachi – Happy Days
Joanie Loves Chachi certainly didn’t make its audience happy. Featuring characters Joanie Cunningham and Chachi Arcola from the original series, the show had very low ratings. It tried to appeal to a younger audience by introducing a young couple who moves to Chicago and forms their own band. Unfortunately, it fails to effectively blend humor and music and the musical score was a dread to listen to. In hindsight, probably not a good idea to cast Scott Baio as a heartthrob either.
7. Time of Your Life – Party of Five
Given the fact that Party of Five, which offered breakout roles to Neve Campell and Jennifer Love Hewitt, wasn’t a huge success, its spin-off would be even less so. Time of Your Life revolves around Jennifer’s character, who goes to New York to find her birth father. It celebrates NYC in all its glory and idiosyncrasies but ultimately delivers a poorly-crafted plot. The entire franchise was pretty gimmicky and TIME at the time, praised Love Hewitt’s performance but claimed, “This star vehicle, thus far, is a shiny subway to nowhere.”
6. The City – The Hills
The City was a spin-off of a spin-off, and while The Hills and Laguna Beach were two of the best series MTV ever offered, this Whitney Port-led show was disappointing at best. Especially because not having her around to hang out with LC was a major bummer. The entire show is an unrealistic portrayal of a twentysomething ~lowly fashion assistant~, but she’s actually a rich reality star who probably got her gig because of the fame factor. It’s also pretty sad that while Whitney came off as poised on the LA-centric show, she doesn’t have much of a backbone – or a personality – when she’s the star. Overall, it was pretty boring.
5. The Carrie Diaries – Sex and the City
The Carrie Diaries missed the spark that made Sex and the City such a standout among twentysomething and thirtysomething women who were awed by the glamorous lives of best friends living in New York City. Teen Carrie Bradshaw was cute, but perhaps the show’s biggest flaw was making itself a prequel spin-off, then choosing to totally ignore the character’s backstory that was offered on SATC. It was continuity errors galore (a sister for Carrie?!), and fans of the original weren’t too pleased.
4. Tabitha – Bewitched
Tabitha barely registers as a blip in the slew of Bewitched remakes and spin-offs that followed the end of the show. It only survived one season and centered on a very small character on the original show, which is probably why nobody really gave an F. Tabitha, the daughter of Sam and Darrin Stevens, was a witch and worked at a local TV station in Los Angeles. She tried to reconcile her powers with living in a mortal world (so, basically, Bewitched in LA). It was so much like what her mother struggled with that her storyline was missing the “so what?” factor. We’d say that Sabrina, The Teenage Witch is the adventurous and more intriguing version of Tabitha.
3. Baywatch Nights – Baywatch
We might still have gotten David Hasselhoff and his hot bod on Baywatch Nights, but that might quite literally be the show’s only saving grace. The show quickly went downhill when it resorted to having the characters fight demons and supernatural phenomena. Not to mention, the change in premise did not jive well with the longtime fans of Baywatch, who wanted to see more sexy scenes. It would’ve made sense for the show to be branded completely differently rather than an extension of that parent show, which is why it was swiftly canceled.
2. The Finder – Bones
The Finders was a dud. Big time. From Geoff Stults’s less-than-stellar performance as a kooky investigator to the uncompelling and clichéd premise, the spinoff was doomed from the start. The creators of Bones did a crossover episode as a “backdoor pilot” to seamlessly integrate the new show into Bones’ universe and pick up their audience. Fans, however, didn’t take to the lead characters of The Finderreadily and the poor ratings were a good reflection of that. The creators struggled to mesh the old and new characters in a way that would make the viewers care. The show was, after all, canceled after a measly one season.
1. Private Practice – Grey’s Anatomy
There’s a reason most people forget that Grey’s Anatomy did a spin-off a few years ago. Private Practice ran for an impressive six seasons and centered on Kate Walsh’s character Addison Montgomery leaving Seattle and moving to Los Angeles where she joins a private OB/GYN practice. While the red-headed starlet was pretty good on the show, the other characters never really felt as whole as the ones we loved on Grey’s. Also, having Addison at Seattle Grace Hospital just added so much juicy gossip and we found ourselves missing her while watching the parent show. The dynamics between Addison and the other doctors – McDreamy, McSteamy, and Meredith, in particular – were just so fun to watch and added a whole lot of intrigue.