Sometimes spinoffs get a bad rap. And for good reason: Dear Friends fans, let’s all keep pretending that Joey never happened, OK? But for every Joanie Loves Chachi, there’s also a Frasier, proving that spinoffs can be just as good –- or sometimes better! -– than the shows that preceded them.
Right now, television is saturated with spinoffs. Not that we’re complaining. With the exception of a select few (*cough* Fear the Walking Dead *cough*), most of the spinoffs on TV are pretty awesome these days. We can’t get enough of shows like Better Call Saul, a spinoff of Breaking Bad, or Legends of Tomorrow, a roundabout spinoff of Arrow. But we do have a few favorites, in both the world of television AND books, of course. So here are six of the best current spinoffs and why they’re doing it right:
The Flash was the first attempt at creating a show within the same universe as The CW’s Arrow, this time in a separate city with a separate hero. It needed to be completely different from Arrow in order to succeed, while still telling a classic superhero’s tale. The Flash did a lot of things right, in particular: they hired a perfect little cupcake in Grant Gustin (Barry Allen), and they went with a lighter, funnier tone. Though both shows are superhero stories, Arrow is about rising from the ashes, and the feel is dark and sometimes dreary. The Flash has a levity that Arrow often lacks (at least in season 1), in part due to the supporting characters who are funny, compelling, and heroes in their own right. While our hearts will always lie with Arrow, most viewers can’t say the same: The Flash consistently outperforms its predecessor.
Most of us at BookTrib are self-proclaimed Bachelor junkies. And why wouldn’t we be? As soon as you watch one episode you’re hooked, desperate to know who’s going to get that final rose. After the success of the original took off, producers decided to try it out with male contestants instead, this time letting a woman do all the choosing. Here’s the thing: if you look at all the couples who have lasted from these shows, almost all of them originated on The Bachelorette. We don’t want to make any sweeping gender stereotypes, but come on. Clearly the ladies know what’s up. If that’s not the sign of a successful spinoff, we don’t know what is.
This could have failed so badly. Boy Meets World was a hilarious, touching, surprisingly smart sitcom that ran for seven seasons and captured the hearts of ‘90s kids everywhere (ours included!). When we heard that Disney Channel was making a reboot starring Corey and Topanga’s daughter, we were skeptical. We should have had more faith. The show is adorable, thanks to a cast that’s worthy of the original, plenty of throwbacks to the old show, and a love triangle that’s stupidly compelling (Team Lucaya for life!). This faithful reboot is what Fuller House wishes it could have been.
The Bloodlines Series, Richelle Mead
Mead is a Young Adult legend thanks to her Vampire Academy series, which has 6 books, 3 graphic novels, and was even made into a movie (unsuccessfully). When the book series ended in 2010, fans were devastated to see it go, which might be why Mead decided to continue writing in the same world, launching a new series called Bloodlines. The narrator is now Sydney, an alchemist who ends up at a human school. It’s a new take on the world of the Moroi and Sydney’s adventures –- and love life! -– are just as compelling as Rose’s of Vampire Academy fame. The final book in the Bloodlines series, The Ruby Circle, came out last winter, but here’s hoping that Mead has at least one more spinoff in her.
Kushiel’s Legacy Series, Jacqueline Carey
Carey is one of the best fantasy writers around, and we devoured her original Kushiel Trilogy: Dart, Chosen and Avatar, about a courtesan who’s built to withstand and find pleasure in pain. But this sequel/spinoff series: Kushiel’s Scion, Justice and Mercy featuring her adopted son might be even better. Imriel is the birth-son of traitors and he spent most of his childhood tortured and locked away. His recovery is slow, and his standing at court is nebulous at best. When he falls in love with the soon-to-be queen, no one is happy. It kicks off an epic adventure, including arranged marriages, court intrigue and an entire nation put under a spell. Imriel is a rare hero: sensitive and introspective and always running from the horrors of his past. Carey’s writing is insanely detailed and the love story she creates in this spinoff is epic. This is definitely one of those must-read fantasy series.
The Heir, Kiera Cass
After Cass’s beloved young adult series The Selection wrapped up America’s story with The One, fans were still clamoring for more. Luckily, she returns to the same world with The Heir, only this time we’re following America’s daughter Eadlyn as she goes through her own selection process. OK, OK, so this isn’t technically a new series as Cass is dubbing The Heir as the fourth book in The Selection Series, but with a new heroine and a new generation of girls entering the Selection, we feel it fits. Described as The Bachelor-meets-The Hunger Games, these books are fun, sweet and filled with some great romance. The second book in the new series, The Crown, comes out May 3. Let’s pray that Cass keeps writing spinoffs for years to come!