Sometimes when a series is incredibly successful, the network may consider a spin-off series. Other times, they simply want to expand their universe, feeling there's too much of their world for just one show. And sometimes, they just want to shine the spotlight on one character in particular. However, some spin-off shows have gone on to become so successful standing on their own two feet that you would almost forget that they're actually a spin-off series! Let's take a look at some shows that have become so popular on their own that they have reached the heights (if not surpassed it) of their parent shows.
7. Better Call Saul
Parent Show: Breaking Bad
When you thought of all the potential ideas for a spin-off of the critically acclaimed Breaking Bad, a series that focused on Saul Goodman may not have been what you were thinking. However, Better Call Saul has received rave reviews from critics and fans alike. The fact that said series is a prequel allows it to stand on its own two feet, in a sense, as we get to witness the origin story of the rather eccentric, often annoying, but always endearing Saul Goodman from Breaking Bad - a character that Jesse and Walt would have been lost without. Better Call Saul is arguably more comedic than its parent series but maintains many of the elements that we loved from the original series. Bob Odenkirk plays the burgeoning lawyer Jimmy McGill, a long time before he becomes the infamous Saul Goodman. A witty, compelling and well-written series that has managed to emerge from the Breaking Bad shadow. I expect that we had "Better Call Saul!" for a couple more seasons!
6. Holby City
Parent Show: Casualty
The British hospital drama, that airs every Tuesday night on BBC, has become a mainstay of British television. Debuting on TV back in 1999 as a spin-off to the hit series Casualty - both of which are set in the same hospital - Holby City has managed to replicate the success of its parent show, with an ongoing run for the past 17 years, amassing 18 seasons and 822 episodes. Apart from the occasional character crossing over or multiple specials [email protected] City, the show manages to stand on its own. They both have completely separate casts, wards and even different tones. I have tuned in and out of both over the years, but I have to say that I enjoy Holby City much more than Casualty these days. Holby City has received acclaim over the years, especially this past week for its beautiful handling of this tragic storyline. With a cast of veterans as well as promising young actors, Holby City is better than ever!
5. The Originals
Parent Show: The Vampire Diaries
Set in Louisiana, New Orleans, this Vampire drama series focuses on the Original brood of vampires. The Mikaelson siblings return home to the French Quarter to reclaim their kingdom from Klaus' former protege Marcel. Furthermore, a young Warewolf Hayley has fallen pregnant with Klaus' baby - something long thought impossible! With compelling twists, strong writing and great performances from the cast, The Originals continues to be the perfect platform for the CW to showcase these strong characters. Heading into its fourth season, the series has set itself apart from parent show The Vampire Diaries. Although The Vampire Diaries did suffer without Klaus, Rebekah and Elijah's presences, The Originals certainly benefited from it in every way possible. With many people calling The Originals superior, we might just get to see Klaus' reign continue for quite some time to come!
4. Private Practice
Parent Show: Grey's Anatomy
When Addison Montgomery Sheppard first debuted in Grey's Anatomy at the end of the first season, nobody could have predicted just how popular the character would become. Remaining with Grey's Anatomy as a series regular for the next three seasons, which included a backdoor pilot two-parter episode, actress Kate Walsh was given her own spin-off series Private Practice. The show saw Addison leave Seattle Grace Hospital behind to join a private practice in Los Angeles. Our love for the character and supporting cast reeled us into this new world and it wasn't long before Private Practice became it's own unique series. Basically losing all ties to Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice may as well have been a completely original series because it stood apart from its parent show. And it stood apart proudly for six seasons before its run came to an end in 2013. Seeing Addison Montgomery on our screens was and is always a joy!
Parent Show: Cheers
Dr. Frasier Crane was one character in the large cast of Cheers. Little did anyone know that within that character, lay potential for what is arguably the greatest sitcom of all time. Moving the character to Seattle to host his radio show and have constant coffees with his unique brother Niles (also Dr. Crane) may have turned Frasier's life upside down, but it single-handedly created what is now one of the most beloved TV shows ever produced. Cheers was critically acclaimed and ran for 11 successful seasons, but Frasier stands alone, set apart from its predecessor as it also managed to run for a startling 11 seasons. As well-received as Cheers was, in terms of legacy and reception, it could be argued that Fraiser didn't just come out of Cheers' shadow - it eclipsed it. Mentioned among classics like Friends and Bewitched, Frasier has carved out a legacy for itself that few others can come close to. One of the funnest, witty and best written comedies of all time, Frasier is a measuring stick for sitcom. 11 years of tossed salad and scrambled eggs solidified this series as one of the all-time greats!
2. The Flash
Parent Show: Arrow
The fact that The Flash is based on a completely separate superhero in a completely separate city should have given it an advantage in standing alone. However, it never needed that advantage because The Flash is so very much its own series and has been since the beginning. Despite the annual Arrow/The Flash crossover, The Flash has managed to become its own standalone series quicker than any of the other ones on this list. When Barry Allen was introduced into Arrow, he adapted to Arrow's world. However, when The Flash debuted, we very much got to see the stark contrast between that and Barry Allen's world. With a noticeably lighter tone, family friendly plots and more emotional moments, The Flash was quick to become its own monster. The awesome Grant Gustin helped carry this light-hearted superhero series as it sped into everyones' hearts. Its series premiere broke records, becoming the CW's second-most watched premiere in history. Furthermore, after a mere year, it was officially titled "The CW's Biggest Hit". Heading into its third season, The Flash's ratings continue to be much higher than any of the other programming on the network (including Arrow) and there have been occasions where it even defeated prime-time shows on bigger networks. With many fans claiming that its superior to Arrow, it's clear that we should never think of The Flash as Arrow's spin-off - they just happen to exist in the same universe.
Parent Show: Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Spun-off from arguably the greatest TV series of all time (Buffy The Vampire Slayer), Angel focused on Buffy's primary love interest - the heroic but troubled vampire Angel, who left Sunnydale and moved to Los Angeles. Much like the case with Frasier, when Angel debuted in Buffy, nobody could have expected the level of success that the character would enjoy. Leaving Buffy after its third season, Angel and Cordelia left Sunnydale behind for the bright lights of Los Angeles, where they set up a private detective firm to "help the helpless". Much like his former love, Angel would combat demons and vampires, trying to keep his clients safe. The tone was darker than its parent show, the city of L.A. contrasted the town of Sunnydale and the series had its own unique opening credits which have become almost as iconic as its predecessor's. Debuting in 1999, the show ran for five successful seasons, concluding in 2004 and thus, outlasting even Buffy (which ended in 2003). Angel truly stepped out from the shadows and into the light. Check out its iconic opening credits:
Seven amazing spin-off series spawned from seven amazing shows. These shows highlight how a spin-off series can not only exceed expectations but, on occasion, outshine its predecessor. There is a lot of potential in spin-offs and this list just highlights some of the most successful.