Some shows have an overabundance of good characters and you can’t help but feel there’s never enough time for your favorite. This is where spin-off shows come in. They range in quality from successes such as Angel or Frasier on down to, say, Joanie Loves Chachi. That’s a pretty wide spread. I’m going to propose a few spin-off shows I think would have been good fun. Feel free to add your own or tell me I’m crazy, or both. (Special thanks to Aimee Stewart for her photoshoppery!*)
Working Title: The Silver Cloak
Source: Doctor Who
I’m fond enough of the Sarah Jane Adventures, aimed though they are at a younger audience than Doctor Who (which I am told, frequently, is itself a children’s show, despite what I consider pretty copious evidence to the contrary). But I think cleverists over at BBC Wales passed up a great opportunity in not making a Wilfred Mott show. Wilf (played by comedian Bernard Cribbins) is charming, goofy, loveable, sincere and quite brave. In the “End of Time” episodes, the end of the Tennant era, we see the old soldier taking matters into his own hands, forming Silver Cloak, a sort of home-made Old Age Pensioner version of Torchwood (without all the alien gear and sex, as far as we know). Here’s my idea: funded in part by his lottery-winner daughter, Wilf and his team of freelance retired investigators keep the earth safe from the alien menace threatening suburban London. In a world that dismisses the wisdom and tenacity of the elderly, they would show that they’ve got what it takes to be badass.
Working Title: The Rules of Acquisition
Source: Star Trek: the Next Generation/Deep Space Nine
Much as I love Star Trek, sometimes I think it’s a little too much of a militaristic colonial hegemony recast as near-utopia. Maybe that’s like criticizing cheesecake for having dairy products. But I like the Ferengi because they don’t go in for any of the Federation idealism. Just as the Klingons embrace war in a Mongol/Viking sort of way, the Ferengi embrace commerce at its greediest and most Machiavellian. My idea for the spin-off is that Quark and his brother Rom have entered the tourist trade. They’ve purchased an intergalactic cruise ship that purportedly takes passengers to exotic locales but in truth offers stops at pre-first contact M class planets. Prime Directive be damned, in other words. I see this as a comedy, primarily, a reversal of the highfalutin’ Federation, full of scheming, profit, smuggling and energy whips.
Working Title: Bark at the Moon
Source: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Joss Whedon excels at creating seemingly minor characters over whom fans wax rhapsodic forever. Some would balk (bark?) at my suggesting that guitarist/love interest/werewolf Daniel “Oz” Osbourne was ever a minor character, but in the grand scheme of things, he wasn’t around all that much. Nevertheless, Oz (played with great slack by Seth Green) left his mark on the show. I still miss him, which is why I’m suggesting he have his own show. So, here it is, years after Sunnydale became a massive crater. Oz has a decent grip over his lycanthropy, after studying in Tibet (where, apparently, werewolves can get their shit together) but hasn’t made much of himself. He lives with his Aunt Maureen and nephew Jordy (also a werewolf, and as you may recall, the cause of Oz’s wolfishness). Jordy is in full-on teenage werewolf mode and thinks that Oz is an old loser for wanting to control his lycanthropy. Oz, tired of being the has-been-guitarist-nobody sort of uncle, decides to reform his old band, Dingoes Ate My Baby. They go on tour and he takes Jordy with him, finding demonic trouble at every stop. A mystery-crime-fighting-family-roadtrip ensues, kind of like Supernatural, but, you know, good.
Working Title: Where’s Walt?
There’s a million ways you could spin off Lost if you ignore the way the show ended. Substantially fewer options if you don’t. I suppose most people would go for a buddy cop show of James Ford and Miles Straume (had to look that up…I kind of thought Miles was his last name). They could pal around Los Angeles-2, cracking wise and whatnot. Allow me to propose a different idea. Walt—remember him? The writers didn’t—had the ability to show up in strange places without explanation. We heard that he was special. Now imagine a show in which, like Lost, a grand and ambitious and utterly convoluted drama unfolds on screen, with a huge cast. But in the end, continuity is unimportant. Nothing actually needs to be answered. What matters is that now and then throughout the episode, Walt shows up. Maybe in a crowd. Maybe hiding behind a planter in a hotel lobby or snorkeling at a beach. Viewers enjoy the drama, knowing it to be ultimately unimportant, but in the crucial moment, they call out, “Waaaaaalt!” And maybe there could be extra points for Vincent.
*Arrested Development/Star Wars image by Chase Black.
Jason Henninger is a spin-off from the Mark and Kathy Henninger Show. When he isn’t reading, writing, juggling, cooking or raising evil genii, he works for Living Buddhism magazine in Santa Monica, CA.