Yesterday it was announced that The CW are preparing a spin-off from The Vampire Diaries with a backdoor pilot to air later this year. As the number of spin-offs on television increases we revisit a feature from 2010 on spin-offs we’d like to see happen.
We’ve updated the feature to include one or two new shows and corrected it in regards to one show we featured: Torchwood. Ironically in January 2010 we featured an American Torchwood as a spin-off we’d quite like to see and even suggested it feature John Barrowman and Eve Myles. Well an American version of Torchwood has actually happened since that feature, Torchwood: Miracle Day, which did indeed feature both Myles and Barrowman in their respective roles. So we’ve removed the Torchwood spin-off from this updated feature and who knows maybe one of the shows this time around will actually come into passing.
The Tudors: Bloody Mary
Showtime’s historical drama The Tudors, chronicling the life of Henry VIII (played by Jonathan Rhys-Meyers) has now come to a close but the story of the Tudor family doesn’t end with the famous king – far from it. The Tudor dynasty continued after Henry’s death with his children Edward, Mary and Elisabeth all ascending the throne and reigning over the country. All three children were featured in The Tudors with the character of Mary (played by Sarah Bolger, now part of the Once Upon A Time cast) getting the most screen time out of the three.
The character of Mary Tudor is ripe for a spin-off show; after all Mary was the Queen who history remembers as “Bloody Mary” for her burning of protestants during her reign. History unfairly remembers a troubled Queen who struggled with phantom pregnancies and a marriage with the Spanish Phillip which sizzled out but there is far more to Mary Tudor than just the biased history we know today.
The story of Mary is an interesting one but a little told one as her father and sister – Elizabeth – tend to be the focus of drama’s and movies. This is despite the fact that although her reign was a short one it certainly wasn’t an uneventful one from the way she seized from the crown from her cousin Lady Jane Grey to her persecution of protestants and the arrest of Elizabeth for conspiring against her. There is certainly plenty of material to lend itself to a spin-off and its one we’d love to see.
Doctor Who: Madame Vastra
Doctor Who had several opportunities for spin-off during its original carnation and its a surprise the idea of a series around UNIT was never developed – after all there were several characters ready and waiting to be spun-off into such a series. The revived series has, of course, produced two spin-offs in the form of Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures both of which are no longer on air. Admittedly though Torchwood is a strong contender for a return at some point in the future.
Under Steven Moffat no new spin-offs from Doctor Who have been launched but the character of Madame Vastra (Neve McIntosh) and her maid/wife Jenny (Catrin Stewart) and Sontaran butler Strax (Dan Starkey) are just waiting for a spin-off. The Silurian Madame Vastra lives in 19th century London and helps Scotland Yard in various cases – think Sherlock Holmes as an intelligent lizard. Moffat himself has admitted the characters deserve their own spin-off but he hasn’t the time to write it.
If such a spin-off were to happen Vastra, Jenny and Strax could join forces with the Doctor’s other friends in the 19th century London, Henry Jago (Christopher Benjamin) and Professor Litefoot (Trevor Baxter) who appeared in the 1977 story The Talons of Weng-Chang by Robert Holmes. The doube-act have been given their own spin-off by audio company Big Finish but a return for the duo to the television franchise is long overdue!
Poirot: Miss Lemon Investigates!
In the weekly series of LWT’s Poirot the famous Belgium detective (played by David Suchet, pictured left) was aided in his investigations by Captain Hastings [Hugh Fraser], Inspector Japp [Philip Jackson] and his secretary Miss Lemon [Pauline Moran] all of whom have now disappeared from the series. Poirot now usually investigates the various murders he encounters all on his own. But what became of Miss Lemon, Captain Hastings and Inspector Japp?
Well perhaps the only way to find out is a nice daytime spin-off series set in the 1940s set during the backdrop of the war. Inspired by the Belgium sleuth the threesome battle the criminals of blitzed London and investigate murders, robberies and frauds and Nazi spies. Perhaps it sounds familiar in concept to Foyle’s War but there’s nothing wrong in that – there’s a ready made audience in fact for Miss Lemon investigates.
However, given the fact that Agatha Christie wrote no such stories the episodes would have to be written from scratch. But then some would argue producers on Miss Marple have taken such liberties with their adaptations that producers are practically doing that already in the Christie world.
Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome
Technically Blood and Chrome is a spin-off that has already happened but we include it in our feature because we’d like to see Syfy pick it up as a series instead of leaving it as a one-off special. Battlestar Galactica has already spawned one spin-off, the short-lived Caprica (pictured right) . The shamefully under appreciated prequel chronicled the rise of the Cylons on Caprica and starred Polly Walker, Eric Stoltz, Esai Morales, Paula Malcomson, Sasha Roiz and Alessandra Torresani.
Blood and Chrome bridged the gap between BSG and Caprica with its setting during the First Cylon War. It followed rookie pilot William Adama (Luke Pasqualino), son of Caprica’s Joseph Adama (Eric Stoltz), on his first mission after graduating from the academy. Blood and Chrome has been released online and will air on Syfy sometime in 2013. The broadcaster has stated it is open to picking up the series and that’s why we’ve included it here because its a spin-off that needs to happen.
The Cylon war provides plenty of scope and story telling for Blood and Chrome and its adult themes appeal to the older audience. As its a war series it will feature battles and action which will keep viewers entertained. One unfair criticism of Caprica was it was too slow and character driven rather than action – Blood and Chrome can address that criticism.
Will and Grace: Karen & Jack
It’s the spin-off series all fans of comedy series Will and Grace have been waiting for and expecting. It’s the spin-off series that very nearly happened but very nearly just isn’t good enough really – is it? Yes folks we all know that Karen and Jack were far more interesting than Will and Grace and as a double act they were far more entertaining.
Who actually watched Will & Grace for er Will and Grace? They were out shone by the wonderful bitchiness of the double act themselves – Karen & Jack. Their witty putdowns, camp one-liners and hilarious antics kept the show going for many and the fact that a spin-off series for them both hasn’t materialised yet is quite shocking.
Rome: Atia of the Julii
One of the many highlights of HBO/BBC drama series Rome was Polly Walker (pictured right in Caprica) as the scheming, devious, power-hungry super-bitch Atia of the Julii. Atia made sure that she and her family were near the centre of power in the Roman Empire and was quick to switch her allegiance if she thought the power was shifting another way. During the course of Rome Atia quickly entered into a long and bitter feud with Sevilla [Lindsey Duncan] with both women stooping to low levels to win. The feud eventually resulted in Servilla’s suicide at the doors of Atia’s villa.
Sadly Rome ended after just two seasons but we’re sure that Atia is still scheming and manipulating her way through the Roman Empire. In many ways Atia, and even Sevilla, demonstrated that while Rome was ruled by men in public it was the women who held the destiny of the empire in their hands and who crafted its destiny.
A spin-off focusing on Atia would bring back that Dallas feel that Rome had as her powerful family would doubtless be locked into a feud with another Dynasty of the Roman Empire. Personally to see Atia’s wonderful put downs and various schemes in a spin-off would be all I’d need. Everything else could be complete rubbish just as long as Atia was being her evil, cunning self.
Like our suggestions for possible spin-offs? Got suggestions of your own? Let us know what you think by using the comments form at the bottom of this page.