A Brief History Of Sci-Fi TV Spin-Offs

With Battlestar Galactica nearly over, everybody’s beginning to wonder what its spin off – Caprica – might be like. One thing’s for sure – it can’t be any worse than Galactica 1980, the spin-off from the original series. You remember, the one in which Galactica found Earth, featuring the flying, invisible motorbikes, super-powered kids and Cylons being knocked out by microwave ovens. Possibly the worst SF TV series ever made (though Crime Traveller is worth considering).

Then there were the spin-offs that never were.

Faith : Another Buffy spin-off, this time featuring Eliza Dushku as the toplining slayer. Whedon, who has never made a secret of his admiration for Dushku, admitted recently during the build-up to the premiere of Dollhouse (starring, of course, Eliza Dushku) that though the idea of a Faith spin-off appealed, whenever he and Dushku talked about it they never got much further than the idea of Faith on a motorbike. Which for some sections of the audience would no doubt have been quite enough to justify 22 episodes.

Heroes Origins: When people still watched Heroes, there was some talk of a series of six telemovies showing the origin stories of new heroes. The audience would then have voted on their favourites, who would then turn up in future episodes of the main show. Some big names were attached: Kevin Smith was going to write and direct one of the telemovies. But then the writers’ strike got in the way. And then Heroes’ viewing figures plummeted. And then the network didn’t think it was a very good idea. Shame. The audience may have voted out dull old Vortex Man and Magnetic German before they cluttered up the real series.

The Bionic Boy: This actually got a far as being made as a two-hour episode of The Six Million Dollar Man, as a kind of back door pilot for a show that never happened. Andy Sheffield was the teen whose legs are paralysed in an accident, who then gets bionic implants. At one point he wiggles his toes and bursts through his trainers. Which is only marginally less exciting than the Bionic Woman crushing a tennis ball.

And to finish things off, here are a few spin-offs we like to see:

Lost: The Hurley Years: Or maybe, My Name Is Hurley. A sit-com - Hurley‘s cursed life after winning the lottery.

Animated Farcsape : Five-minute, Road Runner-style ’toons, just like the ones they had in ”Revenging Angel”.

Star Trek: Through The Wormhole: Who lives on a planet like this?

The Cod Delusion: An Emerson Cod spin-off from Pushing Daisies, where he moves to another town and doesn’t have Ned’s help

Gray’s Anatomy: The Torchwood team dissect Captain Jack’s brother

Space 1998: A prequel