From The Brady Bunch to Friends, television has a long history of creating spin-offs to keep the magic alive. Sometimes they get it right, like Fraiser or Family Matters, but all too often their ambitions unleash a real garbage fire.
Usually, failed spin-offs don’t work because the producers didn’t really understand the magic of the original. Whether it was picking the wrong character or the wrong premise, the new show didn’t click. Whatever the case may be, audiences weren’t fooled.
Sure, they would watch for a few episodes but eventually bail, letting it die fairly quickly. Get ready to feel nostalgic, here are 25 Worst TV Spin-Offs Of All Time.
Saved by the Bell: The College Years
After the long televised run of Saved by the Bell, producers thought everyone wanted to follow Zack Morris and the old gang into college. Not so much. This show only lasted one season and just didn’t have the same magic as the original.
A spin-off of the hit show Three’s Company, all they really did was carbon copy the same show but flip the script, making the character Jeffrey P. Brookes III the straight man to Stanley Roper. It was a disaster and only lasted one season.
This prequel spin-off to the popular Battlestar Galactica dives into the early years of artificial intelligence on the planet of Caprica. It followed two families, the Greystones and the Adamas, as the story unfolded. The show had good intentions but ultimately didn’t take off.
Beverly Hills Buntz
A spin-off of Hill Street Blues, this ill-begotten show followed Norman Buntz as he headed out to Los Angeles to open a detective agency. This is just one of many poorly thought out spin-offs that relocated a character and thought that would be enough.
The Cleveland Show
With the wild popularity of The Family Guy, Fox decided to give the character Cleveland his own show. Except, he wasn’t that funny of a character to begin with and his new show was essentially just a carbon copy of the original. Despite that, they still gave the show four seasons before finally cancelling it.
This show must have had fans, because it went on for six seasons, but we’d be hard pressed to find one. Let’s be honest, most medical shows do well regardless of quality. A spin-off of the show Grey’s Anatomy, it followed neonatal surgeon Addison Montgomery as she goes it alone in Los Angeles.
A spin-off of the mega-hit television show Cheers, it followed Carla’s ex Nick and his wife Loretta in Las Vegas. It aired thirteen painful episodes before finally getting the axe. Why they didn’t stop it at the pilot episode, we’ll never know.
This spin-off of Melrose Place followed Amanda Woodward’s mother as she ran a modeling agency in L.A. Other than the fact no one asked for such a show, the lack of substance, bad writing, and bad acting sank it.
This spin-off of Mary Tyler Moore follows her neighbor, Phyllis, as she leaves Minneapolis and heads out to San Francisco after the death of her husband. This show was doomed from the start simply because no one liked her character to begin with.
With Who’s the Boss? becoming a hit show in the 80’s and super-models a big obsession at the time, television producers thought they should make a spin-off combining the two and thus this show as born. However, it was universally panned by critics and only lasted twelve episodes.
After the end of the hit television show MASH, CBS producers wanted to recreate the magic and green lit AfterMASH. It followed three familiar characters from the original show but back at home, trying to acclimate to civilian life. The whole thing was a recipe for disaster and ultimately failed to meet audience expectations.
The Golden Palace
With the end of Golden Girls and Bea Arthur’s Dorthy getting married, television execs thought it would be a great idea to have the other three characters invest in a Miami hotel and see what antics they could get into. Of course, they couldn’t recreate the magic of the show, and it was cancelled after one season.
With the popularity of Johnny Depp on 21 Jump Street, why not try to carbon copy that magic with Richard Grieco on Booker? That was the idea anyway, but it didn’t work out too well. The show quickly went from prime time to out-cast to cancelled in no time.
With CSI, CSI: Miami, and CSI: NY, you’d think audiences would have had enough of crime scene investigations. Well, apparently they finally called it quits with CSI: Cyber, a show less about crime scene investigations and more about cyber crime. Panned by critics, who called it an absurd police procedural, it was cancelled after two seasons.
Law & Order: Trial by Jury
This spin-off was much more about law than order, focusing only on the legal side and the lawyer’s process of building a case. It ultimately wasn’t compelling enough to convince viewers to keep watching and was cancelled by NBC after one season.
Snooki & Jwoww
Most can probably agree Jersey Shore was more than enough for anyone to handle, but apparently television execs thought it a good idea to give us this awful spin-off. Unfortunately, it lasted four long seasons, but that didn’t stop critics from bashing it.
That 80's Show
With the immense popularity of That 70’s Show, it stands to reason that another decade based show would do well, too, right? Wrong. Much like moving a character to a new location, you can’t just move a show to a new decade and expect things to work out. From the characters hating each other to not really understanding what made That 70’s Show work in the first place, this show didn’t last too long.
The Lone Gunman
This X-Files spin-off might have been well-intentioned and was a sillier take on the genre, but it never had a real reason to exist. Realizing this, audiences didn’t like it, and the ratings for the show took a steep decline in its first season, and it was eventually cancelled.
Lifeguard by day, private detective by night, Mitch Buchannon (David Hasselhoff) was clearly a busy and talented man. In this spin-off, he fought drug dealers, business moguls, and kidnappers but couldn’t convince audiences to keep the madness going for a third season.
Three's A Crowd
A spin-off Three’s Company, it followed Jack Tripper and his love interest Vicky Bradford after they move in together in the same apartment. It had zero of what everyone liked in Three’s Company and ultimately failed because of it.
After Dave Chappelle and Jim Breuer appeared on the ever popular Home Improvement for one episode, someone thought it would be a great idea to give them their own show called Buddies. As you can imagine, it wasn’t. Breuer’s antics eventually got him fired, and he ended up on SNL. In the meantime, ABC only aired five of the eleven filmed episodes of Buddies before cancelling it.
Joanie Loves Chachi
While Happy Days was a hit show, TV execs decided to catapult the beloved couple Joanie and Chachi into their own spin-off, hoping it would lure viewers. It would kind of be like if execs of The Office decided to make a show called Pam Loves Jim. No thanks. Anyway, the sappy Joanie Loves Chachi made it to a second season and was then cancelled. The duo returned to Happy Days and got married.
Time of Your Life
Hot off the success of Party of Five, Jennifer Love Hewitt’s character, Sarah, got her own spin-off, leaving behind the Salingers to search for her father in New York. Despite Hewitt’s popularity, the show was a train wreck that Fox tried to save but ultimately cancelled after perpetually poor ratings.
In some ways, Joey stands as a poster-child for poorly conceived spin-offs, doing almost everything wrong and misunderstanding the character and the original show. People enjoyed watching the cast of Friends together, but following Joey, arguably the least likable character, to Los Angeles wasn’t exactly a great idea. On top of that, the writing didn’t stay true to the character, and it felt like an entirely different show.
The Brady Brides
The Brady Bunch has had a number of spin-offs but arguably none worse than this one. From a theme song that quickly got under your skin to a ridiculous premise about Jan and Marcia moving in together with both their new husbands, the whole thing lasted six long episodes before being pulled.