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Epic Fail: Spin-off TV Shows

sjohnson
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Posted May 29, 2008 - By Stephen Johnson

Since the 1950s, TV has been taking good shows and creating epically fail shows from their cast members and/or concepts. We're not sure why.

 While occasionally, spinoffs result in something great like The Jeffersons, you usually get something epically crappy like Friends spinoff Joey. In "honor" of TV's historic lack of creativity, please enjoy these epically fail spin-offs of all time.

The Lone Gunmen: First things first, while a good number of X-Files fans (including myself) enjoyed this short-lived show very much, it still must be relegated to the halls of Epic Faildom for the fact that it couldn't even survive a single season. This quirky, and quite dark, X-Files spinoff starred the three-man team of conspiracy nuts tracking down distinctly non-alien baddies committing terrible atrocities. The series has had somewhat of a resurgence thanks to the plot of their pilot episode and some rather imaginative 9/11 conspiracy nuts. Still, as a series spinning off one of the top-rated dramas at the time, The Lone Gunmen managed only 3 and a half months which, of course, equals EPIC FAIL.
--Jonathan Hunt

The Cleveland Show - Ok, I know you will all scream at me until your tiny little 12 year old nuts drop about this, but anything in any way associated with The Family Guy is automatically labeled as a steaming pile of elephant dung.

I know The Cleveland Show isn't out yet, but I can promise you it will be worse than being forced to watch your grandparents have sex. Follow my logic for a moment; The Family Guy premiers on Fox to a generation of young people hoping for a new, risk-taking form of comedy. The show builds a cult following almost immediately, but in typical Fox fashion, they can't figure out what to do with the show or how to market it, so it gets canceled. Now, at this point, Family Guy was still valid, ground-breaking, and mildly funny. Flash forward 5 years later when Family Guy goes back on air after selling tons of DVDs and showing Fox they can exploit the property to make money. So at that point you get a new, watered-down, not funny anymore version of the Family Guy. Comedy had moved past their 80s childhood reference, A + B + Random Nonsense=funny formula, and because of that the show was no longer relevant. On top of that, Fox has to milk what they see as a cash cow, so they force McFarlan and his crew to vomit forth American Dad; an even less funny, more formulaic, and infinitely more annoying show. Which brings us to whatever The Cleveland Show will end up being, and if I were a betting man I would put my money on racist jokes, many flashbacks with Cleveland in 70s afro/80s Beat it/Insert past decade and appropriate pop culture reference, and painfully unfunny racial stereotypes filling out the cast of his family. Just like all other things Family Guy related; NOT FUNNY.
--Patrick Roche-Sowa

 

Dr. Phil -- This ham-faced TV doctor's show spun off from Oprah Winfrey's hugely successful estrogen-fest, and Phil coasted on Oprah's ratings to household name status.

Fail one: Doctor Phil is only kinda a doctor. He has a PhD in Psychology, so he's earned the title "doctor," but so have PhD's in Medieval Poetry, and no one asks them to solve personal problems.

Fail Two: Everything about his show:  The Doctor Phil show consists of the bald-one giving homespun, meddlesome advice to a menagerie of crying, freakshow families desperate enough for help (or a free trip to Chicago)  that they humiliate themselves before a national audience. Meanwhile, Phil's studio audience of clucking yentas spends the hour nodding their heads and silently feeling superior to the human wrecks on stage.  Then someone is sent to boot-camp.

Fail Three: Dr. Phil's worst crime is continually hawking his workout and diet book while ignoring the fact that he himself is a certified-pork-fried fatty. Shame on you, Dr. Phil, you fat piece of spin-off fail!
--Stephen Johnson

America's Funniest People - As much as you may hate it, America's Funniest Home Videos (Now America's Funniest Videos, or as we call it around the office, AFV) was the original break.com--the first place you could see people getting slammed in the nuts or cats being silly or an old lady falling off a telephone pole onto a fence. It was a trailblazer. So, why then would they ruin the world by doing a show called America's Funniest People hosted by hack comedians who were decidedly not that. Dave Coulier, who was easy to plug into the Full House equation of Bob Saget + AFV = Comedy Gold, was the show's helmster. The twist was that they would go to malls all over America and get people to do whatever stupid "talent" they had for their cameras. You know, talent like crossing your eyes or wiggling your ears.

Here's how and why it fails:  They were trying to capture the magic, instead of reviewing tapes of the magic happening out in the world. It was forced content that was stretched to the brink over the 22 minutes of painful emptiness that was that show. It ran for 4 years, made millions of dollars, and eventually spawned America’s Funniest Animals. Note: Sorry the image sucks, but apparently no one took any pictures from 1990-1994.
--Ty Colfax

CSI: Spin-offs: Jerry Bruckheimer is some sort of modern genius because he’s basically taken his hit show CSI and copied it twice. CSI Miami and CSI: NY are the exact same show that happen to take place in different cities. Featuring dialog that would never take place in real life, it comes off as hokey and false. Check out Dexter instead. CBS owns that, too.
--Brian Leahy

Honorable Mention (From Wikipedia):

Sabrina's Secret Life: Sabrina's Secret Life is a spinoff of Sabrina, the Animated Series, which was a spinoff of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch which was a spinoff of Sabrina and the Groovie Goolies which was a spinoff of The Archie Comedy Hour which was a sequel to The Archie Show.

Epic Fail: Spin-off TV Shows
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