Sitcom spin-offs

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Aaron

  • Saturday 16th November 2019, 11:49am [Edited]
  • Royal Berkshire, England
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Following a discussion in the Man About The House thread, what sitcoms can we think of that had spin-offs: and specifically, which - if any - were better than the original?

The brilliant George & Mildred was of course the original point of interest; Robin's Nest also span off from Man About The House, but wasn't as good.

We're talking spin-offs only not sequels (or prequels), so no Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads?, The Upchat Connection or Still Open All Hours, regardless of their quality in comparison to the original.

What's the difference? A sequel revisits the exact same main character(s) to pick up a next chapter in their story, and usually in the same (or very similar) circumstances, such as Agony's Agony Again, Please Sir!'s The Fenn Street Gang. A prequel - such as First Of The Summer Wine or Rock & Chips - is of course the same but in reverse.

A spin-off generally follows a subset of the original key characters, often (such as with George & Mildred) secondary characters from the original, and usually in a new situation: The Green Green Grass.

Nor are we looking for sitcoms that were revived after time off-air (Steptoe & Son, The Liver Birds), nor reborn in a slightly differing guise: Sykes And A... to Sykes; Happy Ever After to Terry & June; Slinger's Day after Leonard Rossiter's death.

I'll start off with a list of spin-offs I can think of.

George & Mildred (better than original)
Man About The House
Yus, My Dear
Turn Out The Lights
Don't Drink The Water
The Green Green Grass
Bowler

Going Straight is a very tricky one to categorise. Norman Stanley Fletcher takes the lead again, in a completely new setting and with different support, but in terms of story it's very much a sequel.

Up The Elephant And Round The Castle's Home James! is very similar: the key one starring character from the original, but in a completely new setting. Elements of both sequel and spin-off.

I've not seen Bootsie & Snudge: sequel or spin-off from The Army Game?

Any more for any more?

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Rood Eye

  • Saturday 16th November 2019, 2:23pm [Edited]
  • England
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This is an excellent and thought-provoking thread and I'd like to thank the poster of the original question on the Man About The House thread for coming up with a post so interesting that BCG management deemed it worthy of an independent spin-off thread.

Niceties over, another possible spin-off contender that comes to mind is:

Grace and Favour (from Are You Being Served?)

Or is it a sequel?

From Aaron's post above, "a sequel revisits the exact same main character(s) to pick up a next chapter in their story, and usually in the same (or very similar) circumstances". That seems to apply to Grace and Favour as many of the exact same main characters appeared in the new series. it certainly represents a next chapter in their story and the circumstances are similar in that they are all working together in the running of a business supplying goods and/or services to the public.

From the same post, "a spin-off generally follows a subset of the original key characters". That also seems to apply to Grace and Favour as several of the original key characters did not appear in the new series.

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Aaron

  • Saturday 16th November 2019, 2:36pm
  • Royal Berkshire, England
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I'd say it's definitely a sequel: the characters who did not appear were no longer involved in the original by the end. It reunites a large ensemble and plays on the existing dynamic between them, rather than just focusing on a few and putting them into a new situation entirely.

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Feeoree

  • Saturday 16th November 2019, 2:58pm [Edited]
  • Basildon, England
  • 585 posts

There's of course Cheers and Frasier. I honestly can't decide which I prefer, maybe lean towards Cheers? But whichever people prefer, Frasier at least was insanely popular and quite well loved in its own right.

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Rood Eye

  • Saturday 16th November 2019, 3:20pm [Edited]
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Quote: Aaron @ 16th November 2019, 11:49 AM

I've not seen Bootsie & Snudge: sequel or spin-off from The Army Game?

Bootsie & Snudge centred around its two main characters who were previously among other lead characters in The Army Game. Both men had left the army and were working in a hotel.

That is again suggestive of a spin-off as it "follows a subset of the original key characters . . . in a new situation".

However, it might again be thought of as a sequel as it follows two main characters from the previous series and serves "to pick up a next chapter in their story . . . in the same (or very similar) circumstances".

It was set after both characters had left the army and, although set in what was, on the face of it, a new situation (a hotel), their situation was essentially identical to that in their original sitcom - Bootsie was a funny, conniving, skiving minion working (although usually trying not to!) under the ever-vigilant eye of Snudge who was his strict disciplinarian superior.

Does a sequel have to involve all (or at least most) of the original main characters? That's certainly arguable and, if one accepts that argument, it might be said that Bootsie and Snudge is not a sequel.

However, it's also arguable that the colossal popularity of the characters Bootsie and Snudge in The Army Game, meant that they were, in fact, the two and only main characters of the series and that the other characters were subsidiaries.. If one accepts that argument, it might be said that Bootsie and Snudge is a sequel.

Alternatively, it might be a spin-off. Laughing out loud

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Aaron

  • Saturday 16th November 2019, 3:43pm
  • Royal Berkshire, England
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Quote: Rood Eye @ 16th November 2019, 3:20 PM

Does a sequel have to involve all (or at least most) of the original main characters?

I think probably it does, yes. That or be in exactly the same setting with a new set of characters facing the same trials. Has to be substantially the same. A spin-off would take some element of the original but put it in a new setting.

Quote: Rood Eye @ 16th November 2019, 3:20 PM

However, it's also arguable that the colossal popularity of the characters Bootsie and Snudge in The Army Game, meant that they were, in fact, the two and only main characters of the series and that the other characters were subsidiaries.

I think it became that as the series progressed and their public popularity was proven. It was far more of an ensemble sitcom in its origins.

It sounds to me like Bootsie & Snudge probably errs just that little bit more into spin-off, but it's definitely close and arguable either way. But I'll accept it for the purpose of this thread! :)

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lofthouse

  • Saturday 16th November 2019, 5:46pm
  • Nowhere, England
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In Sickness and In Health

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Aaron

  • Saturday 16th November 2019, 6:31pm
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Quote: lofthouse @ 16th November 2019, 5:46 PM

In Sickness and In Health

Definitely a sequel. As was Till Death.....

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Rood Eye

  • Saturday 16th November 2019, 8:22pm
  • England
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Time Team - a spin-off from Blackadder?

(I'll get my coat!) Laughing out loud

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lofthouse

  • Saturday 16th November 2019, 8:44pm
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I've never watched it , but French Fields?

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Rood Eye

  • Saturday 16th November 2019, 9:02pm
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Quote: lofthouse @ 16th November 2019, 8:44 PM

I've never watched it , but French Fields?

Another sequel, I think.

It's about the same main characters during a later and significantly different chapter of their lives based upon their adjustment to life in France after emigrating from England.

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lofthouse

  • Saturday 16th November 2019, 9:30pm
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There's Frasier of course

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Rood Eye

  • Sunday 17th November 2019, 9:28am [Edited]
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Turn Out The Lights is in the list above as a spin-off sitcom.

On the face of it, it spun off from from the sitcom Pardon The Expression which was itself a spin-off from Coronation Street.

Wikipedia and IMDb also describe Turn Out The Lights as a spin-off.

I've been giving this some thought overnight.

In the final episode of Pardon The Expression, the two main characters, work colleagues Leonard Swindley and Wally Hunt are fired from their jobs in a department store.

Turn Out The Lights opens with the same main characters in the same situation as they were in when Pardon The Expression ended and picks up the next chapter in their story. It begins shortly after the above sacking, while they're still unemployed, as they take up new occupations as travelling lecturers on astrology.

Essentially, we have a sitcom about main characters Leonard and Wally working in a department store. That sitcom ends and is followed by a sitcom about the same main characters during a subsequent chapter of their lives.

Is it not, therefore, a sequel?

Or, given that the second sitcom begins where the first ends, with the same main characters in the same situation (sacked from the department store and now unemployed) might it not be considered a continuation?

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Aaron

  • Sunday 17th November 2019, 3:05pm
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Turn Out The Lights is entirely missing believed wiped, so it's not really possible to know precisely how it begins as you attest - but broadly you are right, it is probably more of a sequel than a spin-off.