5 TV Characters Who Could Carry Their Own Spin-off


For all the Golden Age of TV talk everyone's been throwing around for the last few years, we still have to sift through a lot of crap on the smalls screen. And some of that crap exists because of the mistaken notion that every successful TV series should give birth to a baby TV series. I'm going to watch the hell out of Breaking Bad's Saul Goodman spin-off, and so far I'm really enjoying what Klaus, Elijah, and Rebekah are getting up to on The Originals, but the truth of the matter is, while some spin-offs turn out awesome, many of them turn out awful. 

As I mentioned last week in my review of the Ravenswood pilot, the success of a spin-off depends mostly on two things: 1.) an interesting premise, and 2.) a strong, compelling lead character. In Ravenswood's case, Tyler Blackburn's Caleb might not have been the best choice of headliner for a Pretty Little Liars spin-off, but that got me thinking: What current TV characters are strong enough to carry a series on their own?

I raised the question on Twitter and received some interesting responses. Some, like Tom Haverford from Parks and Recreation, are funny, in that yeah-I'd-watch-him-on-a-web-series kind of way. But is he actually leading man material? Tom's strength lies in the fact that he's a supporting character; the reason he can be hilarious and weird is that he doesn't require too much character development/doesn't have to carry 20 minutes of plot. Others, like Sheldon and Amy from The Big Bang Theory, are definitely interesting and even good choices, but if you were to separate them from their ensemble cast, a lot of what makes their characters so great—their interactions with the rest of the group—would cease to exist.

I thought this exercise would be easy, but the more I thought about it, the harder it became as I tried to envision what a spin-off would look like for each character that came to mind. Still, I managed to come up with what I think is a solid of characters who could carry their own shows. It doesn't necessarily mean they should, but hey, if we MUST have spin-offs, why not try these ones? 


Peggy Olson and Joan Holloway Harris — Mad Men


Technically, this one's a twofer, and it was a tough call as far as a Mad Men spin-off is concerned, because I have my own personal bias in favor of John Slattery's Roger Sterling (plus, the title of Sterling's Gold is just sitting there on a silver platter). Ultimately, though, Joan and Peggy are a more viable option. As we saw in Season 6, both of these women are strong, independent women who get shit done in an era when women didn't have the options that exist today. Plus, even as we're nearing the end of Don Draper's increasingly depressing saga, Peggy and Joan have a lot of life left in them. Peggy certainly has the ambition and talents, and Joan certainly has the drive and the smarts, and I'd watch the hell out of a spin-off in which they kissed both Don and Roger goodbye, pushed Pete down a flight of stairs, and started their own advertising agency.


Boyd Crowder — Justified

This is perhaps the most obvious choice in all of TV, because Walton Goggins' Boyd is essentially a lead character on Justified already. He receives a large amount of screen time on a series that's actually about Timothy Olyphant's Raylan Givens. But what's special in this case is that Boyd was only meant to appear in Justified's pilot, and the viewer reaction to the character was so strong that the show's producers made the excellent decision to bring him back and make him a series regular. By Season 4, Boyd was enjoying his own storylines that were mostly separate from Raylan's, in an effort to prove the two characters could exist separately. Their relationship is certainly one of Justified's strongest elements, but I could envision a world in which Boyd leads his own operation, completely independent of Raylan's business in Harlan County.


Donna Meagle — Parks and Recreation


As soon as Donna's name came up, I thought, "Hell yeah, Donna's hilarious!" However, as I started considering the future of Donna's character I wondered if she might fall into the same "awesome-because-they-don't-currently-require-a-lot-to-do" category as her Parks and Rec peer Tom Haverford. But then I realized that she's Donna, and she has condos all over the country, boyfriends and fiances in different cities, and is basically one big Twitter-loving, Treat Yo'self Day-inventing mystery. Plus, she's probably Pawnee's most spin-off-able character, in that hints of her life outside of work have been dropped for a long, long time, but never explored. She's got an entire other identity that we know nothing about, and you just know it's larger than life.


Jaime Lannister — Game of Thrones

To be clear, nearly any living Game of Thrones character could probably be spun off at this point, considering how many equally compelling storylines are currently running parallel to one another. And even though it can't really happen from a common sense standpoint, because removing even one person could potentially alter a ton of different plots, the beauty of Game of Thrones is that every one of its characters is already essentially the lead of his or her own story. Now, I haven't read anything past the first book, so this spin-off suggestion is based solely on the events of the TV series up to and including the Season 3 finale, and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau's performance in the role of Jaime Lannister. As of late, I've found his personal journey to be more engaging and more interesting than that any of the other characters, and I'm more invested in his future like never before. Plus he's cute and funny and conflicted and a one-handed badass—how could you NOT want to spend more time with him?


Peter Quinn — Homeland

Despite having a cast that boasts Claire Danes, Damian Lewis, and Mandy Patinkin, the only truly interesting part of Homeland's third season so far is Rupert Friend's Peter Quinn. The government operative was introduced last season as a weirdo who stabbed people's hands during interrogations and had no problem getting naked in close quarters, but since then, he's become more than just a guy you don't want to meet in a dark alley. Since Homeland isn't using him to his fullest potential, let's put the badass in a dramedy, where he can spend his days assassinating bad guys and his nights looking for love. It's either that or we start developing The Dana Brody Show, and we'd rather hang with Quinn any day. 


What current TV characters do you think could star in their own spin-off series?


Comments (209)
Submit
Sort: Latest | Popular
Well, considering the networks have already done just about everything, they might as well try a live-action Pokémon series full of dark and gritty elements starring Gary Mother****ing Oak. It focuses on murder, death, torture, and basically everything the games/anime couldn't show.
1
Reply
Flag
Tony DiNozzo (NCIS)

Ryan and Esposito (Castle)

Brian and Stewie (Family Guy)

Stefan (Saturday Night Live)
1
Reply
Flag
Boyd Crowder has overwhelmed "Justified", he's just overused to the Nth degree and it makes it difficult to watch the show and take seriously when they shoehorn Boyd into everything - it makes the Justified universe smaller and less clever to have Boyd's fingers in every pie.
Reply
Flag
quinn doesn't need a spinoff, he should just become homeland's lead. carrie should stick around but be not allowed to work in the field 'cause she's nuts. and brody has to go so his whole family can too. show needs a revamp.
Reply
Flag
An Arrow spin off about Felicity as a hacker.
3
Reply
Flag
How about Huck from Scandal..You can focus on.His pre Olivia days..and after he leaves in "disgrace"!!
1
Reply
Flag
Like others have said: Walter Bishop from Fringe. He was the absolute best thing about that show and the finale set him up for an awesome solo sci-fi show.

I'd also like to throw out Worf from Star Trek. I'm sure he'd be game, he's one of the most well known Star Trek characters other than maybe Spock and Kirk, and he'd draw both the casual Enterprise fans and the die hard fans especially if the show was mature. It could even start with a mini TNG reunion as Worf gets a send off from Captain Picard and the Enterprise crew as he takes command of his own ship. How awesome would it be if they picked out a few characters from the other shows to make up his new crew? Maybe if everyone prayed for this at once? Nov 2nd 10pm est ok?

Lastly, what about Al Swearengen from Deadwood? I love Timothy Olyphant but he wasn't the best thing about Deadwood by far. Swearengen has the depth to carry his own series and they could try to keep the costs down this time with a lot of the action taking place in his saloon. They could even move him somewhere else to avoid explaining away the other Deadwood characters.
More+
2
Reply
Flag
Crowley from Supernatural. Would love to see his interactions with other hunters and running Hell. It would be crazy, and it would be entirely focused on the baddy that you want brought down, but at the same time you never want him to go away.

Damon in a prequel before he goes to Mystic Falls.

Sam and Jesse from Burn Notice.

Louis from Suits.

4
Reply
Flag
You never know. Cheers was a huge hit in its day with lots of characters featured.
The Frasier spin-off becoming a hit was unexpected and deserving.
The Happy Days spin-off was a disaster.
Can't think of too many others, successful or not.
1
Reply
Flag
Fun fact: Happy Days had a whole bunch of spin-offs.

You're right that some were disasters, including the Fonz one and Joanie Loves Chachi. But Laverne and Shirley and Mork and Mindy were both relatively successful Happy Days spin-offs. And yes, the idea that Mork and Mindy was a Happy Days spin-off blows my mind too.
Reply
Flag
Crowley or Castiel from Supernatural
5
Reply
Flag
Better Call Saul better make it as a series!
Reply
Flag
I dont watch any of these shows but i have to say for Pretty Little Liars they were better off giving Allison or Mona a spinoff and kept them on the show
Reply
Flag
Thank you for including Donna. She is a goddess. I would also throw out Dalia Royce from Suburgatory, and has already been floated below (and as I've floated elsewhere) Nolan Ross from Revenge.
Reply
Flag
There are some great suggestions below, particularly Elsbeth Tascioni from The Good Wife (@MarlboroMagpi) and Butters from South Park (@mstheresa1969) and I think a Peter Quinn spin-off from Homeland has a lot of potential, he is the only interesting part of the season so far (only four episodes have aired so far here in the UK).

How about Mr. Argent from Teen Wolf or Johnny or(and) Paige from Graceland? Mrs. Frederic from Warehouse 13 or Pam from Archer?
Reply
Flag
Game of Thrones: Arya when she becomes an asaassin. At some point she is asked to murder the Khaleesi.
The Big Bang Theory: Leo and Penny finally get married and have two children, the girl a genius equal to Sheldon's and her "moron" brother . Uncle Sheldon lives with the family.
Arrow: Felicity marries Diggle and they open a private eye agency while still helping Oliver .
A How I met your mother Special : we meet the "Mother", they get married and divorced the same night. She is pregnant with the twins we see and this is their story when they grow up resenting their father for taking all this time telling them about how they met when they could have been out playing with their pals and smoking now legal joints and having Kama sutra sex at fifteen. Very detailed scenes of them fantasizing the hardcore porn sex dreams.
Teen Wolf: How Beacon Hill was first settled and the story of the first Werewolves packs and with flashbacks of how they left France for the United States.

Well, this is what I have for now.

1
Reply
Flag
//"At some point" refers to the future of the spinoff tv series, since nowhere books are mentioned in either my comment or the article.So if Iam spoiling anything it would be my proposed imaginary spinoff.//

The article talks about why the characters would be great to get their own shows based on their past, not knowing their futures. Other commenters either just name the characters they'd like to see or how they'd love to see such and such a plot or a situation. You state, "at some point," THIS happens. Umm, how is that imaginary? You don't say you want to see it happen. You say it happens. You say, "when" THIS happens. Not when this HAPPENED. You're talking about events that happen - in reality (the books versus the TV show, I mean), as in they DO occur - in the future.

You don't talk about your "spinoffs" or your imagination, genius. Out of the 5 shows you list, in 4 of them, you talk about what you'd like to see because you don't know what's going to happen next. For GoT, you talk about a timeline of events, that when a certain thing HAPPENS that hasn't been talked about yet, that's what you'd like to see. And randomly, you add in an additional SPOILER - yes, that's its definition - saying something else that happens EVENTUALLY (as in it happens, but it hasn't yet, and it's not part of your BS imagination) that is strangely unnecessary to describing this, as you call it, entirely fabricated, "imaginary" spinoff.

I've never read the books. So you're saying because the TV show changed some storylines or maybe just because it can't be known definitively, anything blurted out from the books can't be spoilers because nothing in the books could EVER appear on television again! Game of Thrones could become a Western. I can't spoil things you reveal by being angry that you typed them. My anger indicated that they were real? NO! You did!

Go buy a dictionary and move on. Knowing and stating plots from the books, then saying no one KNOWS they're real plots until someone confirms it, making that person the spoiler is absolutely ridiculous.

When the question asks about who could carry a spinoff, name a character next time.
More +
Reply
Flag
you come back to me on a post I wrote on )October 28 with insane blabber, so excuse me for not taking you seriously. I have moved on, idiot (in the Greek sense of the word,look it up , moron)
Reply
Flag
I was perusing my Notifications. The date is irrelevant to my reply. Calling it insane blabber is your second way of avoiding a relevant reply. I'm glad you've moved on. Good for you.

And I'm just so intimidated by your exposition over which use of the word "idiot" you've used. Impressive. Majoring in etymology?

Fine, I'm glad I actually used statements to argue my case. That's what makes me feel content. You generally insult people when you're backing it up with something - not "the date is old."
Reply
Flag
fucking spoilers, douche. LRN2INTERWEBZ
2
Reply
Flag
what spoilers? and what's LRN2INTERWEBZ? Are you insane? You must be, because I was answering what spin offs I'd like to see, douche yourself.
2
Reply
Flag
Well, Derp-kesh, seeing as how this is called TV.com and not Reading.com or Books.com, in all of your excitement, you may have realized that when you start sentences regarding Game of Thrones with "At some point," it implies that something will happen in the future and hasn't yet. So you are spoiling the show...
1
Reply
Flag
Well, Derp-strman, the "At some point" refers to the future of the spinoff tv series, since nowhere books are mentioned in either my comment or the article.So if Iam spoiling anything it would be my proposed imaginary spinoff. As for Arya becoming an assassin, yes, it is mentioned in the books; but nothing indicates that this will be included in the tv series, so another imaginary spoiler. Finally, how would you know it's a spoiler if you did not have the information. For all one knows I might have invented the whole thing until you and terminaldouche mentioned it-which would make you the spoilers.
3
Flag
Oh, and I left out the people who are already or intend to read the books, but that's kind of been available.

However, they don't expect to find book spoilers on a TV site, so, I guess my point still stands.
1
Flag
Damon Salvatore (The Vampire Diaries) in the 70s when he's in New York
Nolan Ross (Revenge) just being awesome
Daenerys "Khaleesi" Targaryen (Game of Thrones) and her dragons
3
Reply
Flag
I would watch spin-offs from:
Donna - Parks and Rec
Ron - Parks and Rec
Chris - Parks and Rec
Tom - Parks and Rec
"All My Tammys" - Parks and Rec
Jerry - Parks and Rec (must include Christie Brinkley)
April - Parks and Rec
Jean-Ralphio/Mona Lisa - Parks and Rec
Orin - Parks and Rec
Dept. of Animal Control guys/potheads - Parks and Rec

and, of course, Perd Hapley - Parks and Rec
1
Reply
Flag
1) Stephen Graham from Boardwalk Empire with his own Al Capone stories !

2) Carrie Preston from his guest star role in The Good Wife as quirky lawyer Elsbeth Tascioni. We could watch her every week with a new case involving weird clients and her weird methods of helping them.

3) Michael J Fox from his guest star role in The Good Wife as Louis Canning. We could have stories about his own firm and his unethical methods of winning cases and how he justified everyone of them. Come to think of it we should combine 2 and 3. It would made a damn good show ! I think even better than the current Michael J Fox show. If his current show is cancelled on NBC, CBS should really think about doing this ! It would also be very interesting if one of the Kings be the show runner for this while the other King continue to do The Good Wife.

4) Gus Fring prequel, alternate universe or whatever story involving him and we can also bring Jonathan Banks back to life.

5) Chalky White series maybe after Boardwalk ends ! Michael K Williams really nail it this season especially this week.
More+
1
Reply
Flag
Yes a Peter Quinn spinoff awesome amazing I'd watch it any day of the week. He's just about the only character on Homeland that has been consistently awesome and never bothered me. Bothered me in a way that's not complicated character development blablabla. So yes! Peter Quinn is yes!
1
Reply
Flag
Butters from South Park
5
Reply
Flag
A couple seasons ago I would have suggested Raj from TBBT, at one point he had potential... but his character has become such a sad sack whiner that unless they overhaul him drastically or send him back to India than it would be just Whiny Nerd Perv Hitting on Random Chicks - by Chuck Lorrie.
1
Reply
Flag
ive never liked raj, his entire character is just "Dude, dont be so racist"
""
".... (silence when spoken to by a woman)..."
Reply
Flag
I would defently watch a Spinoff with Ian Somerhalder , about Damon Salvatore and his life as a Vampire, before He came back to Mystic Falls, because He is such a multilayerd, complex Character, so i would love to see what Experiances shaped Him and that made him put such a huge Wall around himself.
2
Reply
Flag
Peter Quinn coul be like a Jack Buer :D
Reply
Flag
Good list.
Boyd from Justified is just about my favorite character on TV now.
Good to know not all TV execs are tools by making him a big part of the show.
Reply
Flag
How about a Revolution spinoff about how the rest of the world is dealing with the blackout?
2
Reply
Flag
Esposito from Castle
2
Reply
Flag
I'd watch a spinoff centering on Peter Quinn in a heartbeat.
2
Reply
Flag
Castiel (from Supernatural) and Duke Crocker (from Haven)...

Any kind of story can be written on both characters.... A story about Duke would involve Duke accepting his fate, and go after the Troubled ones (bad ones who spread all over the World)
4
Reply
Flag
My choice would be an alternative univers instead of a person. I'd love to see how Breaking Bad would have continued had Gus Fring killed Walter White instead of the other way around. But that might be because I didn't like Walter White in the last season mainly because of what he did to Jesse and Mike.
Reply
Flag
Gus Fring would really made good show !
Reply
Flag
Sam axe from burn notice or Anthony dinozzo from ncis or better still put them both together
4
Reply
Flag
HRG of Heroes.

1
Reply
Flag
The best would have been the Dixon Brothers off of the walking dead. They made a huge mistake killing merl off. It not only gave a good reason why (arguably) the most favored person would leave the group. And would give easy tie-ins for crossovers(or movies) if the spin off worked. But since they killed Daryl's brother off(and seriously who wouldn't have wanted to see the two of them go at it over the length of a season over a love intrest or something)....

How about a prequel(or mini season) to how the brothers found the group... explore that whole story line of how the brothers found the group and how they were going to originally kill them/or rob them
3
Reply
Flag
A prequel starring Michonne of Walking Dead after the show ends. She is such a woman mystery! I really like her.
5
Reply
Flag
I think the Mother could pull off a one season spin-off entitled How I Met Your Father. It's clear we won't be seeing much of her in this final season of HIMYM. Might as well give her her own show and focus on her friends and dating disasters before meeting Ted.
10
Reply
Flag
As much as i love Peggy and Joan, i think the best idea would be to make a show about Sally Draper in 70s or 80s.
6
Reply
Flag
Holly Mary Combs in Charmed...as the Matriarch or something....That would be awesome!!
2
Reply
Flag
Would watch the hell out of a show that detailed the rise of Gustavo Fring
4
Reply
Flag
There's so much backstory there that we never learned!
2
Reply
Flag
Nolan Ross from Revenge!
7
Reply
Flag
Quinn needs to stay on Homeland, Carrie and Quinn are too good together.

"What the fuck Quinn? Shouldn't you be hiding up a tree or something?" LOL

I'm glad Carrie apologised for her hospital outburst, Quinn's truly a good guy. I think I'm a Quarry shipper.
5
Reply
Flag
Jaqen H'ghar from Game of Thrones. How could you not want to watch the coolest face-changing assassin the world has ever known, travelling the globe as he goes about all manner of missions and shenanigans.
8
Reply
Flag
A Doctor Who spin off about the Madame Vastra, Jenny Flint and Strax.


9
Reply
Flag
Peter Quinn <3
3
Reply
Flag
Like they said, almost everyone in GoT could carry their own show. If I could pick anyone for a spin-off it would be Iroh, either General Iroh from Legend of Korra or Uncle Iroh from Avatar the Last Airbender. I don't know when either one would take place but it would be cool to see something about their lives, maybe General Iroh before he joined the army, or Uncle Iroh when he was young.
2
Reply
Flag
Def Peter Quinn, he makes season 3 more bearable.
6
Reply
Flag
Faith the Vampire Slayer -- Eliza Dushku looks better now than she had in during the run of the shows. Plus, there's so much meat to her. "No Future For You" stuff from BtVS S8 can be included and we just forget Angel & Faith ever happened. How about a flashback to the end of BtVS S8 with Faith dusting Angel.

Melanka Fray of Joss Whedon's Fray. Enough said.

The Tams! River Tam and Simon Tam -- both Summer Glau and Sean Maher aren't doing much, and this would be an excellent show, maybe with guest stars from Firefly. Heck, the Tams could sue The Alliance and get a ship of the own. Maybe Jayne could come along and be their muscle.

Sadly, James Marsters is already 50 or whatever, but perhaps a Spike cartoon. Can include James and Juliet Landau as voices and any other actor from the Buffyverse to guest star.

The Walking Dead could easily have a spinoff. Simply show another group. Rick's group is terrible and mostly incompetent. The Governor was a terrible leader and was crazy. I wouldn't be difficult to showcase a better group than the Rick group.

_______________________

BTW, I have zero interest in the Saul Goodman spinoff, but would certainly watch a Peggy and Joan spinoff.
More+
5
Reply
Flag
Fray!
Reply
Flag
I would like to see a short mini series spin-off of The Walking Dead which follows the journey of a single walker from the moment he or she is turned to the moment he or she dies at the hands of one of the main characters
13
Reply
Flag
Very creative idea! I hope someone from TWD reads your post!
Reply
Flag
From reading all these names it makes me wonder how this question is being asked. Are we voting for someone who can play lead on their own show, or is it really what shows could make good spin-offs based on actors in that show?
Reply
Flag
I think the question is what character, played by the same actor,could be the starring/main/central/ character of a successful spin off of the original series.
Reply
Flag
This comment has been removed.
Reply
Flag
Current shows? Dennis Reynolds - Sunny In Philadelphia
Old ones - George Costanza - Seinfeld (Well he sort of did get a spinoff with Curb)
Would have liked to see a Michael Scott spinoff in his new life
Also a Walter Bishiop Fringe spinoff, maybe a prequel?
4
Reply
Flag
yes, i luv amy and sheldon. they are the funniest from BBT. caleb from PLL.ravenswood is okey. i like the spinoff. and jaime lannister is a hunk
Reply
Flag
Load More Comments

Like TV.com on Facebook