Popular shows continue in spin-offs

Features Editor

Good television is quick to connect with watchers on an emotional level. A sure way to gage a show’s success is to see the crowds of college students live-tweeting series finales and then proceeding to walk around campus like their whole worlds have crumbled beneath them.

If you saw most students around Piedmont after “Breaking Bad” ended, you would have thought someone  had died in real life.

Then there are some times when series creators get the bright, or not so bright, idea of resurrecting the spirit of a beloved show through a spin-off series. It’s really a hit or miss with this approach, and viewers are seeing an alarming amount of spin-offs being advertised this year, including “Better Call Saul” from “Breaking Bad.”

One of my favorite spin-off series is “Angel” from my favorite show of all time, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” Angel was the mysteriously broody vampire boyfriend of Buffy for a few seasons before relocating to Los Angeles to find redemption. He made a few guest appearances through the rest of the series run, but that wasn’t enough for anyone, so “Angel” was able to run five successful seasons.

Some other shows have found success in the realm of spin-offs, including “Private Practice” from “Grey’s Anatomy“ and “Melrose Place” from “Beverly Hills 90210.”

However, the spin-off move has the potential to go seriously wrong, as seen by the two-season run of “Joey” from the legendary show “Friends” and a sad reinvention of “Saved by the Bell” in “Saved by the Bell: The College Years.”

To its credit, however, “Saved by the Bell: The College Years” did end with the marriage of the ever hunky Zach Morris and the love of his life, Kelly Kapowski. Kudos.

Currently, ABC Family’s “Pretty Little Liars” is getting a spin-off called “Ravenswood” that explores the new home of Hanna Marin’s boyfriend, Caleb Rivers, just a few towns over from Rosewood.

However, my own excitement at the moment is turned toward two running spin-offs in particular. Charmed by Klaus Mikaelson from “The Vampire Diaries,” the spin-off following his relocation to New Orleans, “The Originals” is very much on my list of shows to watch this fall.

Likewise, the mystical and dreamy “Once Upon a Time” is getting a foot in the door of spin-offs with “Once Upon a Time in Wonderland.” Let’s just say, I’m not so sure how great the plotline is because I’m completely caught up in the quest to find Alice’s love.

Then again, I’m always a sucker for a love story, no matter how lame.