There have been many great shows, and for some of the lucky few, an even better spinoff has emerged.
From shows like NCIS, Better Call Saul, and more recently, House of the Dragon, audiences have truly been spoilt.
But just because the original show was a success, it doesn’t always mean the spinoff will be a success.
Heck, in some cases, the spinoff series doesn’t even make it to air.
Below are five examples of some planned spinoff shows that unfortunately never made it onto the small screen, with reasons provided as to why that never happened.
When the original four-season run of Revenge ended in 2015, the nature of the final episode instantly led to rumours that the show could return. Could Nolan continue to help those seeking vengeance? Would Charlotte progress further down the dark path the show has hinted at?
A few months after the show ended, ABC bosses even announced that it was possible that Revenge could return. For fans of the show, that possibility became a reality when in 2019, it was announced that a spinoff series was officially in the works.
Although only a few details were shared, fans learnt that show creator Mike Kelley (who ran Revenge for the first two seasons) would lead the spinoff.
With the story slated to focus on a Latinx immigrant in Malibu who wants to seek revenge on a wealthy family who apparently caused the death of her mother, the downfall of her family and the cause of a global pandemic.
It had all the ingredients that made fans fall in love with the original. Plus, an original character, heavily rumoured to be Nolan, would return to aid the new lead character in their quest for Revenge. But what went wrong?
Apparently, Covid-19 was the blame. As the central story would have concentrated on a pandemic, it has been claimed that in 2020 show bosses were worried would mirror real life too much and alienate fans.
Was it the right decision? Probably. At that time, it would have felt wrong for a nighttime soap opera to explore a subject that was so raw at the time. However, there’s nothing stopping Revenge from coming back now, even if it does remove the pandemic aspect of the storyline.
Game of Thrones
As previously mentioned, House of the Dragon is one of the most successful spinoff series of the past couple of years. However, there was almost a completely different Game of Thrones spinoff.
With two titles linked to the project, Bloodmoon & The Long Night, it was one of four shows that HBO considered developing before settling on House of the Dragon.
Naomi Watts was to lead the project, and with the series slated to focus on the events of the long night, 5,000 years before the original timeline of Game of Thrones, it had fans excited.
But it wasn’t meant to be. After the unaired pilot episode received harsh reviews, Bloodmoon was scrapped. Likely, it worked out well, as if Bloodmoon was developed, it’s quite likely that HBO would not have commissioned House of the Dragon.
Plus, considering the negative reception of the final season of Game of Thrones, it is wise that HBO brought the show back with a strong spinoff rather than one that would have left even more of a sour taste in the viewer’s mouths.
Before the 2018 Aquaman movie was made, for a while, it looked like the CW show Smallville would produce its own spinoff show focusing on Aquaman, played by Justin Hartley.
With a pilot episode made and also now available for viewers to watch, there were detailed plans on where the show would go, Including crossover episodes with Smallville, environmental threats, and mythology storylines.
There was much buzz and favourable reviews towards the series, and therefore, it came as a huge surprise to everyone involved when the show was dropped. But why?
The reason Aquaman never made it onto the air is all down to the merging of WB and UPN, which later became what is now known as The CW. With The CW now in charge, they axed Aquaman in favor of The Game and Runaway.
Was it the right decision? It depends. The CW was wise to develop The Game, as it lasted an impressive 9 seasons. However, The Runaway was axed after 3 episodes, failing to make an impact or gain an audience.
On the other hand, there was still a desire for Aquaman – when its pilot episode appeared on iTunes, viewers jumped at the chance to watch the episode so much so that it became the most downloaded tv show of that week. That alone suggests that the show deserved at least one full season.
Even if Justin Hartley was disappointed at the time, he wouldn’t remain down for long as he was soon cast as Oliver Queen in Smallville whilst Alan Ritchson (pictured above) continued in his role as Aquaman on Smallville.
After the hit fox show 24 originally ended in 2010, it returned in 2014 for 24: Live Another Day. The return was such a smash that talks soon switched to developing another series, this time very different from the original concept.
Not only would it have featured a female lead, but each season would have featured a new legal case and a fresh set of characters. It sounded like the fresh take that the show ended in order for it to continue flying high. Especially after 24: Legacy failed to live up to expectations.
But, of course, if the show is being featured in this article, that means that it never worked out. And to add salt to the wound, a spinoff that would have focused on a young Jack Bauer was also axed at the same time.
Although very few details were shared as to why the shows never made it to the air, it was stated that Fox is continuously looking at ways to bring 24 back.
So whilst the spinoffs didn’t work then, maybe another could pop up in the near future. Or, as Keifer Sutherland recently said that Jack Bauer’s story is unfinished, maybe the original show will return sooner rather than later?
Will & Grace
Will & Grace was a much-loved show, but even more, loved was Karen Walker. In fact, she was so loved that a spinoff centered on the character was almost made not just once but twice.
The closest viewers got to a spinoff was after the American Sitcom ended in 2006. NBC was keen on the idea, but when Joey, the spinoff from Friends, was an ultimate disaster, they feared the same would happen to a Karen spinoff.
Rather than see the character’s legacy become tarnished, the spinoff was stopped from happening. Then, of course, when Will & Grace returned and ended again, there were talks of a Karen Walker spinoff.
Unfortunately, it never went any further. And Megan Mullally, who played Karen, even said that the spinoff wasn’t very real.
There you go! Would a Karen Walker spinoff have worked?
Considering that when Will & Grace returned, it failed to gain its record-breaking viewership, it’s somewhat surprising that a spinoff was even considered at all.
These are just five potential spin-off series that never came to fruition. But you never know; for shows like Revenge and 24, there’s still a chance that, in the future, these shows could return.
However, whether that’ll be in the form of a spin-off, reboot, or straight-up sequel remains to be seen.
Jordan Lyon is Jordan Lyon is a new writer and critic for TV Fanatic, although he has plenty of experience thanks to his MA Degree in TV and Film Writing and his past roles as a writer. He’s a great lover of many genres, particularly thrillers, horrors, and dramas. However, he’ll watch anything with a great story and superbly written characters. Follow him on Twitter.