Spin-offs are a long-standing tradition in television, but generally the new shows stick quite closely to the aesthetics of the old. The Flash is much lighter in tone than Arrow, but it's still fundamentally about a crime-fighter taking down a bad guy each week with the help of a group of friends/specialists. The various Star Trek shows were all cut from the same mold, Friends and Joey were both sitcoms, etc. Even Doctor Who, which spawned the family-friendly Sarah Jane Adventures and the more adult Torchwood, kept all three shows within the "alien/sci-fi adventures and mysteries" world.

But have there been any shows which spawned spin-offs, set in the same universe and featuring related characters, but with entirely different genres and structures? A police procedural with a spinoff sitcom about the cop's daughter, for example, or medical drama that spun-off into a sci-fi adventure?


This thread gives some examples, including the following:

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    I believe the Carol Burnette show is considered to be a Variety Show, not Sketch Comedy. – Ben Plont Nov 4 '14 at 19:18
  • @BenPlont - The wiki says that it is an American Variety/Sketch Comedy show. Shields and Yarnell would be more of a strictly variety show, as they were mostly acts and talents, and Carol Burnette often had short comedic sketch segments, often built around the guest star of the show. – JohnP Nov 4 '14 at 20:52

I think an interesting example in this regard might be Baywatch Nights, which was basically a detective crime show, with Mitch Buchannon opening a private investigation agency. I would call this quite a contrast to the rather soap-opera-like lifeguard drama of the original Baywatch this was a spin-off to. And if this wasn't enough, the whole concept of Baywatch Nights was changed in the 2nd season to a downright mystery show having to cope with things like paranormal activities, strange goo monsters on oil rigs and deadly stardust. If that isn't a stark contrast to good old Baywatch, I don't know what is.


Yes. Off the top of my head, Lou Grant from 1977 was a drama series, yet it was a spin-off of the sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show. [And dang it, I was going to mention Baywatch Nights too! ;)]

It also worked the other way in the more obscure example of Beverly Hills Buntz, an NBC comedy with Denis Frantz that ran for one season in the late 80s and was a spin off of cop drama Hill Street Blues.

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    I remember living for the rare view of Buntz' girlfriend's butt, and getting far too often a view of his. :D – CGCampbell Nov 4 '14 at 15:32

JAG (U.S. military acronym for Judge Advocate General) is an American legal drama television show with a distinct U.S. Navy theme. It spun off NCIS. NCIS is an American police procedural drama television series, revolving around a fictional team of special agents from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, which conducts criminal investigations involving the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps.

X-Files spun off The Lone Gunmen. X-Files being about Alien conspiracy while the latter being about regular conspiracies.

The Teen Titans cartoon was a action-adventure superhero series. It's spin-off Teen Titans Go! is a slapstick variety show.

Space Ghost was a superhero villain of the week show. It Spun off to Space Ghost Coast to Coast, a parody talk show. THAT spun off the Brak Show, a sitcom.


The biggest difference in genre that I can think of: The Simpsons is an animated spin-off from the sketch comedy show The Tracey Ullman Show.

Labeling genre can be subjective.

Here's my rationale...

Genre is defined as: "a categorization of a category of artistic composition, as in music or literature, characterized by similarities in form, style, or subject matter".

The form style and subject differences between The Tracey Ullman Show and The Simpsons are huge:

Form: The Tracey Ullman Show is live action, The Simpsons is animated.

Style: The Tracey Ullman Show is sketch-comedy/variety, The Simpsons is a 30 minute sit-com.

Subject: The Tracey Ullman Show is based on non-related segments. The Simpsons is based on developing recurring characters of an entire city...and indeed has succeeded in building an entire universe.

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    Comedy to comedy? Difference sure, but the "biggest"? – Napoleon Wilson Nov 4 '14 at 19:19
  • @NapoleonWilson comedy to comedy is a bit broader than I was thinking. I was thinking about the specifics of genre: "a categorization of a category of artistic composition, as in music or literature, characterized by similarities in form, style, or subject matter". The form style and subject differences between The Simpsons and The Tracey Ullman Show are huge. Form: One is live action, one is animated. Style: One is sketch-comedy/variety, the other 30 minute sit-com. Subject: non-related segments vs. building an entire universe. It's by far the biggest difference in genre that I can think of. – Ben Plont Nov 5 '14 at 17:35
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    Ok, when viewed from that point, it's indeed a bit more reasonable. – Napoleon Wilson Nov 5 '14 at 17:54
  • I added it to my answer. Thanks for challenging me to write a better answer than I originally submitted. – Ben Plont Nov 5 '14 at 18:00

Darkwing Duck is a spin-off of DuckTales, and while they aren't COMPLETELY different genres, DuckTales is more of an "adventure" story revolving around three kids, while Darkwing Duck is a crime-fighting superhero story revolving around an adult and his daughter.

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