We embraced the news that Saul Goodman, the welcome shard of levity in any Breaking Bad episode, was getting his own show. Breaking Bad will end, yes, but in Better Call Saul we’ll get regular doses of Saul Goodman, the criminal lawyer who took a Jewish last name to help business.
But for every spin-off that actually makes it to a network’s schedule, there are many that never even get out of preliminary meetings.
Here are a few spin-offs that almost were.
The Farm (spun off from The Office)
Over nearly ten seasons, Dwight Schrute gave an absurd twist to the NBC hit sitcom The Office. Viewers had occasional glimpses into his life—the beet farms, his cousin Mose, his weapon collection. But it never went far beyond that. This spin-off was very nearly green-lit, and then was killed at the last minute.
Krusty The Clown (spun off from The Simpsons)
We like to think most Simpsons fans would have embraced the idea of that green-haired trident of rabbi-daddy issues being given his own show. There was a twist, however: Krusty’s show would have to be live action. Which would have made a surreal mess—how can lion and fire gags be done live action?
Adriana La Cerva (spun off from The Sopranos)
Viewers of the The Sopranos must have felt a twinge of sadness when Christopher’s girlfriend Adriana (played so well by Drea de Matteo) became an FBI informant — surely, somebody’s days were numbered: Chris’, Tony’s, or even hers. But in 2004 there was a full-page New York Times article in which producers raised the possibility of giving Adriana a show of her own. It might have played like Jersey Shore with emotional depth—and it would have been interesting to see.
Lucas (spun off from House)
In the later seasons of House a PI almost as abrasive as Hugh Laurie’s character began making appearances. House ignored social customs, but Lucas, the PI, seemed not to know them, or seemed convinced that his awkward ways were his best traits. It didn’t stop him from dating Lisa Cuddy. There is no way this would have been a good spin-off. Lucas was House without much of the House-ness. A second-rate Sherlock Holmes.
Ari Gold (spun off from Entourage)
A lot like Saul Goodman, Entourage‘s Ari Gold was a energetic, profane narcissist, and a true spectacle to watch. Pretty much everything he said at work was a Don’t Do This from the employee handbook—a lawsuit waiting to happen. Here’s the problem with this show: while an episode of Entourage had too little of him, an Ari Gold series would have been far too much.