Spin-Offs Are Now Called Universe Extensions

About a week after I wrote my blog entry about sequels, spin-offs, and remakes, I read a similar small article in Hollywood Reporter.  What surprised me was the term they used for spin-offs -- "universe extensions."  The word "spin-off" seemed simple enough and perfectly captured what it was trying to describe: a film or television show derived from another.  The term worked fine for shows that stemmed from Happy Days (which itself came from Love American Style) like Mork and Mindy, Laverne and Shirley, and Joanie Loves Chachi.  It was okay for programs that grew from All in the Family such as Maude, Good Times, The Jeffersons, and Archie Bunker's Place. Now, the new catch-phrase is "universe extension," an awkward phrase that hits us over the head with its implication that it is describing another piece in a broader franchise.

The spin-offs mentioned in the Hollywood Reporter are Puss in Boots from Shrek and the Marvel superhero films, which were teased in Iron Man and will be part of the future Avengers: Thor and Captain America

Some fans have loved certain spin-offs better than the originals: Angel which came from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Frasier which came from Cheers, Melrose Place from Beverly Hills 90210, The Facts of Life from Diff'rent Strokes, and many more.  Some spin-offs, of course, invariably failed: Lone Gunmen from The X-Files, Joey from Friends, and a bunch of others.

Will more so-called "universe extensions" catch on?  Will we ever see a Lost spin-off starring Hurley, or a Seinfeld spin-off starring George Castanza and Cosmo Kramer?


Anonymous said…
We should see a Doctor Who spin off (in addition to Torchwood) about Rose and the metacrisis Doctor in the parallel universe. More David Tennant!