A television show spinoff is like getting a gift from that prankster friend of yours — you’re excited but weary; you’re getting a gift, but is it a good gift?

The problem with television show spinoffs is that while they sound appealing (you get to see your favorite characters, there’s a brand new storyline, etc.), more often than not they disappoint the audience. Rarely do TV show spinoffs live up to viewer expectation. Sure, “Torchwood” has done relatively well, but “Jersey Shore” has managed to produce three spinoffs — “The Pauly D Project,” “The Show with Vinny,” and “Snooki & JWoww” — do we really need all these “different” shows about fake, orange-skinned Italians?

Recently, a “Walking Dead” spinoff was confirmed, while talk of a “Breaking Bad” spinoff is “in the works.” There are even rumors of a “Dexter” spinoff; with the show coming to a close after its eighth season, is a spinoff series really necessary? I can’t imagine any other scenarios that haven’t already been exhausted by writers and not seen by audiences.  Which begs the question: Why? Why do studios continue to produce offshoots of a show? Is it because they think that the new series is guaranteed a strong fan base due to the viewer loyalty of the previous show? Do they not have any new or creative ideas for new pilots? Or are these studios too unwilling to risk a failure of a completely new show? With a spinoff of a pre-existing show, there is the probability that a large percentage of the original show’s fanbase will watch the premiere; whether or not they continue to watch the show depends on if the pilot matched or exceeded the audience’s expectations.

These spinoffs are, for the most part, unnecessary and a corporate ploy to make more money off a thriving television series — “Once Upon A Time” is only into its second season and an offshoot, “Once Upon A Time in Wonderland,” is set to premiere this year. I think we could use a little more diversity in the television shows we watch; there’s enough “CSI” and “Law and Order,” I’d like something a little more unique and substantial. Studios need to take a risk — produce a show that will differ them from other channels rather than copy yet another overused idea. Get creative, and stop producing all these spinoff series; make your viewers remember the greatness of the original show, not the follow-up that ruined it.

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