We all have a favorite TV show or movie that we watch over and over again and just wish we could get more of it. Each year, we are seeing more and more spin-off series and it’s clear they are getting increasingly popular, and 2018 is no exception. This year, we are seeing an influx of spin-offs on both the big screen and the small screen so, it must be asked, why are they so popular? What is it about them that people just can’t get enough of? Let’s dive right in and examine the full-on trend of spin-offs and find out what makes them so successful.

What are Spin-offs?

A spin-off TV series or movie basically adds another story to a franchise that already exists either by focusing on secondary characters or the world they live in. But there is a lot more to it than that. Spin-offs come in many different forms, either as a follow-up series, a prequel series, a crossover series or an entire reboot. Essentially, spin-offs are by-products of an existing series that explore the concept of characters in greater depth.

To understand the different kinds of spin-offs in greater depth, let’s look at some of the most recent spin-offs that are gaining popularity. An example of TV spin-offs comes from the show The Walking Dead, a show which chronicles the struggle to survive in the months and years following a zombie apocalypse. The series has become one of the US’s highest-viewed TV series of all time even after eight seasons, which makes it unsurprising that it would inspire a spin-off series. Fear the Walking Dead hit our screens back in 2016 and has been so successful that some fans even prefer it to the original series. Season 4 has now paused after its mid-season finale and left fans on edge as to what will happen next. The official return date hasn’t been confirmed, but fans will likely be left hanging until late August or early September to see what the characters’ fate will be.

An example of a movie franchise-turned TV spin-off is the superhero genre, which seems to be taking over the world. The enormous success of the Marvel and DC superhero films makes it unsurprising that there are so many spin-offs to match. If we were going to discuss all of the superhero spin-offs that have made it to the small screen, we’d be here all day, but the latest one to appear is Black Lightning, which follows the story of Jefferson Pierce, a man who has the ability to control electricity and uses his power to act as a masked vigilante. It premiered back in January and saw viewing figures hit 1.49 million viewers for the season finale as well as similar viewing figures throughout the series. CW have recently revealed that Black Lightning will be renewed for a second season and, while the date still remains unknown, we can assume that it will be hitting our screens by October 2018 at the earliest and January 2019 at the latest.

What makes them so popular?

It’s no secret that spin-off shows and films are hugely popular but the question is, why? According to Betway Casino, there are a number of reasons why this could be, one of which is the sense of brand familiarity: you don’t need to learn about the brand all over again, you know what it is and are comfortable with the existing themes of the series. Having this feeling of comfort when it comes to a series means that fans already feel a connection to the new series as they are aware of the characters – or at least how their world works. Another reason and, possibly, the most important, is that sense of nostalgia that comes with a spin-off. A lot of spin-off series come along years after the main series or films have finished and, when they come back, we are hit with the same excitement we felt the first time we began watching, and we chase this feeling by continuing to tune in. Just one look through Netflix will show you a wealth of spin-off shows such as Better Call Saul and A Series of Unfortunate Events, which feed on our desire for the nostalgia of shows and TV series which have long finished. Essentially, nostalgia and a sense of comfort are the most important contributing factors for a successful spin-off series.

What’s Coming Next?

The next few years are looking to be an exciting time for upcoming spin-offs. The Game of Thrones series will be coming to an end next year but fans needn’t be too sad as HBO have confirmed an upcoming spin-off show which will serve as a prequel to the main series. This year also sees the next in the series of Jurassic World, the hugely popular Jurassic Park spin-off movie franchise starring Chris Pratt and Jessica Chastain, and there will be a third in the franchise coming in 2021! There's a lot for fans to sink their teeth into so it looks like the spin-offs aren’t going away any time soon.

By Jeff Stevens

Husband, father, movie+review advocate, BAMF, hair icon, pantsuits are for losers. Posts from Jeff signed -J all others by merciless robots.

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