Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Idiot Box: Spinoffs I'd Like To See (Monster Edition)

Not This

I've been re-watching a lot of old TV shows on Netflix recently, and it inspired me to start a new series akin to my recent impromptu video games as movies thing, this time imagining the various ways I would expand and continue the universes of some of my favorite shows. Many of these proposed spinoffs will have already been suggested over the years, while others are entirely invented. I've decided to split these up by genre, starting with the one that led me to this in the first place - supernatural horror.

1: From Angel - Wolfram & Hart

I swear I'll finish the Buffy retrospective at some point eventually, but in the meantime, I'm almost halfway through Angel, the rare spinoff I'd argue was better than the original. One of the things I love about this show is how, unlike Buffy where evil was always an obstacle to be overcome, Angel's world was one where evil was a fact of life, and something you had to live with and account for. The best example of this theme lies with the recurring villains Wolfram & Hart, a demonically influenced law firm tasked with managing the day to day operations of Hell on Earth.

The series proper ended rather ambiguously with Angel's team going up against the hordes of Hell as the firm's LA offices lay in ruins. My pitch would follow a brand new, never before seen New York office attempting to pick up the pieces after losing contact with much of their supernatural backing, still the main source of protection for demons and other beings seeking to operate within human society. The Senior Partners, formerly unseen creatures implied to be Lovecraftian gods, would now be a coalition of powerful demons and representatives of the Powers That Be, creating a back and forth between cosmic forces reflecting the moral ambiguity of the legal profession. The story would follow a group of fresh faced lawyers, some humans, others not, in a David E. Kelly style courtroom dramedy. Basically Boston Legal in the Buffyverse.

2: From Buffy The Vampire Slayer - Fray

Speaking of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, of all the shows on this list, this is the one that probably had the most aborted spinoffs circling around it. They were thinking of making a Faith show at one point, a Spike TV movie, and even a show focusing on the dour librarian called Ripper for the BBC. The series has since been continued in comic form with seasons eight and nine, and this is also the medium I've chosen for inspiration.

Fray was a comicbook miniseries produced during Buffy's run, set in the canon of the show, and purported to be the last story in said canon, following the last Slayer. It's basically the Buffyverse of the future, where demons are public knowledge, the Watchers are psychotic cultists who set themselves on fire, and the title character Fray fights an army of vampires led by her own undead twin brother with the help of a giant Minotaur-esque monster. I'd see the live action version as something close to Dark Angel, only not sucking like Dark Angel did.

3: From Supernatural - Winchester

Supernatural technically isn't over yet, even though it probably should have ended after season five (it's only just starting to get slightly better), and I'm trying to keep this to cancelled or ended shows, but I really liked this idea. If you've never seen it, its the story of two monster hunting brothers trapped in a complicated struggle between Heaven and Hell, and then some other less interesting stuff. The five good seasons are on Netflix streaming and I highly recommend them.

The spinoff I'd want to see was actually floated at one point by the creators, though it appears to have been abandoned, save for one season six episode that seemed to set it up, but never went anywhere. The basic idea is a prequel to the show set in the Wild West called Winchester, following a distant ancestor of the modern day characters as a bounty hunter turned monster hunter who teams up with Samuel Colt, an inventor of a gun able to kill any supernatural creature alive. Basically, I just want a TV show set in the Weird West genre, with bad ass magic wielding cowboys shooting werewolves. Slap Supernatural's mantle onto it, if that's what it takes.

4: From The X Files - Humbug

Though I've found it doesn't always hold up as well as I'd expect upon repeated viewing, The X Files is a seminal show that heavily influenced the style of every other show discussed so far. The problem I have is that the arc episodes about aliens and the conspiracy around them sort of drag, while many of the standalone episodes still rank among the best hours of television ever. Many are so good, I always thought of what it would be like if we stayed in them rather than go somewhere else next week with Scully and Mulder, and I picked one of my personal favorites to do just that.

The show would be set in the small town featured in the episode Humbug, populated entirely by former and current circus performers and freak show exhibits. The cast of characters would be made up of honest freaks, phoneys, and some secretly supernatural beings hiding among them. Most are just trying to get by and live their lives, but some have grand plans and dark secrets that build towards a greater mythology, picking up where the criminally cancelled Carnivale left off. In addition to the regular cast, the town would be a safe haven and port of call for the rejects of Americana, up to and including many creatures featured in the original show like the Flukeman and the creepy incestuous family from Home.

Well, that's it for now. Next up, a set of spinned off Space Operas involving killer psychics, freaky muppets, the swinging 60's, and that guy from The Red Green Show. Stay tuned!
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