By Chris Cummins
We live in a world where there are four different Stargate TV shows. Jesus. That dull sci-fi flick starring Kurt Russell and the dude who was the transsexual in The Crying Game? It's a bona fide franchise that will likely outlive us all. If you are a regular Topless Robot reader, you're well aware that Hollywood is a soulless place where executives milk their cash cows until the bovines are udderless corpses. The science fiction genre is especially susceptible to this phenomenon. A lot of the blame for this can be laid at Star Wars' massively successful feet. The original trilogy forever legitimized a genre that always had a bit of a shaky reputation--setting the stage for knock-offs and imitators aplenty in its wake. But even before moviegoers ever traveled to that galaxy far, far away, executives were looking to reap more dough by bringing large scale sci-fi to the small screen. (The most notable example being the Planet of the Apes TV series, which managed to be entertaining, campy and boring all at once). The good news is that science fiction will never go away.The bad news is that neither will lesser-quality spin-offs of popular shows and movies that cheapen the legacy of the originals. So while you wait for the inevitable zombie uprising to finally put an end to life's cruel shenanigans, here's a glimpse at nine TV spin-offs that should never have spun-off. Now with 100% more Pudface!
9) Robocop: The Series
When did it air? 1994
How many episodes before it was put out of its misery? 26 Bob Morton-free episodes.
Why shouldn't it have been spun off? Robocop should never have been sequelized let alone adapted for television. The show featured a deformed villain named Pudface. That's pretty much all you need to know about it. Oddly enough, Marvel's cartoon spin-off was awesome. Funny how the world works sometimes, isn't it? And by funny, I mean soul-crushing.
Imaginary tagline: Watch it, creep!
8) Logan's Run
When did it air? 1977-78.
How many episodes were there before it was put out of its misery? 14 charisma-lacking episodes.
Why shouldn't it have been spun off? The theatrical Logan's Run was the last big sci-fi event film before Star Wars was released and changed the genre forever. It had overdramatic speeches from Michael York, a pointless robot and, as Jenny Agutter stalkers will tell you, boobies galore. The television version of Logan's Run had Gregory Harrison, an unnecessary android sidekick and homoeroticism aplenty between Logan and Francis. (Check out the above clip). As a public service, let me sum up every episode: Logan and Jessica find a community that they think is Sanctuary but is actually some sort of trap set up for them by robots/perverts/Sandmen. Skip the series and track down Roger Joseph Manning Jr. and Brian Reitzell's amazing Logan's Sanctuary concept album from 2000. It's exactly the sort of fun mindfuckery that the show should have been.
Imaginary tagline: He's on the run from coherent storylines!
7) Slimer! And the Real Ghostbusters
When did it air? 1988-89.
How many episodes were there before it was put out of its misery? 31 spooky episodes.
Why shouldn't it have been spun off? Technically, this was more of a retooling of The Real Ghostbusters into an hour-long format that featured a segment starring Egon, Ray, Peter, and Winston and one focusing strictly on the adventures of Slimer. The Slimer! portion of the show featured the spud palling around with some new characters at the Sedgewick Hotel. Aimed at pre-schoolers, these cartoons relegated the Ghostbusters we love to supporting roles. The show is lame and should have rocks thrown at it.
Imaginary tagline: It'll make you feel so funky!
6) Baywatch Nights
When did it air? 1995-97.
How many episodes were there before it was put out of its misery? 44 scream-inducing episodes.
Why shouldn't it have been spun off? Um, because it's a fucking spin-off to Baywatch. Originally, the show was conceived to be a sexier, edgier series than its predecessor with the Hoff taking a job at his pal's detective agency. When no one cared, they retooled the show for the second season into a low-rent version of The X-Files. Still no one cared. Demonic possessions, aliens, sea monsters, revived Vikings, Baywatch Nights had it all. If you think that video of a drunk, cheeseburger-eating Hasselhoff was the low point of his career you clearly haven't ever seen this show.
Imaginary tagline: Some Nights you'll never want to remember!
5) Beyond Westworld
When did it air? 1980, though don't hold it against that magical year. Sigh.
How many episodes were there before it was put out of its misery? 5 android-chasing episodes (only three of which were aired).
Why shouldn't it have been spun off? This rip-off of The Fugitive had the security chief of the corporation that created the robots featured in Westworld and Futureworld trying to track down a mad scientist hell bent on using evil androids to take over the world. Clearly, Westworld ranks alongside of Citizen Kane and Basket Case in the pantheon of the best films ever made. But did it really necessitate a follow-up TV series? That's a rhetorical question, but the answer is still no.
Imaginary tagline: Yul Brenner is dead, and you'll wish you were too!
4) V: The Series
When did it air? 1984-85
How many episodes were there before it was put out of its misery? 19 resource-depriving episodes.
Why shouldn't it have been spun off? The two V mini-series chronicled the complete saga of the Visitors' arrival on Earth, their subsequent attempts to fuck up life for mankind and their defeat at the hands of a ragtag group of resistance fighters. After that, there was no more story to tell. But before you could say "red dust," the series came along and made V: The Final Battle not so final after all. Turns out that on a week to week basis, the fighting between Mike Donovan, Diana, et al just wasn't all that interesting. Combine less than stellar storylines done without the input of V creator/longtime TV veteran Kenneth Johnson with a severely decreased budget and the show died a death more painful than the one endured by the guinea pig Diana ate.
Imaginary tagline: NBC, let's all V there!
3) K9 & Company: A Girl's Best Friend
When did it air? 1981
How many episodes were there before it was put out of its misery? 1 yawn-inducing pilot episode.
Why shouldn't it have been spun-off? When K-9 first appeared on Doctor Who in the episode "The Invisible Enemy," the character soon became so popular with viewers--especially kids--that the decision was made to spin him and Sarah Jane Smith off into their own series. Too bad the result is a procedural investigation into witchcraft that induces sleepiness quicker than a box of Benadryl. Fortunately for the lovely and talented Elisabeth Sladen, she would eventually go on star in The Sarah Jane Adventures. As for K9, his long-threatened CGI comedy/adventure series should premiere sometime next year. Expect it to appear on a sequel to this list shortly thereafter.
Imaginary tagline: It's a dog of a show!
When did it air? 1985-86.
How many episodes were there before it was put out of its misery? 35 non-Ewokese episodes.
Why shouldn't it have been spun off? Because it's cutesiness and merchandizing potential directly led to the inanity of the prequel trilogy. I just made that up, but it's probably true, right? Nevertheless, the adorable furballs kids loved in Return of the Jedi weren't as charming on the small screen. Droids was no picnic to sit through either, but at least it didn't have Princess Kneesaa fucking up everyone's good time with her constant moralizing. (Disclaimer: The Star Wars Holiday Special does not appear on this list due to the coolness that is an animated Luke Skywalker referring to Boba Fett as his friend).
Imaginary tagline: It's nyub very good!
1) Star Trek: Enterprise
When did it air? 2002-05.
How many episodes were there before it was put out of its misery? 98 episodes that boldly went nowhere.
Why shouldn't it have been spun off? A series focusing on the era before James T. Kirk was just bound to piss people off. Much like Star Trek: Voyager before it, the series relied too much on what came before (Another Dr. Soong, that Borg episode, the Next Generation-centric finale that Jolene Blalock herself called "appalling," etc). This was an inexplicable move given that Enterprise was a PREQUEL series. In its defense, the show did attempt to establish its own identity with the Xindi storyline. Unfortunately, the arc ultimately played out like a second rate version of Deep Space Nine's Dominion War saga. Admit it, you watched because you wanted to sex up some of the cast members. It's okay, we're all friends here. The theme song can go fuck itself too.
Imaginary tagline: It's the show that killed a franchise!