How Sequels and Spin-offs Can Be TV Shows Biggest Nightmare
Author: Haziq Maricar
Editor: Fatihah Mahmood
Disney Channel Series, That’s So Raven (above) and its sequel Raven’s Home (below), Picture Source: Google
Little did we know if we take a closer look, lately there has been a trend of reviving classic television shows either if it is a sitcom or focusing on teenage drama. While this could be great news for fans of the show, this phenomenon still sparks a debate whether it is a good call to explore further plots of a concluded ending that could potentially jeopardize the reputation of these series. The thing that everybody needs to understand is that most of these television shows carry an impact on certain generations, which I am emphasizing on the classic ones because back in the day the idea of watching television was quite literally a pure source of entertainment, unlike today. People used to go to different lengths just to get back in time before their treasured television series’ airtime. Thinking about it now, even though it was way inconvenient, it was indeed simpler times where people got together with friends and family members just tuning in to watch their favourite television programs after dinner.
These days everything is getting somewhat a spin-off, sequel or even shockingly, a reboot. From family shows, Full house, Sabrina The Teenage Witch and Disney Channel’s That’s So Raven to even darker tones like Charmed and Gossip Girl, all have now had their own television shows revived recently as of 2021. Genuinely speaking, I think putting these shows back on production is risky because of a couple of different reasons of course. The most prominent reason is just that the shows are not guaranteed to be as successful as their predecessors. This is because television shows work differently from films. When it comes to movies, the screenwriter always leaves some room for the sequels to be made in the future for the fans, plot as well as financial factors.
On the contrary, pertaining to television, it is quite the opposite. Throughout its runtime, shows were given the time to grow and mature in terms of the characters and plot. However, once it ends, the chapters close and the whole production wraps up, thus the audience is going to move to their next favourite thing. Lisa Kudrow, an actress that played Phoebe Buffay on the popular sitcom, Friends told her opinion that she never considered playing her role as Phoebe ever again because that would just be sad for the character and how the plot would not be relevant to the title even though it would make a lot of money. As I see it, she was definitely making the right choice because you will never know how well these things could end up in the future and especially for Friends, the legacy it holds could potentially be flushed down the toilet if it ever got remade like what they have done with the Joey spin-off.
Even so, I’m not saying sequels and spin-offs are the recipe for disaster in the world of television as some were even more entertaining and pretty successful. Like what they did with the Netflix show, The Chillin Adventures of Sabrina which was a refreshed version of the old sitcom. Just from this alone, we can actually witness that family shows are definitely harder to pull off because the target audience is all grown up. The children nowadays do not have any sort of relationship with the new show hence putting these new rebooted programs at risk especially as it is competing with other original shows that keeps popping up on various video-on-demand platforms. The Evidence? Exhibit A — shows like Fuller House and Raven’s Home only enjoyed moderate success unlike its predecessor despite receiving good reviews from the critics because it was not executed in the right way. The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina took a more dark undertone with their storytelling which focuses on a whole new audience seeing it as an original show rather than a rebirth because all of it seems very authentic and original.
Television shows have worked differently as the time has changed. Personally, it is a tricky strategy to move forward with these plans involving old television programs but hey, everything is not always what it seems. Technology also plays a role in that because of the vibe that everybody went through in the 90’s and the 2000s when it comes to family time by watching television, it is a different world now. When people want to feel nostalgic, they would not necessarily find these new rebranded shows, but instead they would just rewatch the old ones on their iPad or smartphones. The situation is far from going to the movies because you cannot replicate the experience of actually going to the theatre, well unless you’re rich. But all I am trying to say is that, just leave all these good shows behind and make new ones because there are uncountable brand new ideas out there just waiting to get picked up by any broadcasting stations. Plus, the audience tends to be more lenient as there are no other shows to be compared to because of what? The production comes from a fresh start.