If, at first, you do succeed, try, try again. Television spinoffs, which seem to have been around since the invention of the cathode-ray tube, are in the spotlight again with this week’s premieres of ABC’s “Schooled” (Wednesday, 8:30 EST/PST), which jumps from ’80s-something “The Goldbergs” into the next decade, and Freeform’s “Good Trouble” (Tuesday, 8 EST/PST), which follows two of the now grown-up kids from “The Fosters,” now in Los Angeles.
Of the legion of offshoot alternatives, some have spun peripheral concepts into gold. Others simply became canceled dross. Our take on the best and the worst:
‘The Colbert Report (Comedy Central)
There’s a reason Comedy Central has been having such trouble filling the post-“Daily Show” timeslot in recent years – nothing can be better than the original. “The Colbert Report” seems more like a fact of life than a spinoff in retrospect, but its origins are in Stephen Colbert’s Bill O’Reilly parody from his time as a correspondent on “The Daily Show.” Only a comedian with Colbert’s talent could take a one-joke persona and turn it into multiple seasons of successful television, books, and marches on Washington. When the comedian put aside his frameless glasses to helm CBS’s “The Late Show,” we lost more than a half-hour of weekly comedy. We lost the “Stephen Colbert” we’d come to love.
‘The Good Fight (CBS All Access)
If there’s one gleaming reason for the CBS All Access streaming service to exist, it’s this beautiful spinoff of CBS drama “The Good Wife.” “The Good Fight” gave Christine Baranski’s Diane Lockhart her own forum as she and Chicago’s best lawyers attempt to function in the post-President Trump era. The series has everything that made “Wife” tremendous and none of the tics that made it frustrating. Free of the FCC broadcast restrictions, “Fight” is dirtier and more profane than its predecessor and unapologetic about political storylines. At this point, “Wife” feels like it was just a warmup for creators Robert and Michelle King.
The sullen teen Daria Morgendorffer (voiced by Tracy Grandstaff) appeared sporadically on “Beavis and Butt-head.” However, she finally began to shine (although she was still pretty sullen). The clever series, which lampooned the idea that someone would actually like high school, has achieved cult status over the years, and Daria has given voice to a generation of disaffected, too-cool-for-school ’90s kids.
‘Xena: Warrior Princess’ (Syndicated)
Few probably remember “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys,” but its spinoff, “Xena: Warrior Princess,” is a pop-culture touchstone that’s easily identifiable even if you’ve never seen an episode. “Xena” outstripped “Hercules” in every way, from the magnetic talent of stars Lucy Lawless and Renee O’Connor to its irresistible campiness.