Here at SYFY WIRE, it’s no secret that we enjoy celebrating the things that we love. Sometimes that takes the form of unranked lists. To us, that’s love.
Join us as our entire staff celebrates anything and everything in genre through our series of “25 Greatest from the last 25 years” lists. They are all unranked, because all of the people, movies, shows, comics, props (and so on) have equal standing for us.
Spin-offs are like death and taxes; they are an inevitability with successful franchises. So we decided to take some of the characters, shows, stories, teams, and whatnot that have exploded in the last 25 years and tell you what spin-offs we'd like to see.
100 Bullets: The Series (TV Series)
100 Bullets, published from 1999 to 2009, was revelatory. It followed a mysterious organization, The Minutemen, whose agents would give ordinary citizens a gun which they could use however they wished, with full assurance they’d never be punished for any crime it was used for. The series was noir brilliance that, over the course of its 100 issues, played with structure. Seemingly self-contained stories revealed themselves all to be part of a larger, connected narrative. 100 Bullets has all the ingredients for a successful television series: flawed characters, complex relationships, mysterious organizations with even more mysterious agendas and a rich mythology. Even better, the overall structure of a series could be played with. Just as in the comics, there are self-contained issues and arcs that tie only loosely with the larger story of The Minutemen and their bosses, The Trust. Seasons could feature a mix of the two structures, which would be a novel change from the totally serialized or not-serialized-at-all-except-for-the-last-five-minutes-of-each-episode-which-leads-to-the-season-finale structure that most shows produce.
This was almost teased in Avengers: Endgame, in the scene where every surviving MCU female hero came together for one moment of glory. Why leave it there? Why not make an entire movie out of that moment? While Gwyneth Paltrow might not be interested in returning for more Pepper Potts, this would be a great opportunity to bring in a character like She-Hulk. If they could somehow bring Black Widow back from the dead (which they should certainly do), then she’d make an ideal leader for this team. We don’t want to sound like Thor here, but seriously, “it’s about time.”
The Ahsoka and Sabine Adventures (TV Series)
Star Wars Rebels left us with a bit of a cliffhanger. Ezra Bridger (and Grand Admiral Thrawn) were carried to regions of space unknown, and a determined Sabine Wren decides (after the Empire is defeated) that it’s her job to bring Ezra home. When she departs, she is joined by Ahsoka Tano, now taking a page out of the Gandalf the White book of fashion. The thought of these two searching the galaxy for Ezra, possibly finding Thrawn along the way, and all of it done by the masterful hand of Dave Filoni? When it comes to Star Wars stories that we really want to be told, we can think of none that rival this one.
Arya Stark: West of Westeros (TV Series)
We know that we’re getting Game of Thrones spin-offs to fill the void that the ending of the flagship show has left us in, but honestly, we we really crave is not a prequel at all. Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) was one of the best characters on the show (if not the ultimate best) and seeing her on the deck of that ship in the series finale made us long to be there with her. Adventuring off into the unknown with her, and seeing what’s actually west of Westeros? Sign us up.
B.P.R.D: The Series (TV Series)
For those unfamiliar with the world of Hellboy, the B.P.R.D. stands for the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense. It’s privately funded (working with most governments) and dedicated to combating various occult threats. Hellboy is an agent, and the department has its own comic book. Which, duh, is why it should have its own TV show because the formula has already proven itself. It has an endlessly sustainable premise (think The X-Files meets Friday the 13th the series) and a horde of great characters like pyrokinetic Elizabeth Sherman and ever distrustful Dr. Tom Manning. Also we really want to see ectoplasmic blob Johann Kraus come to life.
Diane (TV Series)
NOTE: The above contains NSFW language
No matter what your opinion of the new season of Twin Peaks, you loved finally getting to meet Agent Cooper’s longtime assistant, Diane. There’s no doubt that what happened to her was terrifying, but there’s also no doubt that Laura Dern’s tough and delightfully angry Diane would make an excellent detective on her own, after all, she learned from the best. Described by Agent Cooper as “an interesting cross between a saint and a cabaret singer,” her no-nonsense approach to anyone on either side of the law makes her a character who can get things done. Basically we want to watch her tell people off for an hour every week.
Doctor Who Companions United (TV Series)
Let’s gather Rose from the alternate Earth, bring back Bill, pull Donna Noble and Martha Jones from boring married life, somehow create a time loop to get Amy Pond back, and then have Clara and Lady Me drop by in their TARDIS diner. Gather them together and have them deal with problems the Doctor doesn’t have time for. Just think of the potential of all of these brilliant companions swapping brilliance and quips in that incredibly flying diner— the result would be, as 13th Doctor would say, brilliant.
Farscape: Peacekeeper (TV Series)
Over the course of Farscape's four seasons (and concluding mini-series) we got to know a little bit about the enigmatic former Peacekeeper Aeryn Sun, but you know there's so much more there. Like the fact that she had to delay Prowler training until she was tall enough. Or the fact that she had an affair with her commanding officer, but turned him into the Peacekeeper leadership. Or how about all that craziness with her parents? You know you're just dying to get to know this character before she met John and lost all her hard edges. Plus, we'd also get a peek at a young Crais and MAYBE get to know Pilot when he and Moya were first bonding.
Generation X (TV Series)
OK, to be fair, FOX already tried this in 1996 and, despite our deep devotion to Finola Hughes (aka Detective Anna Devane), she was no Emma Frost, and the pilot for this really stunk. A lot has changed in the last 21 years. Namely, effects are better (and cheaper), and television has figured out how to tell quality super heroic stories for the small screen (thanks, CW). So, let’s take one element of the X-Men formula that is tried and true – a school for mutants – and make it an ongoing series. While the modern line-up currently featured in the X-books is welcome, we’d advocate for the classic (and very diverse) team line up of Jubilee, M, Synch, Husk, Mondo, Skin and Chamber.
Ghostwriter (TV Series. Movie, Broadway Musical, Literally Anything)
This needs no explanation. Obviously.
Excalibur Go! (Animated TV Series)
Excalibur, for most of its run, was the most lighthearted of the X-books, employing a high sense of British zaniness and whimsy amongst all its action (see: Technet). That wacky humor and off kilter sensibility make it perfect for a Teen Titans Go!-esque cartoon. The central core for most of Excalibur’s run could have their archetypal elements played up for maximum comedic value: the ego-driven and boastful Captain Britain, the slightly ditzy but well meaning Meggan, the Errol Flynn-inspired gravitas of Nightcrawler, a hot-headed Rachel Summers, and Shadowcat, who is younger than everyone but the smartest person in the room.
Hunger Games: Game (Insert Number) (TV Series)
Lionsgate actually might be circling this idea, themselves – so maybe great minds think alike? This is an anthology show, with each season focusing on a different Hunger Games. From the selection process through the games, themselves. It would be an opportunity to gain insight into life in the other districts and just, in general, explore the mythology and world that we only got glimpses of across the four films. Plus, we never got to see Games 1-73 so, really, the show could go on for a long while.
The Island (Graphic Novel)
This spin-off of Lost would tackle every single unanswered question we still have about the show: Who built the statue? How could the Others creep around in the woods so quietly? What WAS Libby’s real story? Seriously. This is all we want. We need to know.
JSA: The Animated Series (Animated TV Series)
Ever since Batman: The Animated Series, DC and Warner Brothers have masterfully handled animated version of their properties. We still mourn the end of Justice League, so why not a JSA series? Raw material could be taken from the 1999 Geoff Johns series. A core lineup of Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Stargirl, Jay Garrick, Alan Scott, Jakeem Thunder and Atom Smasher would be our dream team. What would yours be?
Luke and Magnus: Downworld Cops (TV Series)
Based on Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series, Freeform’s Shadowhunters follows the stories of Clary Fray, a spirited redhead who seems to have a lot of feelings for dudes who (mostly) turn out NOT to be her brother. The best scenes of the show often come from the antics of the Downworlders: vampires, werewolves, something called seelies, and warlocks. NYPD Cop and sometimes werewolf Luke Garroway (played by Isaiah Washington) and the bisexual High Warlock of Brooklyn, Magnus Bane (played spectacularly by Harry Shum, Jr.), often grab center stage of these scenes, so pairing them off in a buddy-cop comedy would top our list of required viewing. Can a werewolf and a wizard stay friends while navigating a demon-riddled New York City? Can magic heal a broken heart? Can you claw the pain away? Find out in this delightful romp!
The Misadventures of Helena (TV Series)
The obvious choice for an Orphan Black spin-off would be following Cosima and Delphine, tracking their love story as they crossed the world looking for more Leda clones. However, what we really want to see is more Helena. Go with us: A single camera sitcom following Helena as she tries to make it as an author (promoting her memoir) all while raising babies Arthur and Donnie (aka Orange and Purple). Sestra Allison and big Donnie could be supporting. It’d be comedy gold.
Multiversity (Animated TV Series)
While this would be almost mind-blowingly amazing as a live action show, the idea probably works best as an animated series for multiple reasons. Think of it like Sliders meets Legends of Tomorrow meets Exiles in the DC Universe: A team of DC heroes must jump from multiverse to multiverse looking for artifacts that can help stave off a larger threat to all of existence. If we wanted to pull the plot idea of Countdown with the search for Ray Palmer across the multiverse, that’s an option. But it’s a mix of “world of the week” with a larger narrative that allows different world of the DC Universe to be explored, unencumbered by continuity. Also, it could just be really cool.
Spider-Man vs. Kingpin (MCU Movie or TV Series )
Normally we’d still be pushing for Daughters of the Dragon, but now that Netflix and Marvel have parted ways, that doesn’t look likely. It might be a bit of a long shot, but we still love Vincent D’Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk. We love him so much that we really want him to cross paths with the MCU’s Spider-Man. A movie, a TV show, don’t care — put Fisk and Tom Holland’s Peter Parker together. We don’t care what has to be done to do this, we just want it done.
Star Trek Generations: The Animated Series (Animated TV Series)
No, not an animated version of the 1994 movie – although we’re tempted to do one if for no other reason than to give a reason why Spock, McCoy, Uhura and Sulu weren’t in the movie. Rather, this would be an anthology animated tale, with each episode standing alone. Each would feature a tale from the various franchises – original series (including characters from the animated years – we’re looking at you, M’Press), the resulting movies, Next Generation and its films, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Enterprise and Discovery. An animated format allows for storytelling with the characters we all know and love, but unencumbered by things like actors' schedules or, you know, sets and budgets for effects. Also, you could introduce characters and settings introduced in Star Trek novels and other media. We’ve always been dying to see Uhura’s Song adapted.
Untold Story of the Amazons (Movie)
Robin Wright’s Antiope was one of the best parts of Wonder Woman, which was a good movie to begin with. Bummer is ... she’s dead. So, what about if we took the information that got about 10 seconds of screen time in WW – the war between the Amazons and Ares, and Hippolyta’s union with Zeus – and turned it into its own film? The plot’s already solid, and it would allow us to explore Amazonian culture more. Plus, I can think of worse leads than Wright’s Antiope and Connie Nielsen’s Hippolyta.
The Walking Dead: States of the Union (TV Series)
So, you might be like “Naw, we don’t need another Walking Dead spin-off.” Hear us out. The best parts of The Walking Dead and Fear The Walking Dead have been examinations of human behavior, and relationships in the face of extreme adversity. Well, and killing zombies. So, what about an anthology series, with each season focused on a different state, showcasing how a certain group of characters handle the zombie apocalypse. It allows for story arcs with distinct beginnings, middles and ends – something more challenging with the ongoing nature of the two current Dead shows. It also allows us to see different angles into HOW society collapsed and its impact (what’s life in Barrow, AK like?) because we have so, so many questions. Actually, we just need a series that answers our questions on how society collapsed (we don’t buy it based on what we’ve seen).
Wario Rules The World (TV Series)
We’ve always had a soft spot for Wario, the archrival of Mario. So, why not a half-hour animated series that tracks Wario and his brother Waluigi’s constantly thwarted, inherently flawed, attempts to rule the world? Tonally, we’re picturing Pinky and the Brain type of humor (good enough for kids, but more targeted for adults) combined with more of the experimental bizarreness of anything on Adult Swim.
Willow and Ripper: The Animated Series (Animated TV Series)
We are, by no means, the first people to suggest Buffy spin-offs – hell, Ripper was almost gonna be a show with the BBC in which Giles dealt with ghost stories set in England. But the idea of a Willow/Giles team-up blows everything else out of the water. The premise, as we see it, involves the two solving supernatural problems with magic and books as only they can every week. The Scooby Gang can make appearances as necessary, and the animated series format allows for the schedules of the actors and saves on the effects budget, while not sacrificing great story (see how Buffy: Season Eight did the same in the comics). Anyone else in?
Young Mulder (TV Series)
We are all about Agent Dana Scully, trust and believe, but to do a prequel series requires showcasing backstory that informed who the characters were at the start of The X-Files. Scully started as a skeptic, meaning anything that happened to her before The X-Files would need to be fairly light on any supernatural or otherworldly elements. Mulder, however, has the perfect backstory: Academy prodigy, expert profiler and FBI golden boy who screwed up his career by getting too involved in cases. A prequel series could showcase the stories behind all this and how he became involved with the X-Files.
Zapp Brannigan: Peacekeeper of the Galaxy (TV Series)
We miss Futurama every day. We miss Zapp Branigan. So let’s bring him back in a weekly series following the various, unnecessarily dangerous missions of The Nimbus. It could feature familiar faces like Kif Kroker (and we’d love Leela to stop by) as well as new faces. One of them 100% has to be a time-displaced William Shatner.
Those were OUR choices. What are yours? Let us know in the comments which spin-offs from the last 25 years of sci-fi, fantasy and the supernatural you'd suggest. And check out the rest of our lists here.