Saturday, July 30, 2011

The curse of the spin off

Man does Glee have some drama happening right now. First it was announced that Lea Michele, Chris Colfer and Corey Monteith would not return for a fourth season because they were graduating. Then at Comic-Con co-creator Brad Falchuk announced those three stars would be returning for season 4 (even though technically they don’t have one yet even though they will get renewed released it. Sounded kind of presumptuous). To make matters even more complicated co-creator Ryan Murphy announced that there was in fact a Glee spin off series in the works to house the characters Rachel, Kurt and Finn at Julliard in New York. But Murphy said after all the media frenzy about Lea, Chris and Corey getting fired they decided to put everything on hold and just focus on season 3 and “making it the best ever.” This could be a reason I have started to not like Glee, because its creators are just announcing things left and right without thinking about what they’re saying.

Anyways, this whole spin off thing is mainly why this whole drama got my attention because I totally called a Glee spin off series to happen eventually (considering you can’t be in high school forever unless you’re Boy Meets World or Saved by the Bell, but even those shows moved on to college.) Television spin offs have been around for ages. Most of them unsuccessful and horribly entertaining but some have actually been quite successful, rarely even better than the show (I’m looking at you Frasier). And by spin offs I don’t mean like cartoon spin offs (Transformers: Prime) or reality spin offs like The Hills of the eight Kardashian shows there have been. When I talk about spin offs I mean a character on a show has moved on to make another show. For example: Angel from Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Frasier from Cheers; Addison Montgomery (Private Practice) from Grey’s Anatomy; Joey from Friends. All of those are the ultimate spin offs, where you have to create a whole new life for the characters and things from their old life (the other show) may come into play. You also have the spin offs that come from the same drama like all the Law and Order shows, NCIS and CSI’s but I don’t count those as impressive cause I could have created those.

So to the point of all this mess with Glee, I was trying to decide if a spin off of the show would be successful. I look at Private Practice (which I watched the first season of as a loyal Grey’s Anatomy fan) and found it actually quite good, mainly because I loved Addison. Then I look at the show Joey, who I love from Friends and it epically failed. Like it was painful to watch. Not funny at all. I suppose then it comes down to what every great show needs: great writers. I will say Glee has its funny moments. Some of the plot lines are really stupid and cheesy but anything that comes out of Jane Lynch’s mouth is great. If they are to create this spin off (which I believe will happen sometime in the future) then they really have to be careful not to make the same show they already have. I think that is another big reason some spin offs don’t work. Private Practice works because even though it is still the medical field, it is a totally different atmosphere. And even if the kids would be going to college, Glee would need to make sure they have great characters that are interesting as well. To be honest, maybe a college environment would be more interesting and less annoying then some of the story lines in Glee (like the prom episode or yearbook drama). Maybe this spin off could be a more sophisticated show with less music. It will be interesting to see how season 3 goes, especially now there is no Sam (so sad about Chord Overstreet rejecting to come back for 10 episodes). They are going to have to take up a notch.

Why do they need to kick it up a notch? Because of one show I’m looking forward to this upcoming fall season: Smash. I’m sure all of you will hear about Smash in the coming months since it is the first show to challenge Glee in a musical format (though it is more drama focused then comedy). The show stars Debra Messing (Will & Grace) and season 6 winner of American Idol Katharine McPhee. It actually looks kind of promising. It is a midseason show and will premiere on NBC.

With that I give you some television side notes.
1. Only two weeks left of the greatest reality show, I think, on television right now and maybe throughout the whole year: So You Think You Can Dance. Probably one of the few talent search shows where the entire top-20 can actually dance. I was sad to see Jess go last night (especially since I picked up him in the finale). Since he is gone, I declare Tadd will join Marko for the two boys (Ricky will be off next week) and I still believe it will be Melanie and Sasha for the girls.
2. It was announced yesterday that Sarah Drew who plays April Kepner on Grey’s Anatomy is pregnant. So I’m quite interested to see how that gets written into the show, especially since April has never done it. Should be interesting what the writers come up with. It was also announced that Patricia Clarkson (Mom from Easy A) will play Tammy 1 in Parks and Rec and all I can say is YES! Despite some of her dramatic roles, after seeing Easy A and her as one of the Mother Lovers in the SNL Digital Short, I have no doubt she will be awesome.
3. So this isn’t television, but I couldn’t resist the fact that new the Hunger Games photos were released yesterday in Entertainment Weekly. And I have to say I am very, very excited. Looks like I found something to fill part of the large whole Harry has left.

With that I say... Live long and prosper. 

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