For some years now, it's felt like every second movie is a sequel, a prequel, a threequel, a reboot or a reimagining of something we've seen before – and it looks like the same is going to happen in TV. A new report in Bloomberg says that Netflix, Amazon and HBO are developing multiple spinoffs, prequels and sequels.
We've seen plenty of this already with Disney's Star Wars spinoffs, Amazon's expansion of The Boys to include Gen V, Better Call Saul coming from Breaking Bad, and many more shows. But there are considerably more either in consideration or in active development at the best streaming service.
What spinoff shows can we expect to see?
Bloomberg says that Netflix is considering a spinoff from Wednesday, this time focusing on Uncle Fester. Netflix is "eager to establish a pipeline of Addams Family programs" to build on that show's success. While previously the show has focused on creating originals to bring in audiences, it's now increasingly interested in Hollywood-style expansions such as a potential series set in the same world as Extraction and two spin-offs from Peaky Blinders.
And it's not just Netflix. HBO has its Game of Thrones spinoffs including but not limited to House of the Dragon, a sequel to Sex and the City, prequels to Dune and It, and various shows based on DC comics. And Showtime is spinning off Billions and Ray Donovan as well as making more Dexter. And then of course there's Disney and its multiple cinematic universes.
What we're seeing here is another consequence of increasing borrowing costs and slowing streaming growth. The formerly big-spending streamers are being much more cautious now, and like film studios increasingly prefer to stick with existing, bankable franchises – whether in-house ones or ones they can buy into, such as Netflix's expanding One Piece – than take risks on unproven content. And as Bloomberg points out, spinoffs don't rely on existing talent, so they're cheaper to make too.
The problem with safe bets is that, of course, they're safe bets. For example, as much as I enjoyed The Boys' spin-off Gen V, I didn't love it like I loved the show it came from. Watching it felt a bit like watching the TV equivalent of a famous band's tribute act: it hit all the right notes, it wore the right clothes and it made the right moves but the magic was missing. It's a shame that taking fewer financial risks likely means taking fewer creative ones too.
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Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall (Twitter) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR.