By Tracy Brown (Richard Cartwright/UPN / Jessica Burstein/NBC Universal / Comedy Central / Nickelodeon)
The spinoffs: “Frasier” follows Cheers’ resident psychiatrist and radio host Dr. Frasier Crane after he moves back to his hometown Seattle and reunites with his father Martin (John Mahoney) and brother Niles (David Hyde Pierce). Cheers waitress Carla’s (Rhea Perlman) ex-husband Nick Tortelli (Dan Hedaya) marries Loretta (Jean Kasem) in an episode of “Cheers,” and the two star in “The Tortellis,” the first “Cheers” spinoff that aired in 1987. (Mark J. Terrill, Reed Saxon / Associated Press)
The spinoff: “Joey” follows fictional soap-star Joey Tribbiani (Matt LeBlanc) after the series finale of “Friends.” Joey moves from New York to Los Angeles to pursue his acting career. (Warner Bros.)
The spinoff: Long-time “Daily Show” correspondent Stephen Colbert makes viewers question whether imitation is indeed the sincerest form of flattery with “The Colbert Report.” Colbert satirizes more politically conservative hosts and news programs and his show serves as the counterpart to the more openly liberal-leaning “Daily Show.” (Comedy Central)
The spinoffs: “The Hills” follows “Laguna Beach” alumna Lauren Conrad after she leaves Orange County for Los Angeles to pursue a career in the fashion industry. “The Hills” also launched spinoffs following Conrad’s cast mates and friends, including “The City” with Whitney Port, and “Audrina” with Audrina Patridge. (MTV)
The spinoffs: There are five “All in the Family” spinoff shows. The Bunkers’ neighbors, the Jeffersons (Sherman Hemsley and Isabel Sanford), move on up and out of their working-class Queens neighborhood into a luxury Manhattan apartment in “The Jeffersons.” And then there’s “Maude,” with Edith Bunker’s (Jean Stapleton) outspoken, liberal, “uncompromising, enterprising, anything but tranquilizing” Maude (Bea Arthur). The other three spinoffs are “Gloria,” “Archie Bunker’s Place” and “704 Hauser.” Additionally, “Maude” launched its own spinoff featuring the Findlay housekeeper titled “Good Times,” while “The Jeffersons” launched “Checking In,” following the Jeffersons’ maid as the housekeeper at a hotel. (TV Land / CBS / File)
The spinoff: Angel, a vampire cursed with a soul, was part of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” through the third season. Buffy’s former lover-turned-foe leaves Sunnydale in search of redemption in Los Angeles and stars as the title character in his own spinoff. (Richard Cartwright, Justin Lubin / The WB)
The spinoff: Conspiracy theorists and hackers Melvin Frohike (Tom Braidwood), John Fitzgerald Byers (Bruce Harwood) and Richard Langly (Dean Haglund) assist Agent Mulder on several cases throughout “The X-files.” Known collectively as “The Lone Gunmen,” these government watchdogs star in the spinoff show with the same name. (Fox)
The spinoffs: Capt. Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) leads his crew aboard a new Enterprise in “The Next Generation,” continuing with the exploratory mission set forth in the original series. “Deep Space Nine” differs from the previous two series as it moves the setting from a starship to space station. Deep Space Nine, a space station jointly operated by the Federation and Bajoran goverment, is under the command of Starfleet officer Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks). In “Voyager” the focus is back on a starship crew. Led by Capt. Kathryn Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) the Voyager crew is attempting to journey home after being flung to a far edge of the galaxy while chasing a rebel Maquis ship. “Enterprise” is a prequel series following the interstellar exploits of the very first starship Enterprise led by Capt. Jonathan Archer (Scott Bakula). (Paramount Pictures)
The spinoff: The Girls’ neighbor is Harry Weston (Richard Mulligan), and in “Empty Nest,” two of his adult daughters move home to live with him after his wife’s passing. “The Golden Palace,” another spinoff series, follows Sophia, Blanche and Rose after they move out of their shared home and invest in a hotel. (Steve Fontanini / Los Angeles Times / NBC)
The spinoff: Neonatal surgeon and obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. Addison Montgomery (Kate Walsh) learns to live life at a different pace when she leaves Seattle and “Grey’s Anatomy” to join Oceanside Wellness Group, a co-operative private practice, in Santa Monica on “Private Practice.” Dr. Montgomery’s friends from medical school Drs. Naomi Bennett (Audra McDonald) and Sam Bennett (Taye Diggs) are her new neighbors and co-workers who help her with the transition. (Scott Garfield, Craig Sjodin / ABC)
The spinoff: In “The Cleveland Show,” the Griffins’ neighbor Cleveland Brown (voiced by Mike Henry) moves back to his hometown with his son Cleveland Jr. (voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson). He marries Donna Tubbs (voiced by Sanaa Lathan), his childhood crush, and inherits a couple of stepchildren. (Fox)
The spinoff: A house full of schoolgirls sounds overwhelming but Edna Garrett (Charlotte Rae) proves she is up to the task when she trades being the Drummond housekeeper to being the housemother of a dormitory at Eastland School, an all-girl boarding school in Peekskill, N.Y. (NBC)
The spinoff: All vampires can be traced back to one family -- the Mikaelsons. “The Originals” follows Klaus (Joseph Morgan) and his siblings, Elijah (Daniel Gillies) and Rebekah (Claire Holt), the world’s original vampires born centuries ago when their mother used a blood ritual to protect them from werewolves. (Annette Brown, Bob Mahoney / The CW)
The spinoffs: “CSI: Miami” follows forensic investigators and police officers of the Miami-Dade Police Department, who, like their Las Vegas counterparts, use scientific methods to help solve crimes. “CSI: NY” follows the equivalent investigative team from the NYPD. (Robert Voets, Ron P. Jaffe , Craig Blankenhorn / CBS)
The spinoffs: “Laverne & Shirley” follows Laverne De Fazio (Penny Marshall) and Shirley Feeney (Cindy Williams), roommates that were first introduced on “Happy Days” as acquaintances of Fonzie. Another successful spinoff, “Mork & Mindy,” focuses on Mork (Robin Williams), an alien from the planet Ork who landed in 1970s Boulder, Colo., to study humans and moves in with Mindy (Pam Dawber). Mork made his initial television “Nanu Nanu” in an episode of “Happy Days” as an alien trying to abduct Richie. Other “Happy Days” spinoffs include “Joanie Loves Chachi,” “Blansky’s Beauties,” and “Out of the Blue.” (Paramount Pictures / Nickelodeon / ABC)
The spinoffs: “Caprica” is a prequel series that shows how humans first created Cylons in the Twelve Colonies. The show follows Daniel Graystone (Eric Stoltz) and Joseph Adama (Esai Morales) after both lose family members to a terrorist attack. Joseph Adama is William Adama’s father. “Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome” is another prequel spinoff, first released online, following William Adama (Luke Pasqualino) during the First Cylon War. The series eventually aired as a television movie. (Carole Segal / Syfy )
The spinoff: Prestigious boarding school life is chronicled in “Young Americans.” One of the students is Will Krudski (Rodney Scott), introduced as Dawson, Joey (Katie Holmes) and Pacey’s (Joshua Jackson) former classmate in an episode of “Dawson’s Creek,” who earns a scholarship to attend Rawley Academy. (Fred Norris, Eric Liebowitz / The WB)
The spinoffs: Xena (Lucy Lawless), introduced in “Hercules” as a warlord and villain, seeks redemption for her crimes in “Xena: Warrior Princess.” She is accompanied by Gabrielle (Renee O’Connor) who helps her stay focused on “the greater good” throughout their journey. Another spinoff, “Young Hercules,” is a prequel series that follows Hercules (Ryan Gosling) while he attends a youth warrior academy where he befriends Iolaus (Dean O’Gorman) and Jason (Chris Conrad). The show aired for one season from 1998 to 1999. (Handout / Geoffrey Short / Universal Television)
The spinoff: Nerdy, clumsy, annoying Steve “Did I do that?” Urkel (Jaleel White) is in love with the girl next door, Laura Winslow (Kellie Shanygne Williams). Unfortunately, his love is unrequited. Laura’s mother Harriette Winslow (Jo Marie Payton) was introduced in “Perfect Strangers” as the elevator operator where Larry and Balki work. (ABC)
The spinoffs: Set in the same New York as the original series, “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” follows a similar structure but focuses on the detectives and prosecutors who work specifically on cases involving sexually based criminal offenses, which are “considered especially heinous.” Likewise, “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” follows the detectives in the Major Case Squad who investigate high-profile cases. “Law & Order: Trial by Jury” focuses more on the trial specifics and the preparation and procedures of both the prosecution and defense attorneys. “Conviction,” unlike the other shows in the “Law & Order” franchise, focuses on the characters’ personal lives and features former “SVU” prosecutor Alexandra Cabot (Stephanie March) as a Bureau Chief supervising young assistant district attorneys. “Law & Order: LA” follows the original series’ format, but is set in Los Angeles instead of New York. (NBC)
The spinoff: Within the Department of the Navy, all major criminal offenses are investigated by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. “NCIS” follows a group of Special Agents from the Major Case Response Team, led by Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon). The “NCIS” unit and characters were introduced in “JAG” during a murder investigation involving Rabb. “NCIS” launched its own spinoff, “NCIS: Los Angeles,” in 2009. (CBS)
The spinoffs: In “Stargate Atlantis” teams from Earth are stationed at the Lost City of Atlantis, a city built by the Ancients (the alien race that built the Stargate system), and they explore planets in another Stargate network in the far-away Pegasus galaxy. Unlike the other shows, “Stargate Universe” is set on a spacecraft. When their colony is attacked and the planet about to explode, survivors flee using the Stargate and find themselves on a spacecraft built by the Ancients. Far away from the Milky Way galaxy, the evacuees are searching for a way to return to Earth. (Bob Akester, Eike Schroter, Carole Segal / SyFy)
The spinoff: In “Ravenswood” Caleb Rivers (Tyler Blackburn) discovers a tombstone bearing his name, survives a car crash and starts seeing the ghost of Miranda Collins (Nicole Gale Anderson), who was not as lucky. Together they work to uncover the mysteries of the town’s deadly curse. Caleb is Hanna’s boyfriend. (Gary Friedman/Los Angeles Times / Bob D’Amico/ABC Family)
The spinoff: Alan Shore (James Spader) joins legendary litigator Denny Crane (William Shatner) at the firm Crane, Poole & Schmidt after his wrongful termination from the firm in “The Practice.” The two attorneys show that sometimes, winning a case is more important than avoiding questionable ethics in “Boston Legal.” Denny Crane! (ABC)
The spinoff: Although not a direct spinoff, “That ‘80s Show” is another decade based sitcom that follows a similar show structure to “That ‘70s Show” and shared many of its writers and production staff. The show follows Corey Howard (Glenn Howerton) and his friends who live in San Diego. (Fox)
With a busload of kidnapped high school students, a flock of powerful parents and a smattering of high-caliber stars, NBC’s “Crisis,” which premieres Sunday, seems prepared to do what CBS couldn’t with “Hostages” — create a high-octane, character-driven suspense drama that is both familiar (newbie FBI agent up against emotionally charged odds) and unexpected (the point of the abduction is not clear).
Our story opens with something Very Bad happening. In the middle of a field a sweaty and distraught man seems to be disarming security satellites as an FBI agent (“666 Park Avenue’s” Rachael Taylor) tries to stop him. So you know, going in, it’s that sort of show — lots of tricky laptop action while the fate of the nation hangs in the balance.
As with “Hostages,” the president is involved as well as a political vendetta of sorts. But creator Rand Ravich (“Life”) has smartly given himself a lot more room to maneuver. On a field trip from their prestigious private school, a group of disparate teenagers, including the president’s son, is taken hostage. Only one gets away, through the super-cop effort of Secret Service agent Marcus Finley (Lance Gross), who is having a very bad first day on the job.
Back at command, agent Susie Dunn (Taylor) becomes the FBI’s point person, even though her niece, Amber (Halston Fitch), is one of the hostages. But Meg, Amber’s mother and Susie’s sister, is the head of “an international IT corporation” and played by Gillian Anderson, so concessions must be made. Meg gives Susie entree into the entitled world of Power Parents and the series an emotional central conflict — Meg and Susie do not get along.
The action moves back and forth between the taken (who include a parent played by Dermot Mulroney, so it’s no spoiler to say he will be central to the action), the authorities and the parents, who are soon issued separate, strange and very alarming ransom demands.
The kidnappers are many, masked and clearly mean business; the teenagers are frightened, forcing resentments into the open amid the school’s rather typical hierarchy. Still, love will no doubt bloom in captivity.
In the first two episodes, the plot turns and turns again, and the motivation for what is clearly a very elaborate crime becomes murky to the point of nonsensical. Fortunately, the motivating force (and the show’s tag line) — How far would you go to protect your children? — is easily understood. The captors’ demands also give the show a vaguely procedural structure, which allows the larger narratives of love and betrayal to emerge more or less organically.
It’s a brilliant idea for a show. The D.C. milieu allows for ramped-up stakes, and everyone loves to bash entitled parents. The kids add an element of social commentary, and Anderson, doing here for the fitted dress what she did for the silk blouse in “The Fall,” is reason enough to watch anything.
Fortunately, the rest of the cast is just as good. Taylor and Gross balance just the right amount of competence and bewilderment, while Mulroney emotes the pain of a rejected father. The pilot is all but stolen by Joshua Erenberg, who plays the kid Finley rescues.
But it will be the character reveals and plot twists that will make or break “Crisis.” If Ravich can keep stay steady on the switchback course he’s created, NBC may have another hit on its hands.
When: 10 p.m. Sunday
Rating: TV-14-DLV (may be unsuitable for children under the age of 14 with advisories for suggestive dialogue, coarse language and violence)