It seems the spinoff is making something of a comeback on television right now. And it’s not just the kind of ill-conceived rehashes of successful comedies that spawned the likes of Joey and After MASH; critically lauded shows are also taking the plunge into the turbulent waters of TV spinoffs.
Vince Gilligan is currently filming Breaking Bad-offshoot Better Call Saul, which focuses on Bob Odenkirk’s seedy small-time lawyer and has already been renewed for a second season; The Walking Dead has a long-gestating series following a brand new set of characters currently set for 2015; and The CW network will air The Flash, a spinoff of their hugely successful Arrow series, in the autumn.
Now True Blood might even be getting in on the action with actor Joe Manganiello recently claiming he is writing a spinoff project for his character, Alcide. I think HBO’s vampire-drama is ripe with spinoff potential considering the myriad colourful characters that have swept through the swampy reaches of Bon Temps over the years.
With that in mind, here are five True Blood characters that would make for excellent spinoffs.
1) Pam – BanSHEe.
Honestly, does it even matter what show she appears in? Kristin Van Straten’s sharp-tongued badass is such a joy I’d happily watch her in anything just to hear more lines like “I’m so over Sookie and her precious fairy vagina”.
Pam’s morbid sense of humour and sweet-but-lethal nature make her perfect for a modern twist on the western genre. In BanSHEe, Eric’s loyal second-in-command blows in to a quiet, dusty town looking to avenge a past wrong but soon decides to stick around to clean up the town’s seedy underbelly – and anyone who even mentions the word fairy – with her two-fisted approach to justice.
2) Lafayette – Lafayette: Ghost Whisperer.
I’ve often thought that Lafayette’s skills as a medium have been somewhat under used since the end of season four, and granting Bon Temps’ sassy drug dealer his own show would be a great way to atone for such an error.
In Lafayette: Ghost Whisperer, Merlotte’s long-suffering fry cook takes a break from flipping burgers and drinking his dead boyfriend’s blood to open a quaint antiques shop. His attempts to live a normal life are almost immediately interrupted when ghosts start seeking Lafayette’s help in putting their spirits to rest.
3) Andy Bellefleur – True Sheriff
At first glance Bon Temps’ hapless sheriff may not look like the obvious choice to lead a gritty crime drama, but take a quick trawl though his backstory and you’ll find a recovering addict whose brother and teenage daughters were recently murdered.
This makes him the perfect fit for HBO’s new slow-burning thriller True Sheriff, in which Andy, with his horny sidekick Jason Stackhouse in tow, is assigned to investigate a series of murders that expose a satanic cult hiding in plain sight in Louisiana. Andy must keep his own demons in check and somehow raise his rebellious daughter, Adilyn, single-handed as he tries to solve the case.
4) Eric – Viking Warrior
Given that most vampires live for hundreds, if not thousands of years and the show only covers their pasts in brief flashbacks, that leaves a lot of unexplored material to be mined for potential spinoffs.
Going back to Eric’s days as a Viking prince – long before he essentially became a nude model for the Swedish tourist board – Viking Warrior finds a young Eric poised to take his father’s place as king. This happy occasion turns to tragedy when Eric’s family is murdered by a rival tribe leader and he is left to die in the woods only to be saved by the mercy of a passing vampire. Now imbued with supernatural powers, can the rightful king regain his crown and avenge his family? And if so, at what cost to his immortal soul?
5) Russell Edgington – Vampire Utopia.
The vampire king of Mississippi once alluded to allying with Hitler during WWII (“Adolf was right; there is a Master Race… it’s just not the human race.”). Well known for being a wrathful, vainglorious and mentally unstable man, it’s easy to imagine how Mr Edgington would fit in the upper echelons of the Third Reich.
Vampire Utopia would follow his attempts to claw his way up the Nazi ranks to win a commanding role in Hitler’s eugenics experiments. The twist? The king of all evil is in fact planning to use the research to create a Master Race of vampires. It may well be the only TV show in history where your sympathies will be with the Nazis.