Well, you asked for it.
Our previous dive into TV history to uncover 5 queer(ish) TV spinoffs that ended up being total sh*tshows generated more discussion than we anticipated. So, in the spirit of spin-offs, we thought we’d go for round two, and as such, have come up with five more queer and queer-adjacent shows that never should have seen the light of day.
Of course, sometimes one great show can produce another equally great show. The Mary Tyler Moore show gave us Lou Grant and Rhoda, for instance. And The Daily Show gave us The Colbert Report. Other times, not so much.
Now, without further ado…
Any given Sex and the City spinoff
Sex and the City was a show of its time: a sitcom about horny, monied, single gals living in the Big Apple before 9/11, Bush, and the Great Recession exposed the series as a total fantasy. Need more proof? The once-endearing characters came off as selfish, superficial bubbleheads in both Sex and the City movies. Then came The Carrie Diaries, an ’80s prequel series about an even more superficial, teenage Carrie Bradshaw. Still, not even two seasons of that trainwreck could have prepared us for the current disaster of And Just Like That, a show so obsessed with looking current that it never manages to find a story worth telling and manages to carpet bomb what little legacy the original show had left. Kim Cattrall wisely opted out of this spinoff. She and her character no longer look like the horny one, so much as the smart one.
Joanie Loves Chachi
Scott Baio may have recently adopted a career as a right-wing loon given his limited options for acting jobs. Once upon a time, though, a generation of young gay boys swooned over him sort of like they do with Zac Efron or Shawn Mendes today. In fact, the Cult of Baio once swelled so large, he and his Happy Days character Chachi landed this dreadful musical spinoff. Episodes followed the misadventures of Chachi and his girlfriend Joanie (played by Erin Moran) as they tried to make it in the ’60s rock scene. Sagging ratings and–by Baio’s account–a creative team hooked on chemical substances doomed this clunker to two miserable seasons.
Clueless: The Series
Original film star Alicia Silverstone was smart not to take part in this TV spinoff which saw most of the movie’s cast–including Donald Faison, Elisa Donovan, Wallace Shawn, and future right-wing wacko (noticing a pattern here?) Stacey Dash–reprising their roles. ABC had high hopes for the series, which it positioned as part of its TGIF lineup. Unfortunately, it tanked at #48 in the ratings, prompting ABC to kill the show. UPN then picked it up for another two seasons, where it garnered even lower ratings. Maybe these characters were more lovable in a single cinematic dose.
Ok, yes, we said it! Melrose Place aimed to up the ante on Beverly Hills, 90210‘s mix of pretty high schoolers hooking up and falling out. Set in a manic version of West Hollywood (which is redundant), this show went a step further, following a group of impossibly pretty Angelenos screwing one another before stabbing each other in the backs. Soapy plotlines of murder, rape, brainwashing, long-lost relatives, AIDS, drugs, bombings, disfigurement, and cancer packed this show’s seven seasons, enough to make All My Children look like Uncle Vanya. Props to the series for including a gay character in the person of Matt (played by Doug Savant)–still a very big deal in the 1990s. On the other hand, the most affection he could show a boyfriend was touching his earlobe, and even that caused controversy. Then as now, defenders look on Melrose Place as trashy, bonkers fun. From where we sit, the show was just plain trash. But it wasn’t nearly as bad as…
It wasn’t just straight guys who watched Baywatch for the swimsuits, folks. Yes, in the 1990s, Baywatch became the most popular show in the world thanks to a mix of spandex, slow motion, and… well, that’s about it. It wasn’t a show known for its story or deep observations about mankind. On the other hand, this spinoff focused more on the men of Baywatch led by David Hasselhoff as Mitch Buchannon. Baywatch Nights chronicled Buchannon and Garner Ellerbee (played by Gregory Alan Williams) opening a private detective agency to investigate serial killers, rapes, the mob, and stalkings on the sand. Lackluster ratings in the first season led to a radical reformat, in which Ellerbee, Buchannon, and company investigated paranormal activity a-la The X-Files. Suddenly, sea monsters, cults, parallel universes, and UFOs abounded. Not present: an actual audience.