With the recent cancellation of Heroes and the end of Lost, some are lamenting the new dearth of good programming on network TV. Fret not, though: Paste has a few spin-off suggestions to help the network stay at the top of the ratings game in these most-desperate times.
1. Mr. Cluck’s
Hurley is a fast-food tycoon just trying to make an honest living on fried-chicken parts. Kate, fresh out of prison, can’t find a job elsewhere and becomes one branch’s manager, and Hurley’s signature commentary keeps things light as Ms. Austen inexplicably treats every flubbed order and empty toilet-paper roll in the restroom with the gravest of seriousness. Occasional guest appearances from former Lost cast members keep things interesting, with Michael Emerson’s Ben Linus appearing in the pilot to single-handedly devour a bucket of extra crispy. No one knows whether to believe him when, licking his fingers, he tells the staff it was the worst fried chicken he’s ever eaten.
2. Untitled Cop Drama Starring Sawyer and Miles
Sawyer is a tough-as-nails boy in blue with a chip on his shoulder and a knack for pulling ethically-questionable stunts to get to the bottom of things. Miles, his partner, mostly trails along behind, questioning said murky decisions as they compete to make the snappiest wisecrack. They may do things their own way, but damned if they don’t solve every crime just in the nick of time.
3. General Hospital: Shepherd’s Spine
Jack’s back story has all the makings of a good soap opera: tumultuous romantic relationships, important characters mysteriously resurrected from the dead, a history of over-the-top emotional responses and plenty of yelling, not to mention his friends’ penchant for getting hurt and needing his medical attention. In General Hospital: Shepherd’s Spine, we see him tussle in a love triangle between his ex-wife Kate and one of the hospital’s obstetricians, Juliet, with whom he has a powerful, if unspoken, sexual chemistry. His life is further complicated when, after forming a powerful father-son bond with John Locke upon restoring his ability to walk, Jack is confronted by his true father, who has recently returned from the dead. And of course, there’s his crazed evil twin, Claire, from whom he must constantly protect his ex-wife. No wonder the man has a drinking problem.
4. Rose and Bernard’s House
Happy couple Rose and Bernard are empty nesters looking forward to leisurely enjoying their golden years. Bernard, a retired dentist, gets more curmudgeonly every day, and enjoys peace and quiet. Their lives are about to be turned upside-down, when some unexpected visitors show up at their door. Rose finds Vincent, a lost dog in her garden, and decides to take him in. She quickly finds out the Vincent belongs to a rag-tag group of ethnically diverse orphans, and Rose and Bernard go from two’s company to a full house. Although he attempts to maintain a steely facade, those lovable orphans melt Bernard’s heart, turning him from grumpy old man to prank-pulling funnyman.
Extra credit: A studio audience could be utilized on this show for call-and-response pep rally-styled cheers before each episode. “WHO’S house?” “Rose and Bernard’s house!!!”
5. Dead Files
A spin-off of a spin-off, Dead Files follows Miles’ character from Untitled Cop Drama Starring Sawyer and Miles. When Sawyer finds out his partner can communicate with the dead, the tough-talking cop can’t wrap his mind around the paranormal ability. So Miles strikes out on his own, using his special talent to solve the most unsolvable murder mysteries and putting dangerous perps where they belong—behind bars. Along the way the dead-hearing detective learns some valuable lessons, including the importance of living life to the fullest while you still have the chance and the myriad pitfalls of romantic entanglements with ghosts.