Ask Alan: What Great Spin-Offs Aired While The Original Show Was Still On?

Time for another installment of Ask Alan, as I take your questions about the past, present, and future of TV.

First up is a question about spin-offs: how often do great and/or successful spin-offs air at the same time as the parent show? This wound up being much more common than the instances like Frasier or Lou Grant or Beverly Hills Buntz where the spin-off only launches after the original show has come to an end, and I ran through a bunch of examples, but by no means an exhaustive list. While watching the edited video, for instance, I realized that I didn’t mention Angel, whose run mostly overlapped with Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘s.

Angel did come up, though, while attempting to answer a question inspired by The Good Place co-star Jameela Jamil, who had no real acting experience prior to landing the role of Tahani: Outside of child actors, how rare is it for someone like Jamil (who did at least have plenty of camera time as a TV presenter) to be this good in their first acting job?

We close things out with an evergreen question: Why don’t the networks tend to air unsold pilot episodes? This used to be something that happened, if not all the time, then at least in the case of two-hour drama pilots that could be run as TV-movies, but there are a lot of reasons it doesn’t really happen anymore. One I didn’t mention in the video: network used to use busted pilots as cheap summer filler program, and now all the networks make more of an effort to program year-round. But back in the day, I spent two hours for some reason watching the unsold pilot for “Velvet,” which has everything you want in an ’80s action show opening credits: dirt bikes, skydiving, and people pulling off helmets and turning to smile at the camera. Enjoy:

As always, you can email me questions at, or tweet at me with the hashtag #AskAlanDay.

Around The Web