Who doesn’t love a spinoff? Some might say the answer to that question is “most people.” Spinoffs have always had a dicey track record, exceptions like Frasier aside. Lately they’ve fallen into a bit of a Chicago Special Victims Unit: Miami rut where CBS and Dick Wolf throw darts at a map and start a new iteration of a popular series in whatever metropolitan area they get closest to. (“Coming next fall… [flings dart]… CSI: Pittsburgh!”) But that’s starting to change, thanks mostly to AMC’s Breaking Bad prequel Better Call Saul, which is currently in the middle of its excellent second season. Now spinoffs are hot, baby! Probably!
And so, with that in mind, I went ahead and came up with a few potential spinoffs of my own. Are they good? Well, no. Maybe. Mostly they’re a silly excuse to make jokes about television characters I like and/or miss. I’ll cop to that. But I am incredibly serious about the last one. Know that going in.
Here we go…
Just a normal day in Westeros, nothing new to reporWHOOOAAA-OOOOHHHH-OOOAAAA Littlefinger just got sucked into a time warp! And it spit him out right in the middle of modern-day South Beach! What’s he gonna do?!
I’ll tell you what: He’s gonna open a night club! After a brief adjustment period (“Who is this ‘Pitbull’ and how did he acquire such power over this kingdom?”), he takes all the gold he has on him, trades it for cash, and sets about starting a new Miami business empire one devious step at a time. Pressuring investors and local government bureaucrats with blackmail? You know it! Playing underworld figures off each other in his club’s luxurious office to increase his power and influence? And how! Maybe plotting to kill an evil child or something? A Littlefinger classic! Like Encino Man meets Scarface meets Cocktail meets House of Cards. Just what television has always needed.
House of Mimi
The most incredible development in the second season of Empire — and let’s keep in mind that the season also featured Chris Rock as a notorious crime lord-slash-cannibal — was the introduction of Marisa Tomei as a hip-hop loving lesbian billionaire named Mimi Whiteman who was secretly married to Naomi Campbell’s character, Camilla, the older woman Hakeem had been sleeping with. One of the older women Hakeem had been sleeping with. The one who wasn’t engaged to his father. Lot happening on this show.
But anyway, Mimi. I must know more. We must know more. And that’s why we need a Mimi Whiteman prequel. Back before she was a hip-hop loving lesbian billionaire. Before she was even a hip-hop loving lesbian millionaire. Back to when she was just a young hip-hop loving lesbian with a dream. Then we watch her rise.
All About Pete
Mad Men has been over for a while now and I can’t help it, but I miss Pete Campbell. That scheming little entitled weasel: I spent most of the series dreaming up ways for him to get brutally murdered by a bear, but now that he’s gone, there’s a smug, smirking, rapidly balding hole in my heart. I need him back.
And he’s set up perfectly for a spin-off as is. The finale ended with him and his family boarding a plane and heading off to start a new life in the Midwest. Pete Campbell can’t handle the Midwest! Pete Campbell got bored living in the suburbs of New York! He tried commuting for like a week and promptly got punched on the train! How is he supposed to handle life in the great, flat wide-open?
Like, just picture it: Pete and Trudy sitting in some nice restaurant in Wichita. Pete scowling as he chews his lobster, complaining that you can’t get any good seafood out there, and whining about the lack of excitement, and comparing everything to Manhattan. Trudy just steaming, trying to smile through her rage. Everyone cheating on each other. Pete throwing petulant tantrums at work. Oh, the tantrums he will throw!
I miss it all so much.
The Ballad of the Van Guy
The first two seasons of Fargo have introduced us to a number of intriguing characters: Lorne Malvo, Molly Solverson, Mike Milligan, etc. But perhaps no character has made quite as big an impression — on me, and probably no one else — as the shady hobo guy from season one who sold surveillance equipment, drugs, and clean urine out of a grimy old white van. Here we are, years later, and I still think about him probably once a week. Was he working solo? Was he an employee for a larger illicit goods delivery business? How does one get started selling high-end surveillance equipment and pee out of a van in Minnesota? Doesn’t that sound kind of like a threat? (“You need to straighten out your life or you’ll be selling urine out of a van in Minnesota!”)
And what better way to answer all those questions than to give him his own limited series. Or hell, just make Fargo season four all about him. The method of delivery isn’t important here. What’s important is that I get more van guy in my life.
Grandson of Columbo
So, here’s the entire pitch for this one: Adam Pally plays the fully-grown, bumbling grandson of Lieutenant Columbo. He’s just been promoted to detective and assigned to the Los Angeles homicide department. Like his legendary grandfather, he has a knack for lulling suspects into a sense of overconfidence by playing dumb. Unlike his grandfather, his version of playing dumb involves cozying up to suspects by being the life of the party. And instead of investigating novelists and art dealers and vineyard owners, he investigates energy drink magnates and app developers and trust fund kids. Still wears the trench coat. Obviously.
This Is a Show About Perd Hapley
The phone rings. It rings again. Eventually the station manager in Pawnee picks it up. It’s the network. The network network. Longtime nightly news anchor Hal Waffleman has just passed away suddenly (choked on a waffle, in a cruel twist), and now they need an emergency replacement. They could promote from in house, sure, but ratings have been slipping and they were thinking about shaking things up anyway. They want a diverse candidate instead of another gray-haired white guy, but they also want someone who will play in farm country. Someone those people know and trust.
They want Perd Hapley.
Now Perd is off to New York. The Big Apple! The network sets him up with a high-rise apartment and a stylist, and tries to get him ready for his big new gig as fast as possible. After all, the world is waiting. The cameras are rolling.
3… 2… 1…
“Hello and welcome to the Nightly News with Perd Hapley. Our top story is a dramatic drop in oil prices, which is the result of the price of oil… going down.”