From Sidekick to Spinoff

Note: My fellow blogmates do not make coming up with something fresh the easiest thing in the world. Thanks for that. Ahem.



Television is full of examples of sidekicks who went on to have their own series:

  • All in The Family birthed two spinoffs, The Jeffersons and Maude.
  • The Mary Tyler Moore Show gave us Rhoda.
  • From Cheers we got Frasier.
  • Happy Days made way for Laverne & Shirley.
  • Star Trek morphed well into Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: The  Next Generation.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer left us Angel.


In my second (published) book,  The Missings, a character shows up about two-thirds or more into the story. He’s sitting in a bar. He’s not a sidekick. He’s not even a secondary character. His total purpose is to provide my detective with some information.

That was it. In and out.

Only he sat there, not even bothering to smirk. A confident and potent combination of Jack Reacher and Lucas Davenport. In a mind-meld of some kind he told me his name. His amazing backstory. He told me about the depression resulting from his backstory and how he’d learned to work through it, cope, and even better, win.

His power made me anxious.

Then he told me he wanted to hijack the manuscript, and that he was pretty sure he had the cojones to pull it off.

We negotiated. I promised him his own book if he would just shut up and cooperate. Let me finish the one I’d just spent months pulling together.

The Sacrifice  belongs to Mex Anderson. He’s also a co-protagonist in the one I’m writing now about trafficking. He pretends like he’s not pushy, but I’m no longer fooled.

Can you think of more television spinoffs? What about books?


It’s all better with friends.





Author: Peg Brantley

With the intent to lend her stories credibility, Peg is a graduate of the Aurora Citizens’ Police Academy, attended the Writers’ Police Academy conference, has interviewed crime scene investigators, FBI agents, human trafficking experts, obtained her Concealed Carry Permit, studied diverse topics from arson dogs to Santeria, and hunted down real life locations that show up in her stories.

15 thoughts on “From Sidekick to Spinoff”

  1. You got the one that immediately leapt to my mind: Buffy and Angel. Does the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show spin-off of the Marvel movies count? And yes, those pushy characters. Just who do they think they are, anyway?


  2. So true–by the end of the month, finding a fresh angle for the theme can be tricky! Can’t wait to meet your sidekick. I love his name! I love it when characters appear like that. It’s such a treat!


  3. Fun post, Peg! Gotta love those pushy characters 😉 IMHO, Star Wars is winning the spinoff race this year with Rogue One coming out in December and a Han Solo movie in the works. Wonderful news for all of us fans who can’t wait until 2017 for Episode 8!


  4. Spinoffs let us dig deeper into the stories we already love. It’s magic when characters like yours show up! Huzzah for pushy characters!


  5. NCIS, but don’t even get me started. I met a guy who had been in NCIS. He couldn’t stand the show. But then I can’t stand lawyer shows. Is that dress for success? Honestly, ask yourself. (I digress.)

    I like series that spin into different characters. There are some characters I enjoy going back to time after time. It’s like comfort food. But I get bored too. I want a little intellectual stimulation. So improvise away!


  6. Sidekicks and spinoffs … what a great pairing! Spinoffs let us dig into characters we want to know more about. Over the weekend, I was lucky to hang out with Jeff Lindsay who wrote the ‘Dexter’ books so I’ve had Dexter on my mind. (And oh, how I adore Dexter!) Wouldn’t you love to see how little Harrison turns out? Or how Daisy or Mr Carson or Lady Edith or Mr Barrow negotiates their new post-Downton world? I guess that’s why fan fiction is so popular. People want to dig deeper into character and settings they’ve come to know, even when the author may be tired of them.


  7. Mary, I would think that any show that connects to an earlier show counts as a spinoff.

    Sam, Mex’s full name is Carlos Alberto Basilio Teodoro Duque de Estrada Anderson. “Mex” is a lot easier to work with. I might use this some day in a trivia contest…

    Oh, yes! Star Wars, Kate! How could I forget?

    Thanks, Sue. Sometimes pushy *is* good.

    I know, Keenan. Sometimes we know too much for our own enjoyment purposes.

    Becky, you completely threw me for a loop by adoring Dexter. We must meet. And talk. And drink.

    Thanks, Cynthia. Mex is happy too.


  8. I’m a reader, and I like to read about real characters with real personalities. When a character has personality, depth, and dimension it is easy to “see” a spin-off, and isn’t that what all characters should be — fully developed “real” people, not blank personalities. I love finding that a minor character has a hidden personality or a secret that later is developed into a new story. Sometimes the “new” character has better “stories” than the “old” one.


  9. I was too young to appreciate Cheers, but I loved Frasier. And Angel — I admittedly watched that more than Buffy. My mom loved Angel. Good list.


  10. You’re right, 3 no 7, sometimes the next character is better than the first one. As far as television is concerned many people, including readers of this blog, feel that Angel was superior to Buffy and Frasier was superior to Cheers. I’m not sure that Mex is superior to Chase (my lead detective in The Missings) but I do know he has a more dominant personality.

    Thanks, Kimberly.


  11. Whoa! Love it. So tell me, is this guy married or is he available? Does he care? I’m not sure I do. I like him already! I don’t watch TV, sorry, so I can’t help with spinoffs, but I do think you should give your bar sitter his way.


  12. Riveting! And how true. Sometimes those characters just stick. They aren’t going anywhere. Someone suggested to me that when my characters have encore performances it must make my job easier. Far from the truth as you keep pulling off those layers of the onion. Fun post!


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