In an age of television and movie spinoffs, it seems like nothing is original. As a result, it is often difficult for spinoffs to win the hearts of viewers. Viewers often watch spinoffs for nostalgic reasons. But nostalgia only goes so far. Bad ratings, new shows, and the competition for prime time slots and viewers' membership (in the cases of Netflix and YouTube Red) have ground many a spinoff to dust. The only spinoffs that seem to have avoided this are The Connors, Cobra Kai, and Fuller House.
But are these spinoffs even worth watching? What made them so successful where others have failed?
A spinoff is when television networks decide to reintroduce a formerly aired (often successful) T.V. show by developing new plotlines for former and new characters. The primary driver for success behind spinoffs is excellent marketing.
When watching advertisements for The Connors, Cobra Kai, and Fuller House, I realized that they all had common elements. Each ad evoked the nostalgia of the old T.V. shows (or movies in the case of Cobra Kai). The old characters were shown and the ads introduced the struggles the old characters are facing today. New characters were also introduced and the ads showed how they connect to the old characters. In the example of Fuller House, the old characters of D.J. and Kimmy were shown with their kids (new characters). The ad also displayed the struggles D.J., Kimmy, and Stephanie were facing as they try to raise the kids.
After watching both Cobra Kai and Fuller House, I have noticed that nostalgia is also not the main focus of the spinoffs. Nostalgia is an element of the shows, but it is not the main focus when it comes to the plot. Instead, the plot focuses mainly on the struggles the new and old characters are facing today.
This formula seems to be working as The Connors, Cobra Kai, and Fuller House have exceeded ratings expectations. As a result, networks and streaming services have been more than willing to renew these shows for more seasons. Fuller House has been renewed for four seasons. Cobra Kai was renewed for its second season soon after the first one was released. Even though The Connors have not yet been renewed for a second season, with their number two spot on ABC (with Grey's Anatomy being number one) fans will not be surprised if it is renewed for a second season.
Even though sitcom spinoffs seem like a way for networks to relive their glory days, I would encourage you to give them at least one of them a chance. Who knows? The spinoff's new plot (which is often adapted to fit today's culture) may interest you more then the plot of the original series.