With the premier of Better Call Saul earlier this week, I started to think about spin-offs and sequels. Whether or not they can be considered “original” could turn some people off. Some also think there is a fine line between “selling out” and providing viewers what they want. (The audience does matter, after all.) These shouldn’t be issues, however, because spin-offs are more than capable of providing original content and adding depth to the original universe. Determining where to branch off from the original storyline must be no easy feat.
Piquing the interest of viewers of the original show is easy. Convincing new viewers poses more difficulty. Spin-offs might deter new viewers due to potential spoilers, or they can convince new viewers to watch the original show as a primer. On the writing end of things, spin-offs and sequels need to keep enough of the old world to maintain that connection while providing new and interesting storylines and characters. Viewing convenience plays a role as well. For film sequels, it may be easier to just watch the previous movie as opposed to five or six seasons of a TV show. This seems to be a deterrent for some. It’s all still worth the time despite the different viewing situations.
So far, Better Call Saul hasn’t provided any spoilers and can stand on its own; however, someone who has watched Breaking Bad will appreciate the subtleties of the show. (You can also call them “Easter eggs.”) Overall, spin-offs and sequels provide exciting extensions to universes that viewers couldn’t get enough of. There are nice nods to what’s familiar while still creating new characters to care about.