Isn’t it tempting to imagine spin offs from your favourite shows starring your favourite characters? Doctor Who has certainly done that in the past, but not all have been successful.
I confess I love spin offs, for various reasons. First, because I can enjoy another part of an universe I enjoy. Second, because said universe is growing thanks to the spin off. Telling stories from a different perspective or angle can be a clever way to refresh a franchise, get fans to be hooked again as well as gain a new audience.
While one of the eldest spin offs on television is dated 1941, the first Doctor Who spin off only happened in 1981, 18 years after Doctor Who was aired for the first time and as of 2007 Doctor Who is officially the show with the most spun off media, with nine in total.
It is not surprising, considering the depth of the Whoniverse, if you ask me. The beauty of a spin off is that it’s your favourite series while it isn’t at the same time. Talk about an identity crisis! Let’s take Torchwood for instance. It features Captain Jack Harkness, who was one of the Doctor’s companions that got his own series – pretty much like Sarah Jane and K9. A companion getting his own series? This is proper Doctor Who material, when in fact… it isn’t. Torchwood is not for every audience. It was aimed to a more adult audience which means that it’s not Doctor Who after all. In fact, I’d rather say, spin offs in Doctor Who introduce a proper notion of layers in both the universe and the stories. And that’s probably another thing I like so much about the series: its endless possibilities. Think about it, there is material for pretty much any spin off you can imagine.
- You love doctors and hospital shows? Why not follow Nyssa’s adventures as she helps out finding a cure for Lazar’s disease?
- You prefer epic space battles? Then you will love the Sontarans!
- If you like military series best, then you should try UNIT adventures.
- Care for some romance? Then why not see what happens to Amy and Rory after the Weeping angels got them back?
- If you enjoy conspiracies and mastermind games, follow The Master’s attempts to conquer the universe (and the galaxy).
So… should we get another spin off? I say, why not. Not only because I love the idea of a spin off exploring another layer of the Whoniverse (I’m one hopeless optimist), but also because I hope that the creative team is still capable of coming up with an idea as powerful as Children of Earth was. If not, then by all means, let Big Finish become an inspiration.