10. Melrose Place
The result of the massive hit that was “Beverly Hills 90210” was what amounted to the most popular primetime soap opera of all-time. “Melrose Place” was high on melodrama and deception, which made it both must-see TV and also a guilty pleasure for most viewers. The performances are over the top, but in a good way.
9. Better Call Saul
Undoubtedly, “Breaking Bad” is one of the greatest TV dramas in the history of the medium. From the colorful cast of characters, numerous spin-offs were and are possible. “Better Call Saul” examines Walter White’s sleazy lawyer. Only one season has aired, but the show appears to be a massive hit in the making.
8. Mork and Mindy
Amazing how a bit part on “Happy Days” can get you your own sitcom, but that’s exactly what happened for Robin Williams. He made the most of the opportunity though, parlaying it into the very successful “Mork and Mindy,” which Williams turned into an incredibly successful movie career.
7. Lou Grant
On the heels of the ever-popular “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” was a spin-off focused on Mary’s beloved boss Lou Grant. Grant becomes a newspaper editor in this acclaimed dramatic series. This is one of the few times that a hit sitcom has spawned a hit drama. Ed Asner was amazing as always.
Stemming from the success of “All In the Family,” Bea Arthur got her big break in a sitcom about Edith Bunker’s cousin and her crazy exploits. While “Maude” was a comedy, it also hit upon some really touchy issues of the time and was an interesting examination of the 1970’s woman.
5. Good Times
“Good Times” was all about making the most out of bad circumstances. This theme permeated throughout much of the show, as the eclectic band of characters both entertained and taught morality. Oh, and what a theme song…
4. Laverne & Shirley
Another spin-off from “Happy Days,” “Laverne & Shirley” was usually excellent comedy. How in the blue hell can you have a show called “Laverne & Shirley” without freaking Shirley? Well, apparently those behind the show didn’t understand this. We ended up getting a pretty weak final season to a show that was mostly solid throughout its run.
3. The Jeffersons
“We’re movin’ on up…” The Jeffersons theme song was a perfect sampling of the show. Frenetic, at times even manic, but always a song about family and togetherness. Even though life’s struggle, you can always get by with the help of family. Someday, you might even make it to the east side. Although, if you live in Los Angeles, this may not be a good thing.
2. Star Trek: The Next Generation
It was an extremely tough act to follow, being the spin-off series of “Star Trek.” To match the success of the original, much less upstage it, is something truly incredible. That’s exactly what “Star Trek: The Next Generation” did. Sure, the original was long on science, but The Next Generation told more compelling stories with a broader cast of characters.
Frasier being a psychiatrist and all, he would deal with all your mental health needs. While personally, I felt as though his brother Niles was the better practitioner, Frasier has a calming influence about him that would be comforting if you’re going through a crisis. On Cheers, he seemed a bit more unhinged, but on Frasier the good doctor seemed exceptionally warm and compassionate.