In media, a spin-off (or spinoff) is a radio program, television program, film, video game or any narrative work, derived from already existing works that focus on more details and different aspects from the original work (e.g. particular topics, characters or events).
One of the earliest spin-offs of the modern media era, if not the first, happened in 1941 when the supporting character Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve from the old time radio comedy show Fibber McGee and Molly became the star of his own program The Great Gildersleeve (1941–1957).
In genre fiction, the term parallels the usage in television; it is usually meant to indicate a substantial change in narrative viewpoint and activity from that (previous) storyline based on the activities of the series' principal protagonist and so is a shift to that action and overall narrative thread of some other protagonist, which now becomes the central or main thread (storyline) of the new sub-series. The new protagonist generally appears first as a minor or supporting character in the main story line within a given milieu and it is very common for the previous protagonist to have a supporting or cameo role, at the least as a historical mention, in the new sub-series. Spin-offs sometimes generate their own spin-offs, leaving the new show in its own series only vaguely connected to the original series.
A spin-off may be called a sidequel, a portmanteau of "side" (as in side-by-side) and "sequel", when it occurs in the same time-frame as the original, sometimes contacting with the main narrative at points. In Japanese, the word gaiden (外伝, pronounced [ɡaideɴ], lit. "outside legends") also refers to such contemporaneous spin-offs and is frequently translated as "side story".
Sometimes even where a show is not a spin-off from another, there will nevertheless be crossovers, where a character from one show makes an appearance on another. Sometimes crossovers are created in an attempt to provide closure to fans of another failed series. Sometimes show producers will re-introduce a character from an older series into a later one as a way of providing a connectivity of that particular producer's television "world".
- For example: Tucker, Ken (June 4, 2005). "The best (and worst) spin-offs". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2016-03-15.
- For examples:
- Kroll, Justin (March 27, 2015). "Paramount Expanding 'Transformers' Universe with Spinoffs, Sequels". Variety. Retrieved 2016-03-15.
- Zakarin, Jordan (February 6, 2013). "'Star Wars' Spinoffs to Include Young Han Solo, Boba Fett (Report)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2016-03-15.
- Dunning, John (1998). On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio (Revised ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press. p. 293. ISBN 978-0-19-507678-3. Retrieved 2019-08-27.
- Stewart, R.W. (August 3, 1941). "One Thing and Another". The New York Times. p. X10.
Gildersleeve has taken leave of his long-time fencing partner[,] Fibber McGee, and will be starred in his own show, "The Great Gildersleeve," beginning Aug. 31 at 6:30, P. M. on WEAF's hook-up. Harold Peary created the Gildersleeve...
- "sidequel". Doubletongued.org. December 4, 2006. Retrieved 2014-01-28.
- References for the translation of gaiden as "side story":
- "Tokyopop Snags Gundam Seed Astray Manga: A 'Side Story' Based on the Popular Anime Series". ICv2. December 21, 2003. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
- Pineda, Rafael Antonio (August 13, 2019). "Violet Evergarden Gaiden Side Story Anime's Trailer Reveals Cast". Anime News Network. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
- Baron, Reuben (July 11, 2020). "Sekiro Side Story: Hanbei the Undying Is A Solid Stand-Alone Spin-Off". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved February 1, 2021.