In The Simpsons universe, there are 125 recurring characters (not including celebrity appearances). Out of these 125, we can’t help but think that there are some characters who could pull off some pretty good spin-off shows themselves. So we’ve taken the liberty of putting together this list, along with writing a potential plot to try and give it some legs.
Since 17 December 1989, The Simpsons have kept us laughing and entertained. Now, even in their 32nd series, we all turn a blind eye to the fact Bart, Lisa and Maggie should be in their 30’s/40s. And that they would probably own Snowball #15 by now and just enjoy the storylines and characters.
Could our ideas be in the running to beat The Simpsons as the longest-running scripted series in U.S history?
1. Bart Simpson – The BMX Years
Now, we didn’t really want to take a character from the actual Simpsons family to start this list for a spin-off. But after thinking about it, there is one member that could have a pretty good series all on their own… Don’t have a cow, man.
Throughout the years, we have had several glimpses of grown-up Bart: from as early as season 6, with Lisa’s wedding, to season 11’s Bart To The Future and season 27’s Bart Hood, among others. How cool would it be to have a whole show dedicated to Bart in his 20s? I’m sure he would still be up to his usual tricks.
By his mid-20s, following the storyline from ‘Bart Hood’, Bart has his own BMX bike shop, which he lives above. Naturally, Milhouse has also moved in with him. After Nelson dares Bart to attempt an almost impossible BMX jump, he manages to land it and decides to take up professional BMX stunting again. Bart, along with Milhouse – who calls himself his manager – take off to join the competition world. Each episode is set in a different city around the world as they explore and get up to no good.
2. Comic Book Guy – Best. Superhero. Ever.
From his first-ever appearance in season 2’s “Three Men and a Comic Book”, Jeffrey Albertson, better known as Comic Book Guy, has given us deadpan line, after deadpan line.
He is now a regular in the show, appearing in over a hundred episodes, plus Simpsons games and The Movie. So, what’s stopping the writers giving him a spin-off? Superhero TV series are big at the moment. So one about the biggest-superhero-fan-turned-crime-fighter would fit in perfectly and could have legs to go all the way.
After figuring out the secret of being a crime fighter – hiding in the shadows and jumping out when the bad guys least expect it – Comic Book Guy decides to give it a go. As he is widely known as ‘Comic Book Guy’, he just uses his own name as his alias: enter Super-Jeff.
A whole heap of storylines would ensue. Between running the comic bookstore, meeting other superheroes and fighting crime on the side. Maybe he could find a girl that has his favourite qualities. I mean that she’s near mint and comes from a very limited edition — females who will talk to him!
3. Side Show Bob – No Longer The Side Show
Dr. Robert Underdunk Terwilliger, also known as criminal Side Show Bob. He has been in The Simpsons since the eighth episode of the first season, ‘The Telltale Head’. Yet, his antagonistic character wasn’t revealed until the twelfth episode, ‘Krusty Gets Busted’. This is the one when he framed his employer, Krusty the Clown, for the Kwik-E-Mart robbery. Found out and thrown into prison due to Bart’s detective skills, Robert’s evil intentions turned towards Bart, and in time the whole Simpson family.
But that was so season 1 – 17.
Now, he is a full-time criminal mastermind with a wife Francesca Terwilliger and Child Gino Terwilliger. So, what better way to get back at The Simpsons than to try to steal their ‘longest-running scripted series in U.S history’ title away from them in his own family spin-off? The voice of Side Show Bob, Kelsey Grammer, knows all too well about leaving one show – Cheers – for his own spin-off – Frasier – and outlasting the original.
Pretty much like The Simpsons, but only more scheming and only one child.
4. Groundskeeper Willie – The Backstory
Arguably, one of the best characters in The Simpsons is Groundskeeper Willie. In fact, he was famously voted the person most Americans associate with Scotland. He beat Sir Sean Connery, Ewan McGregor and many other famous Scottish personalities to the top spot!
He is also known for his sassy comebacks like the below interaction with Priceable Skinner in Season 18’s “Yokel Chords”:
Groundskeeper Willie: I’ll bring those kids back dead or alive!
Skinner: Not DEAD!
Groundskeeper Willie: Aw, you never let Willie be Willie!
But his mysterious past is what keeps us intrigued for a Simpsons spin-off. Especially as there has been many contradictory mentions about his past. It took until Season 23 to finally find out that Groundskeeper Willie is from Kirkwall in Orkney, not Aberdeen or Edinburgh as presumed! When conversations about his likeness to the Aberdeen Strangler arise, he responds by whistling…
His elusive past got me thinking about an intriguing spin-off, delving into his backstory. We could even give Willy back some of his hair, as we explore his 20s before he heads to America.
A 20-something Willie shows us his reasons for leaving Scotland and answers the now age-old question: is he the ‘Aberdeen Strangler’?
5. Lurleen Lumpkin – The Wonder Years
She has been in the least number of episodes on this list (just 17 episodes in total), but as a bit of a wild card, let’s add Lurleen Lumpkin into the mix for a spin-off from The Simpsons.
On the 55th episode, Lurleen sung herself into ours and Homer’s lives, and since then has popped up several times, leaving a lasting impression. From her first episode, you could tell there is more to her story than meets the eye, therefore a perfect candidate for a spin-off.
There has never been a cartoon about a famous country singer before. Perhaps Lurleen is a struggling musician, but after her brief stint with Homer as her manager, her career gains some traction as she hits highs and lows of the music industry. From washed-up bars to sold-out shows, think Nashville, but yellow and with more bar fights.
6. Keeping Up with Mr Burns and Smithers
It’s the unrequited love story that just keeps giving. So, why wouldn’t we want to take a closer look into the inner workings of their endearingly one-sided relationship?
Both characters have been in the show since the very first episode and have been through a lot both individually and together. I mean Mr Burns has been shot, had his heart broken several times, and turned into an alien, all by the tender age of about 118 years old.
Whilst he’s never been shot, Smithers has also had it pretty rough, from his thyroid condition to being hopelessly in love with Mr Burns. Oh, and changing skin colour through the years.
It’s easy to see the comedy and entertainment qualities that could come from a series around Charles Montgomery Burns and Waylon Smithers.
This series could be filmed like a reality show, so you can see what both sides are thinking, much like ‘Kardashian’-Esque interview segments.
So, there you have it for individual and pairs of characters. Fox Broadcasting Company, hit us up! If you’ve loved these ideas, here are a couple more around groups of people and places that could also carry their own Simpsons spin-off too.
7. Teaching at Springfield Elementary
Now, unfortunately, as much as I wanted to I couldn’t quite see a full spin-off around just Principle Skinner, but, that doesn’t mean he can’t be in one!
Between 2001 – 2004, there was a British series called ‘Teachers’, starring Andrew Lincoln, who is now better known as playing Rick Grimes in The Walking Dead. ‘Teachers’ was incredibly funny and relatable, so let’s do what The Simpsons do best and recreate that in Springfield.
The show won’t include any of the Simpsons family, as it would have been filmed after Bart and Lisa have left school. Though it would be interesting to have some remanence of Bart and Lisa around the halls as Easter Eggs, such as Bart’s graffiti and Lisa’s awards.
But, all the teachers we know and love will be there, and maybe even Groundskeeper Willie too (giving him two well-deserved roles in these spin-offs). Or, we could set this series earlier and resurrect the awesome Mrs Krabappel.
Come on… you knew this was coming! We couldn’t talk about possible spin-offs without mentioning Moe’s Tavern! Like Frasier came after Cheers, let’s flip the switch and Bring Moe’s after The Simpsons. It’s already been mentioned in The Simpsons itself that this establishment could have a spin-off of its own, so come on Matt Groening, let’s get it sorted!
There would also be a whole host of The Simpsons characters involved, including Homer Simpson, Barney Gumble, Carl Carlson, Lenny Leonard and the main man himself, Moe Szyslak. All among other new and old characters that were often seen in the Tavern.
A group of people from different paths of life meet at Moe’s, a bar run by Moe in Springfield. They share their experiences while working and drinking at the bar (okay, this was taken from the Cheers plot-explanation on Google… I mean if Cheers could last 275 episodes across 7 seasons, I know Moe’s could give it a pretty good shot too!). It was all briefly teased in the epic Flaming Moe’s episode, make it happen.
“¡Ay, caramba!” so that’s it for our list of The Simpsons characters who deserve their own spin-off show. But let’s face it, there are a lot of colourful characters in The Simpsons too.
We thought these were the ones that really could take off like Santa’s Little Helper, how did we do? Can you think of any others and what plots they could have? Comment below!
More of our TV articles HERE.
Read IMDB information on The Simpsons HERE.
Shadow And Bone: Books vs. Series
With the release of Netflix’s new fantasy series, Shadow and Bone, I utter words that I never thought would come out of my mouth “The screen adaptation was better than the book.”
While the Netflix adaptation did change some things in the book, they actually enhanced the story. All while adding a richness to the world. It kept with the integrity of the book, and met my extremely high expectations as a massive fan of the Grishaverse. But what did they change from the books? What changes were better, or fell flat? Here’s my spoiler-abundant review of Shadow and Bone.
Adaptation: Which books were included?
Shadow and Bone is based on a book trilogy by the same name written by Leigh Bardugo. She was also an executive producer and writer for the show. It tells the story of the mythical country Ravka which has been split in two by a mysterious swath of darkness populated by monsters called the Shadow Fold. It’s foretold that someone with the ability to summon light, the Sun Summoner, will one day destroy the Fold. When her best friend is in danger, Alina Starkov reveals the ability to summon light. This puts her on a collision course with some of the most powerful people in Ravka.
The show also included a prequel story to the Six of Crows duology, which is a series that takes place in the same world. But in a different country with different characters two years after the last Shadow and Bone book. Where Shadow and Bone is an epic story of good vs. evil, literal light vs. dark, Six of Crows is about a group of teenage gangsters committing felonies. It’s grittier, darker, and objectively better and has a large fan base. The show took three of the principal Six of Crows characters. It sent them after Alina Starkov for a cool million kruge.
The Sun Summoner
Let’s discuss our principal Sun Saint, played by Jessie Mei-Li. Alina feels as though she stepped right out of the book. Mei-Li did a fantastic job portraying her. The way that she feels lost and out of place in her world, her sense of humour, her charming dumb decisions. She’s earnest and kind, while subtly foreshadowing the greed for more power that comes into play in the later books.
One major difference from the show to the book is the anti-Shu (East Asian) racism at play in the show. In the mythical world of the Grishaverse, Alina’s country Ravka is at war with Fjerda in the north and Shu Han in the south. While Ravka is inspired by Russia, Fjerda by Germany/Scandinavia, Shu Han is inspired by East Asian cultures. Mei-Li is half Chinese, and therefore show Alina’s mother was Shu and her father was Ravkan. It makes sense that Ravkans would be hostile towards someone who looks like they come from a country they’ve been at war with for over a century. The change works well in the story’s favour. In the books, Alina always felt lonely and out of place. Adding this extra level of isolation drives home the feeling that she doesn’t know where she belongs.
Another major change comes in the way the story ended. At the end of the story, General Kirigan uses Alina’s power against her will to expand the Shadow Fold and use it as a weapon, killing hundreds of people. In the show, Alina is able to escape the Fold on their skiff with the help of several other characters. But in the book, Alina realizes her power in the same way she does in the show. But she uses it to jump off their skiff and run away with Mal, leaving everyone on the skiff to die. Living with the knowledge that she caused about a dozen deaths is definitely something Alina deals with in later books. The fact that she didn’t do that in the show might affect her character’s development moving forward.
But all in all, Jessie Mei-Li’s portrayal of Alina was perfect.
Alina’s best friend, Mal Oretsev, played by Archie Renaux, is disliked by a lot of book readers. Renaux’s portrayal of Mal, however, flipped a lot of people’s opinion on the talented tracker. In this fictional world, there are people known as Grisha who have the ability to manipulate things around them. In Ravka they are treated very well, and before Alina was discovered to be one, both of them had a certain level of disdain for Grisha. Mal and Alina are orphans who grew up together, in the show they call each other their “true north;” their home. He’s one of Alina’s prominent love interest’s and they have a close relationship.
In the book, Mal preferred Alina weak and without her power. He was more of a playboy, a little more selfish and arrogant, and less understanding. In the show, he spends a great deal of time being beat up and shot at in an attempt to get back to Alina. Seeing him track down the Stag for her, listening to letters he wrote to her that never got delivered really helped in understanding Mal’s character. And making him more likeable. In the show, he is principally concerned with protecting her and getting back to her, and Mei-Li and Renaux’s chemistry is off the charts. Renaux took a character that a lot of people have mixed feelings about, and made him into a fan favourite.
The Darkling, or General Kirigan, played by Ben Barnes, faced the most book to screen changes. The biggest being that in the book, he is referred to as only the Darkling. Whereas in the show he’s referred to as General Kirgian and “Darkling” is used as a slur. For reference, Kirgan is a powerful Grisha who has the ability to summon darkness and use it as a weapon.
It was a strange change, and I’m not sure why they did it, but it didn’t bother me too much. It took the mystery of his character away a little bit, but it’s something I can overlook. But there is one change to Kirigan’s name that truly bothers me. Kirigan’s back story and real name was revealed way too early. In the books that doesn’t happen until book three, Reign and Ruin. But we get his real name as an offhand comment in Episode Four and then his backstory in Episode Seven. General Kirigan is a fantastic villain but revealing his backstory this early waters down his character.
However, Ben Barnes understood the assignment. He portrayed Kirigan perfectly, really driving home how manipulative a villain he is. You want to like him, you want to trust him. The twist that he is the man who created the Shadow Fold and has no intention of destroying it stung even for book readers who knew it would happen. He’s likeable and hateable at the same time, and fans of the show are in the same boat as Alina. As in they have no idea whether to kiss him or kill him.
By far the best addition to this show was including the Crows; our principal criminals from Six of Crows. The Six of Crows book follows Kaz Brekker, a rising star in the criminal underworld of Ketterdam, as he is hired to break a man out of a high security Fjerdan prison. He establishes a crew of Inej, Jesper, Matthias, Nina, and Wylan and they go have a heist.
The Crows have a lot of fans, so show-runners decided to twist the plot a little bit to include them. Six of Crows does do some groundwork in explaining where these characters are during the events of Shadow and Bone. From there it was finding ways for these two books to bump into each other. And they did it perfectly without making as many major plot changes as I thought they would.
Wylan is the only Crow missing from the line up in the show. But it should be noted that show-runners have said that he will be in Season Two.
Six of Crows outlines how star-crossed lovers Matthias and Nina meet each other, and the show follows that plot for the pair. Nina (Dannielle Galligan) is a powerful Heartrender, which is a Grisha who can control the body. Matthias (Calahan Skogman) is a Druskelle, a witch-hunter from Fjerda who had dedicated his life to hunting down and burning Grisha.
After fate pulls Nina and Matthias together through a shipwreck, they have to rely on each other to survive. They fall in love in spite of their differences. But to save Matthias from her Grisha comrades, Nina gets Matthias arrested, claiming he’s a Kerch slaver. This destroys Matthias’ trust in her despite Nina still loving him and sets them on a course for Ketterdam. Both actors do a great job setting up their relationship in only a few short scenes. And showrunners set them up to join Kaz’s crew in the next season.
But the real stars are Kaz (Freddy Carter), Inej (Amita Suman), and Jesper (Kit Young). The three of them get just as much screen time as Alina, Kirigan, and Mal. Their story begins when they get a hit on a job to go to Ravka, cross the Fold, and bring back the woman who claims to be the Sun Summoner.
Six of Crows
Reading Six of Crows definitely makes the Crow plot more enjoyable, as it is teeming in Easter Eggs. But everything with the Crows in this show is prequel and therefore new. Kaz is still building a reputation in Ketterdam, Inej still belongs to the Menagerie, and Jesper is pretty much the same.
One complaint I’ve seen fans have is that Kaz is not violent enough. In the books, we’re talking about a man who ripped a guy’s eyes out. And convinced a man that he buried his toddler alive. He’s also smarter in the books, always has a plan, and is maybe the most intelligent character in the Grishaverse. Yet, in the show, he doesn’t win many fights and pushes himself into a corner. But I still think that Freddy Carter was the perfect Kaz.
Fans of the book should note that this story is two years before Six of Crows. He’s not the Kaz we know and love yet. He definitely lays crumbs down for him to become that, and there are scenes in the show where Kaz shows just how ruthless he can be. There were also complaints that he was too outward with his emotion. But everything that makes Kaz sympathetic in the book comes from that we can read his internal monologue.
If Carter and script writers portrayed Kaz like how he is in the book to a fault, we would have no reason to sympathize with him. In my opinion, Carter, who is openly a massive fan of Kaz Brekker, did a fantastic job with the character. Portraying a younger, less experienced Kaz.
They also did a fabulous job of setting up Kaz’s heart-wrenching back story without spoiling it too early (take notes Kirigan). They put emphasis on his cane, his gloves, his relationship with Barrel King Pekka Rollins, and his inability to touch people. Kaz is a disabled character, having to walk with cane, and suffers from extreme PTSD and touch aversion. Carter did an amazing job of portraying those things and how they make Kaz stronger. Kaz embraces every part of himself to the point that they truly do make him a force to be reckoned with, and the show did an excellent job with that.
Another thing to note is his relationship to Inej. Inej was kidnapped from her home when she was fourteen and illegally sold to a brothel in Ketterdam. But Inej has some skills in terms of espionage as she was trained as an acrobat as a child.
So Kaz buys her indenture, setting up a payment plan to pay for the massive sum, and Inej works for Kaz. Inej can’t leave Ketterdam without her previous owner’s permission, so Kaz puts up his gambling hall as collateral and a promise to pay off her indenture in full when they return. Inej has also expressed that she has never killed anyone and doesn’t want to, but when Kaz is in mortal danger, Inej makes her fist kill. These two characters are never going to admit that they love each other, but they repeatedly show that they do through their actions, and in the end, Kaz begrudgingly admits that he needs her. Inej is also the most religious character in the show, and going after the Sun Saint definitely provides some conflict in her heart.
She’s an assassin who is full of compassion and is incredibly pious and complex. Suman did an amazing job bringing this complicated character to life, and Carter and Suman have wonderful tension in their scenes.
And here to steal the show is Kit Young as Jesper Fahey. He does a great job as comic relief, releasing tension in high-stress scenes and being the comedic break-out of the show. But even through that, he alludes to Jesper’s crippling gambling addiction, his desire to be validated by Kaz, and his tender friendship with Inej.
All three of these actors embody the Crows perfectly. They simply stepped off the pages, and seeing them cross paths with Shadow and Bone characters feels natural and exciting. They definitely stole the show and my heart.
All in all, there is way too much to discuss in this series vs. the book, so I’ll boil it down to this, Shadow and Bone was perfect. The casting was phenomenal, the plot changes were natural and bettered the story, the inclusion of the Crows was genius, and everything about it was incredible. It set up the Crows to be united as the six of them and set them up for future heists, and it propped up the Shadow and Bone arc for book two. The show has not been announced for another season yet, but Bardugo has stated that she wants five, and I’ll be praying to the Saints for as much as I can get.
What did you think of Shadow and Bone the series vs. the book? Let us know in the comments below.
Whilst on Netflix check out the best of British movies HERE.
Read IMDb information on Shadow and Bone HERE.
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