Spinoffs both on the big and small screens get a bad rap from a lot of people and while it’s true that many of them are disappointing, there’s no denying that there are some out there which are downright amazing (and often even better than whatever they’re spun out of in the first place). A good example is The Blacklist: Redemption and that’s got us thinking.

Which other TV spinoffs have exceeded expectations and delivered quality programming every bit as good as the series they spawned from? For that matter, which of those were the most surprising and unexpected? Well, what you’ll find here is an in-depth look at the five spinoffs we can’t believe became a reality and what makes them so downright great.

5. The Blacklist: Redemption

From the moment the first trailer for The Blacklist was released, it was clear the show would be something very special. However, something none of us could have imagined is that it would ever spawn a spinoff but that’s exactly what we got in Redemption when some of the show’s most memorable characters came together to form a team.

Consisting of the most elusive criminals from Red’s infamous list, this elite group of mercenaries got together to seek redemption for past mistakes. Led by The Blacklist breakout Ryan Eggold’s Tom Keen, the show made for a great companion piece to the man series and while it only lasted just the one season, it’s still essential viewing for fans.

The Blacklist: Redemption is now available on DVD and runs for a total of eight episodes!

 

4. Angel

Angel broke Buffy Summers’ heart and while that may have upset a lot of fans, they were still willing to follow the recently resurrected vampire into his own Los Angeles set spinoff. Taking a supernatural and nourish approach to the City of Angels, the series managed to expand the world introduced in Buffy the Vampire Slayer in meaningful and exciting ways.

A star vehicle for future Bones lead David Boreanaz, Angel may not have stuck around for as long as Buffy but as spinoffs go, it was definitely successful and the way the two shows frequently crossed over was massively exciting for fans. It also became a great place to showcase the talents of Buffy cast members not given a chance to shine on that show.

 

3. Better Call Saul

The end of Breaking Bad was heartbreaking but it’s fair to say the finale delivered a satisfying ending to the series which didn’t require any sort of continuation. However, that didn’t take a prequel off the cards and Better Call Saul has gone from strength to strength over the past few years as it delves into how Jimmy McGill became Saul Goodman.

Surprisingly, the series has also served as a sequel of sorts, revealing what’s become of Saul since he was forced to go into hiding to escape the authorities. When it was first announced, Better Call Saul was met with a great deal of scepticism but it’s exceeded expectations and proved to be a brilliant way to expand Walter White’s bizarre world.

 

2. Frasier

When Dr. Frasier Crane was introduced in Cheers, he was intended to be little more than the third corner of a love triangle but the pompous and cerebral psychiatrist endeared himself to viewers and was soon sent off to Seattle for a series of his own. Fans were convinced it wouldn’t work; would people really want to spend a whole season with him?

As it turns out, they were happy to actually spend over a decade following the story of Frasier, his brother, father, and quirky cast of supporting characters. The titular character blossomed over the course of the series and while Cheers references were few and far between, the series managed to stand on its own and find some well-deserved success.

 

1. The Flash

Arrow aired shortly after Smallville went off the air and featured many of the same issues that the Superman prequel series featured. However, as time went on, the show greatly improved and did away with the overly dark tone which was clearly inspired by Christopher Nolan’s work on The Dark Knight Trilogy. The Flash’s debut, however, was still a surprise!

Coming into the series as C.S.I. Barry Allen, it wasn’t until the end of his two-part appearance that some hints were dropped about him becoming the Fastest Man Alive. This was an unconventional and unexpected way to launch a new TV show and The Flash is now entering its fourth season, something no one imagined when Barry first came to Star City!