Daily Dirt: Best-ever spinoff series? My vote goes to ‘The Simpsons’ 


The Simpsons first appeared as part of the old "Tracey Ullman Show," but Fox soon saw the possibility of this cartoon standing on its own.

Daily Dirt for Sunday, Oct. 22, 2023

I’ve been told there are remarkable likenesses between Homer Simpson and myself. Welcome to today’s three thoughts that make up Vol. 761 of The Daily Dirt.

1. Through the course of TV history, spinoffs have come to be expected if a series enjoys any major form of success. A successful program normally means more than one interesting — or at least intriguing — character, which allows network execs to double down by offering multiple shows from the same DNA.

Here are my picks for the best-ever spinoffs from network television:

  • 1. “The Simpsons” (Fox): Homer, Marge, Bart and the rest of the family are a satirical depiction of American family life, and it has been done so well Americans have embraced this wonderfully interesting brood since 1989. The Simpsons first appeared as part of the old “Tracey Ullman Show,” but Fox soon saw the possibility of this cartoon standing on its own. More than 30 years later, “The Simpsons” remains fresh and funny and shows the end of this series is nowhere in sight. (And whatever happened to Tracey Ullman?)
  • 2. “Better Call Saul” (AMC): Numerous critics consider “Breaking Bad” one of — if not the greatest — program in TV history. Count me among those, by the way, and that’s why I was a little leery when this spinoff materialized in 2015. But the feel, pacing and casting so closely resembled — and complemented “Breaking Bad” — it was obvious from the start that “Better Call Saul” would also earn its own niche in TV annals. The common thread between the two shows was always organized crime, and in the case of “Saul,” give all the credit to quirky Bob Odenkirk for making it work. The show ended its scheduled run after 63 episodes, and just like “Breaking Bad,” left audiences wanting more.
  • 3. “Mork and Mindy” (ABC): This 1970s classic was an immediate monster hit but wavered from its original premise beginning in its second season and was gone after. “Happy Days” gave birth to the concept of Mork, which allowed the late Robin Williams an avenue to show off his remarkable talents on network television. Williams was ready to move on from “Mork” after that fourth season but will always be one of the funniest sitcom characters ever to appear on network television. Na-nu, na-nu, Mork.

2. Best sign I saw this week:

“Always give 100 percent at work:”

  • 12 percent on Monday.
  • 23 percent on Tuesday.
  • 40 percent on Wednesday.
  • 20 percent on Thursday.
  • 5 percent on Friday.

3. Here’s the Daily Dirt picks for these three NFL games:

  • Miami at Philadelphia: Miami quarterback Tua Tagovailoa leads the most high-powered the NFL has seen since the “The Greatest Show on Turf.” Miami has the second-most total yards (2,992) through six games ever (behind only the 2000 St. Louis Rams) and leads the league in scoring this season with 37.2 points per game. That’s nearly a touchdown more than the next-closest offense (49ers, 30.7). This should be a great Sunday night matchup. Dolphins 38, Eagles 27.
  • Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City: The Chiefs are off to a slower start than they’re used to — averaging 24.5 points per game — but are tied for first in the AFC (5-1) after ripping off five consecutive wins. Make it six. Chiefs 35, Chargers 24.
  • Cleveland at Indianapolis: Defensive end Myles Garrett of the Browns has consistently been among the league’s best pass-rushers through Cleveland’s first five games. Garrett has generated wins on 28.8 percent of his pass-rush snaps and has 5.5 sacks and 28 total pressures. Browns’ overall defense is No. 1 in the NFL. There probably won’t be many points in this game. Browns have trouble scoring, and so do their opponents. Browns 24, Colts 14.

Steve Thought O’ The Day
Has anyone been paying attention to the work of Dodgers utilityman Kike Hernandez as a playoff analyst for the games on TBS? Here’s your next media superstar when his career comes to an end.

Steve Eighinger writes daily for Muddy River News. “I’ve been told there are remarkable likenesses between Homer Simpson and myself,” he writes. Oh, no, Steve. Nothing comparable to see here at all. (eye roll)

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