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5 More Doctor Who Spin-Offs We Need To See

spin-off

We need more shows in the Whoniverse. Here’s what we could see next…

The launch of online spin-off Class, following a group of schoolkids in the iconic Coal Hill School that has been a part of Doctor Who since its pilot, could mean a new beginning for the franchise. If it is successful, there’s no doubt the BBC will want to make the most of the audience’s love for Doctor Who spin-offs. But this isn’t the first time that’s happened.

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Doctor Who pulled an ‘Avengers’ in the same year that Iron Man was released: after 2 years of its spin-offs Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures, the series 4 finale ‘The Stolen Earth/ Journey’s End’ brought all three universes together in an incredibly satisfying, organic way to fight Davros and the Daleks.

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And then in 2011, Torchwood petered off with Miracle Day, whilst Elisabeth Sladen’s untimely passing put an end to The Sarah Jane Adventures. Thus ended an extended universe that still had so much potential, both shows cut off in their prime.
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The Doctor Who universe hosts a huge array of beloved characters, or brand-new ones could easily be introduced to audiences. There’s so much that potential spin-offs could explore; literally all of time and space.

 

5. A Historical Spin-Off

The cries for a show featuring The Paternoster Gang seem to have died down, which is probably for the best. They work within Doctor Who, but might not be able to sustain a regular, full-length show by themselves. But the demand for one demonstrates that a spin-off set in the past, with a character previously introduced in the main show, would make sense in a time slot previously filled with Robin Hood, Merlin or Atlantis.

The Doctor has visited so much of world history, and any period holds potential for an entire series: a sword-and-sandals swashbuckler, a dark Victorian mystery, even a show set in the swinging sixties. And best of all, there is no need to obsess over continuity, and tying everything to the main show. The Doctor can only visit a time period so often in all his travels.

Historical spin-offs in Big Finish have proved to be popular, as demonstrated by the beloved bickering duo Jago and Litefoot, a bombastic theater owner and despairing professor respectively. They previously appeared in 1977’s classic Tom Baker adventure The Talons of Weng-Chiang, and were even considered for their own television spin-off at the time due to their popularity. So this is clearly something that has been considered before.


4. A Space-Set Spin-Off

If all of human history presents a huge amount of possibilities, then a space-set spin-off is an even better idea. After years of Star Trek being absent from TV screens, and a saturation of gritty Sci-Fi like Battlestar Galactica and The X Files, it’s time to have some fun in the science-fiction genre again.

Doctor Who’s world-building offers the potential for a corner of the universe where all kinds of weird and wonderful creatures pass through. Rick and Morty is an excellent example of a show that finds humour in all sorts of clashing cultures at events like a wedding or a house party, so hiring the likes of Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland to transfer their unique sense of humour and pathos to live-action would be a smart move.

The BBC would certainly be taking a risk with this experiment, as such a show wouldn’t come cheap. Produced and marketed as a miniseries, perhaps in the same way as Sherlock is made, creates anticipation for “event television”

Besides Red Dwarf, how many distinctly British shows set entirely in outer-space are on TV? It’s a niche to exploit. Imagine the tagline “From the Universe of Doctor Who…” in front of some huge space opera. This could even be a way to deliver the Time War series fans have wanted since the show’s return in 2005.


 

3. The Eighth Doctor Adventures

After ‘The Night of the Doctor’, audiences old and new fell in love with this criminally underused incarnation all over again. It is understandable why calls for a spin-off haven’t been answered yet: why undermine the current onscreen Doctor by giving attention to another incarnation at the same time? And Paul McGann is a busy man.

But the Eighth Doctor is loved by audiences who discovered him in 1996, 2013, or through the Big Finish audios. McGann is still pretty young – it’s not like bringing back one of the classic doctors or John Hurt, for whom the strain of a long, very physical production would no doubt be impractical.

A limited run, similar to Agent Carter’s amount of episodes compared to Agents of SHIELD, would make each episode count. Serving as a prologue to a storyline expanded upon in the main show means a spin-off isn’t just an excuse to bring back McGann. It allows for the Eighth Doctor to meet the current Doctor since he’s so vital to a storyline. That way, a multi-Doctor adventure would occur for a narrative reason, and not just for the hell of it.


 

2. Bannerman Road

The Sarah Jane Adventures ended too soon for tragic reasons. It was perhaps the best-written show on children’s TV for a long time, and it provided exciting new storytelling for a demographic that really deserves it. It was relatable for young audiences because it operated at a domestic earth-set level, focused on an unconventional family, and the fantastic happenings in an episode offered escapism once a week.

So many threads were left hanging in the middle of production of the fifth season, with new characters only just introduced – audiences have unfinished business with a show that didn’t necessarily have to finish. The Sarah Jane adventures needed Sarah Jane, but a show featuring everyone else but her only needs her incredible legacy to continue.

A respectful return with the original cast, set in the same location with Jo Grant or other old companions like Ace – whose returns were planned – would offer great family drama and satisfy fans of the classic series of Doctor Who. As a continuation, not a sequel, of the world created in SJA, it doesn’t have to exclude memorable characters like The Shopkeeper and The Trickster.

With Class now covering young adults, if the BBC produces a more child-oriented spin-off, then virtually every demographic is offered something within the Doctor Who universe.


 

1. U.N.I.T.

With Torchwood unlikely to return, a show focused on an organization almost as old as Doctor Who itself is just what’s needed to fix the lack of an adult-oriented show since Torchwood seemingly ended with 2011’s Miracle Day series.

U.N.I.T. could be the BBC’s answer to The X-Files in the same way Torchwood was. Something violent, intelligent and a reflection of the modern world that U.N.I.T. has to operate in would be the perfect way to produce the kind of long-spanning series that have done so well for channels like AMC or HBO. Rather than having a “monster of the week”, it would be refreshing to see each season play out one long storyline in they way that series 3 and 4 of Torchwood did.

U.N.I.T. should keep anything to do with the Doctor on the sidelines and instead focus on the science, military and politics that the organization seems to be wrapped up in. Unlike Torchwood, they are not all about the extraterrestrial and the paranormal- they are an agency that has to be held accountable, and is known to the public. We get to find out how that affects their decision-making and the missions they carry out.

Like Agents of SHIELD and Torchwood, the show can have a cast of brand-new characters but bring in established characters like Kate Stewart or Osgood from the main show, and feature famous aliens like Zygons… or maybe even The Master?

What Doctor Who spin-offs would you like to see? Let us know down in the comments.

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