Question of the week: are online ‘zombie’ spin-offs a good idea?

Waterloo ROad

No, not literally zombies (although if you want…), so bear with me. This week, the BBC announced that Waterloo Road was going to get an online spin-off series. So far, so not very radical at all. But intriguingly, this series is going to feature popular characters who have already been written out of the series – the dead will walk again, hence ‘zombies’.

Now, Waterloo Road, since it’s set in a school, has a certain natural attrition rate, so it’s arguable that sometimes characters could possibly leave before their stories are over – after all, most people’s stories only start once they leave school.

But do you think this is a good idea for other shows? Doctor Who has already brought back former companion Sarah Jane Smith in her own TV series, so perhaps there’s room for other companions and characters to be revived this way. But does the likely reduced budget, run-time, writing staff et al mean such a project risks ruining these characters, cheapening them – and even potentially causing the main series to avoid giving characters more final endings so they can move to these spin-offs?

This week’s question of the week is therefore:

Are online ‘zombie’ spin-offs a good idea? And if they are, what series would you like to see having them?

As always, leave a comment with your answer or a link to your answer on your own blog

  • What I loved about television was the notion of quality control ie there’s only limited space, so we have to put the best stuff on TV.
    Now with online drama, there is that feeling of playing to a much smaller audience, so you’re either just going to do experimental stuff – or stuff that appeals to the fans, like this Waterloo Road spin-off. I can’t help thinking that writing drama that just appeals to the fans is fan-fic with a budget.

  • With “reality” shows clogging up the prime-time schedule on TV, I’m all for any outlet for writers and actors. And if it takes a lure like “zombie” spin-offs to get eyeballs used to looking for online TV, so be it.
    ‘Law & Order’ and ‘Spooks’ have had high turnover rates with casts (although with ‘Spooks’ that also comes with a high mortality rate), so maybe those past characters could be checked in with.
    And I also always wanted a “Mike Kellerman, Private Eye” spinoff from ‘Homicide: Life On The Street’……

  • “writing drama that just appeals to the fans is fan-fic with a budget.”
    Oh yes. Nothing wrong with fan-fic mind, but its the budget being given that rather frustrates me. Something a bit more experimental and NEW may be worth trying out!