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Five hit series and their many spin-offs

Five hit series and their many spin-offs — We look at the successes and failures of shows inspired by ”X-Files” and ”Seinfeld”

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The Love Boat
ABC, 1977-1968
Formula
Employees in a luxurious setting host different guest stars each week; story lines include romance, drama, and comedy.
Offspring
Fantasy Island (ABC, 1978-84); Aloha Paradise (ABC, 1981); Hotel (ABC, 1983-88); Love Boat: The Next Wave (UPN, 1998-99)
Best of the Brood
While Aaron Spelling’s Hotel checked into the top 25 for its first three seasons, his Fantasy Island proved more iconic with its be-careful-what-you-wish-for fables, blend of the tropical and mystical, and a little guy named Tattoo.

Hill Street Blues
NBC, 1981-1987
Formula
Procedural cop show where the police toiled in a bleak urban setting while experiencing drama in their own lives.
Offspring
Cop Rock (ABC, 1990); NYPD Blue (ABC, 1993-2005); Brooklyn South (CBS, 1997-98)
The Best of the Brood
Steven Bochco’s musical/drama Cop Rock was by far the most ambitious (crack-addled mommies breaking into song!), but his NYPD Blue proved the most arresting, with characters who were compelling to watch on the beat and in the bedroom.

Seinfeld
NBC, 1990-1998
Formula
A sitcom built around a neurotic urbanite surrounded by an eclectic mix of friends and nemeses.
Offspring
Alright Already (The WB, 1997-98); It’s Like, You Know (ABC, 1999-2000); Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO, 2000-present)
The Best of the Brood
Seinfeld series co-creator Larry David took the character of Jerry (or more accurately, George) to the next level with Curb and created the misanthrope of the millennium: himself.

Melrose Place
Fox, 1992-1999
Formula
A soapy serial about young, pretty people screwing each other (over) in a fashionable, clique-y environment.
Offspring
Central Park West (CBS, 1995-96); The $treet (Fox, 2000)
Best of the Brood
Actually, Darren Star’s finest do-over was Grosse Pointe (The WB, 2000-01), a thinly veiled parody of the behind-the-scenes action at Star’s other big Fox hit, Beverly Hills, 90210.

The X-Files
Fox, 1993-2002
Formula
A cryptic, complex drama involving science-fiction elements and government conspiracies.
Offspring
Millennium (Fox, 1996-99); Harsh Realm (Fox, 1999); The Lone Gunmen (Fox, 2001)
Best of the Brood
Hmmm. Chris Carter’s X-Files spin-off Gunmen couldn’t translate goofy into gold, and Harsh Realm didn’t nail virtual reality like The Matrix did earlier that year. But with Lance Henriksen as sullen crime-fighter Frank Black, at least Carter’s uneven Millennium gave us a killer case of the creeps.