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Definition of Spin-off

In media, a spin-off is a television show, movie, video game or any narrative piece, derived from existing works that focus on more details and different aspects of the original source, e.g. certain themes, characters or events.


Derivative program



ORIGIN OF Spin-off

It has its origin in the English language and is a compound word consisting of the union of “spin”, which translates as spin or turn and “off” which means out of or taken out of. Therefore, by joining them together it refers to a product derived from another.


The first spin-off of the modern era took place in 1941, when the supporting character Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve, from the radio sitcom Fibber McGee and Molly, became the star of his own show The Great Gildersleeve, which aired from 1941 to 1957.

In the genre of fiction literature, the term is used in parallel to that of film or television. The latter usually indicates a substantial change in the narrative point of view and the dynamics of the previous plot, which was based on the actions of the main protagonist. Therefore, it shifts to the overall story of some other protagonist, who now becomes the focus of the new story. Usually, the previous protagonist has a secondary or cameo role, at least as a historical mention in the plot.

Spin-off examples

  • Better Call Saul was an incredible spin-off of the American series Breaking Bad.
  • Have you seen Station 19, the spin-off that recently came out in the wake of Grey’s Anatomy?
  • X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) is an X-Men spin-off, where they tell the story of Logan and how he became Wolverine.