TV networks are always looking for the next big show, and whenever they find that show, the goal then becomes milking that content for all it's worth, usually through spinoffs. One of the biggest shows on TV, seven years into its still open-ended run, The Walking Dead has already been splintered off into the almost completely disconnected Fear the Walking Dead, but you know there are more offshoot ideas swirling in the heads of AMC's programming execs.
There are only so many ways to spin a winning angle in this post-apocalyptic universe, and here are seven Walking Dead spinoff concepts that the world never, ever needs to witness in full, either on television or in the comics or any other format. Note that we acknowledge the ridiculousness of it all, and this isn't going to be the most serious-minded thing you read today. Now let's start things off by shutting down another prequel idea.
Before The Walking Dead
Did you ever wonder what life was like for Rick and Lori Grimes before the walker outbreak completely destroyed the world? When they were still in love and raising young Carl to be a brave, two-eyed boy. And when Rick and Shane were still best friends while busting criminals in Atlanta. If you have wondered about it, then that's probably as far as your thought process got, because those are the only elements to think about. Happy families just do not make for good horror drama follow-ups, not even if Lori and Shane share a flirtatious wink every few episodes.
Chicago Walking Dead
Few people in the world of television know how to churn out spinoffs quite like the NBC-embracing super-producer Dick Wolf, who is most famous for creating Law & Order and its many follow-ups. Wolf's most current success story is the quartet of Chicago-based dramas centering on public services, such as fire and police departments. It would be a seriously complicated process to bring this network-spanning mega-crossover spinoff to life, but it no doubt still sounds like an attractive concept, centering on different characters from the respective Chicago shows coming together in the name of survival. But even if it wasn't complicated, it shouldn't happen.
There will be a time when The Walking Dead survivors find a sense of normalcy and quasi-peace following the impending All Out War, and that largely calm era will ostensibly be a good place to branch out from the central narrative by focusing on the teenage population within the Hilltop Colony. A makeshift school would be the perfect place for Carl, Enid and other young adults to come together for mingling, mangling and backstabbing, and what better casting for a teacher could there be than Mischa Barton? But those are all perfect choices for a shitty idea, and we'll likely get too much Carl and Enid ickiness already in Season 8.
The Toddling Dead
One of the most oft-used TV spinoff formulas is "a familiar group of TV characters, but in a much, much younger form." Granted, it's one that animated series have used more than live-action ones, but The Walking Dead adheres to no such slapdash rules,. In the world of The Toddling Dead, Baby Judith would be able to talk and have adventures with the scant few pre-K-aged kids in the tri-community area, and there would be an authority figure walking around , but the only thing we'd see of that person would be their striped stockings, er, leather boots. Those boots should stomp all over this idea, too.
The Walking Dead Variety Hour
Another big spinoff route that TV producers used to take would be setting a bunch of familiar characters or entertainers on a stage for weekly rounds of broad comedy and musical segments. While it would arguably be amazing to see Team Family completely detached from the narrative-driven world and ported into a Vaudeville act, the world really isn't waiting to see Daryl and Father Gabriel's rendition of "Who's on First?" Nor do we need to suffer any further singing performances from Carl, even if it happened in a much more pleasant setting. I would, however, watch Ezekiel perform monologues for a while upon his throned stage.
The Real Housewives Of The Sanctuary
Negan's home life, both in the present and the past, is definitely worth exploring on the TV show, since the inner workings of the Sanctuary are still somewhat mysterious. But what we absolutely do not need is for The Walking Dead to venture into the reality TV realm with a wine-swilling and expletive-spewing look at Negan's many wives. Granted, a Real Housewives show set here would likely contain more murderous plotting and be more depressing all around than any of the franchise's entries on Bravo, and originality counts for something. But count this project out as a dumber concept than Savior David teaching a class on romantic etiquette.
Before Fear the Walking Dead came around to offer a look at life during the actual outbreak, The Walking Dead gave fans its first actual spinoff: the Chris Hardwick-hosted chat show Talking Dead. And while AMC has already given Hardwick his own spinoff of sorts, what we don't need is an extension of the Talking Dead concept delivered solely through the art of mime. Sure, the host -- presumably still Hardwick, because obviously -- and celebrity mime guests could really gesture the shit out of some of those big death scenes, as well as the quieter moments and some walker impressions. But still...(shakes head violently back and forth)
After all those terrible ideas for fake shows, how about trying some genuine TV for a change? The Walking Dead won't be back on AMC for Season 8 until the fall -- here's everything we know about it -- but you can check out our summer TV schedule to see when all the best shows are debuting and returning in the coming months.