Happy Days (Backdoor Pilot)

Love American StyleHappy Days turns 40 today, so people who felt dated by looking back at the 50s from the perspective of the 70s… well, they’re dead now. No, that’s not nice, but I remember as a little kid thinking that Happy Days was actually a show made in the 50s, seeing my dad sing along to such hits as “Splish Splash, I Was Taking a Bath.” I wonder if kids today are confused about The Goldbergs. I guess the lesson here is, every generation likes its nostalgia.

Happy Days actually spun out of another show, Love, American Style, so the episode in question turns out to be a backdoor pilot. It’s a fitting origin for a show that spawned no fewer than seven spinoffs. (How many can you name? I’ll list them after the jump.) Continue reading

The Finder, or Sneaking in the Back

Let’s talk backdoor pilots for a moment, shall we?

When you think spinoff, you usually to think of a story that follows an existing character to a new setting (think Frasier, A Different World, or *shudder* Joey). Spinoffs that originate with backdoor pilots are generally just new shows from the existing show’s creators. The characters get introduced in an episode of original show — and episode that appears to have very little if anything to do with… well, anything. Continue reading