Oct 11, 2016
What TV character is worthy of an entire prequel spinoff series?
Fear the Walking Dead sucked. But Better Call Saul is kicking ass, and Gotham is somewhere in between. So today’s conversation starter is:
Which TV character do you think should be next to get a prequel series of their own?
I’d love to know more about John Watson as portrayed by Martin Freeman on Sherlock. Sure, the whole point of Holmes and Watson is that they are a team – like Kirk and Spock, or House and Wilson, and whatever happened before they met is much less relevant than their adventures since. But compared to Holmes, Watson is practically a cypher. In the stories, we don’t get much sense of who he is beyond some basics. We think of him as a bumbler, but mostly that’s because of how Nigel Bruce portrayed him in the classic films. But Sherlock never made him a bumbler. As played by Martin Freeman, he’s cool under fire and attracted to danger. Like Holmes he’s an excitement junkie.
So how did he get that way? We know a lot of it may have had to do with the war. But what was he doing in Afghanistan? Was he merely there as a doctor? Did he have other more covert duties? How did he come to be such an excellent shot?
Let’s all tune in for the real skinny on Watson’s War.
I always thought that Dr. Perry Cox from Scrubs was worthy of his own spinoff, and his origin would be a good place to start. Through bits and pieces revealed throughout the show, we know he had a troubled childhood, a tumultuous first marriage to Jordan Cox, and a reluctant passion for helping people. Let’s take it back to when he was an intern starting off in a hospital. How did he become the cynical but loveable doctor we know today? How does he come up with so many self-esteem-crushing zingers? And why does he hate Hugh Jackman so much?
I always felt like there was a lot of “grist for the spinoff mill” in a younger Tony Soprano. By the time we first meet Tony in the series premiere, he’s nearly forty, married to his high school sweetheart, living in a really swanky McMansion in New Jersey, and already saddled with two teenage kids. He’s also been a big-time crime boss for over a decade.
It’s no wonder Season 1 Tony is suffering from some serious depression and anxiety. Just in time for his inevitable mid-life crisis, one of America’s Most Wanted men realizes he has achieved everything he’s supposed to want out of life (albeit illegally) and, therefore, has everything to lose.
That was Tony Soprano in 1999. But who was he in the early to mid-eighties, back when the future crime boss was in his early twenties, only recently married, with a toddler under his arm, a second child on the way? Back then, Tony still had something to prove. He’d still be struggling to emerge from the shadow of his father’s charismatic (but ultimately limited by his own personal failings) crime family rule, as well as his mother’s obvious sociopathy, to make a name for himself…one that didn’t appear to have been derived entirely from nepotism. He’d still be fighting to establish himself to his dad’s friends (like good ole Paulie Walnuts), relatives, and new criminal colleagues as something more than just an unassuming seat filler for his old man.
’80s era Tony would be coordinating his first heist, making his first kill, schtupping his first goomahs, building his own crew, and working toward becoming the youngest capo of his crime family at the ripe old age of 27. Think Michael Corleone’s origins story, only with more ’80s references, bigger hair, and oodles of trademark New Jersey “Bada Bing!”
The obvious answer, for me, is no one, because prequels have so many inherent problems. But that’s cheating, as is my next choice – Rupert Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer — because a Ripper prequel series has been rumored to be in development more than once, although nothing’s come of it. (Or maybe it did, only it was called Constantine.) Let’s see, no one could play The Wire’s Omar other than Michael K. Williams, who’s too old now, and besides, making Omar the main focus might be too much of a good thing. Hmmm…
The Cigarette Smoking Man from The X-Files somehow went from an idealistic government assassin who took it upon himself to kill Martin Luther King in a fit of anti-communist zeal to the morose head of the shadow organization more powerful than the U.S. government attempting to counter an alien invasion. That’s quite a transformation, and in today’s golden age of complex villain protagonists, I think we could create an amazing TV series around the rise of an amoral, power-hungry master manipulator who genuinely thinks he’s saving the world from communism only to discover an even bigger enemy — extraterrestrials.
Think of it as House of Cards BUT WITH ALIENS AND SET DURING THE NIXON ADMINISTRATION. Holy shit, that’s awesome. If they make that show, I just might take back everything I’ve said about prequels.
Who do you think should be cast as a young Watson/Dr. Cox/Tony Soprano/Smoking Man? And who who else deserves a prequel series of their own? We want to know your thoughts!
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