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The Quick 10: 10 T.V. Spinoffs That Didn't Do So Well

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I realize there are a lot of these, so I've kind of arbitrarily picked. Feel free to share your favorites (or least favorites, I suppose) in the comments!


1. The Tortellis, spun off from Cheers. Based on Carla's ex-husband Nick and his new wife and family, it was only on the air for three episodes in 1987.

2. Day by Day, spun off from Family Ties. Loosely spun off, anyway. It starred Thora Birch, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Courtney Thorne-Smith, among others. The connection to Family Ties is that the dad in Day by Day apparently was a college roommate of Steven Keaton.

3. Just the Ten of Us, spun off from Growing Pains. I remember Just the Ten of Us and never realized the connection to the Seaver family. The Lubbock family patriarch, Graham, was the gym teacher at Mike and Carol Seaver's high school. He ends up losing his job at that high school, though, and gets another job at an all-boys Catholic school in California. It lasted three seasons, so compared to others on this list, it wasn't such a disaster.

4. Blansky's Beauties, spun off from Happy Days.

In 1977, it seemed like a good idea to make a sitcom based on Howard Cunningham's cousin from Las Vegas. The cousin, Nancy Blansky, was in charge of a bunch of Las Vegas showgirls living together in an apartment like it was a dormitory. Only 13 episodes were made.

5. Grady, spun off from Sanford and Son. Based on Fred Sanford's widower pal Grady (go figure), this one was cancelled after 12 episodes. Great, now I'm going to have the Sanford and Son theme song stuck in my head for the rest of the day.

6. Sons of Thunder proves that even being associated with Chuck Norris doesn't guarantee series gold. Spun off from Walker, Texas Ranger, Sons only lasted six episodes. After Walker's buddy, Reverend Thunder Malloy, dies, his son comes home.

mr t

7. Mr. T and Tina, spun off from Welcome Back, Kotter. No, not the Mr. T. Mr. T. was Taro Takahashi, a Japanese inventor played by Pat Morita. He lives with a free-spirited American girl names Tina and hilarity ensues. At least, it did for five episodes in 1976. Pat Morita was also in Blansky's Beauties, oddly enough. Good thing he eventually found the Karate Kid!

8. Living Dolls, spun off of Who's the Boss. You may know Leah Remini from King of Queens, and I may know her as Stacey Carosi from Saved by the Bell, but before both of those she starred in this brief sitcom. Leah played Charlie Briscoe, one of Samantha Micelli's old friends. She is discovered by a modeling agency and the rest is sitcom history. Except not: it was canceled in 1989 after 12 episodes. Interesting trivia, though "“ Vivica A. Fox and Halle Berry played the same character on the show (kind of like the mulitple Beckys on Roseanne).

9. Checking In, spun off of The Jeffersons, which was spun off of All in the Family. Pretty much every sitcom spun off from All in the Family did wonderfully on the small screen "“ Maude, Good Times, The Jeffersons. But not Checking In. In it, the Jeffersons' maid got a new job as the head housekeeper at a swanky hotel. She checked out after four episodes in 1981 (sorry, couldn't help the stupid pun).


10. Fish, spun off of Barney Miller. Abe Vigoda in his own sitcom? How could this fail? Phil Fish was a detective on Barney Miller, but his own series focused more on his life with his wife and five adopted kids (one of which was played by Todd Bridges). It lasted two seasons before fizzling out.


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Richard Bouhet // Getty
4 Expert Tips on How to Get the Most Out of August's Total Solar Eclipse
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Richard Bouhet // Getty

As you might have heard, there’s a total solar eclipse crossing the U.S. on August 21. It’s the first total solar eclipse in the country since 1979, and the first coast-to-coast event since June 8, 1918, when eclipse coverage pushed World War I off the front page of national newspapers. Americans are just as excited today: Thousands are hitting the road to stake out prime spots for watching the last cross-country total solar eclipse until 2045. We’ve asked experts for tips on getting the most out of this celestial spectacle.


To see the partial phases of the eclipse, you will need eclipse glasses because—surprise!—staring directly at the sun for even a minute or two will permanently damage your retinas. Make sure the glasses you buy meet the ISO 12312-2 safety standards. As eclipse frenzy nears its peak, shady retailers are selling knock-off glasses that will not adequately protect your eyes. The American Astronomical Society keeps a list of reputable vendors, but as a rule, if you can see anything other than the sun through your glasses, they might be bogus. There’s no need to splurge, however: You can order safe paper specs in bulk for as little as 90 cents each. In a pinch, you and your friends can take turns watching the partial phases through a shared pair of glasses. As eclipse chaser and author Kate Russo points out, “you only need to view occasionally—no need to sit and stare with them on the whole time.”


There are plenty of urban legends about “alternative” ways to protect your eyes while watching a solar eclipse: smoked glass, CDs, several pairs of sunglasses stacked on top of each other. None works. If you’re feeling crafty, or don’t have a pair of safe eclipse glasses, you can use a pinhole projector to indirectly watch the eclipse. NASA produced a how-to video to walk you through it.


Bryan Brewer, who published a guidebook for solar eclipses, tells Mental Floss the difference between seeing a partial solar eclipse and a total solar eclipse is “like the difference between standing right outside the arena and being inside watching the game.”

During totality, observers can take off their glasses and look up at the blocked-out sun—and around at their eerily twilit surroundings. Kate Russo’s advice: Don’t just stare at the sun. “You need to make sure you look above you, and around you as well so you can notice the changes that are happening,” she says. For a brief moment, stars will appear next to the sun and animals will begin their nighttime routines. Once you’ve taken in the scenery, you can use a telescope or a pair of binoculars to get a close look at the tendrils of flame that make up the sun’s corona.

Only a 70-mile-wide band of the country stretching from Oregon to South Carolina will experience the total eclipse. Rooms in the path of totality are reportedly going for as much as $1000 a night, and news outlets across the country have raised the specter of traffic armageddon. But if you can find a ride and a room, you'll be in good shape for witnessing the spectacle.


Your eyes need half an hour to fully adjust to darkness, but the total eclipse will last less than three minutes. If you’ve just been staring at the sun through the partial phases of the eclipse, your view of the corona during totality will be obscured by lousy night vision and annoying green afterimages. Eclipse chaser James McClean—who has trekked from Svalbard to Java to watch the moon blot out the sun—made this rookie mistake during one of his early eclipse sightings in Egypt in 2006. After watching the partial phases, with stray beams of sunlight reflecting into his eyes from the glittering sand and sea, McClean was snowblind throughout the totality.

Now he swears by a new method: blindfolding himself throughout the first phases of the eclipse to maximize his experience of the totality. He says he doesn’t mind “skipping the previews if it means getting a better view of the film.” Afterward, he pops on some eye protection to see the partial phases of the eclipse as the moon pulls away from the sun. If you do blindfold yourself, just remember to set an alarm for the time when the total eclipse begins so you don’t miss its cross-country journey. You'll have to wait 28 years for your next chance.

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Pop Culture
IKEA Publishes Instructions for Turning Rugs Into Game of Thrones Capes
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Game of Thrones is one of the most expensive TV shows ever produced, but even the crew of the hit HBO series isn’t above using an humble IKEA hack behind the scenes. According to Mashable, the fur capes won by Jon Snow and other members of the Night’s Watch on the show are actually sheepskin rugs sold by the home goods chain.

The story behind the iconic garment was first revealed by head costume designer Michele Clapton at a presentation at Los Angeles’s Getty Museum in 2016. “[It’s] a bit of a trick,” she said at Designing the Middle Ages: The Costumes of GoT. “We take anything we can.”

Not one to dissuade customers from modifying its products, IKEA recently released a cape-making guide in the style of its visual furniture assembly instructions. To start you’ll need one of their Skold rugs, which can be bought online for $79. Using a pair of scissors cut a slit in the material and make a hole where your head will go. Slip it on and you’ll look ready for your Game of Thrones debut.

The costume team makes a few more changes to the rugs used on screen, like shaving them, adding leather straps, and waxing and “frosting” the fur to give it a weather-worn effect. Modern elements are used to make a variety of the medieval props used in Game of Thrones. The swords, for example, are made from aircraft aluminum, not steel. For more production design insights, check out these behind-the-scenes secrets of Game of Thrones weapons artists.

[h/t Mashable]


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