It may seem like self-serving hyperbole, but being a faithful fan of certain TV shows isn’t as easy as it seems. You stay with them through the good times and the bad, leading you to what boils down to something more akin to a destined-to-fail relationship. Why is it destined to fail? Because more often than not, a show will end with a conclusion that’s disappointing or simply arrives too soon. In other words, not every program can get wrapped up nicely at the end like “Breaking Bad” or “The Office.”
That being said, even when shows like that are brought to a strong conclusion, it can be difficult for the show creators and fans to leave them in the dust. Both “Breaking Bad” and “The Office” are guilty of this in different ways. With the former, you have the upcoming “Better Call Saul” that’s both a prequel to the events of “Breaking Bad” and a full-on spinoff. As for “The Office,” there were the two Christmas specials and then 2013’s The Office Revisited episode.
But are these specials and spinoffs enough to hold the rabid followers at bay? That’s a good question, and it’s one that leads to the creation of other avenues to keep fans happy after a show’s demise.
Let’s take a look at two vastly different albeit much-loved programs that met their end in the past decade or so. First, we have “Little Britain,” one of the most absurd, hilarious, and controversial shows in recent memory. Creators David Walliams and Matt Lucas went on to develop an American version of the show along with a few one-off specials after the end of the third series. There had long been rumours of a fourth series, but Lucas revealed to Esquire that it’ll never happen.
And then there is “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire,” the wildly popular quiz-oriented game show that aired its final episode on 11 February, 2014. It was an emotional moment for longtime host Chris Tarrant, who told the viewing audience that he “loved every minute” of his time with the show, according to the Daily Mail. It’s not entirely clear why the show ended after 16 years full of success and spinoffs in other countries, but perhaps it was just its time. Or maybe the creators felt that it wouldn’t be the same without Tarrant, whose contract had run out.
While these two shows couldn’t be more different, they find a common bond is how their legacies have lived on. Both spawned U.S. spinoffs and had extremely loyal fan bases, but you probably knew that already. What’s truly intriguing is that they have made their way into the online gaming realm, a place that’s become increasingly more common to find throwbacks to your favourite shows and movies. Specifically, U.K.-based gaming site Betfair has games dedicated to “Little Britain” and “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire,” among others. The latter is even actually involved in a series of bingo bonuses at Betfair. They outfitted the game with vocals from Tarrant and, yes, even feature the same £1 million jackpot for one lucky winner. “Little Britain,” on the other hand, serves as a more straightforward (albeit perfectly goofy) slot experience featuring characters from the beloved show.
Moving forward, it should prove interesting which shows follow the lead of “Little Britain” and “Millionaire,” particularly in expanding beyond online gaming to consoles. For those unaware, “Millionaire” has several video game adaptations, most recently on the Nintendo Wii, while sitcoms like “Little Britain” tend to not receive the same treatment—or so we thought. Apparently the show has its own game on the PlayStation 2 and it’s absolutely awful, according to EuroGamer. That aside, the right execution could provide beloved shows with an ample afterlife in the world of gaming, where fans can hold on to their favourite characters long after the final episode airs.